Nov 26, 2014

Create an Unstoppable Personal Online Brand

by Digital Marketing Institute

A recent article by the Guardian revealed that high profile vloggers on YouTube can earn up to £4,000 a mention and £20,000 a month for banner ads and skins on their web pages. This gives you an indication of the power of the online personal brand. But money isn’t the only motivator…

There’s no better way, for example, to gain a competitive advantage during a job search, secure industry recognition, enhance your credibility or to become an influencer in your niche.

And the biggest motivation of all? You could turn your hobby into a full time job. Imagine waking up every day and beginning work on a project you’ve carved out for yourself – with your own passion, your own time, your own dedication.

Below we’ll show you how to enhance your online presence effectively and create a happier and more meaningful career – with lots of tips from successful influencers thrown in along the way.

How to Enhance Your Online Brand:

1. Identify Your Unique Selling Point

Create an Unstoppable Personal Brand - Identify Your Unique Selling Point | Digital Marketing Institute

What makes you good at what you do? It’s important to identify what makes you unique from the outset – this will help you stand out amongst the online noise and digital marketing “ninjas” (and trust us – there’s plenty of both). First get clear about your niche and your passions and then identify the value you can bring to your audience.

How to Identify Your Unique Selling Point:

What do the most successful online influencers have in common? They have managed to find a niche that aligns with both their passions and their career goals. It’s easy to put this down to luck but more often than not it’s down to focus.

The best influencers focus on their passion – if it doesn’t light a fire in your belly you won’t keep it up. Equally, if it doesn’t align with your career goals it won’t be sustainable. So ask yourself the following questions honestly before you begin building your online presence:

When Identifying Your USP Ask:

  • What knowledge/skills do I have to offer and who can I offer them to?
  • Does this niche/industry/topic genuinely excite me or am I jumping on a successful trend I don’t love?
  • Does the work light a fire in my belly (could it get me up at 6am?)
  • What do people tell me that I’m good at?
  • What do I love doing (even if it never made me money)?

Top Influencer Tip:

Jeet Banerjee, Co-founder of, TEDx Speaker & Bestselling Author Says:

“Be unique. Don’t create a brand that’s just like everyone elses.”

2. Choose Your Digital Channels Wisely

Create an Unstoppable Personal Online Brand - Choose Your Digital Channels Wisely | Digital Marketing Institute

There are a whole host of digital marketing channels to choose from. But it’s important not to make yourself available on too many platforms – you’ll risk burning yourself out and spreading your time too thinly. Instead, try to choose the right channels for both you and your audience. Get selective with your platforms, get ruthless with your time and get clever with your strategy.

How to Choose Your Perfect Digital Channels:

First decide how you love communicating best – is it through words, pictures or by speaking? You could try blogging, vlogging, micro-blogging, tweeting or photo-blogging – but only you know where both your passion and your talents lie. First identify your ideal content creation platform and then assess the best digital channels to market your content through.

When Choosing Channels Ask:

  • Is my audience there?
  • What kind of content does this channel require (e.g. writing, video, photography, etc.) – do I enjoy creating this?
  • What channels are people in my industry engaging with and succeeding with?
  • Do I have enough time to dedicate to the channel’s upkeep?
  • Do I have at least one channel for content creation and at least one channel for social media promotion?

3. Select Side Projects Carefully

Create an Unstoppable Personal Online Brand - Select Side Projects Carefully

Because there’s a severe digital skills gap if you’re good at what you do you’ll find yourself faced with an abundance of opportunities – people inviting you to write for them, contribute to their podcasts and collaborate on projects, etc. But that’s a good thing, right? Well, technically yes, but you could risk taking on too much and not getting enough in return. Just like any business when it comes to your personal brand you need to think of your ROI (Return on Investment).

How to Select The Right Side Projects:

When selecting the right projects you need to learn when to say yes and how to say no. The premise? If it benefits your brand you do it, if it reaches the right audience you do it, if you’re passionate about the project you do it. If you don’t have the time you politely say no. Ask yourself the following questions before you say yes to your next side project:

When Selecting Side Projects Ask:

  • Does the brand align with my values?
  • Does this project align with my goals?
  • Is it a good way to tap into my potential audience?
  • Is this an important relationship?
  • Do I have the time to complete this to the best of my ability?
  • Are my client’s goals achievable?

4. Be Authentic & Open

Create an Unstoppable Personal Online Brand - Be Authentic & Open | Digital Marketing Institute

Your personality matters. And how you treat people does too. So be nice, be honest and be you. People can see every move you make online – and they will be able to tell if you’re faking it or being insincere. When building a personal online brand it’s important to stay true to who you are and what you believe in. The more authentic you are the more your audience will trust you.

Top Influencer Tip:

John Lee Dumas, Founder & Host of Says:

“Being honest helps build trust and credibility with your audience, which will lead to a loyal following who knows, likes and trusts you.”

How to Be Authentic:

  • Be as honest as you can be. Always.
  • Don’t endorse any products/brands/tools you don’t believe in and wouldn’t use yourself.
  • Stay humble – don’t let any success you might have go to your head.
  • Remember to thank every person who helps you along with the way.
  • Respond to criticism politely (both online and offline).

5. Watch, Learn, Listen (& Practice)

Create an Unstoppable Personal Online Brand - Watch, Learn, Listen (& Practice)

The best way to learn? Yes, you guessed it – to watch the experts and learn from their success. You can probably do with learning from their mistakes too. Either way it is absolutely essential to conduct research and listen to those who are leading the way in your preferred industry.

How to Learn From The Best:

Identify influencers in your niche industry (Twitter is probably the best place to do this). Research their strategies, search for their success stories online and consume their content regularly. Find out how they made built a successful personal brand from scratch and how they continuously engage their audience.

Is there anything that you’ve learned that you can incorporate into your own strategy? As Jeff Bullas says, “If you want to achieve you’ve just got to look at the top people in your industry and see what they’re doing and basically copy them/emulate them.”

Top Influencer Tip:

Ben Yoskovitz, Serial Entrepreneur, Author & Blogger says:

“I remember spending a good amount of time watching and learning, and then emulating what others were doing. It was natural to copy what seemed to be working. But over time you branch out, do your own thing, experiment and your own personality, brand, value emerges into email subscribers & leads.”

How to Listen Effectively for the Best Learning:

  • Identify influencers in your niche area (Twitter is a good place to do some research).
  • Seek out a mentor (either online or in person).
  • Follow and engage with your influencer’s social media fans – they are your target audience.
  • Don’t be afraid to put what you learn into practice – if it’s worked for someone else in the industry it might work for you too.
  • Only take the best parts from your favourite influencers – rather than copying everything you learn (stay unique).

You can start your research by learning from Jeff Bullas’ story below:

6. Reach Out (In The Right Way)

Create an Unstoppable Personal Online Brand - Get to Grips with Timesaving Tools | Digital Marketing Institute

You’ll get a lot further faster by accepting the help of others. So don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Equally – you should be open to helping other people out when they need it. Build up a network of people in your industry by attending events and reaching out online. You can then build mutually beneficial relationships and offer a support network for each other.

How to Reach Out:

  • Sign up to a site or newsletter to keep track of upcoming networking events in your area.
  • While networking look out for opportunities where you can genuinely help others.
  • Connect with and reach out to influencers online – thank them for their great content, etc.
  • If asking influencers for a favour or quote keep your question short, simple and to the point.
  • Guest blog – but be selective about who you approach (make sure they have a similar audience and are an authoritative site).
  • Join relevant LinkedIn groups and regularly contribute your own opinions, thoughts and content.

Get to Grips With Timesaving Tools

There are plenty of great digital tools you can use to save time and increase your productivity. You don’t need to go it alone. It’s also important to reassess your strategy at regular intervals. Take a step back and assess what your efforts are achieving (just like if you were analysing a digital marketing campaign).

How to Save More Time:

When building your personal brand your time is one of the most valuable assets you have. Ask yourself: “Am I happier and better connected? Am I growing my followers and increasing my traffic? Am I achieving the KPIs I set out to achieve?” Stop spending time on the tactics and channels that aren’t bringing you the results you require and keep investing in the activities that are. Simple.

Some Handy Time-Saving Tools to Use:

  • BuzzSumo – helps you identify influencers in your area and popular topics for articles, allows you to monitor mentions for certain terms.
  • HooteSuite – allows you to manage your social media presence from the one platform and schedule your posts.
  • Google Analytics – tells you what’s working and helps you evaluate how best to spend your time.
  • Google Alerts – allows you to monitor for mentions for your name.
  • BrandYourself – allows you to control what people find when the Google your name.
  • Rapportive – lets you know what your contacts are up to.

Love to learn more about marketing yourself online? Our Postgraduate Diploma in Digital Marketing is an in-depth, accredited programme taught by industry experts. You’ll get to grips with the theoretical and practical knowledge needed to plan, execute and measure your personal online brand strategy. Get in touch to find out more.

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