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Personal Branding: The Ultimate A to Z Guide

When you’re looking for a job, you should expect to be Googled.

When you’re trying to land a speaking engagement for a big industry event, you should expect to be Googled.

When you send a guest contributor pitch to a blog you admire, you should expect to be Googled.

The truth is, anyone that may end up working with you in some capacity wants to get a good idea of your work and your personality before responding to your email or getting you to schlep all the way into the office.Click here for free professional bio tips & templates that will get you  noticed.

That’s where you personal brand comes in. Your personal brand refers to the way you present or market yourself, your skills, and your work. And if you want to get past that initial Google search, you’re going to want to develop a personal brand that accurately reflects what you’re capable of.

That’s why we put together the A to Z guide below. From consistency to networking, we’ll walk you through all of the elements that go into defining an impressive personal brand so you can feel good about those Google search results.

The Complete A to Z Guide to Personal Branding

1) A: Authenticity

Building a brand around you requires quite a bit of soul searching. In the process, you’ll likely learn a lot about who you are, what you value, what your strengths (and weaknesses) are, and so on. These are all elements of your authentic self.

When working on your personal brand, be sure to tap in to those layers — those things that make you, you.

2) B: Bio

Your professional bio provides a clear and concise summary of your professional background that can be used to represent you across a ton of different mediums — blog posts, social media, a speaker profile, etc. In many cases, it serves as a first impression — which is why it plays such an important part in defining your personal brand.

Trouble is, most people fail to keep it updated.

“A short, professional bio is one of those things most people don’t think about until, all of a sudden, we’ve been asked to ‘shoot one over via email’ and have approximately one afternoon to come up with it,” explains HubSpot’s Lindsay Kolowich.

Don’t fall into this trap. If you need help ensuring your bio reflects your best professional self, check out our free professional bio guide, complete with plug-and-play templates to help you get started.

bio-example.png

3) C: Consistency

Thanks to the internet, discoverability

One example of how to exercise consistency in your personal branding would be to align your username across all of your social channels. This approach is more memorable and it makes it easy for folks searching for you across platforms to surface the right account quickly. Just be sure the username you choose reads professional.

Think: RoseJMills across everything instead of MissRose8794, RosiexMills87, and RJM8794.

In addition to username, employing a consistent headshot across your online accounts is also a personal branding best practice. Take a look at how HubSpot Co-founder and CTO Dharmesh Shah sticks with the same headshot across his Twitter, LinkedIn, and Inbound.org profile:

Dharmesh-Twitter-Headshot.png

Dharmesh-LinkedIn-Headshot.png Dharmesh-Inboundorg.png

4) D: Direction

When it comes to determining the success of your personal branding efforts, how will you know when you’re making progress?

This is where the importance of direction comes in.

Some of the most accomplished professionals have a clear sense of direction. This includes well-defined goals, a long-term vision, and a handful of vehicles to drive that vision forward.

Before you make any major personal brand plays, stop to think about the professional direction you want to go in and then plan your next steps accordingly.

5) E: Evolutionary

Old Spice. Pabst Blue Ribbon. Instagram.

Screen Shot 2017-11-07 at 3.59.20 PM.png

Source: Logo Inspirations

These are all hugely successful names that have undergone dramatic rebrands over the years. And there’s something to be said about their willingness to change and evolve.

Much like these brands, it’s important that you keep a close eye on the success and relevance of your personal branding strategy and pivot accordingly.

As you develop new skills, consider how you might evolve your brand to reflect that. Similarly, as certain mediums for promoting your brand fizzle, invest in new ones. Your personal brand should be consistent, yet constantly evolving to reflect the most current, accurate representation of you.

6) F: Focus

Rome wasn’t built in a day — and you shouldn’t expect your personal brand to be either. Establishing yourself as an expert in your industry or a noteworthy resource for any given subject requires a focused approach to delivering value to your audience while upholding your unique values.

In other words, don’t expect overnight results. Instead, focus on what you can do today to strengthen your personal brand tomorrow.

7) G: Growth

Consider the skills you already posses and the skills you want to build to advance your brand. If you have a fairly large skill gap to fill in order to achieve your desired outcome, it’s important to have a plan for prioritization.

As you move towards mastering the skills on your “to-do” list, start by ranking each one by highest growth potential. In other words, which skills do you need to tackle first to make the biggest impact on your overall brand? Which skills are going to help you grow the most?

Start there.

8) H: Human

Think about the last time you scrolled through Twitter. We’re willing to bet that for every profound, original post from one of the folks you are following, there were about 20-30 automated tweets with a blog post title and a link.

While there’s nothing wrong with automating aspects of your online presence — social, email outreach, etc. — it’s important that you’re strategic about how you go about it.

Here are a few rules of thumb to help you strike the right balance:

  • Don’t: Share just a link to an article. Instead, add color commentary. Share the article and share your thoughts on it.
  • Do: Ask questions of your audience. No matter what the platform, inviting your audience to participate in a conversation with you will help you get to know them and better position yourself as a trusted authority.
  • Don’t: Send the same pitch to everyone. Take the time to do some research. The more personalized your outreach is, the more willing folks will be to give you a shot — whether it be a guest post, a consultation, etc.

Looking for an example of someone with a human social media presence? Give Ann Handley a follow:

Screen Shot 2017-11-08 at 8.57.47 AM.png

9) I: Interviews

Here’s a piece of sage advice: Say ‘yes’ to every single interview you’re offered — whether it be for a potential job, a podcast, an article, etc.

Depending on the nature of the interview, there are a few potential personal branding wins to gain by simply saying yes.

For job interviews …

Even if you’re not interested in the position on the table, going through the interview process can serve as a great exercise for refining and practicing your professional pitch, as it provides you with an opportunity to sell yourself and your skills.

What’s more, the feedback you receive from the interviewer can be extremely helpful in improving your personal brand. For example, if the interviewer questions a particularly weak part of your resume, you may identify an opportunity for improvement or clarity.

For podcast or written interviews …

If you’re comfortable talking about your industry or area of expertise, landing an interview — whether it is audio or written — is a really smart way to gain exposure for your personal brand.

Depending on the spot you land, an interview can help you get your name in front of a large audience — one you may have not had access to otherwise. And in many cases, one interview can open the door for another. Momentum for the win.

10) J: Join

Thanks to the internet and social media, there is no shortage of professional groups to get involved with. And aside from the obvious networking aspect, joining these groups can be extremely beneficial when it comes to growing your personal brand.

How so?

Joining a community or group centered around something you’re passionate about and want to be known for can help you:

  • Develop new skills
  • Improve ideas
  • Establish yourself as a resource
  • Gain inspiration

Don’t know where to start? Here’s an overview of how to find and join a group on LinkedIn.

11) K: Knowledge

In many cases, your personal brand is rooted in your knowledge in any given area. And knowledge can go a long way in helping you establish credibility with an audience.

If you have a personal website, which we recommend for anyone looking to advance their personal brand, use that as a platform to highlight your expertise and share information with others. By volunteering your insight through blog posts, ebooks, or case studies, you are demonstrating your willingness to help.

Marketer and entrepreneur Sujan Patel runs an inspiring blog where he gives away a ton of professional advice for companies focused on scaling growth. As a result, he’s become known as a trusted resource with a “mind for marketing.

Sujan-Patel-Blog.png

12) L: Leadership

Anyone in a leadership position will tell you that personal branding comes with the territory.

Think about it: It’s important that you are committed to developing yourself before you can prove that you can help others develop in their careers, right?

This means knowing your strengths and weaknesses, honing your emotional intelligence, understanding how you like to receive feedback, and so on. All of these aspects contribute to your leadership style, which ultimately plays a role in defining your personal brand.

13) M: Mission

It’s a best practice for companies to define a mission statement that sets the stage for what they do and, perhaps or importantly, why they do it. This statement serves as a guiding light, pushing those in the organization to uphold the company’s values and purpose.

When it comes to personal branding, defining a statement that is specific to your professional development can be equally as effective.

Before you sit down to write yours, take some time to reflect on the following questions:

  1. What are your personal career goals?
  2. What core values do you hold?
  3. What does success look like to you?
  4. What are you most passionate about? Why?

14) N: Network

Want to earn guest posting slots? Speaking gigs? Awards and recognition? All of these personal branding milestones require you to start by doing one thing: meeting people.

By networking and building relationships on a regular basis, you’re constantly inviting new people in that have the potential to shape your brand by offering new opportunities for personal and professional growth.

Need help kickstarting your networking schedule? HubSpot’s Chief People Officer Katie Burke suggests playing “Evenbrite Roulette.”

“Search for events happening in your area in the upcoming week and attend the third event that shows up on the page,” she advises.

15) O: Opinion

A lot of people shy away from infusing their opinion into their personal brand, as they worry they might alienate part of their audience or say something offensive. While this is a valid concern, sticking to sweeping generalizations and careful word choice can actually hold your brand back.

After all, part of establishing an influential personal brand means that you owe it to yourself to take a stance on the issues that matter most to you. And depending on your line of work, there is most certainly room for your opinion as a defining aspect of your personal brand.

The key to success here? Share your opinion — but share it alongside your experience. This communication technique will help others understand where you’re coming from and opens the door for conversation around the subject.

16) P: Public Speaking

Whether you’re comfortable with it or not, public speaking is a tried-and-true way to extend your personal brand. Speaking engagements help to position you as an authority, grow your network, and earn the trust of a new audience.

Feeling a little shaky? Here are a few tips to ensure that your next speaking gig serves as a positive reflection of your personal brand:

  1. Speak about something you know inside and out. The more comfortable you are with the subject matter, the more conversational things will feel. Speaking about something familiar lends itself well to personal stories and experiences, which helps to humanize you.
  2. Know your audience. While you should always focus on being your authentic self, recognizing who your audience is will help you better direct your content. For example, your humor might land with one group, but not another. Know when to pull back.
  3. Get feedback. Practice your talk in front of a group of coworkers you trust before taking the stage. Running through your talk in advance will help you feel more confident in your delivery and also bring to light any areas you need to work on.

17) Q: Quirkiness

One way to infuse your personal brand with a little individuality is to lean in to your quirks — the little things that set you apart from others. For example, maybe you’re known for calculating complicated math in your head, or doodling your notes, or being particularly clumsy.

Whatever your quirks may be, don’t be afraid to incorporate them into your personal brand. While they may seem senseless, they make it easier for people to relate to you, as they provide a level of interest and intrigue.

Leandra Medine Cohen, founder of Man Repeller, provides a great example of how to play up your quirks as part of your personal brand: Screen Shot 2017-11-07 at 10.15.15 AM.png

Screen Shot 2017-11-07 at 10.15.43 AM.png Screen Shot 2017-11-07 at 10.26.57 AM.png

18) R: Reputation

When it comes to reputation as part of your personal branding efforts, there are two key areas you want to focus on:

1) Your online reputation

The process for making most major decisions starts with a Google search. And when it comes to your personal brand, your online presence can and will reveal a lot about you, your work, and what it’s like to work with you.

To keep tabs on your online reputation, set up a Google Alert for your name so you receive a notification every time you appear in a piece of content. This is a great way to track positive mentions of your name and your brand, while keeping a close eye on fires you may need to resolve.

2) Your offline reputation

Your offline reputation is determined by several factors including, the quality of your work, the way you treat other people, the way you respond to feedback, and the impact you’ve made on others.

To achieve positive outcomes in all of these areas, you need to be committed to constant improvement by tapping into your self-awareness and self-regulation to ensure you’re putting your best foot forward.

19) S: Social Media

For many people, personal brand and social media go hand in hand. In other words, if you want to establish a personal brand, you need to establish a social media presence to support it.

That being said, simply having social profiles that you post to regularly isn’t enough. You have to be strategic about your social output — what you post, when you post, and why you post — to ensure that it reflects the behaviors and values that anchor your personal brand.

Here are a few of our favorite tips for using social media to advance your brand:

  • Follow people you admire. What types of content are they posting? How frequently? How do they engage with their followers? Make note of their strategy and look for nuggets that you can incorporate into your own.
  • Align your title, username, and headshot across platforms. We mentioned this up in the consistency section, but it bears repeating. Make it easy for folks to identify you and what you do by maintaining consistent identifiers across accounts.
  • Post often. Part of building a memorable brand boils down to properly setting expectations. Commit to posting at least once a day on particular channels so people can rely on your for consistent, fresh updates.

20) T: Trust

A great way to build trust and advance your personal brand is to ask those you have a strong professional relationship with to write a recommendation or testimonial that you can then use across your website or social accounts.

Here’s a great example from experience marketing professional John Bonini’s personal website:

John-Bonini-Website-Trust.png

Stumped on whom to ask for a testimonial? Try to capture a variety of people — managers, folks you manage, contacts at other companies you’ve worked closely with, etc.

21) U: Unique Value Proposition

As a professional, what problem do you solve? What value do you add? How do you make a difference?

Asking yourself questions like the ones above will help you determine your unique value proposition — a pivotal piece of your personal branding strategy.

Think of your unique value proposition as the key differentiator that people will use to evaluate your personal brand and determine what makes you the most qualified person to do XYZ. You can use this on your resume, in a LinkedIn summary, or on your professional website.

22) V: Visibility

Once you have a foundation for your personal brand, it’s time to spread the word.

One of the best ways to increase your visibility is through a strategic content strategy, where you’re focused on delivering your unique value through the mediums that matter to your audience. This could be blog posts, courses, email campaigns, video content, webinars, etc.

Allen Gannett, CEO of TrackMaven, has done an impressive job increasing his visibility on LinkedIn through his #AllenAsks video series that has helped him grow his followership from a few thousand to over 35,000.

Screen Shot 2017-11-07 at 1.55.40 PM.png

… plus it certainly doesn’t hurt your credibility when you’re creating content with Mark Cuban. Nicely done, Allen.

23) W: Well-rounded

This one may seem a little confusing at first. After all, your personal brand is typically centered around the one thing you do better than everyone else, right?

In most cases, yes. You want to become known for one thing — like being an expert in classical music or a seasoned pastry chef. However, there are advantages to knowing and owning your niche, while also maintaining a basic understanding of a variety of unrelated topics.

Why waste brainpower on broadening your knowledge? It’s simple: Knowing a little bit about everything makes you more relatable. It makes it easy for you to talk to people, which in turn, makes it easier for you to build connections that can advance your person brand.

24) X: X Factor

Similar to your unique value prop, your “x factor” is the thing you bring to the table that your competitors or other folks in your industry do not.

Think of it as your very own disruptor.

Maybe you have access to an extensive network of influencers that are willing to work with you on projects, or you’ve been recognized as the top content marketer of the year for three years running. Whatever your “x factor” may be, it’s your job to bake it in to your personal brand.

25) Y: Year

We’ll admit it, coming up with a term for ‘Y’ was a little challenging, but this one is actually important.

Make a conscious effort to update all of your personal branding assets — resume, professional bio, LinkedIn summary, author bio, personal website, etc. — on a yearly basis as a best practice for maintaining an up-to-date professional narrative.

If nothing else, this will help you avoid all of those “Oh sorry, I don’t work there anymore” emails.

26) Z: Zealous

If you’ve made it this far, well, we’re impressed. Thanks for sticking with us.

You must really be really zealous in the pursuit of personal branding knowledge. And that’s an admirable trait. Why don’t you try working it into your professional bio?

What are your best personal branding tips? Share them with us on Twitter @HubSpot.

New Call-to-action

 
Professional Bio Templates

When you’re looking for a job, you should expect to be Googled.

When you’re trying to land a speaking engagement for a big industry event, you should expect to be Googled.

When you send a guest contributor pitch to a blog you admire, you should expect to be Googled.

The truth is, anyone that may end up working with you in some capacity wants to get a good idea of your work and your personality before responding to your email or getting you to schlep all the way into the office.

That’s where you personal brand comes in. Your personal brand refers to the way you present or market yourself, your skills, and your work. And if you want to get past that initial Google search, you’re going to want to develop a personal brand that accurately reflects what you’re capable of.

That’s why we put together the A to Z guide below. From consistency to networking, we’ll walk you through all of the elements that go into defining an impressive personal brand so you can feel good about those Google search results.

The Complete A to Z Guide to Personal Branding

1) A: Authenticity

Building a brand around you requires quite a bit of soul searching. In the process, you’ll likely learn a lot about who you are, what you value, what your strengths (and weaknesses) are, and so on. These are all elements of your authentic self.

When working on your personal brand, be sure to tap in to those layers — those things that make you, you.

2) B: Bio

Your professional bio provides a clear and concise summary of your professional background that can be used to represent you across a ton of different mediums — blog posts, social media, a speaker profile, etc. In many cases, it serves as a first impression — which is why it plays such an important part in defining your personal brand.

Trouble is, most people fail to keep it updated.

“A short, professional bio is one of those things most people don’t think about until, all of a sudden, we’ve been asked to ‘shoot one over via email’ and have approximately one afternoon to come up with it,” explains HubSpot’s Lindsay Kolowich.

Don’t fall into this trap. If you need help ensuring your bio reflects your best professional self, check out our free professional bio guide, complete with plug-and-play templates to help you get started.

bio-example.png

3) C: Consistency

Thanks to the internet, discoverability

One example of how to exercise consistency in your personal branding would be to align your username across all of your social channels. This approach is more memorable and it makes it easy for folks searching for you across platforms to surface the right account quickly. Just be sure the username you choose reads professional.

Think: RoseJMills across everything instead of MissRose8794, RosiexMills87, and RJM8794.

In addition to username, employing a consistent headshot across your online accounts is also a personal branding best practice. Take a look at how HubSpot Co-founder and CTO Dharmesh Shah sticks with the same headshot across his Twitter, LinkedIn, and Inbound.org profile:

Dharmesh-Twitter-Headshot.png

Dharmesh-LinkedIn-Headshot.png Dharmesh-Inboundorg.png

4) D: Direction

When it comes to determining the success of your personal branding efforts, how will you know when you’re making progress?

This is where the importance of direction comes in.

Some of the most accomplished professionals have a clear sense of direction. This includes well-defined goals, a long-term vision, and a handful of vehicles to drive that vision forward.

Before you make any major personal brand plays, stop to think about the professional direction you want to go in and then plan your next steps accordingly.

5) E: Evolutionary

Old Spice. Pabst Blue Ribbon. Instagram.

Screen Shot 2017-11-07 at 3.59.20 PM.png

Source: Logo Inspirations

These are all hugely successful names that have undergone dramatic rebrands over the years. And there’s something to be said about their willingness to change and evolve.

Much like these brands, it’s important that you keep a close eye on the success and relevance of your personal branding strategy and pivot accordingly.

As you develop new skills, consider how you might evolve your brand to reflect that. Similarly, as certain mediums for promoting your brand fizzle, invest in new ones. Your personal brand should be consistent, yet constantly evolving to reflect the most current, accurate representation of you.

6) F: Focus

Rome wasn’t built in a day — and you shouldn’t expect your personal brand to be either. Establishing yourself as an expert in your industry or a noteworthy resource for any given subject requires a focused approach to delivering value to your audience while upholding your unique values.

In other words, don’t expect overnight results. Instead, focus on what you can do today to strengthen your personal brand tomorrow.

7) G: Growth

Consider the skills you already posses and the skills you want to build to advance your brand. If you have a fairly large skill gap to fill in order to achieve your desired outcome, it’s important to have a plan for prioritization.

As you move towards mastering the skills on your “to-do” list, start by ranking each one by highest growth potential. In other words, which skills do you need to tackle first to make the biggest impact on your overall brand? Which skills are going to help you grow the most?

Start there.

8) H: Human

Think about the last time you scrolled through Twitter. We’re willing to bet that for every profound, original post from one of the folks you are following, there were about 20-30 automated tweets with a blog post title and a link.

While there’s nothing wrong with automating aspects of your online presence — social, email outreach, etc. — it’s important that you’re strategic about how you go about it.

Here are a few rules of thumb to help you strike the right balance:

  • Don’t: Share just a link to an article. Instead, add color commentary. Share the article and share your thoughts on it.
  • Do: Ask questions of your audience. No matter what the platform, inviting your audience to participate in a conversation with you will help you get to know them and better position yourself as a trusted authority.
  • Don’t: Send the same pitch to everyone. Take the time to do some research. The more personalized your outreach is, the more willing folks will be to give you a shot — whether it be a guest post, a consultation, etc.

Looking for an example of someone with a human social media presence? Give Ann Handley a follow:

Screen Shot 2017-11-08 at 8.57.47 AM.png

9) I: Interviews

Here’s a piece of sage advice: Say ‘yes’ to every single interview you’re offered — whether it be for a potential job, a podcast, an article, etc.

Depending on the nature of the interview, there are a few potential personal branding wins to gain by simply saying yes.

For job interviews …

Even if you’re not interested in the position on the table, going through the interview process can serve as a great exercise for refining and practicing your professional pitch, as it provides you with an opportunity to sell yourself and your skills.

What’s more, the feedback you receive from the interviewer can be extremely helpful in improving your personal brand. For example, if the interviewer questions a particularly weak part of your resume, you may identify an opportunity for improvement or clarity.

For podcast or written interviews …

If you’re comfortable talking about your industry or area of expertise, landing an interview — whether it is audio or written — is a really smart way to gain exposure for your personal brand.

Depending on the spot you land, an interview can help you get your name in front of a large audience — one you may have not had access to otherwise. And in many cases, one interview can open the door for another. Momentum for the win.

10) J: Join

Thanks to the internet and social media, there is no shortage of professional groups to get involved with. And aside from the obvious networking aspect, joining these groups can be extremely beneficial when it comes to growing your personal brand.

How so?

Joining a community or group centered around something you’re passionate about and want to be known for can help you:

  • Develop new skills
  • Improve ideas
  • Establish yourself as a resource
  • Gain inspiration

Don’t know where to start? Here’s an overview of how to find and join a group on LinkedIn.

11) K: Knowledge

In many cases, your personal brand is rooted in your knowledge in any given area. And knowledge can go a long way in helping you establish credibility with an audience.

If you have a personal website, which we recommend for anyone looking to advance their personal brand, use that as a platform to highlight your expertise and share information with others. By volunteering your insight through blog posts, ebooks, or case studies, you are demonstrating your willingness to help.

Marketer and entrepreneur Sujan Patel runs an inspiring blog where he gives away a ton of professional advice for companies focused on scaling growth. As a result, he’s become known as a trusted resource with a “mind for marketing.

Sujan-Patel-Blog.png

12) L: Leadership

Anyone in a leadership position will tell you that personal branding comes with the territory.

Think about it: It’s important that you are committed to developing yourself before you can prove that you can help others develop in their careers, right?

This means knowing your strengths and weaknesses, honing your emotional intelligence, understanding how you like to receive feedback, and so on. All of these aspects contribute to your leadership style, which ultimately plays a role in defining your personal brand.

13) M: Mission

It’s a best practice for companies to define a mission statement that sets the stage for what they do and, perhaps or importantly, why they do it. This statement serves as a guiding light, pushing those in the organization to uphold the company’s values and purpose.

When it comes to personal branding, defining a statement that is specific to your professional development can be equally as effective.

Before you sit down to write yours, take some time to reflect on the following questions:

  1. What are your personal career goals?
  2. What core values do you hold?
  3. What does success look like to you?
  4. What are you most passionate about? Why?

14) N: Network

Want to earn guest posting slots? Speaking gigs? Awards and recognition? All of these personal branding milestones require you to start by doing one thing: meeting people.

By networking and building relationships on a regular basis, you’re constantly inviting new people in that have the potential to shape your brand by offering new opportunities for personal and professional growth.

Need help kickstarting your networking schedule? HubSpot’s Chief People Officer Katie Burke suggests playing “Evenbrite Roulette.”

“Search for events happening in your area in the upcoming week and attend the third event that shows up on the page,” she advises.

15) O: Opinion

A lot of people shy away from infusing their opinion into their personal brand, as they worry they might alienate part of their audience or say something offensive. While this is a valid concern, sticking to sweeping generalizations and careful word choice can actually hold your brand back.

After all, part of establishing an influential personal brand means that you owe it to yourself to take a stance on the issues that matter most to you. And depending on your line of work, there is most certainly room for your opinion as a defining aspect of your personal brand.

The key to success here? Share your opinion — but share it alongside your experience. This communication technique will help others understand where you’re coming from and opens the door for conversation around the subject.

16) P: Public Speaking

Whether you’re comfortable with it or not, public speaking is a tried-and-true way to extend your personal brand. Speaking engagements help to position you as an authority, grow your network, and earn the trust of a new audience.

Feeling a little shaky? Here are a few tips to ensure that your next speaking gig serves as a positive reflection of your personal brand:

  1. Speak about something you know inside and out. The more comfortable you are with the subject matter, the more conversational things will feel. Speaking about something familiar lends itself well to personal stories and experiences, which helps to humanize you.
  2. Know your audience. While you should always focus on being your authentic self, recognizing who your audience is will help you better direct your content. For example, your humor might land with one group, but not another. Know when to pull back.
  3. Get feedback. Practice your talk in front of a group of coworkers you trust before taking the stage. Running through your talk in advance will help you feel more confident in your delivery and also bring to light any areas you need to work on.

17) Q: Quirkiness

One way to infuse your personal brand with a little individuality is to lean in to your quirks — the little things that set you apart from others. For example, maybe you’re known for calculating complicated math in your head, or doodling your notes, or being particularly clumsy.

Whatever your quirks may be, don’t be afraid to incorporate them into your personal brand. While they may seem senseless, they make it easier for people to relate to you, as they provide a level of interest and intrigue.

Leandra Medine Cohen, founder of Man Repeller, provides a great example of how to play up your quirks as part of your personal brand: Screen Shot 2017-11-07 at 10.15.15 AM.png

Screen Shot 2017-11-07 at 10.15.43 AM.png Screen Shot 2017-11-07 at 10.26.57 AM.png

18) R: Reputation

When it comes to reputation as part of your personal branding efforts, there are two key areas you want to focus on:

1) Your online reputation

The process for making most major decisions starts with a Google search. And when it comes to your personal brand, your online presence can and will reveal a lot about you, your work, and what it’s like to work with you.

To keep tabs on your online reputation, set up a Google Alert for your name so you receive a notification every time you appear in a piece of content. This is a great way to track positive mentions of your name and your brand, while keeping a close eye on fires you may need to resolve.

2) Your offline reputation

Your offline reputation is determined by several factors including, the quality of your work, the way you treat other people, the way you respond to feedback, and the impact you’ve made on others.

To achieve positive outcomes in all of these areas, you need to be committed to constant improvement by tapping into your self-awareness and self-regulation to ensure you’re putting your best foot forward.

19) S: Social Media

For many people, personal brand and social media go hand in hand. In other words, if you want to establish a personal brand, you need to establish a social media presence to support it.

That being said, simply having social profiles that you post to regularly isn’t enough. You have to be strategic about your social output — what you post, when you post, and why you post — to ensure that it reflects the behaviors and values that anchor your personal brand.

Here are a few of our favorite tips for using social media to advance your brand:

  • Follow people you admire. What types of content are they posting? How frequently? How do they engage with their followers? Make note of their strategy and look for nuggets that you can incorporate into your own.
  • Align your title, username, and headshot across platforms. We mentioned this up in the consistency section, but it bears repeating. Make it easy for folks to identify you and what you do by maintaining consistent identifiers across accounts.
  • Post often. Part of building a memorable brand boils down to properly setting expectations. Commit to posting at least once a day on particular channels so people can rely on your for consistent, fresh updates.

20) T: Trust
A great way to build trust and advance your personal brand is to ask those you have a strong professional relationship with to write a recommendation or testimonial that you can then use across your website or social accounts.

Here’s a great example from experience marketing professional John Bonini’s personal website:

John-Bonini-Website-Trust.png

Stumped on whom to ask for a testimonial? Try to capture a variety of people — managers, folks you manage, contacts at other companies you’ve worked closely with, etc.

21) U: Unique Value Proposition

As a professional, what problem do you solve? What value do you add? How do you make a difference?

Asking yourself questions like the ones above will help you determine your unique value proposition — a pivotal piece of your personal branding strategy.

Think of your unique value proposition as the key differentiator that people will use to evaluate your personal brand and determine what makes you the most qualified person to do XYZ. You can use this on your resume, in a LinkedIn summary, or on your professional website.

22) V: Visibility

Once you have a foundation for your personal brand, it’s time to spread the word.

One of the best ways to increase your visibility is through a strategic content strategy, where you’re focused on delivering your unique value through the mediums that matter to your audience. This could be blog posts, courses, email campaigns, video content, webinars, etc.

Allen Gannett, CEO of TrackMaven, has done an impressive job increasing his visibility on LinkedIn through his #AllenAsks video series that has helped him grow his followership from a few thousand to over 35,000.

Screen Shot 2017-11-07 at 1.55.40 PM.png

… plus it certainly doesn’t hurt your credibility when you’re creating content with Mark Cuban. Nicely done, Allen.

23) W: Well-rounded

This one may seem a little confusing at first. After all, your personal brand is typically centered around the one thing you do better than everyone else, right?

In most cases, yes. You want to become known for one thing — like being an expert in classical music or a seasoned pastry chef. However, there are advantages to knowing and owning your niche, while also maintaining a basic understanding of a variety of unrelated topics.

Why waste brainpower on broadening your knowledge? It’s simple: Knowing a little bit about everything makes you more relatable. It makes it easy for you to talk to people, which in turn, makes it easier for you to build connections that can advance your person brand.

24) X: X Factor

Similar to your unique value prop, your “x factor” is the thing you bring to the table that your competitors or other folks in your industry do not.

Think of it as your very own disruptor.

Maybe you have access to an extensive network of influencers that are willing to work with you on projects, or you’ve been recognized as the top content marketer of the year for three years running. Whatever your “x factor” may be, it’s your job to bake it in to your personal brand.

25) Y: Year

We’ll admit it, coming up with a term for ‘Y’ was a little challenging, but this one is actually important.

Make a conscious effort to update all of your personal branding assets — resume, professional bio, LinkedIn summary, author bio, personal website, etc. — on a yearly basis as a best practice for maintaining an up-to-date professional narrative.

If nothing else, this will help you avoid all of those “Oh sorry, I don’t work there anymore” emails.

26) Z: Zealous

If you’ve made it this far, well, we’re impressed. Thanks for sticking with us.

You must really be really zealous in the pursuit of personal branding knowledge. And that’s an admirable trait. Why don’t you try working it into your professional bio?

What are your best personal branding tips? Share them with us on Twitter @HubSpot.

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The Most Powerful Writing Voice for 21st-Century Content


In the beginning was authority. From the earliest days of advertising, authority was one of the first strategies used to persuade the masses. Then, a lot of us started using this internet thing to talk to one another. There was some speculation that authority was becoming an outdated concept. But it’s funny how these things
Read More…

The post The Most Powerful Writing Voice for 21st-Century Content appeared first on Copyblogger.



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How to Run a Profitable Giveaway

Running a contest or a promotional giveaway is one of my favorite ways for a company to connect with their customers.

But like in so many other aspects of business, I see too many people doing this wrong.

That’s okay…for now.

While it may sound simple, promotional campaigns like this aren’t as easy as just picking a name out of a hat.

You want to run a giveaway that creates brand awareness and generates a profit for your company.

When done correctly, this won’t cost much at all.

Contests can even generate some free advertising for your brand.

This is especially true if you use social media as the platform for your giveaways.

image1 7

Eighty-nine percent of marketing experts said social media increased exposure for their companies.

In addition to exposure, social media marketing:

  • generates leads
  • increases website traffic
  • improves customer relationships
  • helps search rankings

That’s what you need to remember.

Giveaways are a marketing tactic.

If you’re not using these tools to promote your brand and ultimately increase profits, you’re doing it wrong.

I’ve got plenty of experience in this space.

I’ll show you how to run a profitable giveaway and provide some examples for you to follow as well.

Figure out what kind of contest you want to run

Not all promotional contests are the same.

There are three main types of promotions you can do:

  1. Contest
  2. Sweepstakes
  3. Lottery

If you’re running a contest, it means the participants are doing something requiring some sort of skill and effort to win a prize.

Some popular contests may include a photo, video, essay, or caption.

The winners are selected by some sort of vote or judgment.

Here’s an example:

image8 7

The picture that has the most likes will win this contest.

A sweepstakes, on the other hand, requires no skill and is based completely on chance.

Winners get determined randomly.

Purchases, payments, and other considerations cannot determine the winner of a sweepstakes.

A lottery means contestants made some sort of a purchase or monetary contribution to participate.

For example, buying a ticket for a chance to be selected would count as a lottery.

Don’t do this.

In fact, state and federal laws restrict these kinds of giveaways.

It’s in your best interest to stick to contests and sweepstakes.

Before you get started, ask yourself if you want to give something away randomly or if you want a skill to be involved.

There’s nothing wrong with a sweepstakes, but I think contests are more effective.

When your customers know their efforts will increase their chances of winning, they get more engaged with your brand.

Choose the right platform

Now that you’ve decided whether you’ll run a contest or sweepstakes, it’s time to figure out where you’ll host it.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Your website
  • Email

All of these are viable options.

In fact, you could potentially run the same contest on multiple platforms.

Select a winner on each one.

That could get your customers to participate more than once and increase your brand exposure even more.

Here’s an example of a website contest from Fairmont Hotels & Resorts:

image2 7

It’s very professional and well written.

With that said, you don’t want to limit yourself by running a giveaway solely on your website.

How often do people visit your site?

Probably not as often as they do social media platforms.

That’s why I recommend using social media as the primary platforms for your giveaways.

It’s a great way to establish brand loyalty.

image4 7

The people who follow you on social media are already interested in your business.

Running a giveaway there will pique their interest even more.

Plus, any actions they take, such as liking, commenting, posting, or sharing, will get viewed on the newsfeed of all their friends.

Set a deadline

It may sound simple or obvious, but you would be surprised how often I see people make this mistake.

Your deadline needs to be clear for a few reasons.

Let’s say a customer or prospective contestant wants to enter your giveaway.

If they don’t see a posted deadline, it could turn them away.

This person may just assume the deadline has passed even if you haven’t chosen a winner yet.

You’re also missing out on a chance of getting more exposure if this customer decides not to share the information on their social media platforms.

Another reason you’ll need to post the deadline is to avoid late entries.

Pretend you’re running an Instagram contest where the winner is selected by the highest number of likes on a photo.

You choose a winner, but a few days later someone posts a picture that gets more likes than the one you selected.

This contestant contacts you for their prize.

Now what?

You’re put in a tough situation, and overall, it’s not a good look for your company.

Adding a deadline to your giveaway is easy. You have no reason to forget it:

image5 7

Look at the example above.

See how easy that was?

Next time you run a promotional giveaway, make sure the deadline is clearly posted.

It will save you some headaches down the road.

Make sure the rules are clear

Piggybacking on my last point: you don’t want to create any confusion while running the contest.

Depending on your location, rules may vary from state to state.

You’ll want to make sure whatever you’re doing falls within legal regulations.

Here are some things commonly included into contest rules:

  • Eligibility (age, location, etc.)
  • No purchase required
  • Purchases don’t increase chances of winning
  • Dates (winner chosen and winner notified)
  • Judging criteria (for contests)
  • Privacy laws regarding the winner identity
  • Odds of winnings

If you’re running a contest on a specific platform, make sure you’re compliant with their rules and regulations as well.

Here’s a link to the Facebook guidelines for running a promotion, which is definitely something I recommend you review before getting started.

For example, you must acknowledge your promotion is not endorsed by, sponsored by, or affiliated with Facebook (the company) in any way.

Facebook also prohibits using phrases like:

  • “share on your timeline to enter”
  • “post this on a friend’s page to enter”
  • “tag your friends to increase chances of winning”

While you want to encourage posts and shares, make sure you do it within the rules.

Here’s a snippet from TMZ’s contest rules and regulations:

image10 7

The full page is much longer, but they clearly and thoroughly post everything to avoid any potential confusion, liability, or legal trouble.

If you have a long page of rules, consider providing a link to your website for a full explanation.

That’s more efficient than trying to post something long, as in the above example, as your Instagram caption.

The prize needs to be relevant

What are you giving away?

It needs to be related to and appropriate for your brand and image.

Let’s say you’re a company specializing in snowboarding and ski equipment.

Running a contest that gives the winner round-trip tickets to the Bahamas doesn’t really speak to your audience.

Flying them to a ski lodge in Colorado would make much more sense.

If you’re giving away a physical product, include a photo of it.

Telling the contestants you’re giving away a new camera isn’t as effective as showing them the camera.

Here’s an example of a giveaway from Ticket Master:

image11 7

It’s relevant.

You can buy tickets to sporting events on their website, so they’re giving customers a chance to win a trip to the Super Bowl.

Although they didn’t include an image of the actual tickets, the Super Bowl logo is just as effective.

Visuals speak to people more than words.

That’s why it’s important to incorporate them into your promotion.

Create a customized hashtag for your giveaway

Hashtags are one of the best ways to promote your brand on social media.

Come up with something unique that speaks to your company as well as the promotion.

If you’re having trouble coming up with something, you can use an online resource like Hashtagify to come up with related tags and trends for your industry.

Use that as a guide to create your own, but make sure nobody else has used it before so there’s no confusion.

For those of you who already use hashtags successfully to promote your brand, make sure you come up with a new one for each contest.

Here’s a great example of how High Society Freeride used a unique hashtag to promote their giveaway:

image3 7

Notice how they effectively used capitalization, so the hashtag pops and is easy to read.

#OneLifeMakeItCount reads much better than #onelifemakeitcount.

The hashtag can be the way you find a winner of a contest.

Just click on the hashtag to view all the pictures, videos, and posts.

That’s the easiest way to review and judge which entries were the best.

The hardest part about using a hashtag is coming up with a creative one in the first place.

After that, it doesn’t require any effort or money from your company.

Hashtags can also increase engagement and make it easier for you to spread the word about your giveaway.

Make sure mobile users can access and participate in your contest

I mentioned earlier that you shouldn’t run a giveaway just on your website.

Keep mobile users in mind when you’re coming up with this marketing strategy.

Mobile users spend the majority of their time using apps:

image6 7

Consider using platforms that are strictly for apps.

Instagram is a top choice for this.

Facebook and Twitter also have mobile applications, which is why earlier I recommended social media platforms as the top resource for giveaways.

If your company has its own mobile app, run your giveaway there as well.

You can send users who downloaded the app notifications of the promotion directly to their phones.

Allow contestants to share the contest with friends and family

To get the most exposure, your giveaway needs to be shareable.

Earlier I mentioned that some platforms, such as Facebook, prohibit you from using certain statements to encourage sharing.

But you can still include social sharing icons on your website.

Here’s a great example of how Fatherly did this to promote their sweepstakes:

image7 7

Again, the whole idea behind a giveaway is to turn a profit for your company.

Allowing users to share this content will drive more traffic to your site and potentially improve conversions as well.

Notify everyone when you’ve selected a winner

This relates back to the topic of establishing a timeline.

Take your deadline one step further.

For example, the date for participants to enter your promotion may be the last day of the month.

However, it could take you up to a week or two to go through all the entries and select a winner, especially if it’s a contest with lots of participants.

Make it clear when a winner has been announced.

Look at how Starbucks did this to announce the winners of their red cup contest:

image9 7

Make sure you have the winner’s consent to reveal their identity—if you are going to do that. All of that should be clearly outlined in the rules (which we discussed earlier) to avoid any problems or confusion.

Conclusion

Don’t run a giveaway without a clear goal or reason.

Like every other business decision you make, this will require some thought and planning.

First, you need to determine which kind of giveaway you’ll run.

If you want the winner to be completely random, you should hold a sweepstakes.

Contests are better if you want a skill, voting, or judgment to be involved in determining the winner.

Run the contest on multiple platforms.

Social media works best for establishing customer loyalty and increased brand awareness. It also makes the promotion more shareable.

Set a deadline and clearly post all the rules for your giveaway.

Make sure your prize is relevant to your brand.

Creating a unique and customized hashtag will help you promote your brand and get more recognition.

When it’s over, make sure you announce to everyone a winner has been selected.

What do you do after that?

Continue to run more contests!

If you follow these tips, it will be profitable for you every time.

What unique hashtag will you come up with to promote your giveaway on Instagram?

Running a contest or a promotional giveaway is one of my favorite ways for a company to connect with their customers.

But like in so many other aspects of business, I see too many people doing this wrong.

That’s okay…for now.

While it may sound simple, promotional campaigns like this aren’t as easy as just picking a name out of a hat.

You want to run a giveaway that creates brand awareness and generates a profit for your company.

When done correctly, this won’t cost much at all.

Contests can even generate some free advertising for your brand.

This is especially true if you use social media as the platform for your giveaways.

image1 7

Eighty-nine percent of marketing experts said social media increased exposure for their companies.

In addition to exposure, social media marketing:

  • generates leads
  • increases website traffic
  • improves customer relationships
  • helps search rankings

That’s what you need to remember.

Giveaways are a marketing tactic.

If you’re not using these tools to promote your brand and ultimately increase profits, you’re doing it wrong.

I’ve got plenty of experience in this space.

I’ll show you how to run a profitable giveaway and provide some examples for you to follow as well.

Figure out what kind of contest you want to run

Not all promotional contests are the same.

There are three main types of promotions you can do:

  1. Contest
  2. Sweepstakes
  3. Lottery

If you’re running a contest, it means the participants are doing something requiring some sort of skill and effort to win a prize.

Some popular contests may include a photo, video, essay, or caption.

The winners are selected by some sort of vote or judgment.

Here’s an example:

image8 7

The picture that has the most likes will win this contest.

A sweepstakes, on the other hand, requires no skill and is based completely on chance.

Winners get determined randomly.

Purchases, payments, and other considerations cannot determine the winner of a sweepstakes.

A lottery means contestants made some sort of a purchase or monetary contribution to participate.

For example, buying a ticket for a chance to be selected would count as a lottery.

Don’t do this.

In fact, state and federal laws restrict these kinds of giveaways.

It’s in your best interest to stick to contests and sweepstakes.

Before you get started, ask yourself if you want to give something away randomly or if you want a skill to be involved.

There’s nothing wrong with a sweepstakes, but I think contests are more effective.

When your customers know their efforts will increase their chances of winning, they get more engaged with your brand.

Choose the right platform

Now that you’ve decided whether you’ll run a contest or sweepstakes, it’s time to figure out where you’ll host it.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Your website
  • Email

All of these are viable options.

In fact, you could potentially run the same contest on multiple platforms.

Select a winner on each one.

That could get your customers to participate more than once and increase your brand exposure even more.

Here’s an example of a website contest from Fairmont Hotels & Resorts:

image2 7

It’s very professional and well written.

With that said, you don’t want to limit yourself by running a giveaway solely on your website.

How often do people visit your site?

Probably not as often as they do social media platforms.

That’s why I recommend using social media as the primary platforms for your giveaways.

It’s a great way to establish brand loyalty.

image4 7

The people who follow you on social media are already interested in your business.

Running a giveaway there will pique their interest even more.

Plus, any actions they take, such as liking, commenting, posting, or sharing, will get viewed on the newsfeed of all their friends.

Set a deadline

It may sound simple or obvious, but you would be surprised how often I see people make this mistake.

Your deadline needs to be clear for a few reasons.

Let’s say a customer or prospective contestant wants to enter your giveaway.

If they don’t see a posted deadline, it could turn them away.

This person may just assume the deadline has passed even if you haven’t chosen a winner yet.

You’re also missing out on a chance of getting more exposure if this customer decides not to share the information on their social media platforms.

Another reason you’ll need to post the deadline is to avoid late entries.

Pretend you’re running an Instagram contest where the winner is selected by the highest number of likes on a photo.

You choose a winner, but a few days later someone posts a picture that gets more likes than the one you selected.

This contestant contacts you for their prize.

Now what?

You’re put in a tough situation, and overall, it’s not a good look for your company.

Adding a deadline to your giveaway is easy. You have no reason to forget it:

image5 7

Look at the example above.

See how easy that was?

Next time you run a promotional giveaway, make sure the deadline is clearly posted.

It will save you some headaches down the road.

Make sure the rules are clear

Piggybacking on my last point: you don’t want to create any confusion while running the contest.

Depending on your location, rules may vary from state to state.

You’ll want to make sure whatever you’re doing falls within legal regulations.

Here are some things commonly included into contest rules:

  • Eligibility (age, location, etc.)
  • No purchase required
  • Purchases don’t increase chances of winning
  • Dates (winner chosen and winner notified)
  • Judging criteria (for contests)
  • Privacy laws regarding the winner identity
  • Odds of winnings

If you’re running a contest on a specific platform, make sure you’re compliant with their rules and regulations as well.

Here’s a link to the Facebook guidelines for running a promotion, which is definitely something I recommend you review before getting started.

For example, you must acknowledge your promotion is not endorsed by, sponsored by, or affiliated with Facebook (the company) in any way.

Facebook also prohibits using phrases like:

  • “share on your timeline to enter”
  • “post this on a friend’s page to enter”
  • “tag your friends to increase chances of winning”

While you want to encourage posts and shares, make sure you do it within the rules.

Here’s a snippet from TMZ’s contest rules and regulations:

image10 7

The full page is much longer, but they clearly and thoroughly post everything to avoid any potential confusion, liability, or legal trouble.

If you have a long page of rules, consider providing a link to your website for a full explanation.

That’s more efficient than trying to post something long, as in the above example, as your Instagram caption.

The prize needs to be relevant

What are you giving away?

It needs to be related to and appropriate for your brand and image.

Let’s say you’re a company specializing in snowboarding and ski equipment.

Running a contest that gives the winner round-trip tickets to the Bahamas doesn’t really speak to your audience.

Flying them to a ski lodge in Colorado would make much more sense.

If you’re giving away a physical product, include a photo of it.

Telling the contestants you’re giving away a new camera isn’t as effective as showing them the camera.

Here’s an example of a giveaway from Ticket Master:

image11 7

It’s relevant.

You can buy tickets to sporting events on their website, so they’re giving customers a chance to win a trip to the Super Bowl.

Although they didn’t include an image of the actual tickets, the Super Bowl logo is just as effective.

Visuals speak to people more than words.

That’s why it’s important to incorporate them into your promotion.

Create a customized hashtag for your giveaway

Hashtags are one of the best ways to promote your brand on social media.

Come up with something unique that speaks to your company as well as the promotion.

If you’re having trouble coming up with something, you can use an online resource like Hashtagify to come up with related tags and trends for your industry.

Use that as a guide to create your own, but make sure nobody else has used it before so there’s no confusion.

For those of you who already use hashtags successfully to promote your brand, make sure you come up with a new one for each contest.

Here’s a great example of how High Society Freeride used a unique hashtag to promote their giveaway:

image3 7

Notice how they effectively used capitalization, so the hashtag pops and is easy to read.

#OneLifeMakeItCount reads much better than #onelifemakeitcount.

The hashtag can be the way you find a winner of a contest.

Just click on the hashtag to view all the pictures, videos, and posts.

That’s the easiest way to review and judge which entries were the best.

The hardest part about using a hashtag is coming up with a creative one in the first place.

After that, it doesn’t require any effort or money from your company.

Hashtags can also increase engagement and make it easier for you to spread the word about your giveaway.

Make sure mobile users can access and participate in your contest

I mentioned earlier that you shouldn’t run a giveaway just on your website.

Keep mobile users in mind when you’re coming up with this marketing strategy.

Mobile users spend the majority of their time using apps:

image6 7

Consider using platforms that are strictly for apps.

Instagram is a top choice for this.

Facebook and Twitter also have mobile applications, which is why earlier I recommended social media platforms as the top resource for giveaways.

If your company has its own mobile app, run your giveaway there as well.

You can send users who downloaded the app notifications of the promotion directly to their phones.

Allow contestants to share the contest with friends and family

To get the most exposure, your giveaway needs to be shareable.

Earlier I mentioned that some platforms, such as Facebook, prohibit you from using certain statements to encourage sharing.

But you can still include social sharing icons on your website.

Here’s a great example of how Fatherly did this to promote their sweepstakes:

image7 7

Again, the whole idea behind a giveaway is to turn a profit for your company.

Allowing users to share this content will drive more traffic to your site and potentially improve conversions as well.

Notify everyone when you’ve selected a winner

This relates back to the topic of establishing a timeline.

Take your deadline one step further.

For example, the date for participants to enter your promotion may be the last day of the month.

However, it could take you up to a week or two to go through all the entries and select a winner, especially if it’s a contest with lots of participants.

Make it clear when a winner has been announced.

Look at how Starbucks did this to announce the winners of their red cup contest:

image9 7

Make sure you have the winner’s consent to reveal their identity—if you are going to do that. All of that should be clearly outlined in the rules (which we discussed earlier) to avoid any problems or confusion.

Conclusion

Don’t run a giveaway without a clear goal or reason.

Like every other business decision you make, this will require some thought and planning.

First, you need to determine which kind of giveaway you’ll run.

If you want the winner to be completely random, you should hold a sweepstakes.

Contests are better if you want a skill, voting, or judgment to be involved in determining the winner.

Run the contest on multiple platforms.

Social media works best for establishing customer loyalty and increased brand awareness. It also makes the promotion more shareable.

Set a deadline and clearly post all the rules for your giveaway.

Make sure your prize is relevant to your brand.

Creating a unique and customized hashtag will help you promote your brand and get more recognition.

When it’s over, make sure you announce to everyone a winner has been selected.

What do you do after that?

Continue to run more contests!

If you follow these tips, it will be profitable for you every time.

What unique hashtag will you come up with to promote your giveaway on Instagram?

An Inside Look at the Best SEO Strategy You’re Not Using: Second-Tier Link Building


second-tier link building

All SEO experts know the power of link building.

It’s no secret that including links on your website, asking other sites for links to your pages, and creating content that is worthy of the powerful control+K helps your domain authority and SEO.

But is that all you can do?

What about those of you who are looking for new strategies to build SEO on your website?

You’ve already built up backlinks, optimized your images, and created high-quality content.

And now, you’re wondering what is left to give.

Well, look no further.

We’re going to discuss the secret strategy that far too few websites are using: second-tier link building.

What is second-tier link building?

Most of the strategies I mentioned above qualify as first-tier link building.

A first-tier link is a basic backlink. It links directly to your website from another website.

And there’s no mistaking its power. When a high-authority website links to your site, it essentially serves as an advocate for your content in Google’s eyes.

For example, this image depicts a first-tier link scenario.

pasted image 0 172

But a second-tier link is a little more complicated.

Instead of linking directly from an external piece of content to your website, a second-tier link goes from any website to the piece of content that links to your website.

I know. That’s a little confusing.

Let me explain.

Usually, second-tier links revolve around one singular strategy: guest blogging.

Here’s how it works.

You write a blog post for a publication that’s relevant to your website’s niche.

While you’re writing it, you include a backlink to your website either within the content itself or in the author bio.

Why?

You’re a smart marketer and you know the benefits of backlinking.

That’s no big deal.

Then, you run to all your social media accounts and share the guest blog piece after it goes live.

Congratulations. You’ve just engaged in second-tier linking.

Here’s an example that starts with Smart Blogger.

Mike Blankenship wrote this piece.

How to Write a Paragraph in 2017 Yes the Rules Have Changed Smart Blogger

In the article, at the bottom of his author bio, there’s a link to a website, Booktrep.

How to Write a Paragraph in 2017 Yes the Rules Have Changed Smart Blogger 1

Sure enough, if you follow the link, you’ll find that the website belongs to the same person who wrote the Smart Blogger article.

Booktrep Weekly Advice For Entrepreneurs From The Best Books On The Market Get notified when I publish new rundowns and receive email exclusive business ideas and life changing quotes

This is an example of a first-tier backlink. The link goes directly from Smart Blogger to Booktrep.

Here’s when the second-tier magic happens.

I saw a Facebook post from Aaron Orendorff sharing this same piece of content.

Screen Shot 2017 10 30 at 10.18.47 AM

That link right there on the Facebook post is an example of a second-tier link for Booktrep.

But this is just one example of a second-tier link.

The link in the social media post goes to the guest blog post, which is then linked to Booktrep. Make sense?

Remember that a second-tier link doesn’t just happen on social media. It happens on any online property when another source links to your back-linked guest post.

We’ll discuss some of the other ways this can happen within this article.

First though, let’s discuss the questions at the top of your list.

How do second-tier links benefit your SEO strategy and why should you use them?

Why should you use second-tier links?

Yes, second-tier links help your rankings. And we’ll talk about exactly how in a second.

But first I want to talk about some of the other ways that second-tier links benefit your website and your business.

Perhaps the most important thing that second-tier links do is generate traffic to your website.

When you write a guest post and include a backlink to your website, all the traffic that goes to that guest blog post has a chance of also going to your website.

How? When readers click on the link you included in the guest post.

In other words, traffic to your guest post is a win for the publication and a win for your website.

The top challenge for marketers is generating traffic and leads.

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Luckily, second-tier linking is perfect for doing just that.

Most publications will promote your guest blog article to their email list and social media channels.

But you can also help out the traffic-generation effort by scattering additional links throughout the Internet.

You can scatter them on your website, on other websites, or on social media.

Whatever the case, all of those clicks benefit your website to the same degree that they benefit the guest-written blog post.

With this in mind, even a guest blog post on a publication that uses no-follow links is worth your time.

Additionally, if your own website’s domain authority isn’t as high as the publication you wrote for, you’ll probably find it easier to promote the publication’s link.

To check a website’s domain authority, go here.

Website Authority Checker PR DA PA MOZ Backlinks

Enter the website’s URL and click the “I’m not a robot” box.

Website Authority Checker PR DA PA MOZ Backlinks 1

Then, you’ll see your domain authority score. This is on a scale from 1 to 100 where 100 is the best and 1 is the worst.

Website Authority Checker PR DA PA MOZ Backlinks 2

Compare your own domain authority with other websites in your field.

And determine if second-tier links might be better than first-tier links as a strategy for generating traffic to your website.

For many websites, they are.

Also, you benefit from the simple fact that second-tier links require you to guest blog for other websites and include your link in the content.

You can see a rise in traffic to your website as soon as you begin guest blogging, according to James Parsons.

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And the story is the same for any content marketer who commits at least part of their time to blogging on other websites.

Think about it this way. The more links there are out there to your website, the more opportunities there are for people to access your website.

Second-tier linking just creates another open door to your guest blog post and, by extension, to your website.

To better understand how second-tier links benefit your SEO strategy, think about this.

It’s a way to increase your own website’s domain authority.

Because you guest post on websites with high domain authority that are relevant to your own website’s content. Then you link those websites to your own.

It’s a chain reaction.

How?

You’re telling Google that you and the high-domain-authority website are in a friendly relationship. And Google gets the message loud and clear.

Then, by generating traffic to that guest post with second-tier links, you’re increasing the domain authority of your website by increasing the trustworthiness of the backlink you included in the guest post.

The more high-quality links to a piece of content, the more that search engines trust the links within that content.

How do you build second-tier links?

Now we turn our attention to strategies you can use to build second-tier links for your website.

The first thing you’ll want to know as you start implementing your new set of knowledge on second-tier links is how to determine the number of second-tier links you’re generating.

Here’s how you can do that.

Go to Moz.

Open Site Explorer Link Research Backlink Checker Moz

Type in the URL for the guest blog post you wrote.

Open Site Explorer Link Research Backlink Checker Moz 2

Click “Search.”

Then, you’ll see some information come up. But the number you want to pay special attention to is the “Root Domains” count.

That Smart Blogger piece I mentioned earlier has 23 root domains.

Open Site Explorer Link Research Backlink Checker Moz 1

This means that there are 23 open-door opportunities across the Internet for people to access Booktrep through this guest blog post.

That’s a lot of extra potential traffic.

Now let’s look at all the ways you can build second-tier links.

Social media sharing

The easiest way to generate second-tier links is to share your guest blog content on your social media channels and to ask your friends to share it as well.

Since you’re not sharing a link to your own website, the post will naturally feel less invasive and more appealing to people who follow you.

Then, when people click on the link, they ideally won’t only check out the article, but they’ll also click on the link to your website as well.

That generates valuable traffic and increases your domain authority.

But, to make sure you get the most out of your social media shares, you need to understand the best times to post on each platform.

For Facebook, the best times are Thursday and Friday at 1 p.m.

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For Twitter, the best time is Thursday at noon.

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For Instagram, the best times are Monday through Friday at 2 a.m. or 5 p.m.

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And for LinkedIn, the best times to post are Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday at 5 p.m.

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If you want to generate more traffic to your guest post (and your website through your guest post), try and post at the best time of day for each social media channel.

Public relations

Once you’ve written an article for a high-domain authority website, there are a lot of other websites and blogs within your industry that would be willing to share and link to the article that you wrote.

To find these places that might be willing to build second-tier links for you, a quick Google search will suffice.

You can either search for your industry in general or the topic of the article you wrote.

Try “Content marketing tips,” for example.

Google

Then, you can select any websites that you believe will find your guest blog content relevant to their own audience.

content marketing tips Google Search

Email these websites with something like this.

How to Ask Bloggers for Backlinks and Reviews

This works great for any type of outreach. In this case, though, the [my product] is your guest post.

The more second-tier links you build to your guest post content, the more traffic you’ll generate to your own website.

So have your public relations specialist find and email any websites that will enjoy sharing your guest piece with their audience.

Or do it yourself.

You can also consider creating an easy-to-share infographic for your guest article so that it will be easier for other websites to share and link to the content.

However you do it, asking for second-tier links from high domain authority websites is an easy way to generate traffic to your website. It’s an absolute must if you’re serious about your SEO strategy.

Link to the guest post from your own website

Another second-tier link strategy that you don’t want to forget about is linking to the guest post from your own website content.

But why would you do that?

After all, the people who visit your website are already familiar with you and their traffic won’t necessarily provide any extra benefits.

In other words, if the strategy is traffic generation, why would linking to your guest post benefit your website?

Well, with traffic generation, it wouldn’t.

It wouldn’t help directly, at least.

What it will benefit, though, is your guest post’s rankings. And that can generate more traffic to your website.

If your guest post ranks well on Google, then more people will see the backlink to your website and potentially click on it.

The link doesn’t need to be anything extravagant. It could even be something as simple as this.

What Type of Backlinks Does Your Business Really Need Right Now

This link on my website leads to a piece I wrote on Quick Sprout.

7 Lessons Learned from Publishing 300 Guest Posts

So why did I make sure to include this link?

I did it because I know that it will help the Quick Sprout article’s domain authority.

And if that domain authority increases, so too does visibility of my backlink to NeilPatel.com. And with it, traffic to my website.

This strategy is far too simple to ignore. It will take you a maximum of 30 seconds to include a link to your guest blog post, and the payoff is well worth it.

Guest blog again… and again… and again…

I thought I’d end with the best way to build a second-tier link strategy: Keep guest blogging.

With more guest blog posts, you can generate more traffic to your website with second-tier links.

Strategically link each guest post to a few of your other guest posts and then to your website as well.

Each time you publish a new guest post, share it on social media, ask for links to it on other high domain authority websites, and link to each one from your own website.

And voilá! You’ll be able to compete with even the most lucrative SEO websites.

But there’s a problem.

The best way to optimize your second-tier link building strategy is also the most time-consuming.

Writing the posts. It can take a lot of time to write guest posts for different publications.

If you don’t have time to keep writing blog posts for publications on your own, you could consider paying someone to do it for you.

The benefit of all those second-tier links will likely outweigh the cost for your business as long as your website and content convert effectively.

Just want to write them yourself?

Keep in mind that you don’t have to write one every day. Of course, the more you write, the better your SEO and traffic generation.

But some guest blogging is better than none.

You could challenge yourself to write one or two guest blog posts every month and then have those guest blog posts link to each other.

That will build up your second-tier link strategy while also linking directly to your website.

After just a few months, you’ll have a massive amount of first- and second-tier backlinking action at your disposal.

And as the number of guest blogging increases, so too does traffic to your website.

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There is one side note worth mentioning, though, for when you’re guest blogging.

While you want to write content that in some way relates to the content on your own website, you don’t want to write content that directly competes with your own website’s SEO strategy.

In other words, you might want to think twice about writing a guest blog post that is trying to rank for “Content Marketing Agency” if your website is trying to rank for that same keyword.

Don’t create unnecessary SEO competition for your website to battle against.

Conclusion

Right now, first-tier links are all the rage.

Everyone wants to build backlinks to their websites by guest posting and creating high-quality, share-worthy content.

But what a lot of these websites don’t do is use second-tier link building to make the most out of those first-tier links.

After all, that’s why second-tier link building is so effective. It doesn’t build any new backlinks to your website, but it does make the most out of the links you’ve already created.

In other words, second-tier link building is a great way to drive traffic to your first-tier links and, ultimately, your website.

And now that you understand what second-tier linking building is, why it’s effective, and how to do it, you can start creating a strategy of your own to benefit your website’s SEO and traffic.

Simply share all of your guest posts with backlinks to your website on social media, ask for shares from other publications within your industry, link to the guest post from your own website, and guest blog again and again.

With these tips, you’ll be generating more traffic and leads while slowly increasing your website’s domain authority.

Still think first-tier links are better than second-tier links?

Well, first-tier links might be the cart, but second-tier links are the wheels.

What strategy do you use to build second-tier links?

The post An Inside Look at the Best SEO Strategy You’re Not Using: Second-Tier Link Building appeared first on Neil Patel.



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