I talked to a lot of great entrepreneurs like Pat Flynn and watched various of interviews about the importance of branding, especially personal branding for internet businesses and online entrepreneurs.
Most of the principles for personal branding also apply for corporate branding or at least can be easily adapted.
That's how I learned a lot about how branding works and why I decided to create a personal blog for myself.
Now it's time to review my own behaviour and to show you the mistakes I made and problaby still make.
At first I will explain what I mean, when I talk about personal branding.
What Is Personal Branding?
For me, branding is the art of standing out of the masses in your market. We are all acting in different markets and most likely we're all competing with numerous (so called) experts.
When it comes to get people's attention and to convince them, that you're delivering high quality content, you need to make people trust you. It's as simple as that. When people don't trust you, they won't believe in what you're saying and thus you won't make any money with your affiliate links or products.
So the most important thing that you need to ensure is, that people trust you. But how can you actually make people trust you?
A person can prove their trustworthiness by fulfilling an assigned responsibility - and as an extension of that, not to let down expectations. [...] In general, in order for trust to be earned, worth and integrity must be proven over time. - Wikipedia
What does that mean for you? It means, that you need to prove to people, they can trust in the quality of your content. They need to understand that you won't let them down in any situation, that you're caring about your audience, and that you will keep their information safe.
People love proofs, because proofs dismiss any worry or anxiety when people don't know what to think.
When someone visits your site for the first time, it must be immediately obvious, that you are an expert, that you are trustworthy, and that you are special.
This is an example for the importance of branding. When you have no brand, your representation doesn't prove to people that they can trust you and that they can really benefit from your content.
The Importance of a Branding Strategy
I started this blog without any branding strategy and that was a huge mistake of mine.
As you might have noticed, this blog is about great online business ideas and functions as a diary for me, to share my progress in building my own online business. I want you, to skip the mistakes I'm making, that's why I created mygreatonlinebusiness.com.
And I thought, that my personal story would be enough to make me stand out of the masses, the competition is really hard in this niche.
People like Pat Flynn, Corbett Bar, Derek Halpern, Jeremy Frandsen, or Jason van Ordon are talking exactly about the same stuff that I'm sharing with you.
I the first time I only focussed on SEO to bring organic and unpayed traffic to my site. As I said, that strategy works really well. Right now I'm at 240+ daily visitors, which is really awesome!
Now it's at the time to create a branding strategy to differentiate myself from the big names. Otherwise I'm targeting the same market and I simply can't compete with Pat Flynn right now.
The interview with him showed me, that I need to find a niche in this market and target only that niche!
Ingredients for Great Branding
I like to see branding like a recipe, where several ingredients rely on each other. In the book Zag: The Number One Strategy For Successful Brands the author breaks down the branding in multiple parts.
- Who are you? What motivates you and what get's you out of the bed every morning?
- What do you do? What is your core purpose? What is the ONE thing that will never change in your life?
- What is your vision? What's your overall goal for the future?
- What trend are you riding? Trends are waves that lift all boats.
- Who shares the brandscape? Be unique, not admirable!
- What makes you the ONLY?
There are lots of other insights in the book, I highly recommend reading it. Those are some of the most important aspects and I think, that they form a base to build a brand upon.
When you can answer those questions, you are on a good way to stand out of the masses.
I didn't know about those questions when I started my blog.
That's why I had only few interaction in this blog through comments and few subscribers to my email list.
Put Branding into Action
But how to you use the recipe for branding? How can you take action to finally stand out of the masses?
You need to act as a person with your audience!
This is why I'm going to be more personal in my posts! I'm sorry if reading my posts made you felt that I'm not directly speaking to you or if you don't know who I really am!
For this purpose I created my personal blog at jkoch.me. Of course I could easily use this blog as my branding tool and bring myself more in the foreground, but I don't want to do that.
This blog is all about you starting an online business and it will keep this focus. With my personal blog I'm able to share other projects with you, my interviews I'm doing with other people, and experiences not directly related to starting an internet business.
The importance of branding is, to become known as a person. I'm trying to do this now, what about you?
All I ask you for is to ensure, that your readers and visitors have a chance, to get to know you.
Go through all the questions mentioned above and answer them for yourself. This will show you, what your next action should be to develop your personal brand.
And when you put so much time into reading this, please leave a comment and share your thoughts with me, I'd love to hear from you!