Lesson 1: The Brand Called YOU
by Bob Baker
Let’s get right to the heart of the matter. If you signed up for this workshop because you want to know more about corporate strategy, market penetration, paradigm shifts, business models, strategic partnerships, or any other business buzz word flavor of the week, you may be in for a big letdown.
Here’s a revelation: This workshop isn’t about learning how to use the Internet to promote your product, your service, or even your small business. Nope. It’s all about promoting you. That’s right, you!
You may have excellent products or services to offer, and the steps outlined in this workshop can help you sell more of them online; but the approach I recommend involves you taking center stage, not the product, service, or business itself.
Before you get the wrong idea, personal branding has nothing to do with bragging or being self-centered. The focus should always be on the customer or person whose attention you’re trying to grab; but the way you present yourself is deeply rooted in who you are as a person.
Why Brand Yourself in the First Place?
You may be asking, “Why do I need to brand myself online? How does it benefit me?” The answer is that branding allows you to take control of your online identity and influence the impression that people have of you in their minds, which helps you accomplish any number of the following things:
- Establish yourself as an expert in your field
- Connect with like-minded people on a large scale
- Focus your energies on feeding your life’s purpose
- Build a solid reputation within your industry
- Become self-employed doing something you enjoy (or gain credibility and be in a better position to land the job you really want)
- Increase your notoriety and improve your perceived value in the marketplace
- Develop your circle of influence within a particular business niche
- Earn praise and recognition from a growing number of people who embrace your message
- Become a celebrity in your chosen field
As you can see, the reasons people brand themselves are many and varied. If you’re an artist, branding will help you connect your name with your technique and attract more fans (and more paying customers). If you’re a Web designer, branding allows you to mix your attitude and distinct perspective with your technical skills so more people hire you. If you’re a writer, branding paves the way to reaching a loyal readership without having to kiss the … er, feet of a major publisher.
Not everyone has the same end-goals in mind; but there’s one aspect that is consistent for everyone who successfully brands himself or herself online: interweaving an individual’s name and personality directly with the product, service, or idea being promoted.
More Branding Benefits
Using the online branding tactics in this course, you’ll be in control of determining who you are and how you want to be portrayed to your potential customers and fans. You’ll decide what specific messages are sent out into the world and through what avenues those messages will travel.
The key to establishing a personal brand identity in the cyber world is focusing on who you are and what you stand for and then getting the word out through a variety of Internet channels that are frequented by the people most likely to be interested in your message.
As people start seeing your name and the benefit you offer, an impression begins to form. At first, ten people will be attracted to you and what you do … then 50, and then 100. Before you know it, thousands of people will not only know who you are, but will come to view you as the resource of choice on your particular subject.
As your circle of online influence grows, a multiplying effect takes place and your notoriety suddenly starts growing in bursts. A critical mass occurs, and before long, you find yourself in the enviable position of being an online celebrity of sorts — or at least a well-known expert among people who are immersed in the topic, craft, industry, or idea you represent.
In the next lesson, we’ll cover the five biggest mistakes people make when promoting themselves online, and four simple ways to build trust and credibility for your online personal brand.
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.