When you first launch a personal brand it can often take longer than you would expect to gain traction. We have unrealistic expectations for how long it should take us to reach a certain number of Twitter followers or fans on our Facebook page. While there is no surefire way to creating an insanely successful brand, there are definite actions you can take to ensure that you have a better shot at succeeding. Delivering great content on a consistent basis will earn you a solid reputation, but if you can't back up those things with the marketing, there's a chance your brand may never take off or develop into the stature that you had hoped.
1. Publicize your existing audience and online following.
Lines such as, "Already five thousand readers and growing!" or "I've spoken to thousands of students across the country", even if you've only spoken to two thousand students and in a total of two states, will bolster a potential clients' perception of your brand. If you have a ton of fans on Facebook, maybe look into adding a widget to your site where you can publicize that. If you aren't getting any comments on your blogs, and you know the traffic just isn't there yet, consider either switching comments off, or creating a mailing list of your friends that will read your material weekly and promise to comment. Nothing's worse than seeing a deserted blog. Furthermore, a blog is harder to cover for media than nearly anything else, it can't sit on its own in the context of any medium other than the internet. So what is it that you're selling? Is it your consultancy, a book, coaching, or public speaking? Even if you haven't invested in one of these areas, start marketing yourself as one somewhere prominently on your site. This is vital for radio or tv reporters because if they see this they know that you can hold your own in an interview or that you've probably had experience in live recording.
2. Make your brand easy for media to cover.
Do you have a press kit? A demo reel? Professional photos?
The best way to understand what should go in a press kit is to look at other people in your niche and to see what they have. Often, press kits are multipage PDF's with testimonials, great photos of you and of you working, and reviews or testimonials from media, customers, and other people in your field saying how great you are. Your press kit should not look like a resumé, and must be laid out in a beautifully graphic way. If you look bigger than you are, that can only help you. Spend the money and invest in a graphic designer, both for your press kit and for your website/any mailers. Find a friend, or a college arts major student who's willing to do it for you on a budget.
Demo reels are vitally important if what you do entails speaking or any type of public performance. They are also extremely helpful if you want to get booked by TV and radio media too. Again, searching for a demo reel on the internet will yield a high number of returns. You will see people who are regularly interviewed on talk shows or news stations or even radio stations that have pulled together all their clips, inserted testimonials, behind the scenes shots etc., to make solid demo reels. If you don't have any of that stuff yet, shoot a quick 1-2 minute video talking about your brand that you can edit nicely and throw in a few clips of media to. Upload this to Youtube and embed it somewhere on your site.
Lastly, enough of the iSight pictures or bad quality digital camera shots. Have a friend take you somewhere with good lighting, maybe even outdoors and on site (depending on what it is that you do you could get very creative here) and capture some awesome shots that make you look like you do your job professionally. All of these things together can only help make you look more reputable and sharpen your image.
3. Trade articles or other content with three new sites a week.
If you're not already doing this, this is definitely something you'll want to try. Find other people in your niche and see if they will agree to letting you work out a guest blogging schedule, start with just one article, and build the relationship from there. You should offer to publish their content on your site as well. Remember, if you're good, and I hope you think you are, you shouldn't worry about losing out to competition. Make the content for both of you things that compliment or supplement your brands. You might think about doing video interviews (easy over Skype) to show that you're both real and besides, everyone loves to watch things more than they like to read them. Studies have shown video is the best way to sell products and services.
4. Reach out to 15 local media outlets – TV/Newspaper/Magazine
Start a spreadsheet document of local media outlets. Then determine contacts within them that you might be able to send your materials to presented nicely and with everything they are expecting. Do research on this first, you do not want to blow your chances with a media outlet by making a poor first impression. Not everyone is ready for media as soon as they think they are. But the media does want to know directly from you what you're about. Sure if you're famous and have an agent they would handle this, but often the media will prefer dealing directly with you. Talking with you and getting to know you will give them a feel for how articulate, consistent, and adept at presenting yourself you could be if they were to put you on something live. Remember, the media probably is interested in what you have if it's packaged properly, but it's your job to make sure that they don't lose their job if they book you. They need to feel confident in you first.
Hope this helps!
Michael Costigan has traveled the worldÂ speaking to teens, he is one of theÂ nation’s youngest CEOs, and he was recently namedÂ ’Entrepreneur of the Year’Â by the National Financial Educators Council. He strives to help young people in their lives and with their goals for the future. Read more about Michael here.