You’re busy, I get it. You’ve got your job or school. You have a social life. You just don’t have a whole lot of time to do any of it to a great extent. You’re keeping up with Twitter and LinkedIn, and even Facebook, but you’re not able to do any real brand building. That content-driven stuff that really lets you delve into some meaty stuff helps your network know who you are, andgrow your brand as a powerful, valuable resource.

Techniques to build your brand

So what can you do to find that crucial time? Here are five techniques
you can use to find ways to build your personal brand.

1. Get up early or go to bed late.

Every “productivity expert” and success-in-business-means-hard-work automaton is going to tell about how they found success by getting up at 4 am, going to bed at midnight, and surviving on a steady diet of mainlined caffeine and crystal meth.

That’s not necessary. An hour a day will be plenty. Über-novelist John Grisham wrote his first two novels by getting to the office an hour early and writing. You may be a night owl, you may be an early bird. Whatever it is, add an extra hour to your day to start doing your personal branding stuff.

If you are already so busy and sleep so little that losing an hour would probably kill you, cut back on some other activities, or see if you’re truly managing your time wisely. But if you can find that extra hour — hell, even 30 minutes over lunch will make a big difference — be sure to use these other steps.

2. Use news aggregators and RSS feeds.

Find the important news in your industry, and build an RSS feed. Or see if someone has built a news aggregator for it.

Create a folder within your RSS reader of those must-read posts, and check them out on your smartphone when you have 10 free minutes. Build a Twitter list of people who deliver that high-powered information too, especially the ones Klout calls Curators, Broadcasters, and Thought Leaders. Consume their information, and share it.

Consume your news this way, rather than visiting site after site after site. You’re going to want to share this news on a regular basis, so find a way to collect all the potentially useful stuff in one place.

3. Schedule some of your tweets and updates.

I’m sure someone is going to get all screechy about “you need to be authentic! Automating is not authentic!” (If you really want to get the full effect of that screech, go watch Dave and Kath from Portlandia.) Authenticity has nothing to do with forwarding an interesting news link, regardless of whether you send it now or two hours from now (as long as you don’t suffer a personality-altering head injury in the intervening time).

Use a service like Buffer for Chrome, TweetDeck’s scheduling feature, or Argyle (they sponsored part of Jason Falls and my No Bullshit Social Media book tour). Find all the news that you want to share with your network, and schedule those tweets. This way, you are releasing interesting news at regular intervals rather than flooding people with 12 interesting articles in a 10 minute period.

4. Use Posterous to handle some content distribution.

One of the things that I like most about is that it can act as a distribution point for content by sending it to other properties and networks. It will send photos to Flickr and Picasa, movies to YouTube, written content to Blogger or, as well as acting as its own blog. And when something’s published on Posterous, it can notify your Twitter and Facebook networks as well.

So take interesting pictures and write short blog posts with your smartphone, email them to Posterous, and let it do the rest. If you’re at a convention, snap a picture, and tap out a couple of sentences about what you’re doing and learning, and you have a blog post. Best of all, you can turn certain forwarding features on and off.

5. Blog on the weekends, publish during the week

A lot of social media professionals write their blog posts on the weekend, and schedule them to publish each week. It takes a lot of work, but it takes a lot more work to try to find a free block of time each day to write a new blog post. Start scheduling an editorial calendar, draw inspiration from some of the articles you’ve been sharing from item #2, and write short posts about each topic.

Also, remember, a blog post is not a 750 word newspaper column, or a 3,000 word manifesto that would make Jeremiah Owyang weep with shame. It can be 100 – 300 words long with a photo or video. It doesn’t have to be earth-shattering or profound each and every time. Keep it short, easy to read, and most of all, easy to write.

Learn to write a single post in 30 – 60 minutes, and knock out three per weekend. That will leave your week free for what little time you have for your other personal branding efforts.

If you can follow these five steps, you will hopefully be able to land yourself in a new situation that will give you more time and opportunities to focus more on personal branding, as well as the things you need and love to do.


Erik Deckers is the owner of Professional Blog Service, and the co-author of Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself. His new book, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide to Social Media Marketing, which he wrote with Jason Falls, is in bookstores and on Amazon now.