This is the eighth of ten posts where we follow Marcos Salazar’s personal branding journey, as he uses the concepts and four-step process outlined in Me 2.0 for his own career.
In writing this series of posts, I’ve been trying to strike a balance between discussing why I began this personal branding journey while at the same time providing readers with useful information they can integrate into their own personal branding efforts. If I had simply been talking about myself the entire series and just trying to promote my books, websites, or clothing store, it wouldn’t have been very interesting or useful for readers.
So, in the third step of developing your personal brand found in Me. 2.0 – Communicate Your Brand – I will go over what I think are two of the most important strategies you can use today to communicate your brand effectively without being seen as a shameless self-promoter. They are developing meaningful blogger relationships and using Twitter as a connector and being a resource.
Why do you want to contact bloggers?
When I launched BoroThreads, the focus of connecting with bloggers was to get the word out about our hyperlocal clothing designs and hopefully sell some shirts. However, instead of making the mistake of simply pitching to bloggers and asking them to write about us, I decided to create a mutual beneficial situation that focused on the blogger directly. This usually involved emailing local bloggers about the possibility of a contest for their blog where BoroThreads would give away a free shirt to new subscribers or Twitter followers.
However, in promoting my personal brand of being a Renaissance Worker, my focus was not on selling some type of tangible product. Yes, in some ways it was about the selling of my ideas and what my personal brand has become. However, as I thought more about it I realized that I wanted something more then just some type of mutual promotion. What I really wanted was to reach out and develop meaningful relationships with people I found interesting, respected, and admired and use this as a vehicle for communicating my brand.
First who, then the what
While I do have books and clothing to sell, the reality is that these were never major reasons for wanting to go on this personal branding journey. As I mentioned in my first post, I had been out of the blogging and Gen Y/Millennials space for quite a long time and I really missed it. I missed all the connections I had made with people in the field and wanted to reconnect as well as get to know new people. It is this desire for connection and focus on quality vs. quantity that can be one of the best ways to communicate your brand as well as be the most psychologically rewarding.
In writing this post, I started thinking about Jim Collin’s book Good to Great and his principle, “first who, then what.” Often we are so focused on the “what” in our lives – what we want to do, who we want to be, where we want to go – that we forget about or push aside the “who.” But the truth is even if you picked the perfect what but also picked the wrong who, life is going to pretty much be crappy.
In a world that is constantly changing, it is the who that stay consistent in our lives. The what can change (and most likely will quite often in our lifetimes), so one of the main questions we need to ask ourselves in deciding on what approach to take when communicating our personal brand is who are the people we want to be communicating our brand to and do we want to focus on quantity or quality?
What I will be focusing on personally in communicating my brand is connecting with those bloggers that I want to develop strong relationships with. And as I said before, this is also a great personal branding strategy because if a blogger gets to know you well and respects you and your ideas or work, they are more likely to recommend you, and even become an evangelist.
Using Twitter as a connector and resource
So then the next question is where do you find these bloggers that you would want to develop strong relationships with? In the past you could find them on blog rolls, but since I started my personal branding journey I have come to see Twitter as the ultimate community builder where I am able to find and connect with new and interesting bloggers quickly and easily. In the tweets of the people I follow, I can quickly see who they think are important and instantly learn more about people in their network. It sure beats scrolling through blog rolls or searching Google to find people I want to reach out and connect with.
But great relationships are two-way streets so it is important to also use Twitter as a platform to become a resource for others in order to nurture those relationships. By sharing useful information, interesting links, and fun advice you can promote your brand by becoming a resource that engages your Twitter audience while also giving something back to the people you are trying to build good relationships with.
Marcos Salazar is the author of The Turbulent Twenties Survival Guide, which focuses on the psychology of life after college and what graduates go through as the make the transition from school to the working world. He writes a career adventurism and psychological development blog for young professionals at www.marcossalazar.com. You can connect with him on Twitter @marcossalazar.