Like I said in my previous blog post, before promoting your company, it's essential to define your brand. Failing to do so can actually deter clients (as I learned early on while trying to grow my business). That post also contained a stern warning about the Champagne curse, so just click here if you think you might be at risk.
No one else thinks they’re at risk for preemptively buying champagne after an important. meeting with a potential client? Just me? Cool.
In defining your brand, you should have a distinct vision of what it is, and maybe even what it is not. How does it make people feel? What will people experience by interacting with your brand? And is that what you want them to experience? If you need more background info on building and defining your brand, Forbes has some very insightful tips for doing so.
While doing some branding research, I discovered a few gurus whose guidance has helped me immensely. One of them is Mark Schaefer, who is also an absolute expert in the digital marketing industry. He's written several books on the subject, including Social Media Explained, The Tao of Twitter, and most recently, KNOWN: The Handbook for Building and Unleashing Your Personal Brand in the Digital Age. I devoured this book in a little over a week, and it’s an absolute treasure trove of branding advice.
One concept he discusses that was particularly helpful for me in defining my brand was that if your brand is really airtight, it should be gaining momentum. According to Schaefer, there are four telltale signs your brand is gaining momentum.
1. Awareness: This can be measured as easily as if more people are liking your social media posts, sharing links to your blog, or increasing traffic to your website. Are more people aware of you this month than last? Are more people aware of you this year than last year? If you can answer yes, that’s a positive sign that your brand is building momentum.
2. Inquiries: If your reputation as a non-fiction writer, editor, or coach is being established, you should expect to have more people interested in your work. You should write these down- if you’re asked to speak, contribute content, provide advice, answer a question, offer a recommendation. These are all signs your brand is gaining momentum, and keeping a record of them can help you know if it’s happening, It’s also a good source of encouragement on the bad days.
3. Money: Money talks. People will only give you money if they’re receiving value. It’s honest feedback, though it can also be harsh feedback. Even if making money as an author is not your primary goal, not making any money would indicate something about your brand is just not landing with people.
4. Personal Goals: Only you can really know how this is going. What are your goals? Why are you here tonight? Why do you want to be an author? Is it for recognition? Share your ideas? Reach a professional milestone? Have more flexibility in your work life? Share your story with others? Are any of those things happening? If not, you might want to reconsider what your brand is.
So... what do you think? Is your brand gaining momentum? If you could answer yes in response to at least two of these criteria, you’re probably doing very well.
But if you’re not building momentum, and if you feel like your wheels are spinning, you may need to do a brand audit, or even, a brand makeover. Schaefer’s book has an excellent chapter on how to audit your brand, which I’ll be summarizing briefly in my next post. I'll also be discussing the Entrepreneur's Panic Room (AKA your bed, under the covers) and how to escape and avoid it. Because let's face it, we've all had those days.
But if you just can’t wait, and need help now, order his book here, or visit his website.
Or contact me. I love hearing from readers and answering questions.