It was way back in mid 1997 that management guru and best-selling author Tom Peters first put the concept of personal branding on the map with a cover story for Fast Company magazine entitled 'A Brand Called You'.
The article instantly became a classic, representing the Zeitgeist for the business world at the time.
"It's time for me -- and you -- to take a lesson from the big brands, a lesson that's true for anyone who's interested in what it takes to stand out and prosper in the new world of work.
"Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You."
The difference today compared to 1997, however, is the advent of social media and free, easy-to-use personal publishing tools that help you to tell your story, share your ideas, amplify your voice, grow your audience and build your brand - on a global scale if that's your want.
However, it's one thing to know you can leverage the power of social media and content marketing to ignite your personal brand, build your profile and increase your influence and authority - it's another matter to join the dots strategically and then execute with passion and purpose, ensuring you make new media technologies work for you.
Here are four things you need to consider (and act upon) in order to ignite your personal brand in today's hyper-connected world:
1. Commit to becoming a mini-media mogul
Firstly, you need to make an ongoing commitment to creating interesting, useful or thought-provoking content relevant to your audience; you need to embrace the fact you're now a bona fide publisher, with a story to tell and an audience to grow.
There are no gatekeepers any more, just you and a direct virtual line to your audience. Wow them with your insights, provoke them with you opinions; spark conversation and debate around issues affecting your industry; use video and/or audio to give people more options to consume your awesome content!
2. Understand that content is just one part of the equation
Being active on social media channels - participating as a real human being, with enthusiasm, personality and humility - not only will make your content work harder and get discovered and shared more readily, it will also help you grow your network and build relationships with potential customers and the people who influence them.
Engaging in real time with people - helping their cause by shining the spotlight on them, adding value to their lives, and simply having fun and being you - can pay tremendous dividends in ways that will surprise you over the long term!
3. Integrate your efforts to ensure effective 'one-two punch' results
In boxing, being able to snap two punches into your opponent's face in quick succession can reap devastating results (not so much for the poor sod copping it in the schnoz though). In personal branding terms, your one-two punch is the seamless integration of offline and online activities.
For example, don't just attend that industry conference, work it baby! Create content - write blog posts, record video interviews with participants, tweet live from the event - plus leverage the opportunity to connect and build relationships with the people you meet, via the likes of Twitter and LinkedIn.
4. Never forget, it's about building a community of fans, followers and advocates
Yes, building awareness and gaining visibility in the marketplace is nice. Getting traction with your blog posts or having people tweet about you is great. However, your ultimate goal should be to grow and nurture a community of advocates, or what I like to call a 'village of support', for your brand.
Having a solid and vocal (and today, hyper-connected) band of friends, peers and enthusiasts who support you and what you stand for will help you get to where you want to get to quicker - as long as you don't abuse the relationship. They will share your content with their network of friends, amplify your opinions and ideas through their conversations with others, talk about you in glowing terms with whomever will listen (including recommending your products and services) and, if you have stuff for sale, they'll stand in virtual line to buy it!
Is growing your online presence, influence and authority important to the professional you? If so, this might be of interest: Announcing the launch of my new 'hybrid' training program called ...
Introducing IGNITE YOUR PERSONAL BRAND, a unique, step-by-step ‘hybrid ‘online/offline program I've designed specifically for today’s forward-thinking entrepreneur and business professional who wants to take advantage of social media and content marketing in a smart and strategic way to build their personal brand and increase the level of authority and influence they have within their industry, profession or niche.
IGNITE! starts on October 1 and runs for four weeks, with each week dedicated to a specific theme to ensure progression and momentum.
It’s designed to be practical and hands-on, with instruction and inspiration in equal measure. Guaranteed no fluff or wishy-washy theories; just street-smart, tested strategies jam-packed with examples of people who are leading the way in the new media space.