10 Ways to Maintain a Strong Personal Brand
What are you doing to ensure personal branding maintenance?
A personal brand has at least three possible purposes: to find valuable employment, to maintain a sense of control over one’s online reputation, and/or to build influence in one’s field or industry. No matter the reason, there are many ways you can maintain your personal brand.
It all depends on what you are willing and able to put effort into on a daily basis.
For example, you can develop a blog to share your expertise and use social media to get your name out there. Or, you can just do social and share your expertise, building relationships that way.
This maintenance article is meant for the intermediate personal branding individual who already has an established system in place. I explain 10 ways you can ensure your brand remains successful and continues to grow.
The 10 Ways to Maintain a Strong Personal Brand
1) Commit to your brand
You’ve put in all that effort to establish your personal brand. Why would you let it go to waste? When you have something getting in the way of your branding efforts, you shouldn’t let your personal brand take the hit. You lose a lot by being inconsistent and having an on-and-off attitude towards your work.
Reserve time every day to building upon your brand, and stick to that schedule as much as you can. Don’t worry if you miss a day or activity from time to time. If you’re committed on all the other days, you’ll have enough of a cushion for those missed days.
Alternatively, if you need to take time off from your blog or social media activity, be sure to notify your audience in an email or social announcement. Tell them you’ll return, ideally when, and you’re less likely to lose them.
2) Know your limits
It’s best to consider this before starting your branding efforts, but keeping this in mind over time is also key to keeping your brand strong. Besides, these limits can evolve over time. While it’s important to be ready to interact and build your personal brand, you won’t be as effective if you push yourself too far.
If you have any conflicts interfering with your personal brand, learn how to compensate. Know when to say ‘no’ to your branding efforts to keep yourself from burning out. On the other hand, know when to prioritize your brand over other activities.
3) Learn to step away
Everyone working on their brand, including myself, can get sucked into their activities from time to time. We all have branding responsibilities that we try to meet every day, but that can cause multiple issues. For example…
- You can burn out, which can then cause you to make potentially large mistakes.
- You can miss opportunities to enjoy the offline world.
- You can damage your body and relationships from staying on the computer all day.
A very important part of maintaining your brand is for you to learn when to walk away so that you can refresh your mind and body. It’s also essential to dedicate time to family and friends as well.
Go outside for a walk or just a breath of fresh air. Go to the gym, or read a recreational book. Do something different and healthy, especially something that involves in-person, social interaction, such as with family and friends. Don’t let your life pass by without experiencing it to its fullest extent.
4) Schedule your content
You have content ready for social sharing, right? I bet you want to ensure you reach as many people as possible when you publish on the social platforms. Unfortunately, it’s not possible for you to be online 24/7 to publish everything manually as well as to respond to all interactions with your activity. While it’s definitely in your best interest to not fully automate your posts and tweets, you also need to be human and have time for other tasks.
Use a social scheduling tool to share tweets and posts according to custom settings. Use automation tools for your blog activity and email marketing. On the other hand, make sure you find the right balance between automation and real-time activity. The best approach is to set boundaries as to when you’ll be online and when you need to schedule.
5) Publish high-quality content
If you have an active personal brand and want it to grow strong and stay that way, you have to be creating fresh and appealing content of various sorts. This can include a blog, social media and anything else that contributes your knowledge to the world. However, you have to be careful. People are looking for high-quality content, and publishing lots of sub-par content for the sake of publishing as much as possible won’t get you very far.
It’s simple enough: don’t publish sub-par content. If you’re not happy with the quality of your work, what’s to say anyone else will be? Have people around you give a critique early on about your topic and approach. Don’t wait until you’ve finished a draft to ask for opinions. Be consistent and publish as often as you can produce high-quality content. Don’t worry about your output rate, and just focus on content quality.
6) Don’t forget to interact
It’s not enough to just create and share your content. It’s actually frowned upon to simply broadcast your work. You have to interact with those who reach out to you. Without interaction, you simply host a robotic account(s) that no one wants to follow. Don’t push your audience away. Use interaction to pull them in.
When someone thanks you for sharing their article, go back and tell them what you liked about it, even if it means scanning the article again (assuming you actually scanned or *gasp* read it before sharing). When someone contacts you on your website with interest in sharing their own work, be polite and see what they have to offer. Then, give them feedback as well as any answers to whether you’ll incorporate it into your website or social media sharing. When someone shares your work through their own social accounts or website, contact them directly in some way. It could be as little as clicking “like” or even tweeting a “thank you.” In an ideal world, continue the conversation during interactions by asking open-ended questions.
7) Reach out to others
I’ve said you need to respond to others who reach out to you, but you can’t let that be the only form of interaction you practice. It’s important to initiate reaching out to others as well. There are many reasons to do this. You might want to guest write for someone else’s blog. Maybe you just want to show your interest in other people’s work by retweeting or sharing their content. When you interact with others first, you are authentically trying to tell people that you appreciate them and their work. It gives others a chance to notice you, and thus, builds your personal brand’s exposure and reputation.
Start simple on social and just “like” or follow them, and they may do the same for you. Apply to syndication sites and become a guest blogger on other sites. Create Twitter lists to follow users who you’d be likely to interact with by retweeting and replying to their tweets. Share other people’s blog articles and resources, and give credit by properly tagging them in your post and tweet.
8) Invest in helpful tools and resources
Admit it. You’re not an expert in every little detail that comes with personal branding. I’m nowhere near it. In order to stay on track and maintain your brand activities, you need to find the tools and resources to help you along the way. This doesn’t mean you absolutely must invest financially, but many paid services have very helpful features to consider.
Find recent articles from others that give you ideas for tools to try. Google the activity you need help with, and add “tools” to your search criteria.
Here’s a list of a few tools that I use for my personal brand:
- WordPress.org for a professional website (costs money to buy a domain, and you may want to pay for different plugins and other services)
- Buffer for social media scheduling (has a free, limited version, but the “Awesome” plan could help you)
- Blog subscriptions for up-to-date advice and ideas (free, but filter them into a separate folder, not your email inbox, to stay organized)
- Idea generators for topic inspiration (free for Portent and Impact)
9) Develop a content backlog
This doesn’t just apply to your blog. While you definitely need to create and maintain a backlog of articles for your website, you also need to have a good supply of social media content ready to go. It’s not just your blog work that could overwhelm you. Without a social media backlog, you would get stressed out there too, trying to keep up. By having these content backlogs, you make your life so much easier and your work so much more successful.
Write a few blog drafts that you can edit and build upon gradually over time before it needs to be published. Create as many of your tweets and posts in advance as possible, and keep adding more when you can. Save your future social content as a collection in a computer program or a website (Bit.ly, for example, is great for saving links and organizing them with tags for easy reference).
10) Ask for help when needed
Face it. You’ll need help sometimes. If you do everything with only yourself, there’s bound to be a lot of issues, such as a high-error rate or the risk of burning out. You need to be willing to ask for help when you need it, and by doing so, you give yourself a break and improve the quality and success of your work. It doesn’t require a lot from you. In fact, it takes so much weight off your own back. You just need to stay open-minded and allow others to help you.
Take advantage of your social following to ask for feedback on your upcoming blog content or to discover fresh content ideas. Reach out to specific people on and offline who you think could help you with any problem you might have. Find a way to ask for help without sounding selfish or needy. The key is to develop a mutual benefit by offering something in return.
- Commit to your brand
- Know your limits
- Learn to step away
- Schedule your content
- Publish high-quality content
- Don’t forget to interact
- Reach out to others
- Invest in helpful tools and resources
- Develop a content backlog
- Ask for help when needed
Thoughts? Opinions? Have anything to add? Leave a comment with your input!
Author’s note: this article was originally published on April 20, 2015 and has been republished to include updates for freshness and accuracy.