Your personal brand and name in this digital world has become more important than ever. Information about your history and reputation are just a Google search away. What those results say about you could be the deciding factor in securing an interview, having a guest blog accepted, and contributes directly to the over all sentiment or first impression people feel about you regardless if you’ve met in person or not.
First things first; personal branding needs to be important to you. If it’s not important, you won’t ever find the drive to commit. For example, it became important to me after a Google search for “Jacob Curtis” resulted in a website (jacobcurtis.com) dedicated to the worlds cutest baby born in 2004.
Obviously, not the Jacob Curtis I would prefer.
What I did next, not only pushed my own site to the top of the SERP’s, established myself as a growing authority in the social media blogosphere, but also and opened up some very promising opportunities.
After you’ve secured your website, gaining traction and establishing your personal brand is more effective when you implement these 5 C’s.
1. “Create” your Personal Brand
It’s a noisy world out there. You may think you have no chance of gaining traction or building a loyal audience. With so much content being produced by season bloggers daily, it can be quite intimidating to make the decision to commit to blogging. But you do have one tool at your disposal to break through the noise – your own imagination.
Let’s face it, there is nothing more unique that your own work.
Where to start:
The best way to stand out from the crowd and gain recognition for your personal brand is to create your own content. Start by picking a niche you’re interested in and one that you can see yourself blogging about consistently without burning out.
If you can’t figure out where to start, keep this in mind: find someone else doing it right, and do it better!
When I first started my personal blog I wrote about everything from video production, social media, and even which college classes I was taking. Needless to say my site and personal brand was going nowhere.
It was only when I made the decision to focus on a specific niche (social media tutorials) that my site began to not only pick up traffic, but also my RSS and email subscribers increased as they knew exactly what type of content they’d be receiving from my site.
From there, social shares and mentions for my personal brand increased as readers knew it would be a valuable resource for their own connections. When readers recognized this consistency they knew I wouldn’t bombard them with blogs about cats, dogs, or my favorite spagetti sauce recipe. These social signals gained from these shares also helped boost my sites rankings and reinforce my personal brand.
The biggest benefit of creating your own content for your personal brand, is that readers will recognize hard work and appreciate it more than someone who regurgitates a spun article with no added personality or point of view.
2. “Contribute” to increase your Personal Brand
Contributing can refer to anything from submitting guest blogs, commenting on other’s blogs, sharing your own work across social networks, promoting others, and engaging in online conversations, just to name a few. Hopefully you get the point.
Where to start:
Pick two or three role model bloggers, follow and mention them on Twitter, subscribe to their blogs and leave comments. I’d recommend starting with low hanging fruit like other small time bloggers in your niche until you have enough credibility and influence with your own personal brand to go after the big dogs.
Don’t expect results right away, but over time these role model bloggers will begin to recognize and engage with you. When the time is right, ask for a guest post, or ask them to review your site and provide feedback on how to improve it. Remember these authors wouldn’t be blogging if they didn’t appreciate their readers so don’t be shy to make the first move.
Finally contribute by capitalizing on opportunities. For example, I would not have been approached by Dukeo to become a contributing author to his blog had I not wrote a review about his site for a contest he held. Once I got his attention that way, the addition of having my own site he could visit , with my own unique content and voice, helped reinforce my authority and ultimately landing me this gig.
Let’s not forget about the valuable links earned through these opportunities can do wonders for your sites ranking.
3. “Compare” your Personal Brand
When it comes down to it, we all want results. Though it may take you time to find your blogging voice, routine, and audience, if done right, your blog will slowly begin to pick up traffic and your personal brand will grow. And let me tell you traffic is addicting! As soon as you get your first taste, you’re going to want more.
Just make sure to track your progress!
It’s important to create benchmarks and note what blogging strategies you are currently pursuing and which ones you could possibly implement to achieve better results for your personal brand. Wether you are looking for more page views, a decreased bounce rate, or to build your email and RSS subscribers, there’s always something more you can do.
Compare these results from month to month and recognize opportunities to improve your blog.
Where to start:
First things first, set up Google Analytics – it’s one of the most popular on-site web analytics packages for tracking and learning how people interact with your site. The graphs provided through the Google Analytics dashboard will also help you decipher the in depth data and allow you to make appropriate strategic adjustments to your blog and increase the reach of your personal brand.
You can view this data over all time, daily, or monthly segments, which is going to be crucial for gauging your success. Setting up Google and Bing Webmaster tools is also a must to measure the health of your blog and to catch any potential violations or problems on your site before it’s too late.
4. “Control” your Personal Brand
Wouldn’t it be nice to have people talking about and mentioning your personal brand or work online? To be considered an authority in you niche, and have numerous articles referencing your name? Guess what? Successful bloggers do! But sometimes all the press may not be all it’s cracked up to be.
Once you begin to build your personal brand you will be expected to practice what you preach, and if you don’t, you may become the target of negative conversations from competitors or even your previous fans. It’s time to take control of how your name is being represented online.
Where to start:
As your online reputation begins to grow it’s also an excellent idea to track mentions of your name across the web. For this I recommend, using your Google account to set up Google Alerts – not only with the keyword being your name but also include different variations of it — for example, Jacob Curtis, Jake Curtis, Jacob Kyle Curtis, or even your Twitter handle or alias like Dukeo.
You can set these alerts to automatically send an email to your Gmail account on a “as it happens”, “daily”, “weekly” or “monthly” basis. Keep in mind, unless you’ve made it to a celebrity status, daily alerts may not be necessary. Also if you have a generic name such as Sam Adams or Sara Smith, be prepared to spend time filtering through these results and the occasional mug shots.
The whole point of implementing these tools is to help you capitalize on opportunities for your personal brand and represent yourself in conversations going on about you. If you’re mentioned in another person’s blog post for example, you can trace the mention back to it’s source and comment saying thank you. These can lead to wonderful opportunities that may have been missed otherwise.
The worst-case scenario is that you’ll be alerted of a negative conversation going on about your personal brand online. In that case, these Google alerts will give you a chance to track down the conversation, see what is being written, and defend yourself appropriately, instead of others talking for you.
Again, this is only likely to happen if you are in the limelight or have done something extremely negative to deserve the negative press. On an extremely rare occasion you may even be alerted of another person pretending to be you online, however, if you’re not famous, you shouldn’t have to worry about this. Whenever it comes to your reputation it’s always better safe than sorry.
5. “Commit” to your Personal Brand
This last step of blogging to secure your personal brand can be the most difficult of the three but is undoubtedly the most important. Do yourself a favor, and decide now wether blogging is something you’d enjoy doing and have the time for. The last thing you want for your personal brand is to build it up only to let it decay away and leave your readers hanging.
Where to start:
Set up a blogging frequency first. Something that is reasonable given your other responsibilities. Keep in mind, the more you blog the greater your visibility will be however make sure the content you are publishing is quality. At first it may be difficult to find the balance, but there is great advice out there and you don’t have to become a full time blogger right away.
You also need to commit to the relationships you establish through your blog and personal brand, not only your readers, but other bloggers who have helped or will help you reach your goals. It’s not going to be easy, but if it was everyone would be doing it!
By following the 5 C’s of create,contribute, compare, control and commit, you will find more success in your blogging and personal branding efforts than you ever thought possible. Not only will you fall in love with blogging, but being able to reference your thriving website in a job interview shows a potential employer you can recreate those results with their brand and make you a stronger candidate.
The added benefit of bolstering your personal brand to push other “same name” competitors down the SERP will also remove any chance of mistaken identity.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!