Dork Alert: Due to some quirky techie shite, (OK fine, my admin duty #failure) the recent guest post by Jess didn’t display her bio. It’s now corrected, and you can find out even more about her at Jessilicious.com.
Most people think that once you get yourself established as a “household name” you can sit back, relax and wait for clients to come a-knocking at your door, asking for your “oh so exalted” pearls of wisdom.
This perception is fueled by all those famous personalities who take personal branding to new heights, spinning brand stories of legend and fable. Folks like Lady Gaga, Madonna, Ashton Kutcher, and Eminem to name a few.
Um… sorry but…
But wouldn’t it be wonderful if it were true!
However, in my admittedly humble experience, getting to the top is not the end of the branding journey.
Oh contrare mohair.
Doesn’t matter if you’re a company or a personal brand, the branding bus never stops; the branding genies never sleep. (OK, well maybe they sleep, but first thing upon waking, they’re back on tour!)
That’s one of the most exciting things about flying solo—the adventure is never-ending. The market is extremely dynamic and the competition is always nipping so closely on your heels it’s a bitch trying to keep up!
And even if you’ve already made a kick ass name for yourself, you still have to constantly work at making your personal brand relevant and cool for life.
So, the earlier you set up some sort of system to help you manage and develop your brand as you go, the easier it will be to stay on your toes and put a little slink into your shimmy.
As per the BGB usuals… here are some tips.
Why Bother Managing Your Brand?
It’s already out there anyway!
But people who are very active online have incredibly short memories, and you can’t exactly blame them. They have a huge range of options to choose from, lots of content to pick through and process, and usually a limited amount of time when it comes to filtering and pinpointing what they need exactly from the web.
That’s why it’s important for you to brand yourself. (Duh.)
It’s the one sure-fire way to get people to pay attention to what you have to say and/or offer and make them remember you for a long time to come. To make you the filter.
I do believe that first impressions last (sometimes longer than you really want them to!) and people remember things by how they felt or what they thought as they go about their browsing business.
Granted, it can sometimes be a tad difficult to really package yourself into a memorable brand that people remember right off the bat, but it can be done. You just have to use a few Jedi tricks that will help jog the memory and allow customers to recall you with warm and fuzzy fondness.
You can use words or images that are most closely associated with your brand, expertise or line of work. Aim for something that people will not have a hard time with, and that is different from the typical. Maybe even use your own sort of language, like my buddy Mars or my girl Abby or like what I do on BGB… sometimes I just like to make words up!
Never settle for something that’s already clichéd and old-fashioned, you’ll only date yourself which is no good in the online realm. You gotta seem hip and current or you get left behind. As a general rule of thumb, if you can find a lot of clip art on something, you might want to get a little more original. 😉
Entrepreneurs and freelancers alike make the common mistake of thinking that once they launch a biz and build a brand, they don’t have to do anything further to make sure that it generates income.
A brand is like a baby that never grows up, or a rare and sensitive plant. The one thing that links these two together is their continuous demand on you.
You need to give your brand tender loving care all the time. You have to pay attention to the bumps and potholes in the road called your audience and adjust your brand strategy in subtle ways.
You should be constantly trying figure out ways to reach out to your people and make yourself visible and relevant. Doing well today doesn’t necessarily mean that you will also do well tomorrow or the day after that. The world of biz is fickle and your enterprise could be just one of millions vying for attention within your industry.
Outfit Your Brand Story Arsenal
If you’re serious about creating a brand that will stick with people and that will go places, it’s probably a good idea to get a little strategic about it. There are tons of ways to begin your brand management campaign with a bang, such as:
- Get a spankin’ cool domain name, that’s memorable and easily recognized… catchy even. Save the real snazzy stuff for the actual content though. Point people in the direction of your doorstep or website as easily as possible, and remember- complicated is for losers.
- Leverage social media. Pick a handful of platforms you can commit to getting personal on, and use tools like Ping.fm to update social platforms you don’t have time to really keep up with yourself. Yes social is about the social, but it can also about spreading your links around on some juiced up sites and creating “pathways” that lead back to your spectacular content… and many social platforms offer exactly that.
- Use rich media as an additional delivery platform for your content if it suits your style. Videos, photos and SlideShare are great ways for you to deliver content in different ways. Be sure to tweak to maximize each and every platform for the strongest impact.
- Allow other people to interview you. Attaining demi-celebrity status starts when someone requests an interview with you, no matter how brief or simple it may be. As long as you get your name mentioned in different places, grab the opportunity for an interview. It boosts your credibility as well as your search ranking. (I’m beginning to dabble here as well. Tip though, avoid all the “You knows”!)
- Do guest posts for other blogs and websites. Yet another way for you to ante up your reputation and association with fellow leaders in your field. It allows you to reach out to totally new people and audiences and acquaint yourself with brand new perspectives.
It’s Your Brand, It’s Your Style
Remember, your end goal is to get your name out there as quickly and as visibly as possible. You can’t do this if you limit yourself to one single platform like Tumblr or WordPress or Twitter… you have to interlink and leverage all these platforms so they form one big network of relevant and updated information about you.
Think of it like your sparkly, sticky little web of goodness to draw people deeper and deeper into your brand story… so deep they never want to leave.
And the beauty of the Internet is that you don’t have to box yourself into one medium or message because ultimately, you are free to express yourself in as many ways as you can dream up.
But remember the Golden Rule (or at least it should be) of branding… be credible and be genuine. People are more savvy than you realize, and times they are a’changin.
Build and maintain a brand story you can be proud of, and leave behind a legacy of inspiration.