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'relistening 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 personalbrand so important and how do you do that online? Today I'm talking withMichelle Griffin, a personal brand strategist and the host of the business of youpodcast. Welcome to marketing spark, Michelle, so good to be here. Thankyou, mark. Let's kick things off with a straightforward question, thesoftball question. Okay, what's your definition of a personal brand? Who?Great question because, as you know, it's like asking someone the definition ofa 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 likea 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 Ido 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 andservice with the people first marketing approach. So for me, intentionally forming thatconnection so people you know, know you're the top of mind and who youare to help them. So that's very adlibbed my definition. I actually havea formal definition I'll share. If you have show notes, we can putit in there. Sounds good. Sounds good. So elaborate on the peoplefirst approach to personal branding because obviously there's different ways to skin a cat andthere'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 inexactly just like you said. You nailed it. Like, what is yourperspective? In today's Day and age, we are commodity. You know,there's millions of marketers and millions of branders. But, like, the only waypeople going to resonate in this day and age, to break through thenoise and the attention economy, is to have a point of view, tostand 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'sone 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 havinga strategy, and I do work with clients. I have a seven stepprocess that I created to nail all that. That's my biggest take. Have astrategy and be intentional would be of service to others. So individuals havebeen focused on personal brands for decades. It's not a new concept. Ithink 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 helpyou professionally and personally. But I am interested in why there seems to beso much focus or fascination on building a personal brand. You look through yourlinkedin news feed and there are lots of people talking about the value of personalbranding. I'm just curious about why that is and whether it reflects the economyand 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 abad rap and there's a lot of misconceptions because there's it's the wild west outthere, right, no one, everyone knows. They just need to standout and to have visibility, but not for the wrong reasons, at leastthe way I do it. Not to be all about me self, promotionals, like I have something valuable, I have expertise to share to help peopleto solve a problem, right, that's why we're in business. So youneed 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 inlinenow. 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 youshould know because I've somewhat problem I can help you solve. It's avisibility. It's being known, noticed and known to get the results. SoI think influx of last year, we're more people online, really played alot into it. I also think there's a big a lot of misconceptions ofwhat it is and people, you know, Hashtag personal brandy and instagram. Callit personal branding and and I'm out to just kind of disproved all thatand to really make it clear. You know, a real personal brand,at least the way I do it, to build your perception, reputation toyour business, needs to be exactly like a brand strategy for company, butwith a person with your point of view, in perspective, expertise, styled inokay, in theory, everyone likes the idea of personal brand. Everybodywants a higher profile, everybody wants to be perceived in a certain ways sothat when you step out into the world, your reputation precedes you. HMM.So in practice, where do you start with a personal brand? Imean, 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 doI really who am I? What do I want? What do I wantout of this? If it's just want fanfare and stuff, yeah, it'sa whole different, you know, path to take. But if you strategicallywant 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 goingto start with, you know, deep diving the way I do it.I have a seven step process. I'll tell you real quick. So Istart with the perspective. Perspective all about you, your personal, your professional, your industry, your ideal client, all this stuff that makes I considerit like taking a thousand piece puzzle and dumping it on the table. Let'smake sense of this. was define all the things, just like you.What a regular brand or marketing tragedy? And you know, getting really clearin that. The next one is people. Now, as a marketer, youknow, hey, Michelle, you have one ideal client, right,ideally. Well, I call people two things. First, as your idealclient, persona after whatever, you know, the Lingo we want to call thatone person. We're here to help. But I also I wrote a postabout this today and Linkedin your partners. You will grow your brand and yourselfabsolutely faster when you have a community partners, lightminded people, you know, sister things, to help build you up, and I've seen that firsthand of clients and myself this year. You got to have that, thatpartnership. And then the third one is the positioning. How are you standingout in the market. That is credible. As part of my favorite thing todo is I'll help you take all the pieces that are you and Ipromise you there's a way to differentiate yourself. Just because you're a marketer doesn't meanyou're like the hundreds of thousands of marketers. We will help you finda 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 outof you. And the next one is packaging. Now, packaging to meis not Welt self promotional. It's like packaging your messaging, your client messagingis so important. Your website also, your social handles, your marketing nowsets all the things are going to help build that brand. The next oneis content. Publish EARTHP is publishing. It's all about the content. Nowthe content on social and I also like to build your own platform. Youknow, where are you putting stuff out in the world? At your ownplace? 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 getyou in front of more people to snowball at. And the seventh step ispropelled keep checking the analytics of building the trust, building all that to keepgrowing 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 probablydo mark and then just make it about a person and I work witha lot of expertise base businesses and help them, help them get out there. So does that answer question? Seven steps? I give a high levelview, but it's very similar to the way that I work with BBS ASScompanies. I go through the exact same steps. I love the part puzzleanalogy is great because you're dealing with all...

...this information and you're trying to putit all together. The one area that I did want to focus on hisposition, because I love positioning like you do. I love position in amessaging and telling a story that's unique and distinct. I am interested in howyou do that because, for example, there are lots of people who aredigital marketers or salespeople or focus on social media how do you find that uniquenessin somebody? What do you do, what do they have to do toidentify 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 ofview. 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 whatis your what is your process to making that happen? Oh yeah, well, it really comes from that a hundred peace thousand piece pubblic puzzle. Donebeing I work, you know, in my program I work with my clients. We spend a lot of time together. You know, I have to pullout. They have an inside of them. They just need someone likeme to connect the dots, like you. So we I have a lot ofquestions that I pull out and I just we talk it through and I'llsay what about this, what about that? But I find a way to blendevery single on my clients says something in that initial first two calls andI'm like there's the clue. I keep digging deeper and finding that golden threadand and so I'll push back on them like what about this, what aboutthat? But there's a way to combine your perspective, your experience, yourskills, your point of view to find that point of view or their beliefs. You know, these days, this day and age, you got tohave something to stand for to really you know people. I there's a millionthings to find, billions of things to find in Google. Right information isa commodity. We need someone to form that connection with. So I reallyjust work hard and finding, you know, that one way to spend that goldenthread and make them stand out. And really I'm working with the storybased framework as you do, and that's how people connect. So it's hardto say because I have to be in the moment, but did I giveyou any clue of finding that golden thread? Is What I aim for. Youdid, and and it does take a lot of work. And sometimeswhat I find interesting is what's obvious to you, what makes someone different orspecial, isn't obvious to them. They just think that's the way that theyare, that's their personality or their approach the world. So I think thatis very interesting. The other thing I want to ask you about being lookingbuilding a personal brand is that on Linkedin, where you and I spend a lotof time probably too much time. I would say there's a lot ofconsultants out there, people like you and I, that or individual business ownersthat have invested interest in building a personal brand, in establishing a presence that'sdistinct and that attracts a spotlight. But what about entrepreneurs and business leaders interms of how and whether they should build a personal brand? Things like?They would ask, well, what's in it for them? Some would arguethat it takes way too much time and effort to actually do it. Twoquestions. What's the importance of building a personal brand for an entrepreneur, astartup entrepreneur or or an executive, a sea sweet executives, and what's theRoy like? Why should they do it? It's a great question because, youknow, I get a lot of people say, well, I workfor company, why should I have a personal brand? Well, everyone shouldwork on their personal brand. Just because you work for a company or havea title, that's that could be temporary or could it's not forever. Maybewrite. Your personal brand takes you everywhere. It's going to help you staying outthe 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 anotherjob, get more or promotion from Opportunity starts speaking. Why wouldn't you wantto create more opportunity for yourself? No one else is going to give youpermission or do it best for you. So so get out there and there'sa ways to do it. I could. I get a lot of Dan's frompeople and companies like how do I build my brand when I work forcompany and and I give them clothes and you know, the main thing issome companies are more lenient than others on social media. I mean I cangive you examples. Probably don't air, but of people I know who workingfor fortune ten companies are building their personal brand and and it's just the wayto 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, youknow a lot of money to start up.

Getting out there, being the faceyour business is going to instantly attract more people to you. You knowyou'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 thisday and age, we want to know who's behind the brand. Right sogetting out there and forming that human connection. That's what it's all about. That'swhat people are begging for, wanting and resonating with these days. WhatI 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 thecover of magazines. I'm talking about CEOS having a very obvious presence, ofvery engage presence on a social media platform, liked in it. A somebody likeCasey Graham, for example, from Gravy, who has established a hugefollowing and a big personal brandon. He's done a lot of work invested alot of time to make that happen. Why are they're not more segos witha 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. Ifthey just don't realize the importance of it. That's one of the one things todispel. They think it takes too much time, they think someone elseshould 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 havingpeople do content and stuff, and I guess I can work, but toreally nail it like Casey does, oh my goodness, and he'll tell youthe story if you dig back. I've been on webinars. He just starteddoing this two years ago, like in two thousand and nineteen or something.I mean, he is phenomenally grown. It's just being relatable, in humanand that's what the world needs. That's why I do personal brand and youknow, 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 prwe've seen in the last week. I'm not going to mention some of thethings about Zeos right so just you know, being human is what people helps andyou can't and you can do it not every day. There's no youdon't have to spend all the time like some of the consultants do, butjust have a presence. You'd been surprised, do you look at some of thesecompany 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 hugething, realizing you need it, and I don't know if people people realizethere's opportunity to be had. Let's shift gears a little bit and talk abouthow to build a personal brand on linked because I know that you spend alot of time advising people on how to do that and your content reflects thaton Linkedin. So what are the first steps to take if you're looking toleverage linkedin to build a personal brand? Okay, great question, because youreally 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 onLinkedin? Are you just trying to, you know, have fun, makecontent, or is it tied to a strategic business, you know endeavor?Figure out, you know, how am I going to show up? Whatare my goals? And then get your profile in check. Sadly, thatis such a missed opportunity. First Impressions sometimes our last impressions. I seeway too many people with incomplete profiles, missing banners, headlines that just saythey'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. Itackfolows you everywhere, as you know, so get that really clear. WhenI work in clubhouse every Thursday on Linkedin mastreet we've been doing linkedin profiles allthis 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 seethe picture of the frame you're in. Right. It's so hard to writeabout yourself and communicate your value. So having a really good profile and thenmaking sure you're about summary. That's the next thing. Making your profile likea mini landing page is probably the best way to, I'd say, toangle it. What are the biggest mistakes that people make when they're trying tobuild a person a brand on Linkedin? Okay, well, first of allthey're not clearly defined, and I'm talking about, let me come from thecontext of, you know, building it...

...for professional or, you know,business opportunities, not just look at me. I'm a million followers and you knowthat's it. It's tied to knowing who you are. Just like whoI am. I'm how I'm going to stand out in one lane. Isee too many people having these headlines that have all these keywords stuff and Ihave no idea what they do. Come out in one lane for one personwith one problem you solved for the most part, so people can get thatrepetition. Oh, here's who does it, here's who. This is probably oneof the first things. And then people, you know, don't justcommunic give. It's a giving platform. You know, if you're going tocome out, you can't just post and ghosts, as they say. Start. I have a mic post. Today is all about building your community tobuild your brand again. Get that community in place to help you. Iprobably think you know, they just don't give it enough time. It's along 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 onLinkedin all this year consistently, every single day. You probably see me rightabout it, because I was struggling, I was being inconsistent and I gavemyself a big, bold goal of posting every single day in probably within thirtydays I saw Ras results. Like you know, I was asked to beon a podcast, to speak on a live summit, you know, justit just started happening fast, because when you show up and be consistent ofvalue, people are going to know they're you're there to help them, andthat goes huge on Linkedin. Linkedin's not the place it was when it firststarted, for sure. For sure, I've been active on linkedin probably fortwo years and I have noticed one of the things that I do struggle withwhen 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 wantsto 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 engagementand they feel discouraged and their attempts to build a personal brands seemingly are payingoff are they're not attracting the spot like? What's your advice to them when thathappens? Oh, I get it's I think it affects everyone. It'sunless you're some of the UNICORNS on Linkedin, but the like the algorithm is goingthrough some major changes on my linkedin content manager, you know, wastelling me that like the last month. I would say key, you cannot, you know, like anything, you can't just put your toe in thewater and then you know it's too cold. I'm walking away. Stay in thelong game. As you know, there's eight hundred million people on Linkedin. Ninety seven percent, they say, probably. I bet it's ninety fivepercent now post. So you know you're still in good numbers and people areseeing you. A lot of people are scared to react, a lot ofpeople 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 wantedto, you know, get a discovery call or whatever, book a calland they're like, I follow your content, I really like it, and Inever knew that. They never engaged. I never knew it. So mything is people are seeing and then the thing is when I was inkindergarten, I remember when I first started kindergarten, Mama I came home upsetbecause 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. Soit's like on Linkedin, if you want to get out there, startgiving, giving, giving. The law of rest of prosody is so powerfulhere. You know, just start reaching out to more people, give morethan 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, professionalservices, to come and, you know, start fresh, and I started fresh, almost started over, and it's been phenomenal just reaching out and beinga person now. I know that sounds easier said than done, but justtake ten steps and a few baby steps. Reach out to ten people a dayand just comment. You know, take the baby steps and it'll justbuild in time like compound interest. I...

...wrote a post this morning a titlecontent as an obligation instead of an acronym, sort of the play on Sass andpass 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 choreor duty to Post Content and it's not. I mean it should be enjoy itshould give you satisfaction and I'm wondering, from your perspective, what are thequestions that someone should ask or what are the things they should think aboutbefore posting content on Linkedin? Well, first of all, I you shouldn'tknow. If It's a chore for You, then we have to reassess because ifit's like, you know, pulling tea, we don't want that.You know, I love being on Linkedin every day because I built a communityof people, of clients, collaborators. I just love waking up and openup and seeing it. So, are you posting about something that people reallyresonate with? Are you posting about something that's more about you and not aboutothers? If you're just getting on Linkedin, give a lot of value and tipsand help people sprinkle in your story too. I mean, without adoubt, they need to get to know you, but lead with others first. You know, give a reason to read your stuff. I think that'swhere a lot of people go wrong. or it starts small. Make yourcontent digestible nuggets. I know some people feel compelled that they have to writea book now. We're busy. Take the friction out of it, makeit super easy. So just be sure. Are you standing out and doing consistentlythe same thing? It'll get track. Should you know, the same topicto help the people who have that problem you're trying to solve. SoI think that should be and then, if it's not a chore, ReassessNow Content Every day. Do I recommend that? No, that's obligation Iput on me. But when it comes to next year, three day bethree 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 bytraining. So writing head and me comes easy, and I say that inquotation marks, because writing is not easy. I Flex my muscle and I've trainedthis muscle for a long times, but for a lot of people it'snot natural. Writing content is not a natural thing. It's hard and it'strue. And can I give you the story? Because so last year whenI was, you know, left my job and January thirty one, twothousand and twenty, I remember that date well. So I know, likeI know I need a young linkedin and I was doing all the things,commenting, connecting you. I had very active there, but I knew Iwasn't consistent and it bugged me like how in the world are these people findingstuff to post every day? Like it was the world's biggest question I couldn'tanswer, like, what the heck? I was just unbenownst to me.So here's the thing. That the gift of getting out there and putting yourselfout there and starting to post regally, the I do start flowing. It'sthe 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. wasthat like how it was for you? Maybe you're not a good person askbecause, 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 howdo you generate ideas, and I will tell you that one of the bestways 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 atrick that I do, or a hack of sorts. I'll be writing acomment. It's a post that resonated for one a reason. I'm writing acomment and I say to myself, this is a great post, so I'llI'll leave the comment, I'll cut and paste, put it into another documentand I've got a nugget of an idea for my own post on the sametopic. 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 wouldsuggest, and you probably do the same thing, is when you comeacross content ideas, you got to capture them, you got to write themdown, 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 iphonenotes page content ideas is huge. One of the other things too, likeI'm at the end of my you know,...

...three hundred and sixty five and it'sit's a lot. And so what I've done every year. It's nothere's no harm, no shame, and repurposing now don't say recycle, repurposingyour content. So every every post I make is that I take it bythe date and I caught copy that into a google docs and dated by dayand very simple, and then by month. I mean I know some people putit 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 usedshield 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 thattoo, and I'll just take a really good post or maybe a nugget froma post, because here's a thing I was posting way too long earlier inthe year, and then just pull out a nugget, rewrite it in adifferent way and that just goes it just helps. I mean I've had somestuff take off even more that way or some stuff that was maybe even lukewarmat the beginning, because you know, algorithm isn't our friend every day andthen 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 thatis about clubhouse, the social media platform that was all the rage and thendisappeared, and I'm curious about your thoughts on clubhouse as a platform for businesseslooking to connect with their audiences. Is there any value there and do youthink 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 Igot in December of last year, January started a weekly show on personal brandymastery and now I've flipped it into just modding. Yeah, it was great. Okay, here's the thing. Everyone left. Everyone came to it thenseemed to have left it, but there's millions of people still there. Ishow up every week, just in that that room, but every single timeI'm made that room I meet people from all over the world and I bringthem to Linkedin, which I did all along, and I form connections.Now some just become amazing connections, some have become clients, collaborators. Thatsocial audio is a perfect way to build connection. You know, a lotof us are scared of video. A lot of us for apprehensive about gettingvideo. Well, what's the next best way between written and video? IsSocial Audio. You know, we're not. I think the fear is the thevisual. So getting on audio, and I know there's some people stillintroverted on audio, but it's a great way to connection is everything, andso I would try it. Okay, so do you have to host yourroom? 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 mostpart, like they are on Linkedin. So I still use it, notas much, but it's definitely a targeted way to build relationships. Thanks forall 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 courseconnect with me on Linkedin. I'm at Michelle B as in Brand Griffin MichelleB Griffin. Of course I'd love to meet you. You can check outmy website, which is Michelle be Griffin, as in brandcom, and you canalso have a lot of linkedin goodies on my profile where you can getlike some canva templates and things like that. And also my podcast, is thebusiness of you. Fun fact, is started as my linkedin live showand it's now a podcast. Another way to content create and repurpose. Butthat'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 asa fractional CMO consultant and advisor, send an email to mark and marketing Sparkcoor conduct with me on Linkedin. I'll talk to you next time.

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