Lesson 2: If the Internet Gives Individuals So Much Power, Why Isn’t Everyone Using It?

Lesson 2: If the Internet Gives Individuals So Much Power, Why Isn’t Everyone Using It?

by Bob Baker

If the Internet Gives Individuals So Much Power, Why Isn’t Everyone Using It?

The answer to this question is simple: Given all the opportunities the online world offers, most people just don’t use the Internet in the most effective ways. Worse yet, many ambitious folks who try to establish a presence online actually do themselves more harm than good. Here are just some of the ways people defeat themselves online:

  • They use offline strategies that don’t work on the Internet.
  • They spend too much money getting set up online (or move too slowly because they believe having an Internet presence is an expensive process).
  • They unknowingly engage in marketing activities that not only fail, they make people angry.
  • They send out mixed messages about who they are and what they offer — and end up confusing people.
  • They don’t follow up consistently enough and give up before their efforts have had time to take hold.

Since so many people don’t know how to use the Internet effectively, you’re left with a world of opportunity to hone your image and your message and create a personal brand that will cut through the clutter and raise you to a higher level of recognition and success.

The Internet Identity Crisis

The online world is an exciting frontier. The Internet presents so many opportunities and countless ways to accomplish personal goals with far more ease than at any time in human history. However, it’s also a mysterious and confusing terrain for many people. More and more news headlines are filled with stories about security breaches, hackers, credit card fraud, and copyright infringement.

It’s not surprising that millions of people are leery and cynical about fully embracing the Web. As someone who is now dedicated to branding yourself online, it’s important to be aware of this stigma and know how you fit into the picture.

Why Branding Yourself Is the Best Solution

Using personal online branding techniques is the best way to overcome the paranoia so prevalent among people who venture onto the Internet. Building a laser-focused identity and solid reputation quickly evaporates the natural skepticism your potential fans and customers have when they first hear of you. Here are a few more branding concepts you should keep in mind as you establish your identity online:

Touch People

Unscrupulous Internet marketers are out to make a sale by any means necessary. On the other hand, people who effectively brand themselves online are interested in making personal connections with a particular group of people. Make it your job to do some or all of the following on a regular basis:

  • Inspire people
  • Reveal memorable personal experiences
  • Express your gratitude
  • Take a stand on a current issue
  • Stir things up
  • Vent your anger toward a common obstacle you share with your audience
  • Recount your success stories
  • Make people feel good about themselves

Teach People

I can’t think of a field whose practitioners wouldn’t benefit from educating their target audience. Copywriter Bob Bly ( http://www.bly.com/ ) has not only written several books on the craft of writing marketing and PR copy, he also offers free articles on how to hire a copywriter and, once hired, how to best work with one. The benefit of offering this free information, of course, is to position Bob Bly as the best person to hire when a copywriter is needed. Teach your customers something that helps establish you as the most knowledgeable person in your field.

Exploit Third-Party Endorsements

You telling people how great you are is one thing. Having an objective party (whether it’s a customer, media outlet, or respected expert) say you’re cool, now that’s something to brag about. When you win an award, get a raving review, receive a comment from a happy customer, or get a recommendation from an authority in your field, it validates your contribution to your area of expertise and builds your personal brand and reputation as a person in your field to be reckoned with.

Maintain Your Visibility

By the time you finish this e-mail workshop, you’ll have a small arsenal of tools to help you keep your name and brand identity in front of your target audience. It’s vitally important that you make consistent visibility your goal. Whether it’s contributing an article to a Web site, being interviewed on the radio, arranging a cross-promotion with a company or other expert, or being quoted in a magazine feature, the more your name and message is embedded into the public consciousness, the more you will be respected, admired, and trusted.

Next up: In Lesson 3 we’ll discuss the importance of developing a fan-club mentality when promoting your unique online identity.


This workshop is based on Bob’s book “Poor Richard’s Branding Yourself Online: How to Use the Internet to Become a Celebrity or Expert in Your Field” (Top Floor Publishing). Download two chapters free and find out more about the book at BrandingYourselfOnline.com