It used to be really expensive and difficult to advertise yourself to the world. In fact, unless you were the president of Coca-Cola or Shell Oil, it was pretty unlikely that anyone was going to write an article about you or put your face on television.
Luckily, today, anyone has access to public scrutiny and admiration. The Internet has made it possible to get your name and face out there to the masses – and from there, it’s only a matter of time, and some effort, to get yourself recognized by the traditional media.
Once you’ve figured out what your personal brand is – once you’ve given yourself a tagline, a logo, and fonts (not all that important when you get down to it) – you need to put it on a Web site. It can be as cheap as an Internet address, although of course you can lay out a bunch of cash on a really cool Web site with all kinds of amazing user interfaces and graphics and Flash animation. Whatever it is, it needs to reflect your brand.
Your Web site needs to be updated constantly. If there is a “news” section, there must be news. Your last update to this section must not be from 2005, or it will not look like you’ve had anything interesting to say since Hurricane Katrina rushed through the below-sea-level streets of New Orleans. Please note that there have been several hurricanes, some Mardi Grasses, and a lot of topless drunk girls and guys wandering the French Quarter since that time.
In addition, your front page content needs to be updated. If your audience has nothing new to look at, it will disappear. Imagine if one of the networks tried to put the exact same episode of Lost or Mad Men on every single week. It would be boring. The numbers of viewers would drop off, and eventually the advertisers would pull out, and there would be no money involved for anyone. People would lose jobs. Time slots would be replaced by shows with plot lines that moved forward.
The same thing will happen to you if you don’t keep your brand moving forward.
No matter what your brand is, it makes sense to have a blog. Your words – your ideas – are important to your audience. In fact, if you don’t have any words, your audience will go looking for someone with words. There are thousands of people on the Web who claim to be able to do the exact same thing that you claim to be able to do; don’t let one of them walk away with your share of the acclaim.
Your blog should be updated regularly – at least once a week, but more often if you’re in a fast-paced business in which many of your competitors are blogging. It should contain original information – many of the more sophisticated blogs are now blogging about bloggers who steal material from other bloggers. Believe me – it’s not flattering to be considered a plagiarist.
So don’t do it.
It also makes sense to comment on the blogs of other movers and shakers in your field. Common notion: bloggers who don’t accept and post polite comments from other people are cowards. Remember the Golden Rule here. It will pay off for you and your business.
Once you’ve gotten to the point of being comfortable showing people who you are and what you think, you can take your plan to the traditional media. A publicist, who works primarily to get their clients print space and air time in the traditional media, is who you need to hire if you can’t do this effectively on your own. Don’t fall for the ploys of the marketer, whose job is to get people to buy what you’re selling: they are useful if you want to sell x amount of your product, but they don’t have the same skill set has publicists.
Once you’ve entered the realm of newspapers, magazines, radio, and television, you need to be certain that you match your personal brand at all times. All it takes it one slipup to ruin all your work at building credibility.
By branding yourself, you’ve made it easier for the world to identify what you do and how you do it. By promoting your brand, you’ll make it easier for your audience to reach you and buy whatever it is you’re selling.