My good buddy Glenn Lesanto was kind enough to give a talk at my Personal Branding UK Meetup last month. His background as a journalist, live reporter and social media conversation catalyst made for a very interesting session. Here are my greatest takeaways from the evening.
1. We are all looking for some kind of advancement with personal branding
Whether you’re looking to manage your career, find new clients, get speaking engagements or finding an investor – we should all have a purpose with our personal brand. In Glenn’s case it’s about being visible and in the conversation (could be Twitter, could be a conference) to be on the radar screen of commissioning editors and anyone that needs a writer/reporter. In my own case, I use personal branding to attract more clients for social recruiting projects as well as LinkedIn training sessions. Most of the people that come to this particular meetup are either career changers or have started up a business, they understand the need to be seen in their markets.
2. Your personality and actions equal your personal brand
Anyone can talk a good game but it’s our actions that verify our brands. We have all seen the ‘social media experts’ who haven’t tweeted since July 09, or the ‘SEO guru’ that you simply can’t find on Google… These guys have a serious disparity issue and nobody will buy into their personal brands, let alone buy their products or services. By actually doing it (whatever it may be), you can become an expert in your field but only when others say you are one.
3. Your personal brand won’t help you unless it’s authentic
When you define your brand you have to be honest with others and more importantly, yourself. Glenn recommends you simply brainstorm and ask yourself “who am I?” enough times for it to come out. This is in my opinion the hardest part to personal branding, most people I know aren’t too interested in introspection but this is the most important process. Once you come up with your true, authentic brand you’ll notice that the other pieces will fall into place a lot easier.
4. Tell your story
Once you have got your brand defined and you’re happy with it, it’s time to start communicating. Glenn is a master storyteller and when I asked him to come and speak to the Meetup group he said “Sure, could be in London in a month’s time, just need to get down from Lincoln on my canal boat”. Excellent, we put the date in the diary. Now, Glenn didn’t just cruise down the canals of England without telling the story.
Check out his Posterous blog containing pictures from his journey. These pictures all went up on Twitter so that Glenn’s followers could track his progress. So now we know Glenn has a passion for boating and his brand just got even more interesting in my book. The lesson we can learn is to share interesting things happening to us, it’s called personal branding because it’s about what happens to you, not your company or products.