As an entrepreneur, you’ve likely heard that a successful and steady marketing effort is the only way to deliver business. Of course, the question then becomes how to market, how frequently, and at what cost? And don’t forget the big one, how to find the time? What’s the solution? To build your business, build your personal brand.
After all, if you’re a writer, your business is your personal brand. With the mention of your name, followed by the name of your company, no one will assign one set of attributes to you and another set of characteristics to your company. They are one and the same.
Investing in your personal brand is like hiring a 24-hour publicist. Think about your online presence: your website and blog, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook accounts, online articles, comments to others’ articles. What do your associates say about you when you’re not around? What about your customers? Are you associated with strong follow-through, creativity, fair pricing and professionalism?
Or something else?
A strong personal brand means everything associated with you, from your appearance to your completed work, is memorable and respected.
Keep in mind the elements that make up a strong personal brand:
• Appearance. Do you command attention when you walk into a room? Are you ready to represent your business and take advantage of opportunities that may be discussed?
• Technology. Do you maximize technology to link to networks that may lead to mutual business referrals? Do you reciprocate? Also, do you protect your online image and actively correct any outdated or incorrect information about you and your company?
• Business networks. A full, but idle address book aids no one. Periodically check in with past clients and propose new ideas to current clients. Timing is everything to win new business. Part of the battle is simply showing up, or E-mailing.
• Public speaking skills. Very competent writers are often lax in seeking out opportunities to toot their own horn in public. Developing your business elevator speech and speaking about the types of projects you work on, in the right setting, leads to exchanges of business cards. This can lead to winning projects and referrals. Formal public speaking engagements help to enhance your public profile.
• ‘Media savvy.’ Knowing how to position yourself as a source/subject matter expert can lead to a positive bottom-line impact to your business.
• Honesty & Integrity. Like with personal relationships, individuals with honesty and integrity are respected and highly sought after. Making sure your personal brand reflects high values ensures repeat business and longevity.
One of my favorite quotes from author Maya Angelou sums up my thoughts about personal branding: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
The author, Lora Hyler, is owner of Hyler Communications, a 10-year-old public relations business located in Glendale, WI. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org