In 2010 I left a successful career and started to venture out on my own. Within the industry, many people knew me and knew what I could bring to their business. However, the public knew very little about me. So my main goal in the first 6 months was to develop my own personal brand.
I’m going to take you through the steps I took to do exactly that. But first, I’d like to point out some of the benefits of doing this as your own PR exercise;
- You’ll build authority in your area of speciality.
- You’ll build connections with your target audience, before they even contact you.
- You’ll be able to demand a higher sales price.
- You’ll build an evergreen asset, and jump ahead of your competition quickly.
Ok so first of all, it’s important that you have your own website. Being online is critical in building your own personal brand and having your business or personal website (or both which can be even better) makes it much easier for people to find you. Plus, you’ll want to link all of your other posts/pages to your website, building authority.
Get you profiles on free Social Media and Web 2.0 pages.
This probably should be first, as it’s so easy to do. Social Media channels can really help lift your profile and also provide valuable links back to your website, allowing you to be found more often.
Linkedin is probably the first place you should go. Linkedin is often ignored by so many people, especially entrepreneurs who aren’t really looking for a job (after all, that’s really the core nature of Linkedin – a place for poaching).
However, there are many other areas you should create a presence.
Facebook is a must simply because of the number of people there connecting to each other. Do this by creating your own personal page or business page – depending on what is best suited for your purpose.
Twitter is also a growing social network and should be tapped into. You’ll quickly find out if your audience connects here and if so, it can become a valuable resource for you.
Google Plus is primarily the tech world still – which is unfortunate as it’s such an awesome social media platform. This should help though with promotion of your content through the Google search engine.
YouTube is the second (and some months the first) most searched website on the internet. It’s a great platform for sharing your videos and attracting an audience.
Those 4 should be your main targets first and foremost, but you don’t want to stop there.
Pinterest is growing rapidly and might actually be a great avenue for your business growth (it’s not yet for mine, but might be in the future).
Rebelmouse aggregates what you do and publishes it in one convenient place. A great way for syndication of your content and adds some virtual authority to your other pages.
Aboutme allows you to create a simple page about you… Again, use it to link to your business sites and personal website.
Scribd is another good way to repurpose some of your blogs and marketing content, and publish it on their cool platform.
There are so many others that I’m on but have just forgotten about – but they are there, day in day out selling my services or displaying my expertise. Whenever you come across a new site, get on it.
Depending on your business or personal services, you should also tap into relevant niche sites.
As an example, if you’re a designer then you should get your portfolio up and live on behance. If you’re in building (like I am with one of my businesses), then get onto Houzz. Take some time to find what is popular in the niche you service and get on there! It doesn’t matter if it’s a dot com site if you’re in Australia or the UK – you should just get your personal brand and business everywhere you’re relevant.
Many communities are formed around forums. This is a great way for you to interact with others that have similar interests, and can also lead to future work. Most forums allow you to add a link in your signature back to your website, so take advantage of that.
There are lots of people who have done business with me that came from reading one of my forum posts.
In some ways this can be a necessary evil. I’m not always a fan of this, so make up your own mind. I recently joined the Australian Web Industry Association which I think provides great value to its members. The good thing about this is they give me a tag to place on my website reinforcing some proof elements that we’re a professional company.
However, another association which I won’t mention, charges a fortune and provides very little in return – so I refuse to join.
Make up your own mind as to which might be seen as beneficial from the perspective of your future prospects.
Get a blog on your website and get writing.
I can’t stress how beneficial this is for so many reasons. But primarily, you build your own voice and you get better at expressing yourself over time. Blogging doesn’t have to be a massive job – it just needs to be something you will invest in to cover numerous subjects where you can display your expertise and help your prospects solve their problems.
I have a blog on all of my business websites as well as my own personal blog.
Your website is your primary asset.
Don’t make the mistake of creating a Hubpage, a Squidoo lens, a facebook page and throw all of your expertise on those pages. Sure, share some great content if you like, but build the asset you own first and foremost – being your own websites.
There’s nothing worse than hearing about someone’s time invested being erased at a whim. (Yes, it does happen – sometimes incorrectly!).
So does all of this work?
I’ve had customers call me, tell me they’ve seen me on multiple sites online and they think they want my services. They ask how much, I’ve told them $5,500 to get started and they’ve asked me to send them an invoice which they paid the same day. They were pre-sold on my services without me personally having to sell at all.
Other clients have stated ‘You’re so passionate about this aren’t you’ (at a time when if i’m being honest, I wasn’t all that passionate) and I’ve asked ‘What makes you say that?’ to which they’ve replied “because I see you everywhere writing about this that and the other’!
If you continue to blog, create videos when you can, add your helpful advice on forums and display your products and services where ever you can, you’ll build your own personal brand and authority that is going to be very difficult for someone else to come up and overtake.
Being considered an expert also implies trust and people are also willing to pay extra if they are being serviced by an expert.
In my experience, people want to know more about you before dealing with you. Don’t make it difficult for someone to find out who you are and what you do and what you know. Share it with them – online.