If you are a social media specialist, will you be competing with Social Media Examiner this year? Perhaps you are a content strategist – could you ever compete with Copyblogger? If you are teaching people how to blog for money, does it make sense to go head to head with Problogger?
No, no and no.
If you are a small business owner writing a blog to market and promote your products or services, you cannot, CANNOT, complete with the big players. You don’t have the time, or the resources to do so – it is as simple as that.
However, there is a better way for you to stand out amongst the crowd, without trying to kill yourself in the process (‘cause that might happen if you choose to take on more than you could ever handle).
Two words – personal brand.
You are an individual – so go sell yourself. Turn yourself into the biggest asset of your business – the backbone of it all. Create a strong personal brand for yourself. And your blog is the perfect place to do it! Let’s look at the 4 elements of a memorable personal brand.
#1 Make a great first impression
What is the first thing people notice when they land on your blog? Is it your smiling face across the header? Is your site colourful and vibrant or content-focused and understated Are you portraying an image that is retro, modern or businesslike? People won’t form an opinion about your personal brand based on what you say – they will form it largely on how you say it.
And before they even read a single word, your design will tell them what to think about you.
- Make sure you choose the right image for your header.
- Get a great looking professional headshot for your website.
- Really think about the choice of colours and the typography – they say a lot about your personality.
- If you want readers to focus on your content, make it stand out.
- De-clutter your sidebar, main navigation and the homepage elements.
- Look professional, and not a scam artist.
#2 Articulate your USP
While you are the force behind your brand, it is ultimately a good idea to think about creating a point of difference for your business. You need to figure out what is different about you. What will make other readers take notice? How can you stand out?
Do you offer a contrarian view? Do you present your perspective on a fast changing world? Do you offer inspiration on your blog and hope to motivate people? Or, my favourite, do you combine two topics unlike any other blogger in your industry.
Once you have figured that out, the rest is easy. Now you have to be clear and consistent in your message throughout your blog. Everything you write about should strengthen your ‘difference’. It should also come across in your:
- title and tagline
- popular posts displayed on your sidebar
- free opt-in offer
- products and services
- social media profiles
- guest posts
- your content
#3 Cultivate a strong, unmistakable style
Are you somebody with a larger than life personality? Are you often the center of attention at parties? Do you find that people are drawn to you naturally? If so, that’s excellent news for you, my friend. You can really leverage your blog to create a rocking personal brand!
Here are some ways you can help strengthen your personal brand:
- If you look fabulous and totally comfortable on camera, consider adding videos to your blog.
- If writing is your best channel of expression, establish a strong and authentic voice that is uniquely yours.
- If you have a gorgeous talking voice, consider creating a podcast or doing webinars to spread your message.
- Determine your emotional appeal: are you serious, sassy or hilarious?
- Be an expert – demonstrate your authority whatever modality it takes.
#4 Always speak to the right person
Laying down the foundation for a strong personal brand starts with knowing who your ideal reader is. The question you need to answer with utmost confidence is this: who is your ideal audience?
And it is not ‘everybody’. You might have heard the saying, if you set out to attract everyone, you end up appealing to no one. In fact, with a strong personal brand, you won’t appeal to everyone in the first place. But the people who attract, they will love you like it’s nobody’s business.
Here are some tips to nail your ideal reader:
- Get specific. The more specific it is, the easier it will be to woo this person.
- Start with your products and services. What problem are you solving? Who needs your product or service?
- Create a profile for your ideal reader in such detail that you can actually imagine this person sitting across you when you are creating blog posts.
Once you start putting all these tips into action, you will see a clear personal brand emerge. Be patient, it takes some time for people to notice these changes but once you bring all the elements together, you will have people describing you like they took the words right out of your mouth.