By Monique Bryan
Landing those dream clients, referral partners, speaking opportunities, publishing deals and media coverage doesn’t happen by happenstance. Some of us fail to understand that the success we see of some of our online business idols was the result of years of consistent effort, backed by strategic marketing and personal brand management.
As PR expert Nicole Dunn says, “In establishing yourself as a brand that people trust, you’ll be able to price your goods and services at a premium, attract more media attention, be viewed as an authority in your industry and create a long-lasting platform.”
Today, it is not enough to be an expert at what you do. It’s your job as the leader and visionary of your business to learn how to be heard and seen amongst the noisy oversaturated online arena so it’s easy for people to choose you.
Here are 5 key ways to start positioning yourself for the opportunities you want:
Secret #1: Own Your Lane And Stay In It
As the saying goes, “A confused customer never buys.” Being multifaceted and multi-passionate are great attributes to have, but we can’t expect to be top of mind for our audience in all areas at the exact same time. People don’t have the bandwidth to figure out what we do. It’s your job to tell them and then become known as the go-to in that space. The mistake some entrepreneurs make is that they diversify too soon, failing to establish credibility and trust.
Here’s a goal: Pick a lane you want to own, then be prepared to own that lane for at least five years before you start diversifying into other areas. Be good, and keep getting better.
Secret #2: Clean Up Your Digital Houzz
Think about the last time you hired someone for something really important, what drove your decision? Nine times out of ten it was a referral, their reputation or how they looked online. According to personal branding expert, Giuliana Tranquilini Hadade, there are over 1 billion names Googled every day, yet only one in four have any positive information on Google. It is your responsibility to ensure your online presence aligns with how you want to be perceived.
Here are some easy ways to get started:
- Remove out-of-date and unprofessional photos, websites, and content from the internet. If you don’t own the content, reach out to those who do and make the request to have it removed or have yourself untagged.
- Replace unprofessional and out-of-date profile headshots. (See Secret #3 for how to do this.)
- Update your social media bios so they are clear and concise. They should tell people what you do, whom you help, and how to contact you with ease.
- Create a personal website where you control the message going out about you. This is online real estate that you own unlike your social media profiles, which could be shut down at any time without warning.
- Create new content and post it online on a regular basis. This will push irrelevant and old content you may want to erase to the later pages of Google.
And remember, every piece of content you put online is either adding to your brand — or taking away from it.
Secret #3: Have A Good Headshot
We all judge a book by it’s cover, no matter how brilliant the author; however, you don’t have to be the most attractive or photogenic person to seal the deal. You do need to look trustworthy and credible. Often people are deciding if your words can be trusted based on how credible you “look.”
They have a split second to choose you over someone else, and usually, all they have to base their decision on is a small one-inch profile photo they found on your social media, so it’s your job to put your best-polished foot forward. Hop over to your profile and ask yourself, “If I were seeing me for the first time, would I hire me, based on what I see?”
Secret #4: Show Up On Video And Share Free Content
According to industry experts, “…no amount of sophisticated technology can ever take the place of real, live, in-person events. That’s when you can look into a person’s eyes, read his or her body language, and sense their energy. But, the very next best thing is video, and especially live video.”
This is especially important if you sell one-to-one services, or you have aspirations for interviews by the media. If you are stepping out on your dream and you want people to decide to choose you over someone who does exactly what you do, you have to let people see the face behind the message. And the best way to do that is to create long and short-form video content and distribute it across your social media channels.
Here are a few tips on how to get started:
- Only speak on the topics you want to be known for (remember Secret #1: Own Your Lane.)
- Plan what you want to say in advance. Fumbling around is not good for you or the listener
- Focus on delivering value first. Always think about, what does my audience want to hear?
- Have a take-a-way for the listener, such as key action steps, a resource, or a call-to-action.
- If you are nervous about showing up on video, ask a friend to interview you on camera versus going at it alone.
- Wear something that makes you feel confident and like the expert that you are.
- Be yourself and speak like you are talking to a friend.
Secret #5: Build Your Network Of Thought Partners
“It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you” will become your mantra as you build your personal brand and your influence. Therefore it is essential that you grow and nurture a strategic network of people who can help get your name out there. And as LinkedIn has shown us, we are usually just 1-3 connections away from everyone we want.
Here’s how to get started:
- Make a list of the “types” of people you think could propel your credibility, opportunities, or proximity to the things you want if you had them in your network.
- Look at your LinkedIn connections or contacts list on your phone and see whom you are already connected to and add them to your list.
- From these lists identify which of these people you think would be comfortable putting your name forward or introducing you to your dream contacts.
- Reach out through a thought-out direct message, video message, or email and reconnect.
- Acknowledge them for their great work and offer them your help, expertise, or a connection you think they could use. Always give before you ask.
- If they are active on social media, go one step further and make them look good by highlighting their accomplishments and sharing their content.
These are just a few of the essential components to brand yourself and start building a reputable personal brand.Your ability to build an authentic online reputation and social media presence that people, companies, organizations and even your future book publisher can get behind is critical. When you learn that your personal brand is essential to your ability to build your thought leadership, your platform, your audience, your bank account, and your dreams, you will plan, market and show up in a whole new way.