How to be strategic about building a personal brand

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

It's the wild west when it comes to building a personal brand. 

There's no lack of advice, guidance, content, and coaches to establish a personal brand within a competitive landscape. 

Michelle Griffin has some great insight into creating a strategic plan for personal branding.

We talk about why personal branding is important for entrepreneurs and CEOs, and how to get started on platforms like LinkedIn.

High. It's Mark Evans and you're listening to marketing spark. It's hard, if not impossible, to avoid content, advice, guidance and recommendations about how and why they build a personal brand. It's seemingly not enough to be a good person or do the right things. We need to establish and nurture of personal brands so it reflects our values, beliefs, ideas and approaches to the world. So why is a personal brand so important and how do you do that online? Today I'm talking with Michelle Griffin, a personal brand strategist and the host of the business of you podcast. Welcome to marketing spark, Michelle, so good to be here. Thank you, mark. Let's kick things off with a straightforward question, the softball question. Okay, what's your definition of a personal brand? Who? Great question because, as you know, it's like asking someone the definition of a brand brand is. There's so many different answers and everyone has your take, but mine is going to add libit is you, Daldon, just like a company brand, but it's you. It's a having a foundational, strategic, intentional way to show up. So you form that brand, that connection, that most of the connection. Like a company brand does right and I do it the way that it's really tied to an Roi to build your business. It's not fluffy and self promotional. It's all of being in value and service with the people first marketing approach. So for me, intentionally forming that connection so people you know, know you're the top of mind and who you are to help them. So that's very adlibbed my definition. I actually have a formal definition I'll share. If you have show notes, we can put it in there. Sounds good. Sounds good. So elaborate on the people first approach to personal branding because obviously there's different ways to skin a cat and there's just from an approaches to personal branding. What's your what is your approach? What's your philosophy? My philosophy is that you need to be dialed in exactly just like you said. You nailed it. Like, what is your perspective? In today's Day and age, we are commodity. You know, there's millions of marketers and millions of branders. But, like, the only way people going to resonate in this day and age, to break through the noise and the attention economy, is to have a point of view, to stand for something and to keep putting that out there and service to others, just being all about other people, but intentionally making that happen, because that's one thing I see people do. They just get out there thinking that's it, but you just like a brand marketing, you got to have a strategy. You know that well. That's what you do in marketing. So having a strategy, and I do work with clients. I have a seven step process that I created to nail all that. That's my biggest take. Have a strategy and be intentional would be of service to others. So individuals have been focused on personal brands for decades. It's not a new concept. I think a lot of people have recognized eyes that if you have a high profile, if people perceive you in a certain way, than that's going to help you professionally and personally. But I am interested in why there seems to be so much focus or fascination on building a personal brand. You look through your linkedin news feed and there are lots of people talking about the value of personal branding. I'm just curious about why that is and whether it reflects the economy and the volatility of the conditions these days or there's something else to it. Absolutely well, first, I'm going to admit that the the name gets a bad rap and there's a lot of misconceptions because there's it's the wild west out there, right, no one, everyone knows. They just need to stand out and to have visibility, but not for the wrong reasons, at least the way I do it. Not to be all about me self, promotionals, like I have something valuable, I have expertise to share to help people to solve a problem, right, that's why we're in business. So you need to stand out. I mean we're more and more crowd in the marketplace. Some influx of marketing messages, all the things. There's more people inline now. So how do you get out...

...there, define who you are, differentiate yourself to say hey, I'm here, I have somebody, I'm someone you should know because I've somewhat problem I can help you solve. It's a visibility. It's being known, noticed and known to get the results. So I think influx of last year, we're more people online, really played a lot into it. I also think there's a big a lot of misconceptions of what it is and people, you know, Hashtag personal brandy and instagram. Call it personal branding and and I'm out to just kind of disproved all that and to really make it clear. You know, a real personal brand, at least the way I do it, to build your perception, reputation to your business, needs to be exactly like a brand strategy for company, but with a person with your point of view, in perspective, expertise, styled in okay, in theory, everyone likes the idea of personal brand. Everybody wants a higher profile, everybody wants to be perceived in a certain ways so that when you step out into the world, your reputation precedes you. HMM. So in practice, where do you start with a personal brand? I mean, it's one thing to aspire to build a bigger, better brand. How does the journey begin? What are the first steps? You know, just like anything, we're first we're going to outline the goals. What do I really who am I? What do I want? What do I want out of this? If it's just want fanfare and stuff, yeah, it's a whole different, you know, path to take. But if you strategically want to keep building it to meet these goals for you and your business, just like a company, brand. Start with the goals, and we're going to start with, you know, deep diving the way I do it. I have a seven step process. I'll tell you real quick. So I start with the perspective. Perspective all about you, your personal, your professional, your industry, your ideal client, all this stuff that makes I consider it like taking a thousand piece puzzle and dumping it on the table. Let's make sense of this. was define all the things, just like you. What a regular brand or marketing tragedy? And you know, getting really clear in that. The next one is people. Now, as a marketer, you know, hey, Michelle, you have one ideal client, right, ideally. Well, I call people two things. First, as your ideal client, persona after whatever, you know, the Lingo we want to call that one person. We're here to help. But I also I wrote a post about this today and Linkedin your partners. You will grow your brand and yourself absolutely faster when you have a community partners, lightminded people, you know, sister things, to help build you up, and I've seen that first hand of clients and myself this year. You got to have that, that partnership. And then the third one is the positioning. How are you standing out in the market. That is credible. As part of my favorite thing to do is I'll help you take all the pieces that are you and I promise you there's a way to differentiate yourself. Just because you're a marketer doesn't mean you're like the hundreds of thousands of marketers. We will help you find a way, and that's a lot based as a person, in brand, your perspectives and beliefs and and the way you see the world and all that, and to have a way to see the world. We pull that out of you. And the next one is packaging. Now, packaging to me is not Welt self promotional. It's like packaging your messaging, your client messaging is so important. Your website also, your social handles, your marketing now sets all the things are going to help build that brand. The next one is content. Publish EARTHP is publishing. It's all about the content. Now the content on social and I also like to build your own platform. You know, where are you putting stuff out in the world? At your own place? The next one is promotion. Once we get you dialed in, where can we amplify that? Where can we get you like on podcasts? Start Your own podcast, reading right. All the things are going to get you in front of more people to snowball at. And the seventh step is propelled keep checking the analytics of building the trust, building all that to keep growing at a personal brand is not a one and done. It's like anything. You got to just keep building it, refining it, checking the measurements, all the good things. So basically, I am like taking what you probably do mark and then just make it about a person and I work with a lot of expertise base businesses and help them, help them get out there. So does that answer question? Seven steps? I give a high level view, but it's very similar to the way that I work with BBS ASS companies. I go through the exact same steps. I love the part puzzle analogy is great because you're dealing with all...

...this information and you're trying to put it all together. The one area that I did want to focus on his position, because I love positioning like you do. I love position in a messaging and telling a story that's unique and distinct. I am interested in how you do that because, for example, there are lots of people who are digital marketers or salespeople or focus on social media how do you find that uniqueness in somebody? What do you do, what do they have to do to identify what makes them different in the market place, even in a small way? Because if you can do that, then you can establish a point of view. Then you can, I don't know if it's rise above the crowd, but you can stand to part in even a small way. So what is your what is your process to making that happen? Oh yeah, well, it really comes from that a hundred peace thousand piece pubblic puzzle. Done being I work, you know, in my program I work with my clients. We spend a lot of time together. You know, I have to pull out. They have an inside of them. They just need someone like me to connect the dots, like you. So we I have a lot of questions that I pull out and I just we talk it through and I'll say what about this, what about that? But I find a way to blend every single on my clients says something in that initial first two calls and I'm like there's the clue. I keep digging deeper and finding that golden thread and and so I'll push back on them like what about this, what about that? But there's a way to combine your perspective, your experience, your skills, your point of view to find that point of view or their beliefs. You know, these days, this day and age, you got to have something to stand for to really you know people. I there's a million things to find, billions of things to find in Google. Right information is a commodity. We need someone to form that connection with. So I really just work hard and finding, you know, that one way to spend that golden thread and make them stand out. And really I'm working with the story based framework as you do, and that's how people connect. So it's hard to say because I have to be in the moment, but did I give you any clue of finding that golden thread? Is What I aim for. You did, and and it does take a lot of work. And sometimes what I find interesting is what's obvious to you, what makes someone different or special, isn't obvious to them. They just think that's the way that they are, that's their personality or their approach the world. So I think that is very interesting. The other thing I want to ask you about being looking building a personal brand is that on Linkedin, where you and I spend a lot of time probably too much time. I would say there's a lot of consultants out there, people like you and I, that or individual business owners that have invested interest in building a personal brand, in establishing a presence that's distinct and that attracts a spotlight. But what about entrepreneurs and business leaders in terms of how and whether they should build a personal brand? Things like? They would ask, well, what's in it for them? Some would argue that it takes way too much time and effort to actually do it. Two questions. What's the importance of building a personal brand for an entrepreneur, a startup entrepreneur or or an executive, a sea sweet executives, and what's the Roy like? Why should they do it? It's a great question because, you know, I get a lot of people say, well, I work for company, why should I have a personal brand? Well, everyone should work on their personal brand. Just because you work for a company or have a title, that's that could be temporary or could it's not forever. Maybe write. Your personal brand takes you everywhere. It's going to help you staying out the market. If you're in the company setting, you know employee. You're going to be known for that. So the the incentives to get another job, get more or promotion from Opportunity starts speaking. Why wouldn't you want to create more opportunity for yourself? No one else is going to give you permission or do it best for you. So so get out there and there's a ways to do it. I could. I get a lot of Dan's from people and companies like how do I build my brand when I work for company and and I give them clothes and you know, the main thing is some companies are more lenient than others on social media. I mean I can give you examples. Probably don't air, but of people I know who working for fortune ten companies are building their personal brand and and it's just the way to make sure that you have that purse, that professional security right for a founder. What other way to build that quick connection when you're harsh, you know a lot of money to start up.

Getting out there, being the face your business is going to instantly attract more people to you. You know you're going to stand out. There's too many people hiding behind their businesses. You know, come on out, we want to know you. In this day and age, we want to know who's behind the brand. Right so getting out there and forming that human connection. That's what it's all about. That's what people are begging for, wanting and resonating with these days. What I find interesting is that there are so few CEO's who build a person brand. And this is I'm not talking about corporate PR to put somebody on the cover of magazines. I'm talking about CEOS having a very obvious presence, of very engage presence on a social media platform, liked in it. A somebody like Casey Graham, for example, from Gravy, who has established a huge following and a big personal brandon. He's done a lot of work invested a lot of time to make that happen. Why are they're not more segos with a really active social presence as a way to build their own personal brands and, in turn, build the awareness of the companies that they work for? Oh, that's a great question. You know, I don't know. If they just don't realize the importance of it. That's one of the one things to dispel. They think it takes too much time, they think someone else should do it. You can't form out in your personal brand to someone else. You really can't. I mean I know, they're CEOS who are having people do content and stuff, and I guess I can work, but to really nail it like Casey does, oh my goodness, and he'll tell you the story if you dig back. I've been on webinars. He just started doing this two years ago, like in two thousand and nineteen or something. I mean, he is phenomenally grown. It's just being relatable, in human and that's what the world needs. That's why I do personal brand and you know, I've always been a people first marketer about human, human connection, and I love you love working with personal brands because you can bring that out. It will. I mean, let's talk about some of the bad pr we've seen in the last week. I'm not going to mention some of the things about Zeos right so just you know, being human is what people helps and you can't and you can do it not every day. There's no you don't have to spend all the time like some of the consultants do, but just have a presence. You'd been surprised, do you look at some of these company CEO Things? Their presence is just like a picture on the wall. That's it. There's no human, personalized connection so that's that's a huge thing, realizing you need it, and I don't know if people people realize there's opportunity to be had. Let's shift gears a little bit and talk about how to build a personal brand on linked because I know that you spend a lot of time advising people on how to do that and your content reflects that on Linkedin. So what are the first steps to take if you're looking to leverage linkedin to build a personal brand? Okay, great question, because you really shouldn't just hop on just to hop on. You need strategy in place. Obviously, find out why. I mean figure out why are you on Linkedin? Are you just trying to, you know, have fun, make content, or is it tied to a strategic business, you know endeavor? Figure out, you know, how am I going to show up? What are my goals? And then get your profile in check. Sadly, that is such a missed opportunity. First Impressions sometimes our last impressions. I see way too many people with incomplete profiles, missing banners, headlines that just say they're, you know, VP at XYZ company. That's not telling me anything. People's attention spans are short these days, so get in a really good headline. That, doubt, your headline is probably the most important. It ackfolows you everywhere, as you know, so get that really clear. When I work in clubhouse every Thursday on Linkedin mastreet we've been doing linkedin profiles all this month because it is such a huge needing. People struggle with it, you know, and I get it. I always say it's hard to see the picture of the frame you're in. Right. It's so hard to write about yourself and communicate your value. So having a really good profile and then making sure you're about summary. That's the next thing. Making your profile like a mini landing page is probably the best way to, I'd say, to angle it. What are the biggest mistakes that people make when they're trying to build a person a brand on Linkedin? Okay, well, first of all they're not clearly defined, and I'm talking about, let me come from the context of, you know, building it...

...for professional or, you know, business opportunities, not just look at me. I'm a million followers and you know that's it. It's tied to knowing who you are. Just like who I am. I'm how I'm going to stand out in one lane. I see too many people having these headlines that have all these keywords stuff and I have no idea what they do. Come out in one lane for one person with one problem you solved for the most part, so people can get that repetition. Oh, here's who does it, here's who. This is probably one of the first things. And then people, you know, don't just communic give. It's a giving platform. You know, if you're going to come out, you can't just post and ghosts, as they say. Start. I have a mic post. Today is all about building your community to build your brand again. Get that community in place to help you. I probably think you know, they just don't give it enough time. It's a long game, it really is. I mean, well, I'll say long. I don't mean it's going to take years. I started getting out on Linkedin all this year consistently, every single day. You probably see me right about it, because I was struggling, I was being inconsistent and I gave myself a big, bold goal of posting every single day in probably within thirty days I saw Ras results. Like you know, I was asked to be on a podcast, to speak on a live summit, you know, just it just started happening fast, because when you show up and be consistent of value, people are going to know they're you're there to help them, and that goes huge on Linkedin. Linkedin's not the place it was when it first started, for sure. For sure, I've been active on linkedin probably for two years and I have noticed one of the things that I do struggle with when it comes to Linkedin is is the algorithm, because I don't understand it. One day on be all the ball and then next day no one wants to ask me to dance and there's no engagement, no comments. You know, when you're trying to build a personal brand, when you post content, when you you make comments, there's a lot of validation that comes from, Oh look how many views my post got, look how many video views I got. But what do you advise people when there is little or no engagement and they feel discouraged and their attempts to build a personal brands seemingly are paying off are they're not attracting the spot like? What's your advice to them when that happens? Oh, I get it's I think it affects everyone. It's unless you're some of the UNICORNS on Linkedin, but the like the algorithm is going through some major changes on my linkedin content manager, you know, was telling me that like the last month. I would say key, you cannot, you know, like anything, you can't just put your toe in the water and then you know it's too cold. I'm walking away. Stay in the long game. As you know, there's eight hundred million people on Linkedin. Ninety seven percent, they say, probably. I bet it's ninety five percent now post. So you know you're still in good numbers and people are seeing you. A lot of people are scared to react, a lot of people are scared to take that first step. So people are still seeing you. I cannot tell you how many times I've been dmed with people who wanted to, you know, get a discovery call or whatever, book a call and they're like, I follow your content, I really like it, and I never knew that. They never engaged. I never knew it. So my thing is people are seeing and then the thing is when I was in kindergarten, I remember when I first started kindergarten, Mama I came home upset because I felt I told my mom and and how many friends or something, and she said Michelle. To be a friend, to have a friend, you have to be a friend, okay, and I never forgot that. So it's like on Linkedin, if you want to get out there, start giving, giving, giving. The law of rest of prosody is so powerful here. You know, just start reaching out to more people, give more than you can expect to get. It will come back, I promise you. When I got back on Linkedin this year consistently. I switched industries, you know, I left my job and the insurance and legal industry, professional services, to come and, you know, start fresh, and I started fresh, almost started over, and it's been phenomenal just reaching out and being a person now. I know that sounds easier said than done, but just take ten steps and a few baby steps. Reach out to ten people a day and just comment. You know, take the baby steps and it'll just build in time like compound interest. I...

...wrote a post this morning a title content as an obligation instead of an acronym, sort of the play on Sass and pass and all those things that we talked about in the BB SASS world, and it's the idea that a lot of people feel like it's a chore or duty to Post Content and it's not. I mean it should be enjoy it should give you satisfaction and I'm wondering, from your perspective, what are the questions that someone should ask or what are the things they should think about before posting content on Linkedin? Well, first of all, I you shouldn't know. If It's a chore for You, then we have to reassess because if it's like, you know, pulling tea, we don't want that. You know, I love being on Linkedin every day because I built a community of people, of clients, collaborators. I just love waking up and open up and seeing it. So, are you posting about something that people really resonate with? Are you posting about something that's more about you and not about others? If you're just getting on Linkedin, give a lot of value and tips and help people sprinkle in your story too. I mean, without a doubt, they need to get to know you, but lead with others first. You know, give a reason to read your stuff. I think that's where a lot of people go wrong. or it starts small. Make your content digestible nuggets. I know some people feel compelled that they have to write a book now. We're busy. Take the friction out of it, make it super easy. So just be sure. Are you standing out and doing consistently the same thing? It'll get track. Should you know, the same topic to help the people who have that problem you're trying to solve. So I think that should be and then, if it's not a chore, Reassess Now Content Every day. Do I recommend that? No, that's obligation I put on me. But when it comes to next year, three day be three days, five days. How many days a week do you post mark? Four to five days a week. I would add, as a caveat, that I was a reporter for fifteen years. I'm a professional writer by training. So writing head and me comes easy, and I say that in quotation marks, because writing is not easy. I Flex my muscle and I've trained this muscle for a long times, but for a lot of people it's not natural. Writing content is not a natural thing. It's hard and it's true. And can I give you the story? Because so last year when I was, you know, left my job and January thirty one, two thousand and twenty, I remember that date well. So I know, like I know I need a young linkedin and I was doing all the things, commenting, connecting you. I had very active there, but I knew I wasn't consistent and it bugged me like how in the world are these people finding stuff to post every day? Like it was the world's biggest question I couldn't answer, like, what the heck? I was just unbenownst to me. So here's the thing. That the gift of getting out there and putting yourself out there and starting to post regally, the I do start flowing. It's the weirdest thing and and one just for me. I've talked many people. They said, you know, getting out there, you start getting ideas, you'll have conversation and you'll think, oh, that could be a post right. You just start getting lay in the land, so to speak. was that like how it was for you? Maybe you're not a good person ask because, as you said, you're used to writing content quickly. No, it's one of the questions I did want to ask you in terms of how do you generate ideas, and I will tell you that one of the best ways is to read other people's content and react to their point of view. Or sometimes you and idea of sparks and here's the thing. This is a trick that I do, or a hack of sorts. I'll be writing a comment. It's a post that resonated for one a reason. I'm writing a comment and I say to myself, this is a great post, so I'll I'll leave the comment, I'll cut and paste, put it into another document and I've got a nugget of an idea for my own post on the same topic. I'm not I'm not going to copy their content, but yeah, that's one of the ways to do it. And and the other thing I would suggest, and you probably do the same thing, is when you come across content ideas, you got to capture them, you got to write them down, you gotta go on to your your iphone or a piece of paper, whatever it takes. Don't let them evaporate, because once they're gone, they're usually gone. Oh, and the split second. Yeah, my iphone notes page content ideas is huge. One of the other things too, like I'm at the end of my you know,...

...three hundred and sixty five and it's it's a lot. And so what I've done every year. It's no there's no harm, no shame, and repurposing now don't say recycle, repurposing your content. So every every post I make is that I take it by the date and I caught copy that into a google docs and dated by day and very simple, and then by month. I mean I know some people put it in, you know, notion and all the other complicated things. Minds pretty easy, but I'll go there's days I'll go back and I used shield up to and just say what did the we're something that really resonates. I'm stuck today. And addition to your content idea, because I do that too, and I'll just take a really good post or maybe a nugget from a post, because here's a thing I was posting way too long earlier in the year, and then just pull out a nugget, rewrite it in a different way and that just goes it just helps. I mean I've had some stuff take off even more that way or some stuff that was maybe even lukewarm at the beginning, because you know, algorithm isn't our friend every day and then it takes off. So no harm and taking your stuff several months out. You know, only a few peat percentage of people see our stuff, and even that. Do you even remember when you posted two days ago, Hardley. I mean, I don't that's another tip to use when you're stuck. One final question and picking up on something you said earlier, and that is about clubhouse, the social media platform that was all the rage and then disappeared, and I'm curious about your thoughts on clubhouse as a platform for businesses looking to connect with their audiences. Is there any value there and do you think that many people and companies have prematurely abandoned clubhouse? Yeah, okay, so clubhouse was great. You know, the fear of FOMO got it out. You know, it was the shiny object. Do Your I think I got in December of last year, January started a weekly show on personal brandy mastery and now I've flipped it into just modding. Yeah, it was great. Okay, here's the thing. Everyone left. Everyone came to it then seemed to have left it, but there's millions of people still there. I show up every week, just in that that room, but every single time I'm made that room I meet people from all over the world and I bring them to Linkedin, which I did all along, and I form connections. Now some just become amazing connections, some have become clients, collaborators. That social audio is a perfect way to build connection. You know, a lot of us are scared of video. A lot of us for apprehensive about getting video. Well, what's the next best way between written and video? Is Social Audio. You know, we're not. I think the fear is the the visual. So getting on audio, and I know there's some people still introverted on audio, but it's a great way to connection is everything, and so I would try it. Okay, so do you have to host your room? No, go find targeted, niche rooms where you try it out, where your ideal audiences and just, you know, be a participant. Now, don't just listen, raise your Handah goes, put an inside in, ask a question. They're very helpful and Nice on clubhouse for the most part, like they are on Linkedin. So I still use it, not as much, but it's definitely a targeted way to build relationships. Thanks for all the great insight, Michelle. Where can people learn more about you, your services and your podcast? Well, thank you so much for asking. It was a pleasure to be here. So yeah, so, of course connect with me on Linkedin. I'm at Michelle B as in Brand Griffin Michelle B Griffin. Of course I'd love to meet you. You can check out my website, which is Michelle be Griffin, as in brandcom, and you can also have a lot of linkedin goodies on my profile where you can get like some canva templates and things like that. And also my podcast, is the business of you. Fun fact, is started as my linkedin live show and it's now a podcast. Another way to content create and repurpose. But that's on all the major platforms now. So it's all about helping expert entrepreneurs, expertise servers, product providers, build their personal brand to grow their business. So I appreciate it, Mark. It's been a pleasure. Well, thanks for listening to another episode of marketing spark. If you enjoy the conversation, leave a review and subscribe by Itunes,...

...spotify or your favorite podcast APP. If you'd like to learn more about how I how BEBB SASS companies as a fractional CMO consultant and advisor, send an email to mark and marketing Sparkco or conduct with me on Linkedin. I'll talk to you next time.

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