By Joe Pulizzi published May 8, 2009

10 Steps to Personal Branding Success

I was invited by the great teams at Advancement and DATAForge to  talk about personal branding success and wanted to share the presentation.

There are some excellent personal branding specialists that I follow (thanks Dan Schawbel), but the presentation below was based mostly on what I feel has made me successful.

What I emphasized to the group was that you don’t have to do all ten steps to be successful.  The most important part is that you pick the steps you can commit to and consistently execute those steps.

10 Steps to Personal Branding Success

  1. Update Your Online Profiles Now. LinkedIn, Facebook, and your Google profile are the most important. If you don’t have it already, buy your domain name. As a standard practice, all business cards you collect should be sent invitiations via LinkedIn. Finally, hire a professional to take your picture.
  2. Start a Blog/Get Involved in the Conversation. I use WordPress and TypePad for my blogs, and you can be up and running with either in a short period of time. Follow and comment on the top 10 – 20 blogs where your customers are hanging out. Answer questions on LinkedIn Answers and Yahoo! Answers. Follow your name, brands and keywords at Google Alerts. Find and get active in a Google Group that makes sense.
  3. Write a Book. Okay, this is a tough one. If a book is out of the question, start with an eBook. If you can do it though, start here (writing a book when you have no time to write a book).
  4. Create and Distribute Content of Interest to Your Customers. Develop a permission-based newsletter and consistent white papers/ebooks that will help your target group and position you as the industry expert. Share presentations on Slideshare. Use Twitter to distribute helpful information in your expertise area (here are eight Twitter steps to follow). Give away the “secret sauce”.
  5. Write for Everyone (no matter how small). Yes, it’s great writing for media sites such as AdWeek or Chief Marketer, but if you are asked to write for someone…anyone, do it. Even the smallest blog site can influence someone that you may not have had an opportunity to reach.
  6. Pick 2-3 Key Associations and Get Active. Once you do, always go to cocktail receptions, get on the committees/boards, and don’t commit to anything unless you can do it well.
  7. Speak, Speak, Speak. Once you start doing the first six points, you’ll start getting asked to speak at events. Remember, sometimes small, intimate events can spread your content farther than large events (so don’t dismiss them).
  8. Always Be Helpful (even if you feel like you are wasting your time). You will start to get many people coming to ask you for help and advice. That’s great! Sometimes you can’t help everyone yourself, but you can point them in the right direction.  Follow up with everyone.
  9. Pay Attention to Google. You are who Google says you are. If you can’t be found in Google either at all or for the right things, you won’t be found. It’s that simple.
  10. Get Behind a Charity/Cause. Hopefully, you are already doing this, but building your personal brand has to be about more than just you.  Pick one charity to get behind and make something happen for the better.

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Author: Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi is the Founder of Content Marketing Institute, a UBM company, the leading education and training organization for content marketing, which includes the largest in-person content marketing event in the world, Content Marketing World. Joe is the winner of the 2014 John Caldwell Lifetime Achievement Award from the Content Council. Joe’s the author of five books, including his latest, Killing Marketing. His third book, Epic Content Marketing was named one of “Five Must Read Business Books of 2013” by Fortune Magazine. If you ever see Joe in person, he’ll be wearing orange. Follow him on Twitter @JoePulizzi.

Other posts by Joe Pulizzi

  • yinka olaito

    Great thoughts and thanks for being original. That is the best anyone can be.

  • @CreativeFusion (Anne)

    Great post Joe. I know from experience that you practice what you preach. You have always gotten back to me quickly when I’ve sent you a question. Haven’t quite figured out how you keep up!
    Also good to be promoting social cause involvement. Just read in Zoomer magazine from Rudyard Griffiths book Who we are: A Citizen’s Manifesto that 10% of Canadians are responsible for 80% off annual volunteer hours. (You never know–the life you change could be your own!)

  • Joe Pulizzi

    Thanks Anne…great point about the volunteer hours. Just doing something can make all the difference in the world…you just don’t realize the possibilities until after you do it.

  • Rod Claar

    Thanks Joe. I think everyone should do some of these in today’s economy. If you job is not 100% secure for as long as you will want it, you need to keep your online profiles up to date, write a blog, be helpful and volunteer.
    Rod Claar

  • Ambal Balakrishnan

    Joe – Awesome List! Thanx for collecting so many great ideas in one place!

  • Mike D. Merrill

    Great List Joe. Enjoyed the presentation and blog post.
    Mike D. Merrill
    Twitter @mikedmerrill

  • Authority Networker

    Making yourself an indispensable source of information can establish your credibility, reputation and identity as an authority networker. The more helpful and valuable your information is the greater the chance those customers will purchase from you. This is the concept behind attraction marketing, a new internet network marketing lead generation tactic where you develop ongoing relationships with clients and become a person of value by educating them first and then moving them along the buying path in your communications. These clients will also bring in more business for you via referrals.

  • Jay Ehret

    Joe, if I could add one to your list of 10, I would expand on slide #9. Don’t just be unique, be interesting. When your brand is on display, it should be the interesting part of your personality.

  • Joe Pulizzi

    Great point Jay. Well said.

  • Ardath Albee

    Thanks for sharing this list. And for practicing what you share so well.
    My favorite – Lethal Generosity! That pretty much says it.

  • Dr Wright

    Getting behind one charity or cause is a great branding op. People need to tell the story and reason behind the charity they are working for or with. Sometimes it has natural synergy, sometimes it is a personal thing.
    If a you tell the story it will enhance your brand.
    Dr. Letitia Wright
    The Wright Place TV Show

  • Julie Cottineau

    This is so perfect and timely. I am working on this right now. I’ve been thinking (and doing) most of these things but it’s so helpful to see it in one place.
    Just launched my blog on innovation and branding. (step 2)

  • Joe Pulizzi

    Great start Julie. The blog looks fantastic. Keep me posted.