Posted on: July 16, 2020
- Getting noticed online isn’t an easy feat these days, but it is possible. You’ll need to learn how to leverage your channels, stay relevant, serve your followers, identify your uniqueness and above all, be patient.
- Kate Paine, founder and president of Standing Out Online, says: “Look at Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn’s mission…each one has a different type of audience and a different type of goal. If you pay attention to how you use each of those channels, then you can really make that whole network work for you.”
- Your brand shouldn’t be a cut-and-paste version of your resume. Identify what makes you unique — your “slice of life nugget.”
In a noisy world of online profiles, ads, posts, bios, status updates and news feeds, how are you supposed to stand out from the crowd?
Kate Paine has made this her business — literally — as the founder and president of Standing Out Online. Combining her 20-plus years of experience in journalism, PR and marketing, Kate helps executives and entrepreneurs build their personal brands and establish their industry expertise.
Whether you’re an executive, small-business owner, freelancer or entrepreneur, building a strong brand should be an integral part of your strategy. It can help you get noticed, grow a network and connect with new clients.
But how exactly do you build a powerful personal brand — one that sets you apart from the other professionals who are doing what you do? Kate has some strategies to help you.
1. Stay in your lane channel
When marketing through various social and networking channels, it’s important to use each one as intended.
“Look at Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn’s mission…each one has a different type of audience and a different type of goal,” Kate says. “If you pay attention to how you use each of those channels, then you can really make that whole network work for you.”
For instance, although LinkedIn often gets lumped into the social media category, it’s really more of a professional networking platform, so use it as such. You probably don’t want to post photos of your dog (as cute as she may be) or your homemade blueberry pie. Save those for Facebook or Instagram.
2. Watch the news
Regardless of the platform you’re using, keep an eye on national trends and industry news, and find ways to localize it and make it relevant to your brand.
Add your point of view, or think about how the event or trend affects you and your business. Then, pitch the story to PR contacts or local news outlets.
This is also a great way to build your following as an industry or thought leader. Say you read a relevant, interesting Forbes article. Share it on LinkedIn, and add your take.
“Don’t just say, ‘Great article,’ or ‘Interesting article,’ and then put the link,” Kate says. “Put why you thought it was a great article, pick out a point from that article. You want to exhibit and showcase your thought leadership, your opinion and your subject matter expertise.”
This is a powerful way to build your following while also serving your network.
3. Remember: It’s not all about you
Sure, your personal brand is your brand, but it’s important you create value for your network, too.
For example, if you craft unique and catchy press releases for small businesses, you can help potential clients understand what you do and highlight your skills by writing a blog post that outlines your go-to writing tips.
Sure, you’re giving away some of your strategies for free, but you’re showing off the value you bring to brands.
“When you’re offering value, you’re teaching people how to do something,” Kate says. “But a lot of people are going to come back to you and hopefully hire you to do it for them because they know you’re the expert.”
4. Identify your ‘slice of life nugget’
LinkedIn, of course, is a powerful way to build your brand. But Kate finds a lot of people don’t use it correctly.
“A lot of people think their LinkedIn profile should be, in essence, a cut-and-paste version of their resume,” Kate says. “I would argue absolutely not. Talk in the first person, and figure out a nugget of your slice of life story that sets you apart from all the other people on LinkedIn.”
Stay away from the “I’ve been a PR professional for 20-plus years,” or “I’ve been managing social media for such-and-such company for five years” lines.
Instead, identify a unique nugget of your story, and really connect with your reader by emphasizing how you can help them overcome particular pain points. You want them to scan your profile and walk away knowing exactly what makes you unique and how you can help them.
5. Learn how to slow dance
You have to remember building a powerful personal brand doesn’t happen overnight. Kate suggests doing a little bit at a time.
“I call it a slow dance,” she says. “It’s a slow dance to make this happen. It takes a lot of commitment. And it takes a lot of asking for what you need and what you want, and asking people for help and not being afraid to do that.”
That last part is especially important: Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Offer to take someone out for coffee, or buy them lunch. Ask them to share their story, their go-to tools and their advice. Kate says people are almost always willing to help.
“All I can say is just stick with it, and ask for help,” she concludes. “If you really want it bad enough, you’re going to do whatever it takes to get there.”
This is based on episode 8 of The PR Maven® Podcast, a podcast hosted by Nancy Marshall. Weekly interviews feature industry leaders, top executives, media personalities and online influencers to give listeners a peek into the world of public relations, marketing and personal branding. Subscribe through Apple, Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts.