Now that you have begun to think about the personal brand you want to communicate on the Web, you need to determine your style.
Your personal brand style online is everything. It will dictate your imagery, your messaging and define your content plan. (In my personal branding and LinkedIn marketing courses, I help participants learn how to define and commit to a style that works for them.)
So here you are with the beginnings of an online personal brand. But wait, what about your competition? You need to also run a major check on who you are competing against online and what they are doing to achieve success.
You can only do this once you have truly zeroed in on who it is you want to be, who it is you want to sell to and what market position you are committing to, through you daily commitment to content marketing of your personal brand online.
Think of your personal brand competitive analysis as you would a comprehensive competitive corporate analysis.
- A company CEO seeking to achieve positive online visibility as the spokesperson for the enterprise will want to research not just other leaders within the industry, but also direct company competitors.
- A small business owner certainly needs to understand his/her local competition and beyond local, depending on the business’s reach.
- A “soloprenuer” or consultant needs to be very specific about the areas in which he or she will compete, so that targeting competitors by service type and pricing is possible.
- A job seeker needs to take a hard look at both the competitive talent as well as the recruiter force in the industry.
Where To Start
Launching an online personal brand requires significant thought and hard facts. The research you do here and action you take from the insights can make or break your personal success.
- You need to understand what is going on in the search marketplace for your related products, services and skills (if applying for a position).
- You need to really dig in to social media and assess the sentiment, volume, interest, target engagement and trends related to the brand position you are attempting to create.
- Beyond social, you need an understanding of what general media sites may be ripe to cover your future personal brand story.
- Job seekers need to know which sites might carry your next freelance or permanent position.
Determining your style and commitment to developing the related content is a huge piece of creating and investing in a personal brand. The style you create needs to resonate well with your intended target audience and also must be one that you are comfortable with. Both the look and feel of your online personal brand and related content need to support who you are and what you do offline.
Remember that offline conversations are easily transported online and vice-versa. This is why your personal brand style must be genuine, especially if the personal brand you are planning is that of a speaker and someone who will be live in the eyes of the media and/or large constituent groups.
Once you have completed your personal brand assessment and a digital marketing plan, you will have the blueprint to begin appropriate execution.
As an illustration of the execution of a personal brand, here’s my own personal brand story as a woman in professional services and CEO of an online marketing agency, Agent-cy Online Marketing.
- In my story, as a speaker, trainer and consultant, I am my own personal brand: JasmineSandler.com.
- On the other hand, I am the founder and CEO of a full-service digital marketing agency, Agent-cy.com, where I own our online reputation.
Most often, my Agent-cy clients and my JasmineSandler.com social media training participants ask me how I can differentiate these brands and make them both work. It is similar to the question that always gets raised in my LinkedIn corporate training sessions by business professionals looking improve their sales success, or perhaps reinvent themselves, on LinkedIn.
A commonly asked question: “If I do multiple things, what should I have on my LinkedIn profile (Twitter profile, blog, resume, etc.).
My answer is always the same: First have a personal brand assessment done. Only then can you determine what you should focus on. Only then can you create and commit to your profile and your brand.
All too often I have seen entrepreneurs and job-seekers fail in gaining attention around their online personal brands because they have not gone through the assessment nor focused on what works with a real online market position in mind.
My personal brand assessment told me the following, each of which is backed up by my resume and accomplishments:
- I have strong skills and experience in speaking and presenting in the areas of: SEO, Social Media Marketing, Paid Search Marketing, LinkedIn Marketing, B2B Sales and Conversion Optimization.
- People like to listen to me and take my recommendations on marketing seriously.
- My authentic style is to tell it like it is; to have a sense of humor; to help connect people to opportunities; to have passion for my subjects of interest.
- I have the unique ability to relate my experience to my training clients so that they can sell better through effective digital marketing.
- I am experienced in both Fortune 500 marketing and entrepreneurship, which lends well to helping all ends of the client spectrum.
- I have deep knowledge in the I.T. industry, at all levels.
- Since I have been involved in digital marketing since 1994, I have experienced more than most of my peers.
- I have extreme knowledge and passion for sports. (While this may not seem to follow the rest of the bullet points, it’s a deep expertise that should be noted. It could point to something, from opportunities to creating a unique online “voice.”)
Because of these factors, I am in an excellent position to:
- Consult for executives, marketing teams and business owners on how to improve their digital marketing and sales efforts.
- I could also do the same as a speaker for member-associations.
- To take it a step further, I could (and did!) create my own training programs and packages under the Jasmine Sandler brand, and make them available online (at JasmineSandler.com).
- I could also repurpose that information to reach a larger audience via books, e-books and other downloads.
- I could create a publishing brand (and did: JS Publishing).
- I could deliver this information and add in my knowledge of digital marketing and passion for sports as a host of my own radio show (and did: Digital Turnstile with Jasmine Sandler on Talking Alternative Radio).
At this point, you’re probably saying, “Who has the time to do all that?”
Remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day…the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step…and feel free to add the aphorism of your choice. All are true.
In creating my personal brand as JasmineSandler.com with related sub-brands, I needed to focus, focus, focus. Not all day, every day, but an hour here, an hour there, or half a day on weekends.
And so, I spent a good year creating my individual business brand. In the process, I was led to:
- Re-focus Agent-cy.com (my digital marketing agency) to act more as a supportive agency: an agent to other agencies that need digital marketing support, rather than a full-service interactive marketing agency involved constantly in competitive “shoot outs” for business.
- Find a team to support the JasmineSandler.com brand. Everything from coordinating my events to managing my own social media, so that a myriad of things would get done on schedule.
- Find a ghost writer/copywriter. Content is the biggest way to promote your personal brand, whether via your own blog or guest blogging. Google and your social followers are looking for fresh, original content, so you really need to commit here. For the Jasmine Sandler brand, it was essential to find a writer who could turn my notes into ready-to-go articles for my content plan.
- Re-create the JasmineSandler.com site from a simple “brochureware” website to a full-on interactive site, complete with up-to-date information on events, tweets, services, training programs, live videos and more.
I’m about to publish the Jasmine Sandler Action Plan For Online Personal Branding. E-Mail me your contact details and I will send you a link to download after August 10.