By Joe Pulizzi published October 27, 2009

Personal Branding Success in 15 Steps

Dan Schawbel has put together a first-rate magazine about personal branding called (of course) Personal Branding Magazine. The latest issue includes an article from yours truly, which I’ve included below.  I also included one of my PowerPoint presentations when I do in-person workshops on personal branding (this article was based on that presentation).

If this topic is important to you, I suggest you check out Dan’s magazine (get the free trial issue here). 

15 Steps to Personal Branding Success

Before talking about the how of personal branding, it’s essential to talk about why it’s essential for your business and your life.

Developing your personal brand will help you:

  • Grow your company.
  • Drive your career.
  • Open up partnerships and new opportunities you never thought of before.
  • Shorten sales cycles. Minimize selling your services (since you will be the trusted expert).
  • Become more fulfilled with life.

I can speak first hand about this. It was just a few years ago that I was at the short end of all the areas above. Then, by focusing on a niche and setting tactics (we’ll talk about this in a second), the last few years have been amazing: Trips abroad for keynote speeches, a published book, a growing online business and never a shortage of partnership or new business opportunities.

Are you in?

Look, it’s not that easy, but there is a formula to this that has worked for me, and it can work for you as well.

First, the basics.

  • Commit to doing something and doing it consistently.
  • Focus on what makes you unique.
  • Demonstrate lethal generosity (Give away valuable information all the time. Think of yourself as the publisher.).
  • Then do things that make people want to spread your message.

NOTE: Most importantly, pick a niche. What area of information can you be an expert in? The smaller the better at the start. For example, my expertise is content marketing. Some will be experts in pet attire, others in nanotechnology. Pick one and go.

Here are 15 tips that will make the difference for your personal branding quest.

  1. Update Your Online Profiles. Be sure they tell your story of why you are unique. Focus especially on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and your Google Profile. Plaxo, TripIt and FriendFeed may also be an option.
  2. Buy Your Domain (http://myname.com). This is the place where you can control your message about who you are.  Check out mine as an example (http://joepulizzi.com).
  3. Business Card Process. If you get a business card, make it a habit of getting those people into your online networks.
  4. Professional Picture. No-one wants to see you getting sick at a party last week as your Facebook image. Get a professional photographer to take your picture and be consistent in using it throughout your online profiles.
  5. Start a Blog. Take your expert topic and consistently deliver valuable, relevant and compelling information through this tool.
  6. Comment on other Blogs. In your niche, what are the top 10-15 influential blogs? Read and comment on those blogs consistently.
  7. Write a Book. I’m not kidding. A book is still the best business card around. If you are the expert in your niche, you need to write a book.
  8. Deliver BIG Content. eBooks, enewsletters, white papers, research reports and industry rankings. Pick two or three and publish, publish, publish.
  9. Find Distribution Channels. PowerPoint presentations should go on SlideShare or Scribd. Blog content should be distributed via Twitter and Facebook.
  10. Respond to Those Who Talk about You.  Monitor Twitter Search and Google Alerts for mentions of you.  Be sure to comment on those blogs.
  11. Accept Guest Writing Spots. If it’s in your niche and people want you to write an article, the answer is YES. Always yes.
  12. Pick Two Associations and Get Active. You can’t be involved in every association, but pick two and be VERY active. Work to get on the board.
  13. Speak, Speak, Speak. Speaking in public takes the previous 12 points to the next level. If you don’t feel you have what it takes, join your local Toastmasters.
  14. Always Be Helping. If someone asks for your help, do your best to give it. Pay it Forward really works in today’s gift economy.
  15. Get Behind a Charity/Cause. This can’t just be about you. Find a cause that truly makes a difference in this world and give 100%.

Anyone, and I mean anyone, who follows these 15 points, will see a dramatic difference in your life and career in just six months. Find your niche, and go get ‘em.


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.

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  • http://www.youreverythingservices.com Deb Lamb

    Good morning Joe,
    Excellent Advice and Ideas!
    As a business owner of a virtual assistant service, it is crucial to get your name out there and do it consistently. However, it can be difficult at times to keep up the pace, but at the same time, it is certainly worth it and something we have to do as business owners if we want to be successful!
    You have provided some great tips that I have not thought of before and will start implementing immediately.
    Thanks so much for sharing and I’m hoping this will help increase my business. I’m willing to give it a try!
    Make it a fabulous day and I’ll be back for more.
    Deb
    Freelance Writer
    http://www.youreverythingservices.com

  • http://samuraiwriter.com/blog mark mcclure

    Do you still use yahoo answers and does it generate leads?
    Are you using a virtual assistant to help with any of the 15 tips above? Seems like a lot of time would be required to accomplish them, even incrementally, and still find time to do the actual client work.
    Thx for sharing.

  • http://blog.junta42.com Joe Pulizzi

    Hi Mark…I use LinkedIn Answers more now than Yahoo! Answers.
    I don’t use a virtual assistant, per se, but I am starting to outsource some writing activities. I still do all my own tweeting, posting, but I have someone that does that for Junta42.
    Honestly, 30-45 minutes solid per day every day and this can be done.
    Hope that helps.

  • http://www.thesueatkins.com Sue Atkins

    I am in the midst of re branding myself back to my own name as I have been working with a marketing consultancy that told me – “I am the brand” and expert in my field and I am very pleased to see that they are working with me on all of the above points !! So that’s reassuring !!
    I have already noticed a massive change in people’s awareness of me and as I regularly appear on BBC Radio and TV I have found branding my work back to my name to be really helpful.
    Your article is full of excellent advice that is simple, grounded in common sense and not overwwhelming so for any small business starting out I would encourage you to follow your great tips and watch your business soar.