What are you doing to maintain your personal brand?
A personal brand has at least three possible purposes: to find valuable employment, to maintain a sense of control over one’s online reputation, and/or to build influence in one’s field or industry. No matter the reason, there are many ways you can and should maintain your personal brand.
It all depends on what you are willing and able to put effort into on a daily basis. For example, you can develop a blog to share your expertise and use social media to get your name out there. Or, you can just do social and share your expertise, building relationships that way.
I discuss the importance of a personal brand in a past article, which you can find here:
Personal Branding: Do You Stand Out?
You can also read more about getting started in this article: How to Make an Impact with Personal Branding.
This maintenance article is meant more for the intermediate personal branding individual who already has an established system in place. I explain 10 ways you can ensure your brand remains successful and continues to grow.
If you have any questions or other input, please leave a comment!
The 10 Ways To Maintain A Strong Personal Brand
1) Commit to your brand
You’ve put in all that effort to establish your personal brand. Why would you let it go to waste? When you have something getting in the way of your branding efforts, you shouldn’t let your personal brand take the hit. You lose a lot by being inconsistent and having an on-and-off attitude towards your work.
Reserve time every day to building upon your brand, and stick to that schedule as much as you can. Don’t worry if you miss a day or activity from time to time. If you’re committed on all the other days, you’ll have enough of a cushion for those missed days.
- What are you doing to stay loyal to your personal brand?
- Do you ever feel like giving up on it?
- How do you maintain your commitment?
2) Know your limits
It’s best to consider this before starting your branding efforts, but keeping this in mind over time is also key to keeping your brand strong. Besides, these limits can evolve over time. While it’s important to be ready to interact and build your personal brand, you won’t be as effective if you push yourself too far.
If you have any conflicts interfering with your personal brand, learn how to compensate. Know when to say ‘no’ to your branding efforts to keep yourself from burning out. On the other hand, know when to prioritize your brand over other activities.
- Are you aware of anything that can interfere with your branding activities?
- What conflicts do you have that affect your branding work?
- How do you balance your branding with work, family and other responsibilities?
3) Learn to step away
Everyone working on their brand, including myself, can get sucked into their activities from time to time. We all have branding responsibilities that we try to meet every day, but that can cause multiple issues. For example…
- You can burn out, which can then cause you to make potentially large mistakes.
- You can miss opportunities to enjoy the offline world.
- You can damage your body from staying on the computer all day.
A very important part of maintaining your brand is for you to learn when to walk away when you need to so that you can refresh your mind and body.
Go outside for a walk or just a breath of fresh air. Go to the gym, or read a recreational book. Do something different and healthy, especially something that involves in-person, social interaction, such as with family and friends. Don’t let your life pass by without experiencing it to its fullest extent.
- Have you ever completely burned out while working on your personal brand?
- What do you do to prevent that from happening (again)?
- Do you have any strategies in place that you’d recommend to others?
4) Schedule your content
You have content ready for social sharing, right? I bet you want to ensure you reach as many people as possible when you publish on the social platforms. Unfortunately, it’s not possible for you to be online 24/7 to publish everything manually as well as respond to all interactions with your activity. While it’s definitely in your best interest to not fully automate your posts and tweets, you also need to be human and have a personal life.
Use a social scheduling tool to share tweets and posts according to custom settings. Use automation tools for your blog activity and email marketing. On the other hand, make sure you find the right balance between automation and real-time activity. The best approach is to set boundaries as to when you’ll be online and when you need to schedule.
- Are you manually sharing your content and that of others through your social media accounts?
- Have you ever considered using a scheduling tool to help with this?
- What tool(s) do you recommend for others to try and why?
5) Publish high-quality content
If you have an active personal brand and want it to grow strong and stay that way, you have to be creating fresh and appealing content of various sorts. This can include a blog, social media and anything else that contributes your knowledge to the world. However, you have to be careful. People are looking for high-quality content, and publishing lots of sub-par content for the sake of publishing as much as possible won’t get you very far.
Don’t publish sub-par content. If you’re not happy with the quality of your work, what’s to say anyone else will be? Have people around you give a critique early on about your topic and approach. Don’t wait until you’ve finished a draft to ask for opinions. Be consistent and publish as often as you can produce high-quality content. Don’t worry about your output rate, and just focus on content quality.
- Do you ever ask other people to critique your work before publishing it?
- What do you do to ensure you’re publishing high-quality content?
- What’s more important to you: quality or quantity?
6) Don’t forget to interact
It’s not enough to just create and share your content. It’s actually frowned upon to simply broadcast your work. You have to interact with those who reach out to you. Without interaction, you simply host a robotic account(s) that no one wants to follow. Don’t push your audience away. Use interaction to pull them in.
When someone thanks you for sharing their article, go back and tell them what you liked about it, even if it means scanning the article again (assuming you actually scanned or *gasp* read it before sharing…). When someone contacts you on your website with interest in sharing their own work, be polite and see what they have to offer. Then, give them feedback as well as any answers to whether you’ll incorporate it into your website and/or social media sharing. When someone shares your work through their own social accounts or website, contact them directly in some way. It could be as little as clicking “like” or even tweeting a “thank you.”
- Do other people ever reach out to you without you returning the favor?
- Why did you choose the interaction or no-interaction path?
- What do you do to interact with others who reach out to you?
7) Reach out to others
I’ve said you need to respond to others who reach out to you, but you can’t let that be the only form of interaction you practice. It’s important to initiate reaching out to others as well. There are many reasons to do this. You might want to guest write for someone else’s blog. Maybe you just want to show your interest in other people’s work by retweeting or sharing their content. When you interact with others first, you are (authentically) trying to tell people that you appreciate them and their work. It gives others a chance to notice you, and thus, builds your personal brand’s exposure and reputation.
Start simple on social and just “like” or follow them, and they may do the same for you. Apply to syndication sites, such as Business 2 Community or Social Media Today, and other blog sites to become a guest blogger for them. Create Twitter lists to follow users who you’d be likely to interact with by retweeting and replying to their tweets. Share other people’s blog articles, and give credit by properly tagging them in your post or tweet.
- Do you ever initiate an interaction with someone else?
- Why did you choose to interact?
- What do you do to initiate an interaction with others on social media? Elsewhere?
8) Invest in helpful tools and resources
Admit it. You’re not an expert in every little detail that comes with personal branding. I’m nowhere near it. In order to stay on track and maintain your brand activities, you need to find the tools and resources to help you along the way. This doesn’t mean you absolutely must invest financially, but many paid services have very helpful features to consider.
Find recent articles from others that give you ideas for tools to try. Google the activity you need help with, and add “tools” to your search criteria.
Here’s a list of a few tools that I use for my personal brand:
- WordPress.org for my website (costs money to buy a domain, and you may want to pay for different services)
- Buffer for social media scheduling (has a free, limited version, but the “Awesome” plan could help you)
- Blog subscriptions for up-to-date advice and ideas (free, but filter them into a separate folder, not your email inbox)
- Idea generators for topic inspiration (free for Portent, HubSpot and Impact)
- Are you the type to go at it solo, or have you found tools to help you along the way?
- Have you invested in any tools that cost money? Why did you opt for that?
- What tools and resources do you recommend for others that have worked well for you?
9) Develop a content backlog
This doesn’t just apply to your blog. While you definitely need to create and maintain a backlog of articles for your website, you also need to have a good supply of social media content ready to go. It’s not just your blog work that could overwhelm you. Without a social media backlog, you would get stressed out too, trying to keep up. By having these content backlogs, you make your life so much easier and your work so much more successful.
Write a few blog drafts that you can edit and build upon gradually over time before it needs to be published. Create as many of your tweets and posts in advance as possible, and keep adding more when you can. Save your future social content as a collection in a computer program or a website (bitly is great for saving links and organizing them with tags for easy reference.).
- Have you ever found yourself rushing to create content because you didn’t have anything to publish?
- How strong would you say your blog backlog is? What about your social content?
- What do you do to build and maintain your content backlogs?
10) Ask for help when needed
Face it. We all need help sometimes. If we do everything with only ourselves, there’s bound to be a lot of issues, such as a high-error rate or the risk of burning out. We need to be willing to ask for help when we need it, and by doing so, we give ourselves a break and improve the quality and success of our work. It doesn’t require a lot from us. In fact, it takes so much weight off our own back. We just need to stay open-minded and allow others to help us.
Take advantage of your social networks to ask for feedback on your upcoming blog content or to discover fresh content ideas. Reach out to specific people on and offline who you think could help you with any problem(s) you might have. Find a way to ask for help without sounding selfish or needy. The key is to develop a mutual benefit.
- Do you have a list of friends, associates and family that you use to reach out for advice?
- What are you doing to ensure you’re getting help when it’s needed?
- How do you approach others for help, and would you recommend this to others?
- Commit to your brand
- Know your limits
- Learn to step away
- Schedule your content
- Publish high-quality content
- Don’t forget to interact
- Reach out to others
- Invest in helpful tools and resources
- Develop a content backlog
- Ask for help when needed
I leave it to you.
- What do you think of these 10 ideas?
- Would you add anything else to the list?
- How are you maintaining your own personal brand?
Read more: Maintain Your Brand to Land a Promotion
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