I am still trying to figure out the whole personal branding thing, but I have had some minor success: I’ve been asked to speak on a couple occasions. Last year, my name appeared as No. 4 on the list “20 Content Marketing Twitter Accounts to Follow” with the likes of @CopyBlogger, @JayBaer, @JuntaJoe and @MarketingProfs.
That felt awesome! And this year, I was included on the list “50 Inbound Marketing Experts You Should be Following on Twitter.” I was literally the last person on that list, but out of all the inbound marketers in the world, I was thrilled to be considered at all.
The truth is, my success is my company’s success. When my name shows up on lists or I write a guest article that is well received, Kuno Creative consequently shows up as a link in my article (see what I did there?) or, at the very least, in my social media and author bios. My personal branding efforts are just one more way my company gets some attention, too.
But building a personal brand isn’t easy. You have to convince people what you have to say is worth their time. And, if you want to have any sort of life outside of work, you’ll likely want to do some of this “building” during your 9 to 5 workday.
So how do you carve out time during your job to make it happen? The key is to make strides in building both your personal brand and your company’s brand.
An Important Note
Building your personal brand while also building up your employer is so much easier if you work for a company that aligns with your own beliefs. If you actually like what you are doing at work, it is easy to incorporate it into your own efforts. You should already have your place of employment linked to your LinkedIn profile, but you’ll want to include it in your Twitter bio, Google+ bio and any other relevant channels.
As long as your efforts to build your personal brand are parallel to those of your company, your boss shouldn’t mind you spending a little time during the workday creating these efforts. You may want to run it by her just to be sure, though.
Why Build a Personal Brand?
Let’s take a quick step back. Building a personal brand sounds an awful lot like adding more work to your plate on purpose. I suppose you are, but there are a lot of benefits to doing so.
According to Neil Patel and Aaron Aguis, a strong personal brand can lead to:
- A better job (inside or outside your current company)
- Better contacts and clients for your company
- Industry recognition
Since you work in marketing, it is likely your boss already understands these benefits and is cool with you working on your brand.
How Do I Know What my Personal Brand Is?
Good question, and, unfortunately, no one can answer that except you. I talk a lot about content marketing because that is where my passions and skills lie. But that is true for a ton of other people, too. To identify what makes you special, develop a “mission statement.”
A while back I decided I could be different by consistently talking about the overlap of journalism, marketing and PR in the world of content marketing. It’s stated in my Twitter bio and helps define my style and, ultimately, my personal brand.
Tips to Grow Your Personal Brand without Sacrificing All Your Free Time
OK, let’s get to the meat of it. Like I said, I have been working hard over the past handful of years to build my brand, but others have obviously been more successful, emerging as marketing celebrities.
So here I’ll share advice for building your personal brand—while continuing to work hard at your marketing job—from those VIPs, as well as a few tips I picked up along the way.
1) Schedule Social Media Posts for 15 Minutes Each Morning
In marketing today, it is nearly impossible to build a personal brand without the use of social media. Why? According to The Undercover Recruiter, “Social media tools have the tremendous power to put you in contact with thousands of people.” It’s the best way to communicate with like-minded people across the globe.
Each morning, take just 15 minutes to schedule tweets and updates on your chosen channels. For marketers, that may be Twitter and LinkedIn, but depending on your target audience, you may find Tumblr and Pinterest are better uses of your time. Automatic scheduling tools, such as HubSpot’s Social Inbox and Buffer, make scheduling quick and efficient.
Additionally, don’t forget to engage with your contacts. Consider posting and responding to relevant LinkedIn group posts and say thank you when someone retweets you. While social can be automated, it’s that personal touch that can really make your brand stand out.
2) Write for Your Company Blog
According to The Guardian, a business blog is one of the most cost-effective and easiest ways to promote a business. It is likely your company already has a blog up and running, and it is probably gaining traction if it is being managed properly.
Getting involved with your company blog is a no-brainer. The blog managers will be thrilled to have another writer on board, but, more importantly for you, you have easy access to a blog already established in the industry.
Blogging for your business blog once a month—or once a week!—will help get you out there in record timing. And the backing of a business in the industry certainly doesn’t hurt. Best of all, this can be done on company time so you won’t have to sacrifice evenings or weekends to start building your personal brand.
3) Take Time to Keep Up with the Latest Trends
This one is something my colleagues and I have learned over the years, as it helps in so many ways. It is obvious talking about timely topics in your social media posts and your blog posts is helpful.
But when you can lead your client or company in the right direction because you are up to date on Google algorithms or know shoppers referred by Pinterest are 10 percent more likely to make a purchase than visitors who arrive from other social networks, you are going to look gooooood.
This helps your personal brand inside the four walls of your office, but extends beyond that as your colleagues start including you in their thought processes, social updates and strategic meetings.
So when you have 10 minutes to spare before a meeting or at the end of the day and don’t want to start a new project, start educating yourself about trending marketing topics. Check out sources like Marketing Land, Social Media Examiner and The Next Web. A service like Feedly will keep things quick and easy.
4) Write Guest Posts for Relevant Outlets
Sujan Patel writes guest blogs for a slew of outlets, including Forbes, Business Insider, Fast Company and Inc. While you may not get your byline on one of these publishing mammoths immediately, you can guest blog for targeted websites in your industry.
Patel admits guest blogging is crucial for branding, as it gets your name in front of your target audience. And, if you provide a link back to your business (which you should do), your company will reap the benefits of your efforts, too. (My team was thrilled with the traffic generated from my guest post here!) That means you can take some of your paid time to work on your blogs for outside sources.
KISSmetrics suggests finding sites that fit the following criteria: the content is focused on your industry or niche, the audience aligns with your topic, the readership is engaged and the site is active on social media.
5) Say Yes to Events
Even if you are shy, do not pass up on the opportunity to meet new people at peer events. Whether it is a meet up or your local HUGS event, take advantage! The more people you meet means the more LinkedIn connections you will make, the more Twitter followers you will get and more opportunities to be featured will arise.
As your personal brand develops, you may be asked to take part in panel discussions, video or blog interviews or even speak during an event or webinar. Because you will be representing your company as an expert in the industry, you will likely be encouraged to take part in the event, even if it is during office hours.
Being asked to take part in speaking engagements is how you know your branding efforts are working. Seriously consider the opportunity! This is just the beginning.
Personal brands are not built overnight, so be patient. Follow these steps to start experiencing recognition, but more importantly, be authentic and follow your gut. Your diligence will pay off—at the office and on your own time.
What have you experienced as a great way to build your personal brand?
Originally published Oct 9, 2014 1:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016