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Keys to Building Your Brand?: Part 2

Let’s get right to it.  In addition to putting in the work and choosing your name carefully, there are some other keys to building your brand online:

Develop a Mission Statement. As the saying goes, if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.  Nowhere is this truer than in professional blogging.   The potential opportunities out there are endless, however for each that comes your way, you’ll need to ask yourself: “is this in line with what my brand stands for?” This narrowing question will help you wade through junk offers and incompatible projects.  The danger in accepting random gigs is that they will ultimately represent you and your brand. Be deliberate!

Are you committed to providing your readers with honest opinions about eco-friendly products? Is your goal to give valuable relationship advice to married couples? Is the purpose of your blog to connect with your audience and evoke emotions through storytelling? Whatever your mission statement is, bounce each potential partnership, client, project or other opportunity against it to see if it lines up.  This will ultimately help you make a determination as to whether the gig is a right one for you and will also help to build your reputation and protect the integrity of your brand.  What’s more, you’ll be able to present a consistent image one that your readers and project partners will come to know and appreciate, and a cornerstone of building a successful brand.

{This strategy will also help you be more focused and productive with your time and save you a lot of headache.}

 

Put Yourself Out There. You could have the greatest idea for a personal brand in the world, but I guarantee you that it won’t matter if you don’t make yourself known, network, and connect with others.  Speaking from personal experience, connecting with people has been the key to developing my brand.   It’s possible that it’s because I am a “people person” who enjoys the social element of being an entrepreneur, but I can truly say that many of the opportunities that have come way have been as a result of a personal relationship and/or being visible.  Here are some quick tips on how you can effectively put yourself out there:

  • Join Forums, Communities or List Serves.   Being an active member of groups such as The DC Moms and the Yahoo! Motherboard has been a tremendous experience for me in the way of developing a community of fellow bloggers through which opportunities are willingly shared.  The same goes for belonging to communities like BlogHer and Social Moms, and of course, Blogalicious (wink) (#disclosure).

     

  • Volunteer Your Talents…Strategically. Seek out a popular blogger or website and ask them if they’d be willing to have you guest post.  Contact an up and coming business in your target industry and offer to host a small blogger event for them free of charge.  Request to cover a charitable event as a member of the media, work the room making contacts while you’re there, and write a stellar review of the event.  Apply to speak at a conference gratis.  Each of these sorts of things make for great additions to your professional blogger resume.  With a little bit of creative thought you’re sure to come up with tons of ways to spend a little bit of energy volunteering your time that will produce a valuable return for your brand.

     

  • Attend Events and Network. I can’t emphasize this one enough.  Although we work online, the truth is that many of the promising connections still happen in person.  I like to tell this story: last year I attended my very first Blissdom conference.  I almost didn’t end up going, but at the last minute decided to make the trip.  During the ice-breaker activity, I ended up meeting and talking to Emily McKhann.  She whispered to me: “Do you eat beef?” And I enthusiastically said: “of course!” (there’s almost nothing I don’t eat).  She was ecstatic, because apparently beef eaters are few and far between these days.  From that informal exchange, in addition to making what would become a friend, I was asked to work on a I <3 Beef campaign with Emily’s network, The Motherhood…and I can’t tell you how many other campaigns since.  This story is just one of dozens that I have to make the point that IRL interaction is priceless.

And still, there’s more.  Next time, I’ll be offering tips on how to present your overall package. After all, image is (almost) everything!

 

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