How to Brand Yourself With a Creative Portfolio in the Most Badass Way Possible: Six Moves Worth Stealing

Personal branding is how you represent yourself and your work to the world. Whether you’re a freelance writer or a creative professional, your personal branding serves as that first impression to potential clients. Think of it as your best opportunity to wow people and to encourage them to learn more about you.

Ho hum is no way to go through life. Ordering vanilla, blending in, playing it safe. That may be a good recipe for success if you’re a banker or meter maid, but if you’re going out for a creative job in marketing or any creative discipline, your job is to STAND OUT. And not just by using all caps. By making an impression. By making people feel something — laughter, exhilaration, motivated to do something. If your goal is to land work, you gotta know when to shake it up and how to create something memorable.

Call it your brand. How you represent yourself to the world. These are digital times fueled by chaotic distraction, so it takes extra effort to make an impact. If you’re looking for a creative gig, your online portfolio is the obvious place. There are a lot of things to accomplish with a portfolio: strong samples, recent clips, high-profile brands, a holistic snapshot into who you are, what you do. But there are so many portfolios out there. I recently asked talent recruiter, Serena Wolf, about the most important thing a portfolio should accomplish in the first 10 seconds, and she said a “unique presence” and “a brand for yourself.” Essentially, a first impression that screams “do not ignore” to the people who can keep you gainfully employed. It’s your job to reward curious eyeballs by doing something that leaves an impression. You call yourself “a creative” so… be

I’ve worn many creative hats in my career as a copywriter, creative director, and managing editor. I’ve spent thousands of hours pondering how to think different when it comes to selling big brands. And if you’re looking for a job and putting together a portfolio, that’s how you need to start thinking of yourself: as a brand.

But where to start? Branding badasses are needles in haystacks. Unicorns. The exception, not the rule. Along those lines, here are some on-point branding moves that made an impact on me — and that you might consider — as you produce a portfolio that defines your brand for the world.

Time to get inspired…

Showing off your best moves on your creative portfolio

Badass move #1:Showing, not telling

Let’s face it: We don’t have a lot of time to read in 2018. I may be here in physical form, but I’m actually listening to a podcast, peering at a push notification and responding to a client email in my head. Other than that, I’m all yours! In this regard, I appreciate Tony D’Orio’s website for what it is: a visually captivating representation of a photographer’s work splayed out for the world to see in engaging, eye-catching ways.

It’s got a range of styles (modern to vintage), national brands, humor and overall, just breeds a sense that this photographer knows what’s up. Another nice twist in the realm of branding and self-promotion? The “Create a PDF” function that lets you download photos from his website, which arrive in your download folder as a branded business card essentially.

Clever, cool, clicky.

(Sorry, photographer pun.)

Badass move #2:  Calling yourself by four names

If you write ads, you’re a copywriter. Take photos? Photographer. But if you’re a dandypunk, there might be four ways to describe yourself: Multimedia performance artist, digital light poet, director of art and movement, an imagineer in exile. All descriptive monikers for the former Cirque du Soleil performer, who’s wonderfully weird website sets a storybook tone for his body of work.

What you call yourself title-wise matters and is likely one of the first things someone reviewing your portfolio will want to know. In this regard, a dandypunk is offering up a glimpse into his various talents as part of the website’s whimsical journey. From the illustrated top navigation that takes you to the work to the abstract creativity swirling around the artist’s “Ego” section, a dandypunk is creating an online presence that’s inline with the poeticism of what he does, which by the way, is seriously cool.

Something to consider when you match words to pictures.

Badass move #3:  Thinking of your portfolio itself as a work sample

One of the cooler online portfolios I’ve come across actually comes from across the pond from French-born graphic designer, Julie Bonnemoy. Based on how she set up her site alone, I’d want to work with her. I love how the narrative plays out from the floating welcome screen image to the other sections as you scroll down the page. Especially dig how the client credits lay out, big to small, as you move down the page.

Bonnemoy’s site inspires in its poetic reveal and gives a hint at the artist’s sensibility — worth noting whether you’re designing an original site or a portfolio on ClearVoice. Whichever it is, think creatively about how you tell your story. If you can give the viewer a strong sense of who you are before they get to the work samples, that’s called a branding win.

Badass move #4:  Writing insightful descriptions that tell a story

When it comes to upping your portfolio game, it’s one thing to show samples, but it’s another to put them in the proper context of when and how they were created, in case-study fashion. It’s something I’m a big believer in, to help the viewer understand the when, where and with who a portfolio piece was created.

This is where copywriter Gari Cruze shines. I love how many of the pieces on his site are shown alongside thoughtful descriptions that break down the inspiration for his work, the client challenge, the solution and how the creative was executed. He also gives success metrics for the campaign (where applicable). Never a bad idea.

Flaunt ’em if you got ’em.

Badass move #5:  Having fun with Easter eggs (if the site lets you)

When you’re a graphic designer, there’s an extra onus on you to do things that catch the eye. Take Max Kaplan’s website/portfolio for example. Not only does the oversized type suck you in and deliver his elevator pitch straight to your eyeballs, but there are a couple of interactive Easter eggs on his site that speak to his creativity sensibility… and ultimately, his brand.

For instance, the cursor changes into a black light of sorts revealing things such as his head shot when you scroll over the upper left corner of the page. Also, when you scroll over areas of the page that link off, the blacklight turns red, revealing areas where you can click to view samples. A nice personal touch that speaks volumes into how Max thinks, and the artist/DJ/podcaster behind this site.

Badass move #6:  Using social in creative ways

I’m a fan of freelance copywriter Rich Siegel. Never met the guy, barely know him other than being connected to him on LinkedIn. But what I do know is that he’s 44 years old and likes to be “exorbitantly paid” — because that’s what his LinkedIn bio tells me. He stood out to me one day on LinkedIn as someone who’s unafraid of promoting his own brand in disruptive fashion by cleverly putting “ads” for his freelance business into the news feed that go, well, against the grain. Here’s a recent one:

Clever and bound to stand out in between the multitude of shared articles about VR and Gary V. posts.

Siegel also has a blog he frequently promotes that reinforces his outspoken nature, and his brand. According to a recent entry, he wrote, “For one thing, and I know this is hard to believe, this blog has produced more assignments and job referrals than 6 years on Working Not Working and 10 years on Linkedin. Turns out that brutal honesty and a throw-caution-to-the-wind attitude makes for a winning recipe.”

Siegel has a portfolio as well, but it’s his social chutzpah and desire to be authentic to who he is that do most of his heavy lifting. The message? Be who you are, connect sharply with an audience and potential clients will see how you can connect with theirs.

Feeling inspired? Head to CV Portfolio and put your work samples on display for the world to see now. Go ahead, we’ll wait.

The post How to Brand Yourself With a Creative Portfolio in the Most Badass Way Possible: Six Moves Worth Stealing appeared first on ClearVoice.

Friday’s Rocket Fuel: 5 LinkedIn Endorsements Personal Branding Tips

You can use LinkedIn Endorsements & Skills to refine and communicate your personal brand. You do this by managing which endorsed skills appear on your profile and which are in your top 10.

First you need to understand why the endorsed skills are important.  First, they are an easy way for visitors to you profile to know your strengths, as seen by others. Second, they are a way for people to find you when conducting a key word search. Third, they are a way for you to see what you have in common with people asking to connect with you.  

In order to manage these skills you will likely need to delete skills or hide endorsements, including some with a large number of endorsements.  Don’t worry about this, people will endorse you for these skills again in the future.  

  1. Delete Skills You Don’t Want To Be Known For: Go through the list of skills on your profile and ask yourself if you really want to be known for this skill. Perhaps it’s a skill you’ve developed in the past but you are moving away from that skill in the direction your career is going. Perhaps as you change careers or as you advance, you may find it’s time to reposition your personal brand and your skills inventory.    
  2. Delete Similar Skills: Often people will endorse you for skills that are essentially the same – analysis and analytics for example. Your profile will not get the same lift when people view your profile and they see a list of the same words. It tells the viewer very little about you. Keep them if you have room in your list of 50 skills.  However if they appear in your top 10 endorsed skills, pick one and delete the other – let it reappear lower in the list as people endorse you for that skill again.     
  3. Manage Top Ten Skills By Deleting What You Want Lower: Your Top 10 Endorsed Skills received the most attention. They are called out in a list and have the profile pictures of those who endorsed you for that skill immediately to the right. These are the top skills you want everyone to notice when they look at your profile. Make sure they are the skills that are listed. If you delete one of these skills, number 11 will move up to the number 10 slot.  
  4. Ask Connections to Endorse A Specific Skill: Another approach to getting one of your skills listed in the top 10 is to ask your connections to endorse you for that skill. If you do this, only ask people who you have a relationship with and who have reason to endorse you. LinkedIn members generally dislike being asked to endorse someone they don’t know. If you do this also send personalized messages to each person you ask. Do not send out a mass request. This is also seen as poor etiquette. 
  5. Hide Endorsements: When editing your Skills & Endorsements one of the options available is to hide the endorsements. You can select individual people’s endorsements to hide or to hide all of them. With this feature you can also change the order of your endorsed skills. When you hide the endorsements from others, your skill is still listed, but moves to the bottom of the list. 

 The good news is you can do this in just a few minutes. If you feel uncomfortable deleting a skill, leave it there for now and come back and revisit it. Remember, if it’s not a skill you want people to associate with you, it is not really helping you even if others are endorsing you.  

The post Friday’s Rocket Fuel: 5 LinkedIn Endorsements Personal Branding Tips appeared first on Success Rockets.

Tips for Personal Branding in the Career Search Success

What is it that every giant enterprise like Google, Microsoft, Apple and Samsung has mastered and what is it that makes every customer buy their products? What is it that every job seeker wants to work for them? It’s the “Branding” that these companies have done for their companies and for their products.

Branding these days is not anymore limited to products or companies. Branding has become a promise to deliver better product than any other in the market and the same is applied to the fresher’s in the market. These days everyone has to build their own brand to stand out in caboodle of talented people to get a job in top companies. It is the tangible and intangible properties that make the brand unique. It is the image that we portray to others and at the same time it is that promise we make dependent upon our potential and talent.

Personal branding can be defined as the manner in which you represent yourself to others. It is very important of career advancement these days because it helps in creating a better picture about your talent and potential in the pool of job seekers. Branding helps you to showcase what makes you different from others and helps you in making a name.

Basic Fundamentals in Personal Branding for Job Seekers:

In this article we are going to discuss fundamental ways to strengthen and build your personal brand. There five easy and simple fundamentals in building and strengthening your personal brand. One by one we are going to discuss them all.

1. First complete your education and training:

To secure a job in any of the top companies a threshold amount of education is required, so first complete your basic education requirements for the job. To excel in any job you will require additional training and certifications. It may help you in making your personal brand stronger. Sometimes getting a certificate and additional training may kick you hard in time and money but try to complete them, it is very important for your personal banding. If you are unsure of getting promotion or any other top jobs with your current educational qualification then you must go for further studies or certifications.

2. Try to gain experience:

After completing your education, gaining experience plays an important role in making your personal brand strong and efficient for any top job in your field. But before you start to seek out for your dream job, take time and plan the strategy to gain all the experiences required for your dream job. Besides doing your current job ask for new challenges and targets. Complete all the challenges and targets in the specified time, they will help you a lot in making your personal brand stronger and stronger.

3. Promote the real you:

You may have a strong personal brand, but if nobody knows about it then it’s of no use. Try to showcase and promote your self in your office or in any area of work and make them work in your favor and for your personal brand. Start promoting yourself now because no one has reasons to promote you and your personal brand. Throw out your shyness, be bold and charming showcase world what you have and excel in your career. One of the oldest ways to promote yourself is your resume; you certainly need to start including your entire success story in your resume and all about your education qualification and certifications. Make your resume eye catching and attractive.

4. Try to become expert in your field:

Establishing yourself, as an expert in your field is a great boost to your personal brand. Seek out for seminars, publish articles, write journals about your experiences and get published. Believe me its going to leverage a great boost to your personal brand.

5. Do networking:

Nothing in branding is greater than networking. Try to make as much relationships with top officials of the top companies and try to sell your brand to them; it is going to help you a lot in your career.

With the help of these fundamental principles of personal branding you are going to excel a lot in your career. Try to follow them and make your personal brand strongest than ever.

About Author: This is a Guest Post written by Dr. Pramod Kumar who is the Group President at ISBM: This is one place where you are going to get optimum amounts of opportunities to convert yourself into a brand. The college has been doing it for some time now. Students from this college are known for their amazing branding and networking skills.

Entrepreneurs guide to personal branding

Entrepreneurs guide to personal branding

Tom Peters, a marketing guru wrote in Fast Company, “We are CEOs of our own companies: Me, Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.” In this article we will share the entrepreneurs guide to personal branding.

Personal branding is all about creating a certain image about yourself, just like with companies. That is, when other people see you or hear your name, they automatically think about who you are, what you do, and what you are capable of. For example, your personal brand at the office may be the ability to solve the most difficult problems that no one else can crack. Alternatively, you may have the ability to get along extremely well with people or to broker the best deals in the company. As an entrepreneur of course you need personal branding. There are so many benefits of you being an entrepreneur with a strong brand. Some of the benefits of personal branding for entrepreneurs include:-

  1. You become more recognized within the industry as compared to other people who have no personal brand.
  2. Thanks to your brand image, it becomes easier to get business partners, financiers and clients as they already know you.
  3. A strong personal brand will boost your reputation and allow you to negotiate for better business.
  4. A good brand image will allow you to net more opportunities to earn and learn, e.g. speaking and publishing.
  5. Overall, good personal branding equates to more success.

As an entrepreneur, you are a walking entity.  A popular music mogul Sean ‘Jay Z’ Carter once said, “I am a business”. And true to the statement, you cannot think of him without thinking of his music career, his music recording company or his business success. If you are an entrepreneur, you need  to have a similar mindset. Think of yourself as a business and cultivate a brand image that represents your business.

In an increasingly competitive business environment, skills and experience are not enough to become a powerful entrepreneur. You need more to stand out. Personal branding provides that much-needed edge to eclipse other entrepreneurs and to attract more business for you.

Now let me make an important caution that you may find useful. As much as you need to build your personal brand as an entrepreneur you should make sure that your primary focus is to dedicate enough time and attention on building your business. Focus on the things that really matter to grow your business. For example, I am trying to grow my business as the top provider of online courses in East Africa. If I dedicate all my time to blog and share pictures on Instagram, I may be putting a lot of focus on something that I may run the risk of going overboard and letting online marketing become my full-time job. If any I should hire someone to do that.

Here are 5 points that serve as entrepreneurs guide to personal branding.

Number 1: Entrepreneurs guide to personal branding – It’s all about what you create

What is it that you do that distinguishes you from others? For example, when you think of Jay Z and the kind of music he produces, you probably associate quality hits with his personal brand as an entrepreneur. My dream as entrepreneur is to produce quality online learning courses that are learner centric, activity based and that provides powerful learning experiences. My personal brand as an entrepreneur should drive that agenda, and my clients should really see what I have described in my online courses but also in me as a corporate trainer and instructional designer.

Number 2: Entrepreneurs guide to personal branding – Express and associate yourself with the industry you want to be in

For example, if you want to brand yourself as a writer, start to write your own works, read extensively, know other writers and their works, join book clubs, refer to yourself as a writer and package yourself as one in any gathering you attend.

Number 3: Entrepreneurs guide to personal branding – Become the best in your niche.

Be an expert in what you do best and make it to your advantage. I always say, when people think of instructional designers, online learning course designers, learning technologies experts and most engaging corporate trainers, they should think of me. No one becomes a successful brand without success in their field. After all is said and done, success is what solidifies the brand image you have cultivated. Work hard and be the best in what you want to be.

Number 4: Entrepreneurs guide to personal branding – Use your name in your products and business

If you are starting a business, give it your name. If constructing a building or launching a product, do the same. I think of Donald Trump and the Trump Towers, I think of an inspirational speaker and master of ceremony Antony Luvanda who named his inspirational talk Tony. I think of my husband Deus Ntukamazina who opted to use his last name for his masters of ceremony business branding. Yes it is a rather difficult name to pronounce but adds to its uniqueness and you will be surprised that clients remember it. Doing so allows your personal brand to flourish together with your business. If your work becomes a success, your personal brand does too.

Number 5: Entrepreneurs guide to personal branding – Mold your online presence to reflect your personal brand.

There is a reason why I left it at number 5. Your virtual image matters a lot as well but should not be the only focus. Create a website explaining who you are and what you do. Open social media accounts and create a presence that showcases who you want to be seen as. Using the internet, you can create a sharp image of you want to be in real life. Remember you should not lose focus.

 If you have a strong brand right now, how can you leverage that as an entrepreneur?

You understand that a personal brand is not useful if you do not use it to further your means. As an entrepreneur, you can do this in a number of ways:-

  1. Use your blossoming brand image to start new ventures. With your name behind them, chances of success are high.
  2. Add your name to your business or products (if you already haven’t done so) to capitalize on your soaring brand image.
  3. Loan your name to other businesses in exchange for equity or profits. You can even consider franchising if applicable.
  4. Use your brand to seek speaking/writing opportunities in your niche. These will earn you more money and allow you to promote your brand even more.

The post Entrepreneurs guide to personal branding appeared first on iLearn.

Personal Branding: The Key to Success for Salespeople on LinkedIn

More than 80% of all B2B leads are from LinkedIn – so if you’re not using LinkedIn, or not using it effectively, you’re missing out big time. There’s a lot of opportunity on a platform that boasts half a billion users and encompasses every industry.  But if you’ve only put together a basic professional profile, you won’t reap any of the benefits it has to offer.

Personal branding is key for any salesperson to really benefit from LinkedIn. We’re going to show you exactly what it means to build a personal brand, and how to elevate and leverage it to drive sales.

Four steps to personal branding you can put into action now

Step 1: Define Your Audience

One of the first things to address when you’re building your personal brand is to understand your target audience. Once you’ve identified who you intend to reach, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are their likes and dislikes? Do they like long form professional articles, or short status updates with tips? Are they searching for how-to guides, or are they more interested in theoretical content? This will help you determine what type of content to create and share that will resonate with them.
  • Who are they engaging with? Are there thought leaders already dominating the space? What are they sharing? What can you learn from them?
  • What solutions are they looking for? Where do they need the most help? How can you position your solution as the right solution for them?
  • Is there a dominant geographical area? Can you target your communications to be specific to the region? Are there local events that you can tie into your communications that will resonate?

Step 2: Build a Killer LinkedIn Profile

For your personal brand to be effective, you must invest the time and effort in creating and maintaining a strong profile. When you engage with people, you want your profile to help reinforce why people should engage with you.

Creating a robust profile is not a difficult task, it just takes some TLC. The first place you’ll want to start is the prompts you’ll get directly from LinkedIn. The platform will prompt you to fill out various details and let you know what you’re missing.

Customize Your Profile

Don’t just use the default data that LinkedIn provides. Take full advantage of the customizations it offers so you can really stand out.

Use a great profile picture

Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. A headshot is usually best, but there are rules that should be followed. Having a picture of you in action is a great alternative to a standard portrait.

Make sure you have a custom LinkedIn URL

Using your name is best for enhancing your personal brand, and it also helps with searchability online.

Don’t try to be clever, unless that’s your personal brand. You’ll want to state exactly what you do, and how it helps the potential reader. Here are some best practices:

  • Don’t be boring. Write something that attracts attention.
  • Be confident. You don’t want to seem like you’re begging for business.
  • State what you do. Be direct, the reader will appreciate it.
  • Who are your solutions for? Work that into your headline.
  • State how you’ll make their life better.

A great example comes from Michael Dodd. He’s direct, you understand what he does, who he works for, and what solutions he can provide.

Make your summary work for you.

Don’t waste this space. Here’s your chance to grab attention and explain why people should do business with you. Make a convincing case. Here’s a great example from Sales Leadership Consultant, Jeffrey Buskey:

Most people don’t do this, so it’s an area where you can really stand out. A video is not only more enticing, it generates 1,200% more shares than text and images combined. You can show people exactly what you’re about, and it’s more personal.

Show Off Your Accomplishments

Showing off what you’ve achieved is a great way to build credibility. You’ll want to showcase your overall sales performance, where you ranked on your team, President’s Club awards, territory growth, marquee clients you’ve worked with, etc. Your brand must be centered around how you’re an expert in a certain field, which is why people should work with you. Show off the qualifications that make you that expert, and tell the story of how you’ve achieved success.

Step 3: Build Trust and Credibility

Trust is a key component to any sale. As a successful salesperson, you know how hard it is to earn trust from a potential client. Best-selling author Neil Rackham conducted a study where he interviewed 50 customers who had turned Xerox down because of price. It turned out that in 64% of cases, price was not the primary factor. Buyers didn’t trust the salesperson or were afraid of becoming too dependent on a sole supplier.

Your personal brand and reputation can make or break the first impression you make on your prospective customers.

Build your Reputation

Don’t be shy about asking people to say a few nice words about you. The most sure-fire way to have people trust you, is by seeing that their friends already trust you. Most of the time people are happy to write a few words for you, if you do the same for them.

LinkedIn makes getting recommendations easy as it’s built right into the platform. It may seem obvious, but target recommendations from key players in your industry. Top executives and those who already have credibility and a great personal brand. Don’t be afraid to aim high! The results just might surprise you and give your brand a quick boost.

Here’s a few tips you can use to ask for a recommendation:

  • Send a personalized email
  • Write a recommendation for someone first
  • Contact people you know well
  • Provide content suggestions in advance
Build by Sharing

Put yourself out there! Sharing information is the easiest way to say “Hey, I’m an expert in this field, and here’s what you need to know about it today.”

Think about the people you follow. Leaders in their field are constantly sharing quality information. It’s a very simple way to show that you know what you’re talking about. If you want to be a leader, you need to be the person people follow for breaking news in your field, and trusted articles they can use.

Writing articles and posting video are two of the easiest ways to share things on LinkedIn. You can also share articles others have written, recommend industry people to your audience, and generally just share things you’re interested in reading and viewing.

Here’s a few examples of sales leaders who do this well:

Build by Engaging

LinkedIn at its heart is a social platform. Get involved in conversations, comment on articles, share things that you find useful, and ask questions of other creators. You need to be reachable and engaged with your audience.

Being a part of this community will position your brand in your field. It’s how you’ll make connections, get leads, build trust, and build a portfolio that showcases your brand to your targeted audience. That’s what personal branding is all about.

Step 4: Grow Your Following

Now that you have a solid LinkedIn profile, it’s time to think about how you can grow your audience. Each follower is a potential client, so the wider your reach, the more potential followers and clients you can expect.

Building an audience involves ongoing work with a clear focus in mind. If you’re an expert in your niche, keep your focus on that topic. You may be interested in multiple subjects, but you’ll need to keep focus to build your brand for people to find you, follow you, and continue to subscribe to what you’re sharing. You don’t want to be a jack of all trades, master of none.

There are a few things you should always be doing to grow your following and target new opportunities.

Always be Learning

If you want to know what great personal branding looks like, you’ll want to follow the people that do it well. By following and connecting with key players on LinkedIn you’ll learn from them, and apply the lessons to your own brand.

Always be Optimizing

Anytime you attend a conference, gain a new skill, achieve a new award, or generally build on your brand, you’ll want to be optimizing your message to show you fully understand and are involved in your industry. Being on the cutting edge will help you with your brand and keep you at the forefront of the field.

You’ll learn a lot about what’s working and what isn’t with your brand. What articles people like, what content they’re sharing, what questions they’re asking, and what the demographic is. This information will change overtime, and you’ll want to keep optimizing your profile, website, and social feeds to reflect this.

As LinkedIn changes, you’ll want to change too. Take advantage of new tools, implement new best practices, and generally stay on top of things for best results.

Always be Connecting

Think twice about turning down a connection, or an opportunity to connect on social media. Even if someone doesn’t need what you’re selling right now, you never know when they’ll need it down the road.

You’ll also want to try to connect with the audience of those that have personal brands similar to yours. Their audience is your audience. That doesn’t mean taking over their channel and saying “Hey, follow me too!” It means engaging with that audience in conversation, posting positive comments on things that leader is sharing, joining forums they’re involved in, and generally engaging wherever you can.

Building a personal brand is not an easy task, but nothing worthwhile ever is. If you’re still skeptical about the power of personal branding, this video by Brett Cohen is an excellent example of the impact it can have on people’s perceptions. Brett ran an interesting test to see if he could get people to believe he was a celebrity, simply by acting like one – and the results are astonishing.

Now you’ve seen the impact that personal branding can have. Here are a few more resources you’ll want to check out when you’re ready to dive in:

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SPF-040: Personal Branding For Authors – with Branding Expert Chris Ducker

Personal branding. If you spend any time with online entrepreneurs (and you should if you’re an author) you hear that phrase all the time. But what EXACTLY does it mean, and how can it increase book sales and advance your career as an author? There’s nobody better to explain it than our guest today, Chris Ducker. He’s a fellow Brit who’s made quite a name for himself as an online entrepreneur, author, podcaster, and brand expert. You’re going to get some very practical tips from Chris on this episode so be sure you set aside the time to listen and learn. Then take action!

Why being different is more important than being better.

The role that personal branding plays in your marketing arsenal is not about positioning but differentiation. And that is where a focus on branding yourself as an author is worth gold to your career. Chris unpacks why being different is more important than being better on this episode of The Self Publishing Formula.

Why you need to begin creating online content. Now.

When asked how authors can get started building a personal brand Chris said that one of the most important things they need to do is to begin creating a repository of online content. Blog posts, videocasts, podcasts, ebooks – anything that might prove helpful to the people who are interested in you or your books. It’ll help you to be seen as a unique resource and authority on the issues that they actively engage in. Chris says that too few authors take this seriously, and too few of the ones who do take it seriously actually do it well. It’s a simple way to stand out in the crowded self-publishing space.

Relationships should be treasured, not used.

When Chris talks about building a following he makes it very clear that you should never see people as a commodity, even though it is people who pay for your living as an author. The relationships you have with your audience are important for their own sake and you need to be clear about that. People can sense if you really care about them, if they matter to you – so you want to make sure you have this issue settled in your own mind and heart. Chris says that relationships (even with fans) should be treasured, not used. Find out more about how you can build the right kind of relationship with your fans in this episode.

People are happy to pay for access to experts. That’s why personal branding matters.

Most authors think that the only way they can make money as an author is through book sales. But that’s the furthest thing from the truth. On this episode of the podcast, Chris gives a handful of examples of how he’s helped authors build a significant income from their writing without it being solely through book sales. Are you curious? Chris draws from a wealth of information and experience and you’ll find his approach extremely helpful, so be sure you take the time to listen.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:34] James and Mark introduce this episode with Chris Ducker.
  • [1:17] A special announcement: The winners of our Reedsy giveaway!
  • [2:52] Mark’s latest speaking opportunities.
  • [5:45] Update on the 101 course production.
  • [11:25] Who IS Chris Ducker?
  • [13:20] The changes Chris has seen online since he first began.
  • [15:48] The importance of building your brand as an author.
  • [18:00] Practical steps to brand building that authors should consider.
  • [20:24] Do you really want to give away a ton of free content?
  • [22:28] How would fiction authors handle this issue differently?
  • [25:22] What should authors look for in terms of virtual assistants?
  • [29:50] Chris’ perspective on what’s going on in the digital business world.
  • [34:07] The only change entrepreneurs should be focused on.

Resources & Links Mentioned In This Episode

  • – Chris’ company

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8 Examples of Successful Personal Branding and Success

We should all have our own personal brand. Especially with the enormous competition that exists today in practically all sectors of employment. The more you differentiate yourself, stand out, and position yourself as a good professional, the better.

Personal branding is the perception that others have of you and your level of experience in a particular field, in order to differentiate you from others and achieve greater success in social and professional relationships.

Learning to position yourself as an expert in something or as a reference in some sector is key to personal and professional growth. If you manage to work on your personal brand it will be easier for your clients to find and choose you.

Liberal arts
Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the most suitable professional for my needs? Source: Giphy.

It may sound silly, but one of the things we value the most when buying a product or hiring a service is its trustworthiness. So whether you want it or not, what others think of you is paramount and you have to work on it to improve and expand your contacts and what they say about you.

Examples of Successful Personal Branding

Building an online reputation is not easy and will take time and effort. Fortunately, you have many examples of other people who have successful personal brands. It is always interesting to learn from the experience of others, so today I present 8 success stories that will help you to evolve your personal brand and achieve your goals.

Michelle Obama

Many times we tend to think that the spouse of the president of a country is merely an ornament. Michelle Obama’s case is quite the opposite, since she was able to find her place and earn an excellent public image.

Michelle obama happy dance
Michelle Obama happy dance. Source: Giphy.

Michelle Obama has built a personal brand based on a number of principles, including education, health, and support for feminist causes and racial discrimination. She’s a strong and independent woman that acts and behaves naturally wherever she goes—it’s clear her charisma helped her 😉

Lesson: Naturalness should be the basis of your personal brand. If you’re just pretending, it’ll eventually be noticed and your image will be harmed.

Seth Godin

Known as the “godfather” of modern marketing, Seth Godin is one of today’s most influential marketing experts. He’s the author of a lot of bestsellers on marketing, leadership, and change, and his blog is one of the most popular on the Internet.

Unlike other marketing specialists, Seth is not known for having invented any particular method. He simply observes to understand the most common problems people face, experiments to find out what works, and makes it available to the world to benefit from his knowledge.

Seth Godin. Source: Giphy.

Seth has managed to take advantage of his personal brand in his business. The most obvious example is his book The Icarus Deception, which he launched through the crowdfunding platform KickStarter. His goal was to reach $40,000, which he achieved in just three hours, to finally multiply the initial amount by seven. Quite a success, as you can see!

Lesson: You don’t need to be the best or the most innovative from the first minute. Do things differently instead of doing different things.

Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferriss is the author of the well-known book The 4 Hour Work Week, a bestseller with millions of sales worldwide. Today his blog on receives more than 2.4 million visitors per month and his podcasts TheTim Ferriss Show receive more than 100 million downloads.

Tim Ferriss. Source: Giphy.

The personal brand that Tim has created since he launched this book has allowed him to grow and be a reference in everything related to productivity, time management, personal growth, and entrepreneurship.

Lesson: Take advantage of your strengths and abilities. Properly managing success can be the best fuel to grow your personal brand.

Joost de Valk – Yoast SEO

If you’re in the WordPress world you probably know who Joost de Valk is, or at least you’ll know his star product Yoast, the most popular SEO plugin. In addition, Joost is one of the most respected voices in the WordPress community.

Joost took the opportunity to democratize SEO by making it accessible to everyone through a simple and user-friendly interface. If you’ve tried other SEO plugins, you’ve probably seen that they are much more complex. Yoast’s success is partly because of its powerful simplicity.

The cartoons of the Yoast team have made their product very close to a wide range of audience.
The cartoons of the Yoast team have made their product very close to a wide range of audience.

In addition, it should also be noted that he was able to give an image of closeness thanks to the funny cartoons that invaded his website and plugins. All this helped to create that cheerful and funny personal brand image that was so much needed in the SEO world within WordPress.

The Yoast team currently consists of about 75 people. Yoast SEO is currently available for four open source and active platforms on nearly 8 million websites. A real success! 👏

Lesson: Being at the right time in the right place is not easy. Neither is taking advantage of opportunities. So, when the stars line up and put you in a situation like this, jump in and at least try.

Neil Patel

Neil Patel is co-founder of four multi-million dollar companies: HelloBar, CrazyEgg, QuickSprout, and Kissmetrics. If you are involved in the online marketing world I’m sure you already know him. His articles are very popular, especially for those who are starting to get into this field.

Neil Patel in a Ferrari.
Neil Patel in a Ferrari.

Perhaps one of most popular posts by Neil related to personal branding is this one where he explains how buying a Ferrari got him a million dollars. Beyond the amazement, it’s worth reading it to see that many times pretending can help you achieve your goals. 😳

Lesson: “Fake it until you make it.” The blowfish technique (pretending to be bigger than what you really are) can help you grow your personal brand, but be careful not to overdo it. It’s a double-edged sword.

Chris Lema

Chris Lema is a renowned expert in all matters related to business and WordPress. He helps companies to better define their products and reach their audience, in addition to working regularly with membership sites, ecommerce, and SAAS. Plus, he’s a fan of cigars and his hot tub (just follow him on Twitter to see it for yourself).

Chris Lema with his T-shirt showing the
Chris Lema with his T-shirt showing the “Hope is not a strategy” message at YoastCon. If you didn’t see the full video, go see it. It’s brilliant 👍.

Chris’ personal brand is based on storytelling. In all the talks I’ve seen of him, as well as in the posts he writes on his blog (which, by the way, I encourage you to visit), he connects with the audience by telling stories that help them better understand the message he wants to convey. Chris is an expert on this.

You can see that behind his words there;s a lot of preparation and a long experience behind what he says. It’s also fun how he wears visual supports in the form of t-shirts with the main point of his talk, just like he did in the first YoastCon.

Lesson: Base your personal brand on stories that connect with your audience. Convey feelings when communicating and your message will stick.

Joan Boluda – Online Marketing Consultant

Joan Boluda is one of the best known people in the world of online marketing in Spain. He runs an online marketing podcast and a late show where he interviews people from many different backgrounds (even Ruth had the pleasure of participating in one of his shows).

Joan Boluda, speaker at WordCamp Europe 2015 in Seville.
Joan Boluda, speaker at WordCamp Europe 2015 in Seville.

There is no doubt about the great work Joan does to grow his personal brand. Behind his hipster-vintage appearance (the cap and the vest are amazing) there’s a lot of work and perseverance to carry out all the projects he’s involved in.

His online course platform is one of the most recognized in Spain. But he doesn’t stop there: video recordings, podcasts, courses, consulting, and many, many other actions! Such an effort and dedication is eventually rewarded—take a look, for instance, at his entrepreneur’s guide, his latest crowdfunding project, and see how successful it was!

Lesson: Hard work and perseverance are key to getting your personal brand to succeed. Don’t give up!

Nelio Software

At Nelio we believe that personal branding is important, that’s why we tried from the beginning to work on it. We usually do this through the support we give to our users. It’s at this moment when we try to do our best to satisfy them and provide a professional image about our company and our team.

David also drove a Ferrari (like Neil Patel), although he is now a Tesla fan. I think we've taken little advantage of this photo in Nelio, so I'll take this opportunity to slip it into this post...
David also drove a Ferrari (like Neil Patel), although he is now a Tesla fan. I think we’ve taken little advantage of this photo in Nelio, so I’ll take this opportunity to slip it into this post…

One of the last actions we’ve done is to release some Wapuus (the “official” mascot of WordPress) featuring us 😳 The point is to be original and stay fresh 😇

Look at that cute Wapuus we made for Nelio's team.
Look at that cute Wapuus we made for Nelio’s team.

Final lesson: Work on personal branding every day. With your clients, so they can put in a good word for you. With your coworkers, so they enjoy working with you. With everyone, a little bit every day. You’ll see the results gradually, I assure you.

Featured image by Maria Badasian from Unsplash

Why Personal Branding Is The Key To Small Business Success

WHY brand yourself?

When you’re a small business owner, your personal brand is almost as important as the products and services that your business has to offer. Figuring out how to get the word out about your business – how to stand out in a competitive landscape – can be a big challenge for small business owners. The ability to differentiate yourself from your competitors is how you will gain more exposure, acquire more customers, and ultimately achieve success as a small business owner. To emphasize the importance of personal branding for small businesses, I’m sharing with you the 6 ‘Be’s Of Why Personal Branding Is The Key To Small Business Success.

Having a solid understanding of your personal brand will allow you to…

1) Be authentic.

Finding your personal brand should be an evolutionary and organic process – after all, your current and prospective clients are investing in you, and will want to know what you really stand for before investing in your business offerings. Authenticity is vital when it comes to building your brand because people want to know that you are real and genuine about what you do.

Your brand should be built on your dreams, purpose, values, uniqueness, passions, specializations, characteristics, and favourite activities. Be clear about what you want, what you can provide for others, and what you love to do. Being strategic and proactive about what you (and ultimately your business) stand for will ensure that you stand out.

2) Be memorable.

Knowing who you are and what you stand for will make it easier for potential clients to remember you. Your products and/or services are likely offered by various companies, but your personal brand will make your offerings rise above the rest. People like to work with and buy from others who share common values and interests. A back story on your business and how it evolved, some branded promotional items that you can leave behind after an initial client meeting, or a funny tidbit about who you are as a person will make you (and ultimately your business) likeable and relatable – vital qualities for small businesses.

3) Be in control of what people think about you.

People have a natural instinct to typecast you based on the image you project. What you wear, how you speak, and how you interact with others will lead them to make assumptions about who you are as a person. The same goes for your business. Having a solid understanding of your brand will help you to project the image that fills the needs of your target audience – putting you in control of how you are seen by others.

If you don’t brand yourself, others will do it for you.

4) Be transparent.

Just like customers don’t want any surprises from a well-known brand, people don’t want to discover any surprises about a person or small business who they are going to potentially do business with. Be honest about your skill set and what you can and cannot offer. No one is a true expert – everyone has more to learn, and the ability to be open and honest about that will make you relatable.

Be yourself, but also be self aware. Be open about your background but keep it positive and professional. Your personal stories are part of what make you unique, but you want to keep a filter on as too much information can sometimes hinder your business potential.

5) Be different from the competition.

Knowing what makes your business different from your competitors will give you an advantage and make you stand out. Don’t leave it up to your consumers to figure out what your unique offerings are – do the work for them and outline what makes you different upfront.

6) Be open to new opportunities.

When done right, putting your personal brand out there will draw in your target audience. People will be attracted to your business and new opportunities may come to you that you may not have anticipated. Having a solid understanding of your brand will help you to keep tabs on who you are what you (and your business) are evolving to become.

You are your business. Being strategic and proactive about how others see you, what they will get when working with you, and what you can and cannot do for them will result in success. Just Be You.

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