Now that you’ve got a good handle on your overall positioning for your personal brand you’ll want to consider these three areas to help you explicitly identify some of your core attributes as a online brand and how they’ll make (and keep you) competitive.
There are many blogs and blog posts out there that can help you deep dive into each of these areas so I’d rather keep it fairly top-level so you can do most of the digging yourself but this should provide enough ammunition to get you going in the right direction.
1. Your Mission or Objectives
Some people have mission and vision statements that are clear as crystal and that they put up directly on their properties to let others know what they are all about. This is fine and good but it’s not about whether or not you share it explicitly but whether you have one at all to begin with.
Most people intuitively know what they are about – what they intend to do and what they are trying to achieve. The problem is that everyone except you doesn’t have a stinking clue about what it is until they read it or recognize it in some fashion!
It’s amazing how many people blindly assume that it’s obvious to their customers what they are about; how could they possibly know?
Here are a few tips that can help you identify your “mission”:
- What is it that you actually “do”? This can help you identify your mission easily and quickly.
- What is it that others say that you “do”? This can be a very helpful activity.
- What is your personal “promise”? I walk people through an activity here that’s very helpful.
- What do you want your customers to say about you? Think practically!
- What do you want your competitors to say about you? This explicitly.
There are many other questions that could be asked but this should give you a good start. The more direct and explicit you can be the easier it is for others to understand your personal brand and what you’re all about.
2. Your Target Market
It’s one thing to know about oneself and it’s another to know exactly who you’re attempting to market to, inform, educate, and/or convince! Who is your target market? In other words, who’s attention are you really trying to get?
I see this all the time – someone’s personal online brand says one thing and yet their core audience and market is something entirely different. I have no idea how this happens or who’s ultimately being fooled; the customer or the brand identity!
Sure, some say that by identifying your own personal brand you then attract those customers naturally, but I haven’t seen this happen so easily online. You can “think” that you promote something and yet time and time again you get different customers or readers to your properties. How does that happen? The internet, of course!
So what you need to do is a basic market analysis – this isn’t something entirely difficult or long-winded but is good for you to know so you can track whether or not your personal brand is bringing in the right customers and eyes. Using the internet is my preferred method and a little Googling here and there is all you’ll really need.
Here are some questions you might ask yourself and see if you can get answered:
- Who is my target audience today? Is this the right audience? Is it diluted? Does it need to change?
- Who is ideally my target audience? What do I need to do to make sure they are coming to me online?
- Where are they located? Globally or locally?
- What do they think about my current online brand? Is it positive? Negative? A mix?
- If what they think about my brand isn’t “right” then what do I need to do to correct it? Is it me or them (most likely you).
- What do my friends and business partners think about my target market?
That should get you started. You’ll discover a lot about your existing brand and can work backwards from there at times.
3. Your Competition
Knowing yourself and knowing your target market are great but the final strategy is to know who you’re competing with in terms of your personal online brand.
Now some of us get a little anxious thinking that you’re competing with others with your personal brand but hey, it’s just the truth. We’re all competing for other’s attention online and some of us get a lot of attention (and thus get compensated, financially or in other ways for more of that exposure) and the rest of us get the table scraps.
You want to be in the former category and making sure that if people are looking for the things that you have to offer and the things that you stand for they aren’t going to someone else to be satisfied or fulfilled.
Here are some things you may want to think about as you understand your competition:
- First, who else is out there that has a similar online brand? More importantly, who’s doing it really well and why?
- What is making them unique? What is making them stand out? What is their positioning?
- Is your competition (and you) in a more niche market or in a generalist market position?
- What can you do better than your competitors? Underwater basket weaving doesn’t count so it needs to stay applicable always.
- Are they advertising in other mediums? Do they have presence elsewhere not online? Products, services, etc?
- How long have they been “in the game” so to speak? Is time playing a significant factor?
This is just a starting place for you but you’ll want to know who else is in your pond (or ocean) and what you’re going to do about it!