Get Started on Your Personal Brand by Bridget Z

In the past, the personal brand was reserved for the elite. Celebrities with an army of coaches, publicists, image consultants, etc. had the personas with reach.

For us regular folks, those who had the guts to get up in front of 100+ people had a shot at building a personal brand with some legs.

But the farthest most of us got was the ‘personal mission statement,’ shaking some hands and pitching that statement…AWKWARD! For the shy, impossible. And for the majority, that was enough to put the “personal brand” on the shelf and go back to the daily grind.

Now with the social web having tipped, the field is noticeably leveled. All (including shy folks) who have something to offer, enjoy the promise of extending their unique reach outside their eighteen inches of personal space. They have the ability to create a personal platform, the foundation being the web, the activity being 24-7, and the reach being global. Boundless.

It’s become important for anyone who wants a meaningful career to come with a personal brand. One example David Armano points out on his blog is the likelihood of a potential employer checking you out on Google. Brand U.O Personal Brand Matters. Same goes for potential clients.

Where to get started on building a personal brand?

Start with a digital footprint.
Take advice from Chris Brogan, who says his personal brand went from “a guy in a cube named Chris Brogan to a guy people know and want to talk to.” Don’t get me started on how humble this guy is. Organizations stand in line to pay Chris to show them how this stuff works. Use this post: Social Media Starting Points.

Understand the etiquette of the social web.
Simple. Use the same manners you would with your friends and colleagues (and your mom). Don’t be cheesy. Use the social web to improve your industry, not sell. The selling naturally takes place when you’re seen as “the guy (or gal)” who does this. One way (which you can do now) is to get involved with or start a provocative conversation on relevant issues in your space. I’ll bring back this post from Brogan-no need to reinvent the wheel here: Best Social Media Advice From This Site.

Love the ones you’re with.
Nurture what is now your community, or your audience. Know that to someone, you are a rock star and build from that. The folks at The Web Pitch share a great post called Community Starts at One, which includes a quick vid of Gary Vaynerchuk, a sharp-witted ‘every day guy,’ New Yorker and likable wine geek telling folks to “stop crying” about the size of their community but to be grateful and grow it from that one colleague who “cares about what’s going on in that beautiful brain of yours.”

Revisiting this post set me strait just this morning, when I went to check in with my Twitter followers/followees whose number was drastically reduced when the folks at Twitter ran their routine “maintenance.” My tweet last night was whiny, “Lost half my followers/followees…” Well I’m gonna nurture who’s still ‘with me’ and keep building my own ‘lil personal brand from that.

What thoughts do you guys want to add about the personal brand?

Thanks, Randy, for the opportunity to post on your awesome blog. – Bridget Zeuner (Zoy-ner) aka bridgetztalk on Twitter.

Bridget Zeuner
Marketing & Public Relations
Phone | 602.628.8292
FAX | 866.591.1533
Email | bridget@bridgetz.com
Web | bridgetz.com

Note: This is the first of many guest posts on The Life of DJ Ksar. If you would like to blog about brand marketing, social media, or viral promotions ping me at rksar at yahoo dot com.

Randy Ksar
Support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society by Making a Donation Today to Fund the Cure for Cancer

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8 responses to this post.

  1. […] right now!  DJ Ksar was entusiastic enough to have me as a guest blogger to offer up some tips on getting started on your own personal brand. Enjoy our illustration, hope it’s helpful!  -Bridget […]

    Reply

  2. Cool post, but somebody tell me why I need to have/be a brand again? I mean, if I want to have/be one, the post sounds like good advice, but why, again?

    Recent cover story in Wired made me ask the same questions…so, that’s how she did it, but why? Not even sure how some of these folks turn this into income, or even if that’s the goal.

    Just saying. Thanks for the post!

    Reply

  3. Hey Michael,

    Thanks for commenting! You bring up a great point/question: why a personal brand?? And you say: “Not even sure how some of these folks turn this into income, or even if that’s the goal.”

    There are many reasons one may want to run with this, but the best I can find is that folks can benefit from making themselves more marketable on the web. I’ve seen many cases when thought-leadership in one’s space (visible on the web) has helped enhanced the image, negotiation of a raise, new salary and/or consulting fee.

    If one does go ahead with building a personal brand, maintaining the thing can seem downright exhausting (writing, editing, monitoring, connecting, etc.) and there is the fear that if one’s contributions dwindle, that it’s sudden death to the “brand.” Folks should decide for themselves what they’re willing (or want) to do with their web presence and just be consistent with that, no matter how tiny the footprint. Consistency is the thing.

    Everyone(as I’m sure you know) already has a personal brand on some level-even the guy who isn’t into “branding” himself, but just shares cool ideas, stories and conversations on a blog now and again. I think that’s you, Michael (saw some cool stuff when I “Googled” you. ie your personal “brand”)!

    Thanks again, Michael (and Randy for including me, here). Make it fun! -BZ

    Reply

  4. Great post, Bridget.

    In regards to the etiquette, thanks mentioning that. Its one of those common sense things which people frequently forget. I guess its force of habit when folks have the natural tendency to ‘pitch’, rather than having just an engaging conversation.

    In regards to ‘personal branding’, I agree, each and every step we make, whether its a blog post, a LinkedIn profile, a MySpace photo, or even a Twitter tweet, leaves a digital footprint where people can track back and assess who you are. So we ought to make sure that whatever it is we have, positively impacts the entire ‘package’.

    Reply

  5. Hi Everybody–

    Thanks for the reply, Bridget…I guess where I coming from is I started blogging because I’m a writer by trade. Blogging means I get to publish non-work writing like never before, and the world gets to decide if they care or not. I write very differently with even a potential audience, and it’s been great.

    Past posting my link in obvious, appropriate places, haven’t done much marketing. Figure if I’m good, people will find me. Doing a lot of work to “brand” myself would only be worth it if I was selling something (for money) which I’m not. Still, the pointers about consistency are good.

    Did you see the article in Wired? It was interesting…the person they profiled simply wanted to be famous…which is interesting. Wired made a whole how-to about it though, which really begged the question of why. Why do the hard work of marketing?

    Not saying there aren’t as many answers to that as there are people doing it. Just that it seems like some are doing it for no reason at all sometimes.

    The best advice of all is your last: “Keep it fun.” Totally.

    Thanks again!

    Reply

  6. […] Everyday, I’m talking to folks about personal branding and the extended reach we now enjoy, via the social web; a topic that always excites 2.0 marketers.  DJ Ksar was enthusiastic enough to have me as a guest blogger to offer up some tips on getting started on your own personal brand. […]

    Reply

  7. I also know which Wired article you’re referring to… and had the same thoughts when I read it.

    It seems like more and more readers on the web want LESS of me-me-me. Instead, they want to network, chat, share ideas, get advice.

    Wouldn’t you say that branding is becoming less about “look at me!” and more about “let me show you how…”?

    I’d love to hear your thoughts Bridget Z… and thanks for finding me via Twitter!

    Reply

  8. Hey SingleMomSeeking!

    Initially, the linear process (putting info about who you are, creating personal profiles i.e. the “footprint”) may appear to be about “me-me-me,” but I believe the real goal here is to engage. And people want to engage with people, not companies.

    Perfect examples of folks who do this well are Tony Hsieh http://twitter.com/zappos (CEO of Zappos) and Jeremaih Jowyang http://twitter.com/jowyang (Senior Analyst of Forrester Research) who interact on behalf of their companies.

    As for me, a lot of the time on Twitter I bring up random stuff. But often, that’s when I’m able to find an extra common thread with the folks there (on a more personal level). And some of these same people have become meaningful contacts for my biz. More importantly though, I just enjoy them…as people.

    Conversations on specific topics, in large numbers and with vast communities (that can create groundswell for your offering), start on the Web. Before engaging, there has to be something about who we are. I think that it has nothing to do with “me-me” and everything to do with the engagement. And the better the content, the better the engagement.

    For fun, I checked out http://singlemomseeking.com and can see you’re are providing cool, fun and useful content-kudos! Would be even cooler to get to know the person behind that!

    Best to you and thanks for “engaging!”

    – Bridget Z http://twitter.com/bridgetZtalk

    Reply

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