Let’s talk about you. You’re a brand. Do you know how to develop your personal brand?
As an online marketing consultant and writer, I found myself answering a ton of questions about building and developing a personal brand. So I did a lot of reading on the subject as well as reflecting on many of the effective tactics I’ve used since establishing Feldman Creative in 1995 and focusing on content marketing since 2011.
I organized these ideas into the infographic here, “The Complete A to Z Guide to Personal Branding.” Then I was invited to do a Google+ Hangout with Google+ master Martin Shervingon of Plus Your Business. Martin used the infographic as the agenda for a in-depth conversation we had on the subject of personal branding. You’ll find the video below as well as a transcript.
Enjoy it. I hope you pick-up and apply some useful tips.
Here’s the interview…
And here’s the transcript…
Martin: Hello everybody. Today I’m joined by Barry Feldman. He is a chap that I met at the Social Media Marketing World Conference 2014. He was wearing some fancy attire, which he’ll mention in terms of his personal brand, very fancy attire.
And it got my attention. Started chatting. He said, hey, would you like to do an interview? And here we are.
We’re going to be talking about personal branding. And the structure we’re going to use is an A-Zed (yes, I said Zed, not Z). You’ll be writing to Sesame Street trying to get us all to say A-Z. But we’re going to be doing personal branding. And I’m going to pass the mic over, as we say in stand up, to Barry. He’ll explain what is up. Then we’ll go really high energy, rapid fire, through to what you could be doing on your personal branding based on an infographic that’s going to be linked near to this video.
So Barry, how are you doing?
Barry: Yes, sir. What’s up mate? Happy to be here. I love that introduction.
Martin: Good. Well it’s good to see you. And do you want to let people know who you are. Your background to start with. And then maybe your foreground. Is that the way to start that?
Barry: The foreground? You didn’t warn me about the foreground part. But I’m used to doing the background part.
Alright. I’m a middle-aged graying marketing guy. You see the goatee there is kind of multi-colored. So I grew up knowing that communications was in my future. And I say broadcasting. My first job was in public relations. That’s not where I belonged. And I wound up having about a 10-year career in the ad agency business.
In 1995, I left, hung a shingle, called myself Feldman Creative. And so the best word to describe that would be freelance copywriter. And I’ve been that for a long time. I’m not – I am a solo-preneur in the classic sense. But I run a virtual shop in the sense that there’s a lot of partners that help me get the work done now.
But what’s changed and how I like to define myself now more so than a copywriter is I’m a content marketing consultant. So most of my clients are brand new to content marketing. Sometimes the larger picture – online marketing, inbound marketing. Or they’re trying and failing at it.
And so I’m taking people that are struggling with content marketing, as we both know it changes rather quickly and there’s a lot to it. Or that are coming to discover it and taking the dollars that once went into traditional marketing and reallocating them into online marketing. I’m helping those people. And I’m helping them from the beginning through to the days that we publish stuff.
So planning, auditing, publishing, analyzing, refining, and that’s how it works.
Martin: That’s great. And are you getting more into Google+?
Barry: I’m getting more into Google+. I was definitely an early adopter. But I can’t say that I was good at it. And it was always that extra one. A + meant I’ve got to do that one too, a +. So I’ve been a Twitter freak for 3-4 years. And Facebook usually think of as for social purposes almost entirely, even though you’ll find my content on my – what is it with Facebook? Is it profile or page that’s your business one? It’s your page, I guess.
So I keep paying close attention. And I have paid closer and closer attention to the Google+. And as you know, I have a lot of questions about it as does everybody. And now I know where to get them answered.
Martin: That’s great. It’s good to have you on board. And to everybody watching, I can see Dustin and Mark and Pam and Jason and Marilyn and Monica I think got sent up as well. So I’ll try and pull up some questions as we go and probably have a few at the end.
But we’re going to do rapid fire A-Zed. Personal brand. Let’s begin with that actually, before we go any further. What is personal branding? Why does it matter?
Barry: Well, it’s really treating the brand that might have otherwise been a company or a cause, taking an individual approach to that. We know today that the millennial workplace are far less likely to stay put and work for a company their entire life.
And so even people that have and love their jobs that are thinking about the personal brand to it are bloggers. And they’re active on social media. So this is okay now. Somebody who went to work years ago and spent their time promoting their own cause instead of the business’ wouldn’t have lasted long on that job. But now, people as employees, their agenda can be to promote themselves and with it call attention to their company.
So I think when you understand your personal brand really begins with everything you do online. And of course because of the changes that have happened in media, that begins when you’re a kid now, because you’re given an iPhone or a smart phone of some type. And you pick your poison. My kids’ ages, it’s Instagram heavily and SnapChat. And the things you do cause a digital footprint.
So your objectives in that infographic we’re going to talk about today I list 8 benefits of a personal brand. I don’t think they all apply to everybody. But they are getting your ideal clients, finding rewarding partnerships, finding leadership opportunities, building mind share in association with your market niche, building credibility, getting more recognized, getting more prestige, and getting higher perceived value.
So it kind of depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. But you could think of it as what people see when they Google you. That’s certainly a quick way to assess your personal brand. You could think of it as the things you put on your LinkedIn page. Or you could think of it as every thing you do, because these things we do digitally have an everlasting footprint. So your personal brand is really something that’s come to the forefront.
I’ve just started offering tips about it this year and it might be the subject that I field the most questions about now.
Martin: Yeah. It’s great. Let’s just touch on your personal brand as well. Because when we met you were wearing a fancy pair of paints.
Barry: Yep. I’m not wearing ’em now, so I’m not going to show ’em. But I can get you a picture of that if you want to put that on your post.
Martin: Yeah. We’ll have to add it in. You have patches, on Pinterest, and Google+ and Facebook, wherever. That was you saying that you’re a social guy. And also a talking point.
Barry: Yeah. I called myself Social Media Pants that day. And I made a shirt.
I don’t know if you know the history on it. I think that was the first time we crossed paths. I was talking to somebody about I need to learn more about Google+ and they went, that guy. So I went to your session. And then I lent you my camera I guess. So that’s our –
Martin: I returned it! Look at that! That’s how we became friends. It works!
Barry: I don’t think we’d be having this conversation –
Martin: But I would have a camera.
Barry: So yeah, I was wearing jeans with 20 patches of popular social media networks on them. Their icons. Largely recognizable by everybody. Even if you didn’t know every one of them, you’d certainly recognize the Twitter Bird and the + and so forth. And so that called a lot of attention to myself.
I’ll have to fill you in here as quickly as I possibly can. The back story is – I guess part of my personal brand, it’s like 90o here today. So I wouldn’t typically be wearing this. But people recognize this hat because I’ve used it in my avatar. So I thought if we’re talking personal branding, I better look the part. So another part of my personal brand I guess at media conferences is I’m sort of the creative class clown.
So it started about 3-4 years ago when I went to Blog World. I was new to Twitter and I came up with this icebreaker. I created this shirt that said, I’m Matt Feldman, creative, where are you at? And the back of the shirt had a picture of the bird’s ass. And it said, are you following me?
And so I carried Sharpies around, and I had people write their handles all over me. So as you might imagine, I met a lot of people, started a lot of conversations. I got my picture like all day that day. By the time, I heard people going, there goes the Twitter guy.
So I called that thing my Twe-Shirt. And I felt the need to have a sequel almost every big conference I go to. So I’m going to leave some of them out. But my favorites were the one in between then and the one you know of was Pinterest was red hot. This was early ’13 probably. So I made this 2 ½’ hat, which was inverted red push pin with a gigantic pin sticking up out of the top. The idea there was to collect business cards by having people shish-ke-bob their cards on my head.
That wound up putting holes about [that] big in the business cards, rendering them completely useless. So that nail was a pretty big diameter. So what I did instead was put push pins all over the place on my hat. So I became like a bulletin board of business cards.
The event we just went to – Social Media Marketing World in the spring of 2014 – concentrates on social media. Hence the name Social Media Marketing World. And I came up with this idea that my pants would be covered with all the icons and I’m sure you saw me getting my picture taken. I probably got my picture taken 100 times.
Martin: Yeah. That’s great. Good. And Dustin says, were you fancy pants? And yes you were. I’ll tell you now.
Barry: Yeah. So we can put links to that stuff. On my blog there’s a summary of all that stuff.
Martin: Great. Well let’s now move towards the infographic. And we’re going to run through the A-Z. I’m just pacing your culture.
Let’s begin with the A – Authenticity. What’s that all about?
Barry: I think it’s a great way to begin talking about personal branding and so it conveniently starts with an A. What it’s about is being yourself. I think you are going to be one way or another, you are going to be a commodity.
Martin Shervington is, at least one of the things you are, is a Google+ expert. You have services accordingly. However, there’s a lot of Google+ experts. So I don’t have to get my questions answered by you.
So I think of you first as some of the things I’ve come to know since I’ve come to know you. You’re English, you surf, you’re building business.
Martin: You thought I was English. It’s okay. I’m actually Welsh. You don’t know that. It’s alright.
Barry: You’ve got some personal branding work to do, dude.
Martin: I know. I need to get the dragon on there.
Barry: You’re a comedian. So I think of these things first really when I think of you, not just that + guy. So I think authenticity. When you bring it to what you do, it’s the conversation. What else is there in media today?
Your progress is going to trace to the conversation. So if you know my personal brand, and you read my stuff. It’s not just about the things I know. It’s about – you’re going to quickly know that I’m a rock-n-roll maniac, and I play guitar, and I have two daughters, and I love dogs, and I have a good sense of humor, and I’m the class clown at various conferences and so forth.
So this authenticity thing, I wrote a piece for Commence and Convert called “Who Cares What Chris Brogan is Drinking?” If you get his emails on Sunday nights, he starts off telling you about what tea or coffee he’s drinking. For like a year, a year and a half, I’m like, dude, why do I care?
And when I finally talked to him about that, he said, it’s the quintessential conversation started. It’s the thing I get asked about the most. What about that tea? What about that coffee? So when you do that, when you bring it, when you pull yourself into your work, you’re giving yourself the chance to make the connections it takes to succeed these days. Otherwise I think you’re not that authentic. If people put on their journalist hat or whatever and they blend in with the pack.
Martin: Okay. Great. So next one – Blog.
Barry: Yeah. I would be hard pressed to not advise that if you’re going into personal branding that you call the centerpiece and the home of your personal brand your blog.
Now if that’s intimidating to you and you don’t yet have the time or have the resources or don’t have the technical skills to get into WordPress, you can make a home for yourself in various places. LinkedIn’s about to help you out with that with a publishing platform. Of course Tumblr makes it very easy to blog. Blogger. WordPress.com.
So I don’t want to give a lesson on blogging here today. But I think if you’re going to build a personal brand, I think at the earliest possible moment when you can figure out how to technically do that and get schooled in blogging, it should be understood that’s part of the job. You’re going to blog. That’s your voice.
Martin: Okay. So should you have one blog, do you think?
Barry: You should have at least one blog. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having more than one. They might have different objectives. We talked briefly about the fact that you have two. There are probably good things about that and bad. Certainly it’s a stretch on your resources.
Martin: Yeah, it’s interesting. The reason I’ve got two isn’t because I wanted to. It’s because the first one grew to a point that I wanted to build the team and build the community and have other people involved. And having it on http://MartinShervington.com – because that’s my personal brand, it wasn’t something that could be existing without me. So that’s why.
But if I was doing it at this moment, then I’d build one.
Barry: I have one. It’s at http://FeldmanCreative.com. It’s called The Point. And it’s intention is to get you to learn from me. it’s where I teach you the things I know, the techniques, tools, and tactics that become online marketing weapons.
But there I try to protect the integrity of it. I don’t often allow guest posts. I don’t sell anything. There’s no advertising. There’s no adwords. There’s no affiliates.
There might be. But I think if I have another blog, it would probably be to like be the cornerstone of a place where I was pursuing my passions, like maybe guitar teaching or something like that. And therefore you would see those things. It would be more commercial than my personal branding blog.
Martin: Great. Next one. C – Content.
Barry: Content begins with blogging. And so it follows nicely that it goes ABC that way. But I think when you get into it and you’re building a personal brand, you have to recognize, and I guess we’ll talk about this when we get to M – Media, but you have to recognize now that in the era of the smart phone, the Google glasses, the wrist watches, what have you, people consume media differently with different preferences, different times of day and so forth.
So when you get into taking content seriously, you’re stepping beyond just your blog and you’re looking at the media tastes of your clients and friends and the people you are trying to reach. So that might include audio. It might include what we’re doing now – video interviews.
The list isn’t that long, but it’s getting longer. It could include slide shares and infographics and lists and stuff. So media choices keep multiplying. And I think you become a content creator as a personal brand builder through learning what the preferences are of your audience and experimenting. Seeing when they really do work.
Martin: Just before we go on to the next one, I’d like to expand on one you didn’t mention, which is one we’ve talked about before – ebooks. Can you explain what you do with ebooks and how that can become the stud in your stable?
Barry: Well now you’re going to have to put that in your blog, because people are going to want to learn more about it. Yeah, I told you offline that I’m often asked to write ebooks. And sometimes that comes with some sort of sticker shock about the price going into it. And the sticker shock, the reason why it costs more than people expect is I’m putting a hell of a lot of time into the upfront work, which is the research and planning of it. So I wrote a piece, one of the more popular pieces I’ve ever done that was a slide show on SlideShare and later became the centerpiece for a variety of articles that I’ve written where I explain that the ebook is the stud in your content marketing stable.
What I mean by that is you do a lot of planning. I use as an example a piece I did 2 years ago called 21 pointers to sharpen your website. So that’s a stud. And I put a lot of thought and planning into what those 21 points are. And I made the point with like 50-100 words. It was a pretty quick read. And then the idea was studs make beautiful babies. So from that piece became 21 stories – 21 interviews – 21 memes. Whatever it is you decide to have.
So I think, more often than not, an ebook is the other way around. Sort of retro-created. So somebody riffed on a topic for a while, and they go if I put those together I have an ebook. And I’m not condemning that strategy. That’s not a bad strategy. But I’m proposing that the opposite strategy is a better strategy, particularly if you’re new to content marketing.
Like a Content Marketing 101 package might be an ebook of any length that answers the main questions your customers have, and then you’re not lost for subject matter for another 12-18 months, because you’re slicing and dicing it.
Martin: And the infographic that we keep referring to around this video, essentially we’re doing that right now. We’re taking that content, we add 26 letters, and we’re going through each of them. Each of these could be turned into a mini-video or cut up into little sections. But that’s a lot of value. And then we could take it into audio. This is one-minute clips, whatever it might be. There’s so much you can do.
Barry: Sometimes these are pre-meditated things. And sometimes these are lucky strikes. I am suddenly kind of a go-to guy to go to about personal branding. I can’t say I saw that one coming. I guess to some degree I detected that people have a lot of questions about it. And there was a time, it was real recently actually, where about 3-4 of my clients were building websites basically with their name as the domain.
So I was helping them with their personal branding. And it’s only been, I don’t know, 10.5 years I think since that term has even existed.
Barry: And so now we’ve come to realize what it is and how important it is. I’m digressing a little bit. But to speak to your point, yeah, I had this idea for some reason when I started making a list of tips on personal branding. A lot of the letters were covered. I figured a little imagination I could fill in the blanks. I found a partner. His name is Seth Price. He does a lot of content marketing for Placester and asked him to do the design.
And it is a stud in our stable. And it wasn’t really premeditated. So I might be riffing on this one for a while. I’m certainly going to take it and make a SlideShare because of my love for SlideShare. And that hasn’t happened yet. So who knows what’s going to happen as a result of this infographic.
So really when you’re talking about building studs, it doesn’t have to be an ebook, but it has to be a big idea.
Martin: Wonderful. D – Define your audience.
Barry: I think the mistake brands make – personal or otherwise – is they want to be everything to everybody. And that’s no way to succeed. Your business might be a good example. Even if you develop a beach head, and that beach head for the sake of this conversation is a Google+ expertise, training, so forth, it doesn’t mean that’s all you do. But the more niche-y you are in modern media, the more likely you are going to succeed.
We’ve seen it happen with cable television and the unbelievable number of choices and radio stations. You know, you go to the magazine rack and there’s 100s and 100s – so you know specializing is important. So I think what you want to do is develop a niche, define it, and then come to understand to a great extent, to every degree, exactly who you’re talking to, how old they are, what’s their job, sort of the obvious demographic stuff.
And then the psychographic stuff. And that’s becoming more important than it used to be, because of media consumption. Like when I was talking about that just a second ago. What about the person who loves listening to podcasts? You mentioned we might take the audio portion of this thing. They’re dog walkers or they’re commuters or they’re exercisers. You have to think about that.
So defining your audience is knowing what are their pleasures and pains and how they behave on media today.
Martin: Great. So next one. E – Email list.
Barry: Email list. God I love this one. This is another theme I’m riffing on this year and the thing that I’m getting interviewed about and created resources about, because I’ve just come to this point in time where I’m so frustrated. People, there is this thing, content marketing is the new SEO. I really hate that discussion.
But to get to the bottom line, people are realizing if you don’t have content and you don’t know how to do content marketing you’re going to lose out in terms of web traffic to people who do.
But I like to tell people, that’s not the goal. The goal is not getting people to your website. That doesn’t feed the family. The goal is getting people to come to your website a lot. So when they get there, you need to find out who they are. And if you have a long sales cycle in the B2B world, that has become what’s your email? I’m going to nurture you. I’m going to get to know you. I’m going to let you know when we have news and programs and discounts and events and what have you through email.
So while again it’s a tax on your resources, your time, perhaps asking for technical skills you don’t have, you need to build an email list. The sooner you begin doing that, the better.
Martin: Okay. Good advice. Now we’ve got Dustin Stout watching, who’s the best designer in the Plus. He created the stuff for Plus your Business as well. And so that leads me into the next one, G – Graphic design.
Barry: You skipped F.
Martin: Oh, Focus. Irony. F’s all about Focus.
Barry: F is for Feldman.
F is for Focus. And I suppose it’s really expansion of some of the ideas we had with D – Define your list. But I wrote there that blurry – try to say that fast, please – blurry brands languish. What I mean is you can’t be everything to everybody. So that niche, which is an extension of finding your audiences. What do I do best? How can I gain trust? How can I talk about something that I know more about than anybody else?
And so it’s important to focus.
So hi Dustin. Let’s talk about graphic design. I think the evolution of this infographic began when I went to – it’s no longer called Blog World. It’s called NMX, New Media Expo. It takes place in Januarys in Vegas. This past year I spoke there.
And I had recently learned about Michael Hyatt. I guess I was late to the party, because apparently the rest of the world knows about him. And he’s trusted for a lot of reasons. Lately he’s been talking a lot about content marketing and blogging. His stake in the ground is leadership. But when I went to hear him speak, he was speaking about personal branding. And he had a piece, a session, about 5 tips.
So I wrote them down, and I liked them, and I shared them, and I expanded them. And I wrote 6 more tips.
One of his tips was your personal brand has to have a look and feel. And there’s other tricks to that trade, like this hat and your color scheme, maybe your gags or your voice. But it begins with graphic design. You need your stuff to look good. If you’re a blogger, your website’s the cornerstone. The lobby, so to speak, of what you’re doing. If it gets there and it’s messy and confusing and cluttered, people are going to bail and go find somewhere that’s more comfortable to hang out.
So if you don’t have graphic design skills, I guess the bullet here is align yourself with somebody that does.
Martin: Okay. Great. H – Help others.
Barry: Help others is content marketing, really. And I suppose you might be able to argue that you can come at it from a different point of view. But you and I are both friends with this guy named Jay Baer. And he certainly has expanded his legacy by writing the book Youtility.
Do you know the subtitle to that book? Do you know it offhand?
Martin: I don’t know it offhand. Helping – nope.
Barry: I don’t know. Why Marketing is About Helping, Not Hyping. The idea is he’s using those two words help and hype to juxtapose the difference between old school marketing – screaming at you, saying buy my crap, and new school marketing, where you’re whispering more likely. And you’re just building trust by helping people.
And so Marcus Sheraton who I respect very much and is a leader in the field of content marketing, he simplifies it down to one word – teach. Your job is to teach. And so helping others is a real important tenet of personal branding. You’re going to – again you as the example – you’re going to sell people Google+ services. You’re going to sell people online marketing services. But you’re going to interest them with the free stuff you offer, like an interview with me about personal branding.
A very incestuous conversation we’re having here right now where I keep referring to the same things. But yeah, helping others is huge. You’ve got figure out how to start the conversation by being the helper guy, the teacher in a specific niche.
Martin: And it’s given, isn’t it? Jay’s subtitle is Why Smart Marketing is About Help, Not Hype.
Barry: Yeah, so he had probably 50K words to say on that and a lot of great examples of what he means, and I condense it down to about 20 words. The central idea is you want to be a helper, or in Marcus’ case a teacher.
Martin: Okay. Great. I – Influencers.
Barry: Well influencers, there’s a long conversation that could go on there. I had a wonderful time listening to Lee Odden speak at Social Media Marketing World and talking about the makings of ebooks that involve a lot of people. So he’s done that for events. Just recently, I think it was earlier this year, Jason Miller and his team at LinkedIn did a piece called The Sophisticated Guide to LinkedIn marketing. And I’m happy to say that I was one of the people that were quoted in there.
So I’m talking about Influencer Marketing, no matter who you are and when you began or how knowledgeable or good you are, there’s somebody that’s more than that. There’s somebody that’s more knowledgeable or more famous or more expert in some area. So one of the reasons you go to events is to make friends. So influencer marketing could be you and me talking about our buddy Jay or Marcus. Or it could be me being on your show. I’m about to find an audience today thanks to you.
So you’re attaching yourself to other influencers in an effort to gain influence.
Martin: So what tips would you have for everybody watching on how to approach that? Because it’s something I talk about as well about building relationships. But I’d love to hear your perspective.
Barry: Well the long version is about to be a mega post by me. In fact, it’s so many words I think it’s about to be a series of 3-4 posts. And also in the works is an infographic that I hope is going to be a big hit.
I hit up a lot of the people we’re talking about. While I was at that event, a company called Analytica did a list of the top 100 content marketing influencers. And so I took that list and highlighted the people I know and I asked them for tips and that’s going to become an infographic. So it’s Influence Marketing Tips for Influential Marketers.
I was rambling there. What was your question?
Martin: Tips for people building relationships. How to get their attention or –
Barry: The tips section of that piece that I was talking about, it’s not done, is massive. And so there’s a lot of tips apply to blogging and online marketing and social media and so forth. But I think like the starter pack would be to identify who they are.
You’re going to automatically know some. If you’re an emerging photographer, you’re going to have your favorites. And if those photographers that are your favorites are alive, you’re going to want to get on their radar. So that’s sort of the follow up tip. Do they have a blog? Read it. Do you have a question? Ask it. Do you have a complement? Give it to them.
Certainly Twitter and Google+ and a long list of social media allows you to get to know people without getting on airplanes without picking up the phone. So get on their radar. And then the next thing I would say, which goes back to our H, is figure out how you can help them. Influence marketing is reciprocal. If you can figure out how to help someone, while you shouldn’t ask for them to return the favor, they will return the favor.
Martin: Build the relationships. Great. Really good tips. I like that. And everyone’s talking about the difference between [haitch] and [aitch].
Barry: We answered that didn’t.
Martin: I think they’re taking the nick out of my accent. They do that a lot.
Barry: What’s the difference between an Englishman and a Welsh?
Martin: Different country! But it’s alright. I don’t want to turn this into a geography lesson.
Join – J.
Barry: Join’s a nice extension of the conversation we’re having about influences and your influence. You have to get involved. You have to join things. And that’s become so easy, and really in my mind so much fun. To be completely authentic here, when I was in the ad agency business, I hated networking. Going to meetings and exchanging business cards. And you had to be, and it’s not that I’m not outgoing, but you had to be really outgoing. You usually had to be really self-serving. I’m giving you my card because I want you to use it. I want you to hire me.
Now it’s so much more fun and experimental to join things. So boy I join everything. More than once a day I join somebody’s email list. About once a month I pare that down or it would be so out of control I’d never make it to the bottom of my inbox. But they’re offering content and they’re putting a gate in front of it. So I’m joining email lists. I’m a member of a lot of Meetups for business reasons and social reasons. You asked me to join your G+ community. No reason for me to not take you upon that. There’s a lot of value and learning going on there.
LinkedIn groups are probably way up there amongst my favorite of things to join. You can start your own clubs, start your own LinkedIn groups, start your own G+ community or circle. The more things you join, I think the more you’re going to benefit from these connections and opportunities and relationships that you just talked about that are going to make you successful with the development of your personal brand.
Martin: Okay. Great. Next one, K for Keywords.
Barry: Again, the little mechanical sidebar in this thing, I guess, because I don’t usually give SEO lessons. But I think when you’re developing your niche and you’re working on your blog and you’re thinking about your content, the idea is to be specific more so than broad.
So for example, if you were trying to be the world’s foremost authority on marketing, you’re going to have to recognize that you have a lot of competition, in the 10s of Ms.
But if you are an expert on marketing through LinkedIn groups and activities, you’re talking about what SEOs call long tail. And so Google’s come a long way and the discussion this year has been about semantic search. Keywords are not exactly the same in terms of what they are to your marketing. But that doesn’t make them disposable. I think you would make a list going into the development of your personal brand of at least 10 keywords that are broad, and then hopefully a longer list of things that are specific that would become pieces of content that you created.
There’s no time here to give a lesson on that. But that’s a mentality that belongs at the early stages of your personal brand and then something you return to often.
Martin: Great. That’s a good lesson. Next one, L – LinkedIn.
Barry: Well LinkedIn, once upon a time, I think it was sort of like a necessary evil. Like if you weren’t on it you were sort of not on the planet of professionals. But now it’s a lot more interesting. It’s become a content network of its own. And the more you learn about LinkedIn and the more seriously you take it – I was reading, did I already hold this book up? I don’t remember if it was on our pre-session
This is a friend I made – again a little late to the party. Viveka Von Rosen. Apparently a lot more people knew about her before I did. But she’s a LinkedIn expert, so I’m reading her book, and I’m collaborating with her on something. And I’ve come to know her well. And there’s a whole lot to learn. I just got that book yesterday. So I just flipped arbitrarily to page 200-something, and it said you should do like a introduction to yourself, a video about yourself, and put it on your LinkedIn profile page.
And I thought, I never thought of that one. I should do that.
Martin: Yeah. Keep on learning as well, isn’t it?
Barry: So LinkedIn’ not to be taken lightly.
Martin: No, for sure. Just going to give a quick shout out to Cheryl and Kristen and Kenneth and Mark and Renee and Anwar. Thanks for your comments. And to Dustin as well. And there’s still going on. I can see they’re talking about the accent.
But we’re –
Barry: Hey, this isn’t about you. It’s about me.
When you give the shout things, was that Mr. Rogers that did that or Sesame Street? Earlier you talked about Sesame Street. There was one kid’s show that would always name the people in the audience.
Martin: Well that’s great. It’s great to include everybody.
Barry: Yeah, I like it.
Martin: So next one, M – Media.
Barry: Media is more complex than ever. I think I’ll make this one short because we talked about it so much. But I’m suggesting there that you identify the outlets that are most valued in your field. So certain people are going to spend their time and money in different places. And the more you can wrestle that one to the ground, the more successful you’re going to be.
Martin: Just jump back to LinkedIn. What’s the name of the book again? We’ve got a question there.
Barry: Viveka’s book is LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour a Day. I think it’s a book that you’ll want to either read or have as a reference. But there’s other experts out there too.
One thing you have to be cautious of when you buy a book about social media is they’re out of date next week, because there’s so many changes. I would say 95% of this book is going to be really valid and helpful, especially if you’re new to LinkedIn. But you’re also going to want to look for one that came out more recently maybe or read her blog. You’ll certainly learn a lot from reading her blog, because LinkedIn’s changing like crazy. Like I’m writing right now about their personal publishing platform.
Martin: Okay. That’s great. And I know Mark Traphagen, who is one of the people I follow, is fully in agreement. And he’s been talking about the platform as well.
Barry: Yeah, I met him, and I know him, and I respect his work. So good to get the endorsement or the agreement.
Martin: He’s there. And he’s watching.
Martin: So next one. N – Network.
Barry: Yeah, you’ve got to network. I said join groups. Those don’t have to be online. I think when you think network you think social media today. But I encourage you to make connections at happy hours and your kids’ soccer games and whatnot. The more you talk about your profession and your brand, the more you’re going to field questions about it. It’s a massive personal branding accelerator when you take networking seriously.
Martin: Okay. Great. Next one. I don’t even know what this is. Opine.
Barry: I suppose slim pickings for the letter O. It means having an opinion and it’s been expressed as grow a pair. Or develop your voice. Or don’t be afraid to polarize people. But I have strong opinions. And people often disagree with me, and I’m not for everybody. But when you turn some people off, you turn some people on.
And so Erica Napolitano, one of my favorite bloggers and brand builders, she writes, when you travel down the middle of the road, what do you become? You become road kill. So it’s great to have an opinion. People respect you for it. You can find a lot of articles about how to find more Twitter followers or how to start a LinkedIn Group. And these are not bad things. But you’re going to have an enormous amount of competition.
People are more likely to remember the stories you tell and the biases you bring and the personality you use than the facts and the figures. So I think one thing you and I have in common is we try to be funny. All we can do is try, right?
But in the case of your voice, particularly in writing, I say opine. Because you should have an opinion, and you should let people know what it is, and you shouldn’t be afraid or ashamed of it.
Martin: And Barry came to watch my Google+ session, so he did see my attempts at being funny.
Barry: Yeah. That’s why I had to lend you my camera. Because I took all kinds of video of you. How are we going to get this video over to you? Fortunately it was a Flip.
Martin: It was good. It all worked.
Quick shout out to Roxanna and Kenneth. I don’t think I mentioned you guys. But I can see that you’re loving this, which is excellent.
Next one, then P for Photo.
Barry: Michael Hyatt’s tip came from that session I went to. Now I suppose he’s not the only one that has that tip, but he consolidates the 5 essential components of getting started with a personal brand into 5, duh! But one of them is a photo. And that photo should be, I think relatively consistent. He might argue that your photos have to be exactly the same everywhere it appears on social media. But it probably should be from the same photo session.
Like once in a while you’ll see a photo of me being bald, because I am, or with a baseball cap or something. But it was by design that I wore this hat for my professional photo session. And it’s become my avatar. And there are variations of it. But the point that Michael makes that I want to repeat here, and included in my infographic, it should be done by somebody that knows what they’re doing.
You should like a person people want to do business with. So I don’t like, and I strongly recommend you don’t use photos or avatars that are anything other than you looking at the camera, smiling ,and saying, I’m a good guy to do business with. You’re going to have an opportunity to inject your personality. But I don’t like the vacation picture, the pets, or the wife, or the family, or the weird little illustration, or the fist bump, or anything – I don’t like any of that stuff. That’s to come later in our relationship.
When you meet somebody, you typically look them in the eye and smile. And that’s what I think you should do here. And so to do that, you should get a professional, or if you can’t afford that somebody’s who handy with a camera, to do a whole bunch of photos with you. Think about what are you trying to say in the body language doing that picture. If they’re a professional photographer, tell them what that is. Shoot away. And crop it in tight just like these video frames that you and are looking at. And make that your avatar.
Martin: Okay. Good advice. Q for Questions.
Barry: Yeah, I think the more questions you ask the more likely you are to develop your personal brand and become good at online marketing, content marketing, any kind of marketing, even sales.
It’s a very fundamental lesson of how to become good at sales. And so you get people like me and you that like to talk and have a lot to talk about, and we sometimes have to remind ourselves to become good listeners.
So the more questions you ask, the more you’re going to learn. The more I think people are going to take from the conversations. They really are interested in me. If you ask people, what do you do? What do you like? What’s your life like? What’s your job like? And then you just shut up and listen. I think later, miraculously people go, that was a really nice guy or gal.
Martin: Okay great. Next one. Recognize.
Barry: Yeah, this idea probably comes from another book that influenced me a lot called Launch by Michael Stelzner. So there’s not too many people who don’t know who is if they’re paying attention to social media. And he was the host of course, or his company was, for Social Media Marketing World, where you and I met.
And him and I have talked about passages in his book at length about that idea. The more you recognize others, again we talked about reciprocity (I guess that could go there for R too), but the more you recognize others, the more they recognize you. And the more the cycle repeats itself.
That could be very simply thank you. I love it when somebody tweets Thanks Barry. It’s sort of like a thumbs up. I recognize they read it or they heard it or they agree with me. And so I think you should make a point to recognize leaders, influencers, and even just everybody. Clients and friends and you’ll be happy with the good will that causes.
Martin: Great. Next one. S – Slogan.
Barry: Yeah, again, another one that comes from Michael. And it didn’t occur to me that it’s a requirement. And maybe it isn’t. But it’s a nice tip. And that is one of the things I think happens between your ears when you get to a website is should I dwell here? Is this what I’m looking for?
So chances are you just came from another website or from a search engine. So whether or not you used a question mark, you have a question and you’re in need of an answer. And so you get there, and you go, am I going to find that answer here?
So I think a slogan’s a great way to accelerate that process. On my website, it says, turn on the power of online marketing. So if you believe that online marketing is for you and it’s going to be powerful, and you need someone to help you with it or turn you on, you’re probably going to read that and go, oh good. I think I’ll click around here. This makes sense.
So for the sake of clickability or stickability, I think a slogan serves your purposes really well. It might go on your business card. It might travel with you in all your media. But it definitely belongs on your home page.
Martin: Okay. Two things. First thing, do you want to give people the URL for your website?
Barry: Sorry. No. We’re all trafficked out. No new visitors allowed.
Yeah, of course. Thank you for that. http://FeldmanCreative.com. There, if you wanted to read my blog, you can. There’s a /blog in the domain. And also something I like to mention is that I guest blog for a lot of great publications. And so if you mouse over blog, in addition to finding a path to my blog, you’ll find, you know how blogs have author pages? So I have all the links to all the author pages. SO their websites are cataloging their authors.
So like this year, I’ve been pretty active at Hub Spot. And I have a new one at Copyblogger. And I wrote a column for Social Media Today. And so all those links are there, so you don’t have to resort just to search engines to find the places I write.
Martin: That’s great. Now staying with slogan just for a little moment more. If people want to find their slogan, because you’re an expert copywriter as well as a content marketing consultant, what tips would you give for people to try and find that slogan?
Barry: That’s a good one. Finding your slogan. That’s a blog, man. I’m going with that one.
I don’t know. That’s a copywriting exercise. I guess the first tip would be engage the services of a professional.
Martin: We didn’t plan that!
Barry: That’s a bit of a – when I get hired to do that, it’s very experimental. I’m not like throwing darts over my right shoulder blindfolded. I’m researching the market and the company. So that would be a tip too. Now you do have to define your niche before you write your slogan.
Michael gave a couple of good tips. I forgot the word – some English word that I don’t know well. I like the word verb, because most people know that one. So I like slogans that start with a verb. They become a call to action. So if we were talking about mine, it would say turning. It would say turn. I guess mine does say turn. Turn on the power of online marketing.
But there’s this other word that describes the -ing version. Turning. Influencing. Communicating. Networking. Those work too. And I forgot what you call that.
Martin: I know that. Do you know that? Present continuous I think.
Barry: Who gave us that one?
Martin: My Latin teacher, many years ago.
Barry: You remembered it? Okay, good for you. As good as I am as a writer, you wouldn’t want me to be your grammar coach.
Martin: No. But there we go. That’s great. Was there any more, as part of the tip?
Barry: You’re going to have to throw some spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks. When I get asked to do that, I fill out pages and pages of them. That’s my tip. It’s sort of like headline writing. I think you fill up pages and pages of material with your best ideas and variations of the idea as you like. Then you run them by people. And then you run them by your audience.
Everything in digital marketing is easily changed and easily tested. You may not get it right the first time and it may not stick forevermore. You might change it as your business evolves. So something I’ll give some thought into giving a lot answer to, but that’s what I got for right now.
Martin: Okay. That’s great. Thanks. Just going to give a shout out to Charles and Roxanna and Jason and Cher. Thanks to you guys for watching. I can tell, people are loving this Barry.
Barry: Good. Cause we’re running pretty long. So I think –
Martin: No. We’re going to keep on going. We’ve got more. T for Teach.
Barry: So that’s the teachings of Marcus Sheraton. He says, he did the keynote for that event we went to. Did you stick around and catch that?
Martin: I was around. I didn’t catch it all, I have to say.
Barry: Well he said an interesting thing. He said, aim to be the Wikipedia of your business. And so he gives blogging advice. And he doesn’t give it exactly like I do. I certainly borrow from him. But he doesn’t usually give blogging or marketing advice about your voice or your personality or your sense of humor or your writing style. He gives it from the point of view of his story. The saving, the rescue of his pool company, which was followed not so shortly after, but after he discovered inbound marketing.
So he just took every question he could possibly think of, or paying attention to every question his customers asked him. And he wrote them down and made them the titles of his blog posts. And I think that’s the most important content marketing tip ever. In fact, I turned it into a post called, “The Most Important Content Marketing Tip Ever.” Or maybe I used the word Effective.
So where he goes with that is as you’re aiming to answer questions and build authority, and be the Wikipedia of your industry, you’re essentially becoming a teacher. And I find that the more I study the difference for what makes a good and a bad teacher, the more I learn about marketing as the way it’s practiced today.
Martin: Okay. Great. U – Understand Triggering.
Barry: Yeah. Again, U kind of like O, slim pickings. But there I went with Understand Triggers. And there I wrote, weak brands focus solely on intellectual arguments. Strong brands tap into emotions. The subject you need to master is psychology; become a student of it.
I don’t have a Master’s in Psychology, but I certainly enjoyed the topic when I was in college. And life is the study of psychology. But the point I’m making here that people don’t get, so much so that almost every website makes the mistake of talking in terms of their market and big buzzwords and jargon. And what they’re trying to do if not pound their own chests, is they’re trying to appeal to people intellectually.
They’re trying to say, these are the features. if you buy our stuff, you’ll enjoy these features. And sure, if you’re digital camera shopping, you might be interested in the resolution or the battery consumption rates, or the amount of storage, or whatever.
But though you need to answer those questions somewhere in your marketing, up front is not the place. Up front is the place to understand the psychological, emotional triggers that get people to do what they do. And they’re not complicated. There’s only really about 20 of them. You might argue there’s more or less.
In B2B, I argue there’s only 2 of them. There’s time and money. When you go to work each day, you’re probably thinking about either making or saving the time or money. But in the B2C space that everybody can get their heads around, you’re interested in things. What are they? Love, sex, power, comfort, security – those are how you get people to pay attention. So those are the triggers I’m talking about.
Got the idea to mention that one from a book called Hot Buttons. Didn’t become a bestseller, but perhaps it should have. And I think there’s perhaps 16-17 hot buttons, each becoming a chapter with lots of examples. That’s how you sell. And again in terms of personal branding, I think we’re back to how does a person become a brand? And if you just give people your résumé, they’re not going to be emotionally touched. You have to understand what really does push their buttons.
Martin: Okay. Great. Next one. V – Voice.
Barry: Yeah, so earlier we were talking about O – Opine. We got into voice and that foreshadowed this. But your voice doesn’t have to be opinionated. And you don’t have to be a comedian, or in my case sort of s smart ass, or whatever it is that defines your writing style. You don’t have to base it on somebody else’s writing style. But I think you do have to develop your voice.
Before you ask me how to do that, I’m going to take a crack at it. It’s not the easiest thing to do, but I have seen some good exercises on it and I have a few of my own. I like to tell people go into your t-shirt drawer, throw the t-shirts all over the bedroom, and look at what you like. Do you like events? Do you like rock bands? Do you like inspirational things? Your t-shirt drawer is going to reflect a lot about you.
So that and other exercises in self-discovery are a part of defining your voice. And then I think it gets a little bit tactical in where you’re trying to find a voice that is unique to your market. But A – Authenticity. You’ve got to be you.
So figure out what your voice is and then practice it. What tip applies to everything? How are you good at [blank]. And the answer is practice. And I think the more you write and the more you network and the more you experiment with social media, the more you’re going to learn it and the more you’re going to develop a voice.
You simply can’t be Welsh surfer dude who likes G+ and moonlights as a comedian. That one’s taken. You’ve got to pull it out of yourself.
Martin: Cool. Great. And that’s just pull up this one, just to go back. People don’t buy for logical reasons; they buy for emotional reasons, which is very much tied back into the triggers there.
Barry: Oh, so Zig Ziglar’s ripping me off now.
How do you do that? How do you throw those up on the screen?
Martin: We’ll show that one again. But we’ve got a cool little app that sticks it.
Barry: That is cool.
Martin: Yeah. So thanks Kenneth. W – Win Friends and Influence People.
Barry: I should have grabbed that book. But perhaps I don’t need to. Everybody has it. And if you don’t have it, you need to have it. Or if you read it once, you need to read it again.
I remember sort of drudging through it the first time with long stories about Abraham Lincoln and so forth. It didn’t feel that relevant then. But now, since networking and sales and marketing is really the end all of what I do and how I help people, every word that Dale Carnegie utters in that book really is valuable advice for personal branding.
And everybody knows his name, so he himself has built a wonderful personal brand even though he’s known for other things. And so, yeah, re-read that book. He says in the forward to that book, it should be on your desktop, and you should read it once a year, keep it handy to remind yourself. So it offers lessons like listen. Smile. Arouse in people a want, or something like that. Arouse in people a furious want – I forgot the words he chose, but back to the Zig Ziglar thing we were just talking about. Don’t tell them about the feature set. Tell them about the sex appeal, or something that pushes their buttons.
So yeah, that book’s great stuff, and endlessly quotable, and it’s never going to grow out of fashion. It’s just advice about how to win friends and influence people. And really when you’re talking about personal branding, you’re simplifying it, you are talking about being influential.
Martin: Yep. Okay. Great. Thank you. Next one. X – Examine.
Barry: I had a few other ideas about the X since I did this, but I had to settle for that. Because I thought, there aren’t going to be too many words that start with X that are going to preempt you from doing this little trick. If you’re not looking at this thing, by the way, each one starts off with like a children’s alphabet block.
So that one’s X, and it’s not the first letter. But it could be X-ray. Because it is important to analyze things in digital marketing. But I didn’t get to that there.
I talked about examine, and basically talking about what could have been called X-raying. So I’m talking about analytics. It’s too large of a subject, and perhaps in many cases too boring of a subject for video interviews when it wasn’t advertised as such.
But you’re going to want to put some measures together. And I’m not saying how many Twitter followers you have is the quintessential measure. But it is a measure. And if you’re doing personal branding right, and Twitter’s a part of your strategy, you’re going to get more followers. You’re going to get more engagement. So you need in the early steps of your process with your personal brand, just like any other brand, you need to define what’s important to you, make those quantifiable things that you can document and measure, and then look at and respond to.
Andy [0:55:15] had a wonderful thing to say about analytics. And I wish he was here to help me with this. But the central idea was you’re not doing analytics if all you’re doing is looking at numbers. It doesn’t help to look at the scoreboard and go, we’re down by one. And then not do anything about it. You’ve got to get to bat.
So the point there is don’t just analyze stuff. Use numbers as the information you need. Make your forthcoming actions data driven. I’m not getting enough traffic. I’m not getting enough followers. I’m not getting enough customers. I’m not keeping customers for long enough. These are things you can examine and X-ray and that’s an ongoing process.
Martin: Fantastic. Next one, penultimate one. Y – You.
Barry: Yeah, I wrote a piece about this for Copyblogger, and I’ve hit on it in various places. And it resonates with people. I get a lot of nodding. I’ve been talking about this for 25 years. What I’m talking about is when you are doing marketing, a person you’re talking to is you, if I don’t know your name. In your case, I do know your name. So that person you’re talking to is Martin. And a person that’s talking is me.
So you should use what’s called second person narrative when you write and when you do social media. And so that means I don’t call myself Feldman Creative. If I’m a big company, even worse. I don’t call myself Hewlett Packard. You sometimes may have to, and so there are going to be pages and places where this rule has to be bent. But when you can, because you are building a personal brand, that is the topic here today, you speak in that voice. So you say, I-me-us, and then you say you-your friends-your name.
So everybody nods to that, and they go, that’s good. That’s good. I need that tip. And then they go and forget about it and make websites that fail the French test. Some copywriter came up with that. The French test. Count how many times you say we on your home page. And if it’s more times than you said the word you, you failed the French test.
Martin: I love it. That is a really good tip. Okay, we’re onto the last one. Z or Zed, whichever way you can want to go. We can do transatlantic on this. Zeal. What is Zeal?
Barry: I love the fact that we start with Authenticity and end with Zeal because zeal’s another word for passion and love. And I’m going to be the first one in your career to tell you to pursue in your passions. But if you’re faking it, you’re not going to be faking it for long. People see through that. So I think you should make your living with something that you’re good at and enjoy and those typically tend to be the same thing.
And express your passion for it with great zeal. Otherwise personal branding’s an unrealistic expectation for you. It has to be fun. And the passion will come through, or the lack of it will kill you.
Martin: Okay. On that note, that was the A-Z of personal branding with Barry Feldman. Barry, where can we find you again?
Barry: We’re not fielding questions.
Martin: If people want some questions, there aren’t any questions at the moment there. I think we’ve answered. You’ve done such a comprehensive session.
Barry: It was pretty thorough, but if you have a question fire it.
Martin: If not, then we’ll see. But let’s make sure everyone’s got your details again. So who are you on Twitter? What’s your Twitter handle?
Martin: There we go. And http://FeldmanCreative.com Barry Feldman on Google+. Make sure the links are available so people can access you there. And I know some people are going to look to reach out and going to touch.
But I’ve got to say, that was a great hour.
Barry: Yeah. I loved it. I enjoyed it.
Martin: Really good content. I think there aren’t any questions coming through. But listen, Barry’s around. I want him to get more and more involved in Google+ and in Plus Your Business as well. So get in touch with me if you want Barry, contact this guy. Because super smart and as I think we’ve shown in the hour, he’s a giver. So let’s support him. Bring him into Google+ as much as possible. And then you never now, he may well come back and discuss his next infographic with us.
Barry: Yeah, the Influencer Marketing one would be a good sequel. But yeah, the question and answer thing, that’s what G+ is for or YouTube. So let’s use the commentary streams and we’ll continue the conversation.
I’m really happy that you asked me to do this. And once upon a time I was sitting in the front row of your speech and you needed a camera. So thanks so much Martin. Thanks for rounding up this audience. Thank you everybody who has listened and watched.
Martin: That was it. Brilliant! That’s Barry. That’s all I wanted to introduce you to. So thanks for watching. And Barry, I’ll see you soon.
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