Have you changed your approach so many times, even you have trouble explaining where you are coming from, much less where you are going?
If you aren’t authentic, lack integrity and or are uncomfortable with the concept of transparency, then your life will be short lived in this always on-right now-instant gratification world. Giving into the “throw it against the wall” and see what stick approach is not going to help you build a long term asset.
And while personal branding is definitely the buzz jargon du jour, it doesn’t take away from the fact it has always been critical to your success and will continue to be, long after the buzz has fizzled and we move on to the next latest and greatest overly hyped must do.
But if you think you can build a “personal brand” with cute business cards, colors or logos, then you are missing a huge opportunity to bring forth what people really care about…YOU.
Unfortunately the exact opposite is happening, and too many people think personal branding is built by doing, instead of being.
Remember, even if you are a consultant, YOU are much more than just a product or service. You’re a person with ideas and your social capital comes from what you bring to the table, not from what your table looks like.
You can be cute with your business cards, your tag lines, and creative designs – but creating consistently compelling content keeping them coming back for more comes when you stay true to who you are, and maintain focus on what you are trying to achieve.
I’d challenge to you believe, a great personal brand is truly crafted on the premise what you stand for is much more important than what you do or even how you do it.
If you want your brand (YOU) to translate as an authentic and trustworthy one, I’d encourage you to get real, right now, by answering these 6 basic questions.
#1 Does Your Brand Have Integrity?
Integrity comes from simply saying what you do and doing it.
You don’t change your voice because someone else has broken the sound barrier of noise and made it work for them.
Always be honest with your work and your intentions. If this means you would like to monetize your blog, then let them know that upfront. Don’t sneak in fake recommendations to make a quick buck or cloak affiliate links, hoping “they don’t find out”.
Always explain why you are promoting something and what’s in it for them.
# 2 Does Your Brand You Show People You Care?
If you don’t care about them, why should they care about you?
If you link to other people’s content, do you take time to add value to their community?
Do you give proper shout outs along the way to people who are influencing your opinion?
Do you give back to your readers and their opinions?
Simply taking the time to visit other people’s blogs and add value at “their house”, while commenting on other people’s opinion at Twitter, Facebook, etc is a great way to be helpful and build a community around YOU.
Help them and they will help you.
#3 Is Your Content Relevant To Your Brand’s Promise?
Do you have an editorial calendar to support the point of your blog ensuring you always stay on topic?
I agree niche marketing can be more profitable and easier to “corner”, I also know many of us care about broader topics which is why you want to be careful you don’t box yourself in or limit your voice.
It’s fine to deviate from your core topic or purpose occasionally, but only if you have anchored in the value you bring to the table. Don’t confuse your readers too early by throwing out a post about the latest and greatest social media analytics tool, if you’ve never even broached the topic of metrics.
It’s good to dip your toe in new waters, but if you don’t understand why they “follow” or “like” you, you could be missing easier opportunities by looking for greener pastures, instead of fertilizing your own lawn.
If you find yourself becoming a write by the seat of your pants blogger, randomly posting based on your moods, you risk lowering your relevancy factor, which is key to maintaining a tight knit and engaged community.
If you don’t know who you are, they won’t either.
#4 Is Your Brand Rock Solidly Consistent?
It’s important to know what you want to be when you grow up, but it’s just as critical to do everything in your power to “take the hill” you’ve chosen in the meantime.
The long term results from delivering content on a weekly basis your readers can count on, goes along way to building trust. Staying on topic can actually build anticipation for what you might say next, as long as you’re consistently delivering compelling content along the way.
Keep in mind, being steadfast in your strategic goal planning for your content, doesn’t mean you don’t have contingency plans for issues as they pop up. By staying in front of trends online you are able to position yourself as an authority on your topic, which can be awesome when done right.
Maintaining fluidity as it relates to which way the social media stream is flowing should be a integrated part of your communications plan. The trick is to maintain a level of consistency with your voice to ensure they understand why you care and why they should care.
#5 Do You Wow Them?
Being outrageous doesn’t mean you shock the hell out of them with your crazy thoughts and opinions at whim. It simply means you make them think.
You can have a solid, analytical approach, never crack a joke and still be “outrageous” with your big thoughts and even dry opinions.
Standing your ground, drawing a line in the sand and clearly setting the standard with how you see the world can be compelling to the right audience of like-minded individuals. Sure, funny is money, but if you aren’t funny – then you have to find a different way to build a crowd.
Most of the time, adding value comes from understanding what you are talking about and clearly communicating it in a way that allows them to walk away with little nuggets from your mind.
The “razzle dazzle” approach doesn’t work if they end up frazzled as a result.
Personal branding isn’t just about the things you do to build an image, it’s also about value setting and living up to the expectations you set in your community or sphere.
Being true to YOU means you will always be true to them.
Do you know what you stand for?
Have you been let down before by someone you invested time in, only to be thrown off kilter when they take a turn without signaling first?
I’d love to hear what’s working for you both in terms of a creator, but also as a reader.
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