Personal branding for those of us outside the Kardashian empire

Personal branding for a wage slave (name has been changed to protect the innocent)

There is a wealth of worthy resources available advising on how to build your personal brand.  And yet I struggle with the idea of myself as a brand, let alone working out how to market such a brand. This seems like something for a Kardashian, not a wage-slave like myself who is working in an office with no ambition for a tv career.

As I grappled with the task of describing my personal branding strategy I turned to the bloggers I admire. People like Bob Marshall, Scott Schuman, Louise Hawson and Chris Penn – I’m a woman of varied interests!: they are articulate people who are sharing their passion, they are generating consistently high-quality content, and I’ve found them through their reach into channels such as mainstream media, twitter and other blogs. Whether it’s been a deliberate strategy or organic growth; they have put in place their own unique personal branding strategy to market themselves and their work.

The blog and personal brand I’d most like to emulate is Bob Marshall (FlowchainSensei). I consider the characteristics of his brand to be:

  • generating valuable content for those interested in software development
  • engaging in authentic and respectful conversations through the blog and on twitter
  • writing articulate posts from a unique perspective based on considered thought

This brings me to my plan of attack for my personal branding:

Stocktake: I’ve already started taking stock of my online presence on this blog, linkedin and twitter. I’ve been busily setting up my organisation tools such as twitter lists, linoit, bundlr and evernote.

Build: I’ll be building my digital presence in line with my goal brand through regular blog posts, tweets and interacting with others about social media and digital environment strategy. This blog will be my outlet for reflections on things I read and study as I seek to emulate the bloggers I admire. My strategies for marketing this content will include

  • Aiming for a high standard of content and writing with a tone of conviction
  • Drawing interest from current network (linkedin, twitter, yammer)
  • Building my network through commenting on other blogs (classmates, social media experts)

Measure: After 3 months of building I’ll be assessing how are the blog posts aligning to my goal brand, how has my network grown and which networks drive the most traffic to my blog. I’ll be using wordpress statistics and google analytics to measure as much as possible as feedback into my self-assessment.

Reassess: Finally, I’ll reassess which is basically taking me back to my stocktake stage.

Reflecting on what draws me to the blogs I read, I realise O’Reilly’s article describing blogging as a key feature of web 2.0 platforms continues to be proven true as blogs with valuable content are amplifying their impact. Since he wrote the article in 2005, other bloggers still play a role, furthermore with the proliferation of social network platforms this is further amplified through retweets, pins and other channels.

All-in-all I’m slowly coming to terms with the importance of marketing my personal brand. I won’t be auditioning for reality tv anytime soon, but I will be taking charge of my personal brand to build it into something that I want to represent myself. I’m a self-confessed reluctant marketer … how about you, is branding something for vacuous celebrities or is it really something normal people should deliberately undertake?