The Complete Guide to Building Your Personal Brand

The Definitive Guide to Marketing Automation

Written by Neil Patel & Aaron Agius

Chapter Three

How To Build Your Online And Offline Assets

In terms of personal branding, assets are the things you own that will communicate your brand message to your target audience. Assets are things like your own website and blog, but they can also be things like your Twitter username and your LinkedIn profile. Offline assets are things like business cards and or traditional newsletters that you send out.

In this chapter, we’ll show you how to secure assets, develop them and secure them so they are protected for the long-term.

Building Social Communities

We asked James Schramko the following question:

If you were building an online presence from scratch today, what 3 things would you consider to provide the biggest ROI on your time and money?

He responded with notes on the importance of building social communities:

  • Podcast (rich media) because it gets you on iTunes showing in related shows
  • Feature blog to host rich media (podcast + videos) to build a list
  • Emailing my customers a lot to create a bond and cause action
  • Regular Facebook updates (because everyone is there)

The first assets to secure and build are your social communities. Today, it’s important to secure social usernames, URLs and more that fit with your personal brand. Some people have unique names that will likely be available when they signup for social communities, but others have more common names that can be unavailable, which makes it more of a challenge to find appropriate usernames.

Step One Check Username Availability

There are two tools that help with claiming social profiles and seeing if someone else is using your name on social media.

The first is knowem. It’s a tool that searches for how your name or brand is being used by others on social media, domain names and even in the USPTO trademark database.

The next is NameChk. This tool checks to see if your desired username is available on hundreds of social media communities, networks and bookmarking sites. NameChk also gives you a list of available domain names, which we’ll talk about in the next section.

Use these tools to search for your regular name and username. The ideal result would be that your full name and subsequent username is available on the biggest social networks.

Step Two Claim Your Social Media Profiles

222

If you have an unpopular name you’ll be able to claim your profiles on most or even all of the social media sites shown on knowem and NameChk. On knowem, there is a premium service that will allow you to quickly claim your usernames, trademarks and domains while NameChk provides links for each of the sites and networks so you can make your claims one at a time.

If you have a popular name you’ll probably struggle to find accounts where you can use your regular name as your username. There are some options including middle names, dashes, underscores and adding additional branding that can work for your username.

A good general rule to follow is to keep your username as short as possible when you can’t use your full regular first and last name. Shorter usernames as easier to remember, easier to type and easier to put on assets like websites.

Here are some suggestions for username formats:

  • Aaronagius
  • AaronMatthew
  • AaronMatthewAgius
  • Aaron_Agius
  • Aaron-Agius
  • IAmAaronAgius
  • AAgius
  • AaronA
  • AaronPA
  • MarketingAaron

The list could go on. There are a number of formats you could use. Keep it short. Make it something that’s easy to type and easy to remember. Also make sure you can grow with your username. A name like “MarketingAaron” might work well now, but if you expand in the future away from just marketing your name will limit you.

Unique names are helpful and they stand out.

We asked Yaro Starak of Entrepreneurs-Journey.com the following question:

What one action, decision, or choice has had the single biggest impact in the growth of your personal brand?

His answer included a note about his unique name:

The decision to start a blog (and also a podcast shortly after). I didn’t have a personal brand before I started my blog and since then my entire business has been based on the trust established via blogging and podcasting, and to a lessor extent YouTube videos (I don’t do as many).

It also helps that I have a weird name and used to have long hair, which made me easy to remember back when I started. I’m not sure that’s exactly a “tactic” for personal branding everyone can replicate though :-).

Step Three The Most Important Social Profiles

There are hundreds of social networks and communities. If you use knowem and NameChk you’ll see that you can secure hundreds of usernames on these social communities. You can use knowem’s premium option to secure all available usernames at once, but if you want to secure them all individually it makes sense to start with the most important first.

We asked Yanik Silver, Founder Maverick1000 and author ‘34 Rules for Maverick Entrepreneurs’ this question:

If you were building an online presence from scratch today, what 3 things would you consider to provide the biggest ROI on your time and money?

He responded:

  • Focus on type of social media channel. No doubt, social media is huge but it gets too overwhelming for someone to try and do and be everything. So if I was really excited about making videos, I’d use YouTube. If I liked to write, I’d lean towards a blog, etc.
  • I’d create an iconic event. You want to become the ‘hub’ or connection point as much as possible to build your presence in an industry or marketplace. For me, that was creating an event called the Underground®. The focus was bringing in actual real-world successes sharing what they were doing online instead of some of the usual suspects in the online world. I had put on this event for 10 years before I retired it and I really worked hard to bring in a unique mix of icons and power players to make it THE event worth attending. Plus, there was a huge experience component to it that people would ‘credit’ me for intros and connections from that event even if I wasn’t personally responsible.
  • Build your reputation/authority status. This goes along with #1 and #2 – but to me, there’s still an window open to write a book and do guest blog posts or articles in media. These things still count (a lot) for your personal brand.

LinkedIn is a good place to start. It’s the biggest social network aimed at professionals. The community is growing and if you’re looking to improve your job standing or even if you’re looking for business clients then LinkedIn is the best place to start. Secure your username here and start building your profile.

Twitter and Facebook and the next two big names in the social media world and while you don’t necessarily need to use these, but it’s good to secure a username on them as soon as possible.

However, while it’s good to secure usernames on the big social networks, it’s important to secure as many as you can. This protects your brand and gives you the ability to examine niche social communities and be prepared if you move to build a community on one of those niche sites.

YouTube and other video sites are important and are becoming more important. We asked Brian Dean of Backlinko the following question:

If you were building an online presence from scratch today, what 3 things would you consider to provide the biggest ROI on your time and money?

His response included a note about the importance of video:

I’d make more videos. Videos are THE best way to grow your personal brand. Period. There’s no other medium that’s even close. I plan on creating 25 high-quality videos this year so that readers get to know me better.

Step Four Securing Usernames On New Social Communities

Finally, subscribe to the updates on sites like TechCrunch and Mashable. These two sites provide the latest information on new companies and new happenings in the tech world including social media. Not every new social media site will make it. In fact, most will launch and fail, but it’s good to keep tabs on make it a habit to secure your username when new social communities launch. You never know when the next Twitter or Pinterest will launch and if that happens you want to make sure your preferred username is available.

Examples:

  • @IAmAaronAgius
  • @NeilPatel
  • +AaronAgius
  • +NeilPatel

Domain Buying Strategy

Your personal website is the most important part of your brand strategy. Securing social accounts and doing other things in this chapter are important, but securing your own domain name is number one on the list. The reason is that you own the content on your own site and you control the platform.

Think of your online personal brand strategy like a large tree. The trunk of the tree is the strongest. It’s the center of your entire strategy. The tree trunk is your personal website. You can control the tree. You can nurture it and make sure it’s strong for a long time.

If you were to build your personal brand strategy around a Facebook page or Twitter account you would be giving control of the tree trunk to those entities. We’ve all seen the changes Facebook and Twitter have made. They’re often for the better, but they leave people scrambling to make adjustments.

And to top it all off, you don’t really own the content you create on Twitter, Facebook and other social networks. When you publish content on your own domain, you are the owner.

We recommend getting an exact-match domain for your brand name. There is a general bias toward exact-matching domains for brands including personal brands. People generally trust a website URL that matches your name as close as possible.

Here are the steps to buying your personal domain.

Step One Check Domain Name Availability

There are a number of tools for checking domain name availability including Check Domain, Instant Domain Search and others. However, Go Daddy is another good place to check domains. While Go Daddy has gotten some flak over the years they have become a solid domain registrar, host and even provide other services for those interested in launching a website. Their customer service and website uptime have even improved.

Do an advanced domain search on Go Daddy to see what domains are available as they relate to your personal brand.

The best possible domain is the one that fits your preferred name. For example:

Step Two Secure Domain Name And Similar Domains

You also want to go with .com, which is the most recognized domain top-level domain or domain suffix.

If you’re preferred domain name is already registered you have a few options.

First, you could secure another domain that is similar to your preferred name. You could also choose to go with a different extensions such as .net or .co. Some of these extensions are more expensive and others are related to different countries.

Registrars like Go Daddy also offer options for buying domains from their owners. This is easier if the owner of the domain is not using it and has it parked on the server without any website information on the actual domain when you visit.

Go with your preferred name when possible. If not, see if you can deal with the current owner. If not, secure a name that is similar and use the .com suffix if at all possible.

Finally, it is wise to secure similar domains to your domain and to redirect those to your main domain. For example, securing AaronAgius.net and forwarding it to AaronAgius.com gives you a more in-depth ownership of your online assets. This further protects your brand.

Build A Professional Website

You can buy your professional domain and sit on it, but that won’t do you any good other than securing it so that no one else can claim it. The prudent thing to do is to build a professional website. This gives you a platform to communicate with your target audience on a platform where you have complete control.

246

Unlike social media where the designs change, rules change and the platforms change, your own website is a blank canvas. You can control the design. You control the content and you can control who sees it through your promotion.

There are many different ways to build a website and more opinions on what is best. This is our opinion on how you can best succeed in building your professional website.

Step One Download And Install WordPress

WordPress is the number one most used content management system (CMS) in the world. A number of top sites now use WordPress not only for their blogs, but also as the management software for their entire website. It’s the best CMS for your personal website.

Once you have your domain, download WordPress and install it with your website host. Because WordPress is so popular, many hosts have 1-click setups for hosting and using WordPress. Go Daddy is one host where you can buy a domain and have a WordPress site setup with hosting in less than a day.

The domain will cost you about ~$12/year. The hosting will cost about $~100/year for introductory hosting and WordPress is free to use.

Step Two Select A Free Theme

The design of your website matters.

We asked Lewis Howes the question:

If you were building an online presence from scratch today, what 3 things would you consider to provide the biggest ROI on your time and money?

His first response was:

Branding—more people talk about my site design each week than anything else and they want to design theirs based on it. It’s flattering, but more importantly, branding matters and increases your personal branding influence.

There are three levels that you can choose from for the design of your website:

  • Free Theme
  • Paid Theme
  • Custom Design/Theme

The WordPress community has provided a good number of free themes. This a good place to start for your first website. You get a theme that has all the basic functionality you need and you can customize it to a certain point. The biggest way you can customize a free theme is with professional photos of yourself.

Paid themes generally cost around $100. They come with a bit more functionality and customization options. They can have a little more upkeep from the providers, which can include more security from phishing and hacking threats.

Paid themes can also come with functionality to make it easier for you to manage your website. Depending on your understanding of coding and WordPress, the easier functionality with some paid themes can be an asset.

A custom theme would be having a professional designer create something for you from scratch. The designer would work with you to understand your personal brand. They would discuss your goals and your target audience. From there they would create your theme and they could probably even create an entire branding package that included a business card, professional photos, images and other items.

A custom theme is the ultimate goal for a professional website, but you do not need one to have a nice looking website. Many people use free themes for a long time while others start with free themes and invest in more custom designs as time goes by.

We recommend starting with the professional theme to launch your professional website. Professional themes generally cost in the ~$100 USD range.

Step Three Adding Content To Your Theme

One of the benefits of a premium them is that the template is laid out for a personal brand website. By choosing one of these themes you are setup with something very similar to a CV, which provides an overview of who you are and what you do.

The Personality theme from Gabfire Themes is one example.

With a premium theme like this you can easily enter information into the homepage. Each section is easy to fill-in and easy to change should you choose to. You’ll need little to no coding or development experience; another advantage of going with a premium theme.

Before starting on the content, think about what you want a brand new visitor to the homepage to know about you. And consider how they can figure out what you want them to know within a second or two.

We asked Brian Dean of Backlinko:

What one action, decision, or choice has had the single biggest impact in the growth of your personal brand?

He responded:

To put my face front and center on the homepage. To build a personal brand people need to see your face plastered all over your site.

And there’s no better place than your homepage. That way, when people come to your site for the first time they instantly know who’s behind the site.

That’s why I make the “feature box” at the top of the homepage a large picture of me. It might not as convert as well as if I had a picture of a free ebook, but it’s a tradeoff I’m willing to make to build my personal brand.

First, add a professional photo of yourself. We discussed your professional photo in the first chapter of this guide. Your photo should represent the image you want to cast to your target audience.

Wear the type of clothes people wear in the position that you want to attain. With clothes, it’s good to go standard colors and styles with the basics and add personality (if you want) with accessories. For example, you would wear a basic shirt and maybe add personality with a necklace (for women) and maybe a watch (for men or women).

It’s a little thing, but we also recommend smiling. A nice, genuine smile makes you appear friendly and approachable, which is what people like to see.

Next, add your name. This is obvious, but on occasion you’ll land on an individual’s website and you won’t instantly know who’s site it is. When someone comes to your site you want him or her to see your name and your photo. That’s instant recognition.

Somewhere by your name you want to write what it is you are or what you do. For example, the site AaronAgius.com has the information:

Aaron Agius | Online Marketer, Web Strategist, Entrepreneur

As soon as a visitor looks at that information they know what Aaron Agius does.

One note with titles, description and taglines: you can get creative, but be aware of the fact that you don’t want to confuse people. You want people to instantly know what you do or who you are. Keep it as simple and descriptive as possible. You can further describe what you do later on the homepage or on the about page.

At this point you have a couple different options for organizing your content. A trend with websites and personal websites today is to put all the information on one page that has different sections.

The more traditional setup would be to have separate pages on your site. You can set it up either way and achieve the same effect. We’ll describe the content you need as if you’re creating pages, but this information can be used if you’re creating sections on a single page too.

Step Four Setup The About Page

The about page is where you tell your story. Go in chronological order. You can start with where you were born and raised, but don’t go into too much detail more than a few years back. You want the focus to be on where you are now and where you’re going in the coming years.

When writing who you are now and what you do now use descriptive words instead of filler words. Use words that your target audience understands. You don’t want to confuse them with fancy titles or complicated explanations. It doesn’t make you look more important. It only confuses people.

Step Five Case Studies

You don’t necessarily need a case studies page, but it can be very useful if you’re looking for new job opportunities. Case studies are stories of projects you’ve worked on. You want to tell the story starting with the initial problem or challenge and describe how you or how your team found a solution.

Here are examples of how to develop case studies: Gawker, Timothy Sykes and TechCrunch.

Companies use case studies to showcase their ability to solve problems for their target customers. You can do the same to showcase your ability and make yourself more appealing to potential employers.

Step Six Setup The Contact Page

Finally, a contact page or contact form on your homepage is key. Your site is about luring people in, earning their interest and getting them to contact you with potential opportunities. A contact form is professional and it’s a secure way for people to reach out to you.

Step Seven Professional Email Address

It’s time to retire that email address that looks something like crazeegurl6345@yahoo.com. Now that you have your own website you can create a professional email. Simply use your first same and the domain for your website for something like aaron@aaronagius.com.

This is an email address you can put on the site and on other assets like your business cards.

Build A Blog

Along with the fact that it’s the most popular CMS, we recommend using WordPress for your personal website because it has blogging functionality.

With a blog, you can provide fresh, relevant content that appeals to your target audience. You can showcase your expertise, experience and personality on an ongoing basis. With a targeted blog strategy complete with blog promotion, you can attract your target audience to your blog posts and to your website where they can read your content, get to know you and become interested in what you do.

We’re not the only ones that believe in blogging.

We asked Rand Fishkin of Moz the question:

If you were building an online presence from scratch today, what 3 things would you consider to provide the biggest ROI on your time and money?

His response was:

I would invest in a blog where I regularly produced unique, useful information, a regular video series, and a strong social media presence across at least Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn (and possibly others like Pinterest or Instagram depending on the focus of my work).

Here are the steps to building your blog. With WordPress, a blog will be setup on your site so you won’t need to do much, if any, technical setup. You can start with the content strategy.

Step One Develop A Blog Strategy

Your goal is to attract the attention of people that can give you money whether that’s a potential employer or a potential client.

A blog strategy or content strategy should be really simple—address the questions and solve the problems that your target reader has and that him or her is asking online.

A good place to find the questions your target audience is asking is to go to on Quora. It’s a popular forum where all kinds of quality questions are asked. Find the ones being asked by people that fit the profile of your target audience.

On your blog, you’ll provide the answers to these questions.

You can also search industry websites and publications for popular articles. Look for widgets on these publications that list “popular articles” or something similar. See what your target audience is reading and write on those topics.

Another good format for your blog is to provide insight into current events. When something happens in your industry, provide your point of view on what it means for your target audience.

You can also interview industry influencers. Most people are open to being interviewed for blogs especially if they have their own blog. Reach out to other bloggers and reach out to influencers. These could be journalists, consultants or even executives.

Jon Morrow of Boost Blog Traffic had some good input into building a blog strategy. We asked him the question:

What one action, decision, or choice has had the single biggest impact in the growth of your personal brand?

He responded with:

Blogging, without a doubt, but not just any type of blogging. I wanted to go beyond the short, meaningless little posts most bloggers publish and create content that would touch people so powerfully it would stay with them forever, and they would find themselves going back to read it again and again for decades. The result is I don’t publish very much, but the posts I do publish get a TON of traffic. This one now has over one million page views all by itself, and lots of others are in the six-figure range.

Step Two Content Syndication

Content syndication is when you share your blog content (in full or in part) on other sites. A simple form of syndication is sharing the title of your blog post on Twitter along with a link to the full post.

Much content syndication is about bringing traffic back to the original source of the content. This is why sharing a link along with the title or first paragraph of a blog post is good for sites that want traffic.

You want traffic to your personal site, but your overall goal is to raise your personal profile. You want to be recognized throughout your industry. To build that reputation you don’t necessarily need to bring traffic back to your site.

For you, sharing more content off your site can work because you eliminate a step and provide great information right where your target audience is spending their time.

For example, instead of sharing the title and link from your post on a forum, you can share an entire section or even the entire post on an industry forum (with a source link at the bottom).

You could do this on LinkedIn Groups, Google+ Groups and a number of others places.

Guy Kawasaki believes that Google+ has greatly helped his brand. We asked him the question:

What one action, decision, or choice has had the single biggest impact in the growth of your personal brand?

Here was his response:

The action that had the single biggest impact on the growth of my personal brand was jumping on Google+ during its launch period and pouring resources into it long before it was proven to be more than “another Google Wave.” This led to early success and visibility on the service which led to Google “blessing me” as a suggested user which led to more than six million followers.

The concept with syndication is to share the entire wealth of information you possess. Your website and blog are important, but you don’t necessarily need to bring people there to raise your reputation.

Step Three Content Sharing With Buffer

Buffer allows you to easily share or to syndicate your blog content on various social profiles from one location. You can share a blog title and URL or snippet on Buffer and have it published to your social accounts including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and more.

Guy Kawasaki is a fan. We asked him:

If you were building an online presence from scratch today, what 3 things would you consider to provide the biggest ROI on your time and money?

He responed with:

The three things that would provide the biggest ROI today are:

  • Pinterest
  • Google+
  • Using Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule posts

In other words, I would focus my efforts on these two sites, and I would use Hootsuite or Buffer to implement my daily posts. As for content, I would use Alltop to find stories, and Canva to build a graphic for every post that wasn’t an embedded video or whose source didn’t have a great, at least 500-pixels-wide picture. (Note: I am the co-founder of Alltop and chief evangelist of Canva).

For every blog post you publish, you can create many updates to share on social media. Take one hour out of your week to create snippets to share for the entire week on your social profiles. Buffer makes it easy and it will be one of the most important tools you use for your branding strategy. It’s a little over $100 annually for unlimited queued posts.

Step Four Automation With IFTTT

IFTTT is a clever tool that allows you to do multiple actions based on an occurrence. The terminology on IFTTT includes actions and consequences to make recipes. For example, your action is a new published blog post on your WordPress blog. The consequence is to share a snippet of that post on Twitter or LinkedIn or Google+.

You can also use IFTTT to get ideas for your blog posts and many other things, but we’ll focus on automating the sharing of your blog content.

With Buffer, you can focus on new content, but the real power with Buffer is the old content that you’ll develop over time.

And while you can use IFTTT with your old content, the real power of IFTTT is with the new actions and new content you create.

Setup the following actions as a minimum with your IFTTT account:

  • New WordPress Post to Twitter
  • New WordPress Post to Facebook
  • New WordPress Post to Google+
  • New WordPress Post to LinkedIn

These recipes will get you started using IFTTT to promote your blog posts. From there you can take things to the next level by adding multiple layers to your recipes and using IFTTT to get ideas for your WordPress blog.

You could even use IFTTT to help you get the type of job you’re looking for by using the RSS feeds for specific searches on Craigslist sent to your inbox, but that’s for another guide.

Step Five Additional Blogging Tools

Here are some additional tools to help you with your blogging efforts.

  • Flickr Creative Commons 2.0 has a huge collection of photos that you can use as long as you provide attribution (a link to the photo’s page on Flickr). You don’t want to use any photo you find on a Google search.

  • Aweber, MailChimp or similar email provider; an email list is something you own and a blog is a great vehicle for starting an email list. You can create a basic template and create a blog broadcast to automate regular emails to your followers using your blog posts.

Email is very important. We asked Brian Dean of Backlinko this question:

If you were building an online presence from scratch today, what 3 things would you consider to provide the biggest ROI on your time and money?

His response included a note about the importance of email marketing:

I’d invest lots of time communicating with email subscribers. It boggles my mind that people will talk to random people on social media...and send email subscribers newsletters from “noreply@” email addresses. Your email list is your business’s #1 asset. And you can grow the value of that list by building relationships with people that subscribe. When people sign up to my newsletter I ask them “tell me one thing you’re struggling with?” and reply to EVERY single one. That way you’re growing your personal brand by actually personally talking to your target audience.

Synthesis is hosting for WordPress. They provide you with the hosting setup that will make your WordPress site blazing fast. It’s more expensive than regular shared hosting, but if you want to impress your visitors you want a site that is fast and always available.

Finally, your blog can include all types of content. We asked Rand Fishkin of Moz the following question:

What one action, decision, or choice has had the single biggest impact in the growth of your personal brand?

His response was:

The creation and promotion of a weekly video series called “Whiteboard Friday” in which I explain web marketing concepts in front of a whiteboard each Friday was likely the largest single impact endeavor for my personal branding. Whenever I speak on stage or attend a conference or appear anywhere online in the marketing world, people know and have seen Whiteboard Friday. Few people watch every episode, but with ~10K unique views per episode, it’s common for many professionals in the field to have watched at least a few of them. Video, in particular, is powerful because it creates so much more of a personal connection with the audience, and from a branding standpoint, being in those videos makes me someone they remember and feel a connection with.

Additionally, a blog might not work for everyone. We asked Pat Flynn the question:

What one action, decision, or choice has had the single biggest impact in the growth of your personal brand?

His response was:

I started my podcast. In a survey (with a 7,500 person sample), I discovered that the #1 way people first hear about me or my brand is through my podcast (21%), followed by YouTube (19%) and links & mentions on other sites (18%). Not only has the podcast given me more exposure, but it has also allowed me to connect on a much deeper level with my audience. Whenever I go to conferences and talk to people in my audience, they always mention the podcast and how much they enjoy it—they hardly mention the blog anymore.

Get More Traffic With Ideas From The Content Marketing Guide

The guide you’re reading on personal branding is part of a series of advanced guides on a variety of topics including a The Advanced Content Marketing Guide.

This guide is packed with information about how you can use content to grow a business or in your case, your personal brand.

The parts that will apply most are:

  • Creating A Planning Document For Your Content
  • Generating Ideas For Your Blog
  • Templates For Easy Content Creation
  • Optimizing Your Content For Search (SEO)
  • Promoting Your Content

We’ve covered a few of the early steps and a few of the promotion steps, but this guide has more in-depth information for this part of your efforts especially the information about building connections with influencers in your industry and being comfortable including them in your articles and emailing them to help you promote your content.

Traffic and clicks drive the Internet. In order to grow your brand online you need to have the ability to drive traffic to your blog content through clicks. You now have the steps to get your blog setup. This guide can help you create amazing content and promote that content to get traffic.

We asked Yaro Starak of Entrepreneur-Journey.com the question:

If you were building an online presence from scratch today, what 3 things would you consider to provide the biggest ROI on your time and money?

His response included another great tip for traffic:

Assuming I’ve done these tests and I know I have a buying audience, then my focus is simple—improve traffic and conversion. I expand what is already working, add more traffic sources, make more offers and run split tests to improve results.

Get More Blog Followers From
The Complete Guide To Building Your Blog Audience

In addition, The Complete Guide To Building Your Blog Audience will show you how to build an audience for your blog. When you’re starting out, you have zero followers. That’s obviously not going to help you achieve your personal branding goals.

Some of the best strategies include:

  • Writing about influencers and getting them to share your posts
  • Implementing the right social sharing buttons on your blog
  • Joining the right online communities
  • Syndicating your content
  • Repurposing your content

A blog is the way you can reach your target audience. The strategies in the guide above can help you build your audience so that your stature in the industry grows, which will lead to the opportunities you’re seeking.

A great way to build your personal brand is to guest post on influential websites. The guide above discusses guest blogging and we discuss it more in the next chapter.

You gain access to the best websites by providing amazing content that readers love and in return you get to grow your brand by exposing your personality, expertise and story to the audience.

What kind of content connects with your audience?

We asked Brian Dean of Backlinko the question:

If you were building an online presence from scratch today, what 3 things would you consider to provide the biggest ROI on your time and money?

His response included a great bit about blogging:

I’d write blog posts like Neil. Neil’s writing style is compelling because it reads like he’s having a conversation with you. And he sprinkles in anecdotes from his life and business. When people read copy like that they feel like they’re getting to know you.

Business Cards And Other Offline Assets

The first part of this chapter has focused on building your online assets, which are incredibly important, but don’t forget about your potential offline assets. These can be just as important to your personal brand especially when you’re meeting people in person.

Collection Of Amazing Business Cards

Here are some examples of great personal business cards:

You’ll notice that each of these cards is unique, creative and original. For your personal brand, it’s about standing out from the crowd and being different from the competition. We touch on standing out in more detail in the last chapter of the guide.

Step One Build Intrigue With Your Business Card

Keep business cards on you at all times. You never know when you’re going to run into someone that has an opportunity.

As you can imagine, meetings like this are often spontaneous and the person you see will look at your card for about two seconds before they put it in their pocket or bag. Your card has to communicate who you are and what you can provide within that two-second window.

Your business card design should follow the same basic formula as your website. Your name, title and short description should be included. These answer the basic questions of who you are and what you do.

Your contact information should be easy to find on the front of the card and it should include your professional email address, which you created when you started your website. Also include the address for your personal website. And include your phone number because some people prefer to make phone calls to sending emails.

On a high quality business card, your photo can work well. Instead of using a business logo for a business card, you can use your professionally taken photo as your personal brand logo.

The back of your business card is another asset that is often overlooked. For pennies more you can add a nice bold pattern to the back of your card with a benefit for your targeted audience listed.

For example, a salesperson looking for better opportunities will put the benefit statement—Get more sales. Visit salesperson.com. Make the saying on the back about the person you hand the card to, which is your target audience member.

To recap, the front of your card should have a white background with black or dark text and your professional photo, title and contact information.

The back should have a dark, bold color background with white type that highlights a benefit statement with your website URL listed.

Your card gives your audience a way to contact you, but it also intrigues them and gets them to take action by visiting your website or by calling you.

Step Two Improve Your Appearance With Proper Diet, Exercise And Sleep

Don’t negate the importance of your appearance for your personal brand. Your appearance is highly important for how people perceive you. When you’re building your career you’re having a lot of first impressions and the way you look has an instant effect on people.

Studies show that if you dress nicely, brush your hair, maintain your skin and look alert that you’ll be more likely to succeed and make positive connections with people. The only way to do these things is to take proper care of yourself.

Take control of your diet by limiting your carbs and sugars. They can give you a rush of energy, but that energy quickly fades and you will feel sluggish. Carbs and sugar also contribute to fat growth throughout your body including around your vital organs like your brain. You want to stay sharp. Eat healthy fats, proteins and vegetables.

Exercise regularly. This doesn’t mean that you have to become a body builder. Make walking a regular part of your routine. Walk outside for 20 minutes at least four days per week and do it during peak sunlight hours. Sun is great for your body and so is regular walking. It also gives you time to think and ponder your life. Also do body weight workouts like push-ups and sit-ups. And try spring exercising 2-3 times per week.

Finally, get at least seven hours of sleep per night. This is not easy especially for business professionals, but it’s essential.

A recent study found that getting a good night’s sleep allows the brain to flush toxins and makes it more likely that you’ll learn and retain information.

If you don’t allow yourself to sleep you’re robbing your brain of its ability to function and you won’t be operating at peak performance. Turn the world off in the evening. Don’t check your email after 5:00 PM. The evening is a time to wind down and get ready to sleep. Seven hours is great. Eight is even better. Even if there is an emergency you’re better off dealing with it in the morning when you’ve had a full night’s sleep.

Do these things and you’ll be healthier, happier and in a much better place mentally to grow as a person. This leads to more confidence and better performance on the job, which leads to advancement.

There are other offline activities you can do to improve your personal brand. We asked John Chow:

What one action, decision, or choice has had the single biggest impact in the growth of your personal brand?

He responded with:

The action with the biggest impact on my personal brand has been to write my own book. I’m talking about a real book, not an eBook. My published books include Make Money Online: Roadmap of a Dot Com Mogul and Blogging Secrets. Both are available at Amazon.com and major book stores. Nothing scream expert status than being published. It is the ultimate business card.

If I were starting from scratch today, I would use Amazon Create Space to get my first book published. Then I would leverage that book to get Tier 1 media exposure. Having my own book was how I got featured on Entrepreneur magazine.

Four ways to share