Defining Your Personal Brand

Defining your personal brand - and why this matters for your business. Get the 10 question guide to defining your personal brand.

Have you ever met someone in real life been and been kinda disappointed because they were different than you expected based on their online persona? I have. More than once. More than a dozen times to be honest. I hate being disappointed.

If you think your brand is just a logo or some colors or a clever tagline – you’re wrong. If you’re a blogger or small business owner, YOU are your brand. In addition to your logo / colors/ fonts, the way you speak, the way you dress, and the way you relate to other people are all part of your brand. Your personality should reflect in your branding – so if you’re funny, be funny. If you’re sarcastic, be sarcastic. If you’re boring, think about getting a personality.

Kidding. Sort of. Not really.

To me, branding is the key to differentiating yourself from the millions of people doing the same thing you are. It’s about providing a consistent experience and relating to your audience in a way that makes them feel like they KNOW you. Like they could be 62 weeks deep stalking your instagram feed and see a photo of a project you worked on (or a meal you ate) and think #ThisIsSoME – and that’s a good thing.

Your brand is your promise to your customers. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.

People LIKE people they can relate to.

People TRUST people that are consistently delivering the same brand message.

People buy things from people they LIKE and TRUST.

Not everyone is going to like you and not everyone is going to trust you. That’s also a good thing.

Developing your personal brand goes hand in hand with attracting your dream clients – because how they perceive you is just as important as how you see yourself! I like to think people aren’t ever surprised to meet me in person because I look and speak the way they expect from my presence online. I also make it a point to look on brand when I’m networking – chances are if we’ve met at an event, I was wearing black, white, and/or pink with bright lipstick and gold jewelry. That was intentional. 

I’m not saying you need to wear your brand colors at all times, but I do think visual consistency matters – whether we are walking about your website, blog, social media accounts, or in person. If your brand is bubbly and colorful and in person you wear all black and have a dry, sarcastic tone, your clients are going to be confused… and probably disappointed. Don’t disappoint them.

If you haven’t defined your personal brand, do it now.

5 Tips To Save Time Creating Blog Posts

5 tips to save time creating blog posts - because being busy isn't an excuse! Learn how batching + other strategies can make blogging easier.

I currently run 3 completely different blogs in addition to creating content for my day job and other clients. I don’t have time to waste. Since a lot of work can go into a blog post – from coming up with new ideas, research, photography, copy and not to mention all the social media scheduling to actually get people to SEE all the work that I did, it’s incredibly important for me to streamline my blogging process as much as possible so that I have time to do everything else! Maybe you don’t run 3 different blogs, but I’m guessing you have other things going on in your life that you’d rather spend time on – like making money, making dinner, or making time for Real Housewives… Yeah, me too. Minus dinner because that’s what Seamless is for. Make room for more of whatever YOU need in your life with these 5 tips to save time creating blog posts – #trust, they have helped me out immensely!

Use An Editorial Calendar

Plan your posts. Whether you are using a planner, your google calendar, or another online calendar, plan your content out ahead of time! I’ve tried plugins like CoSchedule, but I always come back to the WordPress Editorial Calendar plugin – I love it because it’s simple, but I can easily drag and drop post ideas into the calendar and move them around if I need to. It also allows me to see what drafts I have in process versus which posts are already done and scheduled. Any time I have a post idea, I’ll start a quick draft with a few bullet points if I can. Then towards the end of each month, I sit down and try and schedule out as much as possible for the next month. I find that its usually harder to come up with post ideas when I’m under pressure of a deadline, so planning things out in advance makes things much easier.

Batch Process Photos

Whenever possible, I prefer to use original photos for blog posts and my social media content – but I don’t want to take time out of every day to take and edit photos. I keep a running list in Evernote of ideas for photographs, and every couple of weeks I’ll schedule a few hours to take a TON of photos. Then I’ll edit them down to the ones that I think I will actually use and save them to dropbox so I can access them whenever I’m actually working on specific blog posts or social media promotions. Since I try to use natural light as much as possible (and I have a day job), batch processing photos also helps me to get consistent lighting and not have to worry about trying to set up studio lights in my living room at 9 pm on a Tuesday before a deadline (been there, done that, and it was awful).

 

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Create Templates For Blog Post Graphics

I also have templates for blog post graphics (like the one above!) so I can basically just swap out the image and the text when I’m creating a new post. Not only does this help save time, but it also ensures that my graphics are consistent with my brand!

Start A Series

If there are certain topics you write about frequently, save time coming up with new blog post ideas by creating a series. If you’re not sure what topic to create a series around – check your stats to determine which posts are getting the most traffic! Chances are a few of them have something in common. If not, do a little brainstorming. Maybe once a week you can feature your work or interview a client or ask your readers a question – there are so many possibilities. If you need help coming up with ideas, let’s chat!

Consider Contributors or Guest Posts

Potentially the easiest way to save time creating blog posts – have other people create them! Whether you have people contribute regularly or accept occasional guest posts, enlisting other people create content for your blog can be a great way to free up some of your time while also growing your community. When we launched BGNYC earlier this year, I knew that I already had a lot of other things going on and probably wouldn’t be able to post as often as I would like. Taking on contributors has been a HUGE help, but it’s also important to make sure that anyone who you are allowing to publish on your site clearly understands your brand standards. You need to manage expectations (especially if you are like me and have high expectations!), so be clear on exactly what you want from the start.

If you are a blogger, what other tips do you have for saving time creating blog posts?

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Networking For Introverts

Networking for introverts: a 3 step guide to help introverts make networking more comfortable and less awkward.

True life: I am not a big fan of traditional networking. I’m introverted and generally overwhelmed by new social situations – especially with large groups of people that I don’t really know. I used to dread going to events but personally, I don’t think that networking is optional if you’re trying to grow a business. So like it or not, I’ve developed a system for networking that makes it WAYYY easier for me to feel comfortable connecting with new people!

So figure out why you want to network in the first place. Are you trying to find potential clients? People you want to collaborate with? Influencers in your industry? All of the above? Great! Make a list of these people because you’ll want to keep track of them. (pssst: you can also get my template at the end of this post!)

Step 1: Step Up Your Social

  • FACT: Connecting with people on social media is less scary than in real life. Also, a lot of other introverts are on social media and they want to connect with you as much as you want to connect with them! Someone just has to take the first step…
  • Assuming you’ve identified some of the people you’d like to connect with, start following them on social media. For my businesses, I find that instagram and twitter are the 2 platforms that are easiest to connect with people in my target audience, but it could be that your potential clients are on other networks.
  • Once you’ve figured out what networks they are active on, ENGAGE with them! On instagram, engaging with people means liking their photos, leaving thoughtful comments (not mindless “love this!” or spammy “follow me!” comments – genuine comments that show you are actually interested in the content they are posting). On twitter, linking to other people’s content (if they have a blog or website) or sharing their tweets using the “quote” option with a related comment are easy, non-scary ways to start interacting. Pick one or two networks that you are really going to be active on and be consistent.
  • PRO TIP: Optimize your social profiles to appeal to your target audience. If you are effectively interacting with new people, they will want to check out you out! Make sure your bio clearly states who you are, what you do, and why they should follow you!

Step 2: Connect In Person

  • FACT: It is easier to introduce yourself to a person in real life if you have already “met” them on social media.
  • Let’s pretend you are attending an event and some of the people you have been connecting with on social will be there. For most introverts, the hardest part is actually walking up to someone and saying hello, so try to change your mindset and think about the encounter not as “meeting someone for the first time,” but as “continuing the conversation you already started.”
  • Lead with a simple introduction followed by a genuine compliment of their work. For example, recently I ran into the founder of a website that I admire at a yappy hour event (yes #yappyhour, it’s a crazy dog people thing) and simply opened with – “Hi Suzanne, I’m Elle from Bitches’ Guide NYC, and I really loved that video interview you did with Joe Zee and his dogs!” (Seriously I love Joe Zee and puppies so the video was so fun to watch!) Even if they don’t recognize you or remember that you’ve interacted with them before (not everyone will, and that’s ok!), a flattering comment will set the tone and is an easy segue into further conversation!
  • If you’re anxious about going to an event alone, ask a more extroverted friend to come along as your wingman/woman!
  • PRO TIP: Before an event, think of three topics you can chat about with anyone that you aren’t “prepared” to talk to – 1 personal (gone on any trips lately?), 1 professional (any fun projects in the works?), and 1 topical (what brings you to the event?).

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