It’s uncomfortable, it’s difficult but you have to do it! Identifying and knowing ourselves is the biggest piece of work we can do as entrepreneurs and leaders. Everything stems from this, your strategies, stories, engagement style and Personal Brand.
Never assume that you truly know yourself. Your brand relies on a consistent message every time you show up. But if you don’t identify truly who you are and the value that you bring – the “Package” that is YOU – how can anyone one else understand or value it?
If we are not authentically ourselves how can we survive in positions of Leadership. Even if you are a soloprenuer and don’t lead a team you must deeply understand who you are and what you bring to the table.
So, it’s worthwhile putting in the time and effort on this because you’re going to consistently use this as your launch pad as you move through your career, or through periods of pivot.
I’ll be covering all this and more in my upcoming 3 day series… Only 8 places available. It is an hour each day. You won’t believe the transformations we’ll bring about in such a short timeframe!
Keep your eye out for sign up details or drop me an email today.
It’s not CHANGE that stops you…it’s the FEAR of that change.
So many of us are actively going through change or are looking at making changes in our careers, our businesses, services, packages, work environments. There are very few of my clients not going through some sort of pivot whether they choose to or not.
WHAT’S STOPPING YOU?
How many times have you sat back thinking I’d love to position myself for promotion, partnership, launch this new service/package, step up to the next level of reputation management, go back to work after maternity leave but something has stopped you. Take a second now to think, exactly what stopped you doing that thing? Be honest with yourself…
change vs fear
Was it the risk you were about to take, the change you were about to make? Or was it the FEAR of what might happen if you made that speech, sold that package, put that idea out there? What would “they” say? What would happen if you weren’t successful?
Change is never easy. I’ll be the first to agree with that. BUT the FEAR of change is always, always, always so much worse than the change itself.
We have a tendency to fear what MAY happen, what people MAY do, what friends MAY say. “I have this great idea but what if no one buys it”. “I think I’d be great in that new position but what if I go for it and don’t get it”. We become almost paralysed by the fear of what MAY happen.
We can’t control the result of the change we’re about to make. We can’t control people’s reactions, the uptake, the sales levels or the overall outcome but we CAN control our fear of that change and our own reaction to that change.
Make the change you want in your career or business. Stop over thinking, stop the negative internal chat, the doubt, the self questioning. I guarantee you, the fear of that change is SO much worse than the change itself!
If you’re struggling with your positioning, your messaging, personal branding or strategies to cope while you’re either looking at making a change or actively going through change, you are not alone. Come and have a chat with me and let’s see where you’re at and how I can get you where you want to be.
Who needs to hear you? Who needs to know the value that you bring to the table – Every . Single . Time
People often think very rigidly about their Audience Segments. “It’s my buyers”, ‘It’s my manager”, “It’s SMEs with <100 seats”… So, let’s shake that up for you now! I always advise clients working with me to be fully creative and wide in their thinking. You can always cull these audiences.
Have a look at your career, your business, your future plans, career goals, yourself. Who can move a needle for you right now? There is a key audience segment right there. These people may not be decision makers for you, they may not purchase from you or have a direct role in your development. BUT this is often a segment that is ignored while often being the most effective for the popularisation of your Personal Brand. Think of your promotion plans, there is a project that would give you huge visibility, why would the project head bring you onboard? Because the team already knows they need you.
Make a list of the people who will advocate for you, or could advocate for you if they realised how remarkable you are and clearly understood the value that you bring. Be clear who are your Key Influencers. Think creatively and think widely.
SPECIFIC CONTENT PILLARS
Next, craft a “Content Pillar” just for these “Influencers”. (No, not Social Media Influencers 😍) List all the things about you that they would find valuable and craft specific and clear messages directly to them. Get their buy-in to your Personal Brand. Create Champions who have you Top of Mind.
A little bit of creativity will get you in front of these people and a little thought will have them actively supporting and engaging with your brand.
Very little effort for massive and hugely valuable rewards…
Here’s an Action Question we’re working on with a busy Strategy client today… “How do I get away from busy un-productivity?” The busier we are the harder it becomes to prioritise and stick to it. We need to get real clarity on the goal and from that, clarity of plan – tune out the distractions, last minute requests and everyone else’s priorities and demands. Know the next step to take, be really clear on what you need to do to get to that goal.
If it’s a work project, how often do we get “busy in the weeds”, when we really need to ensure the next key steps are 100% clear to you and agreed upon by everyone on your team. Make sure everyone understands the “Why” behind what you’re trying to achieve and knows who is responsible for which elements.
JUST FOR YOU
Just for you – Take Time To Reflect – schedule a couple of minutes at the end of each day and each week, to consider what went well and not so well. Mark yourself for effective use of time, especially billable time. Where did you lose time and why? Where/why/how were you distracted? Were you procrastinating, and if so, what caused you to do this? For me, I know I procrastinate when I don’t know what the next step is or if I do know it, I don’t know how to do it. This now goes straight on my “Fix It” list… I either learn it, or I find an expert (and build my network at the same time!).
Which of these two options is most you? The sugar sweet, gentle woman or the beer swilling, adventurous, fearless one?
Be completely honest with yourself and I’ll be completely honest with you too…
The true answer is this… it doesn’t matter in the least which one you identify with!! The fastest and best way to make a real impact in your career is to be YOU! Be clear that you’re proud of being YOU. Make your messaging about YOUR strengths and their value to clients. If you’re adventurous, be adventurous. If you’re sweet, be sweet. And be anywhere in between that is fully you. There is huge value in whatever personal brand you create. Don’t force yourself into a box you “think” is more valued.
WHICH IS BEST?
It matters not a damn whether you’re sweet or adventurous but it truly does matter that you know which you are and that you very cleverly and strategically craft your Personal Brand around that authentic personality.
I had a very pressurised conversation with a client I’m working with who is going forward for a huge Partnership position. Her feeling is, she sees what other women are doing, that they are being successful and getting credit, they are moving in the “right circles”, sometimes cutting corners and frantically scrabbling to get into the decision making clique. But she hates everything about it, it all goes against her values, her style, her self. It’s simply just not her. So my question to her this morning was “should you copy behaviours and values you see or should you craft your own strategy taking into account your influencers, your audience and your truth?”.
SUCCESS LEAVES CLUES
But should you follow them all? Should you play the politics even if it is detracting from your own value of yourself. I work with a huge number of female leaders who (I believe, wrongly) feel they have to play the politics or lose out. But that is not the decision at all. The decision is, how can we all package our brilliance in a way that is quickly understood and valued by key decision makers. How can we be clear about the enormous impact we make as leaders while never crossing the line into pretence.
you BE YOU
You need to fully understand yourself, your brand and your positioning. It must be consistent, strategic, kind and value filled. But to make a Real, Valuable and Sustainable Impact, it must be YOU.
If you are a female leader going forward for promotion, partnership or directorship why not chat with me on a Discovery Call and let’s see how much messaging clarity and transformational value we will add to your Personal Brand.
Everything’s so loud now and so instantaneous that it’s getting harder and harder to stand out. The level of competition is fierce, it’s global and it’s To be seen, to be heard and to be valued amongst your competitors in the eye of a small number of potential clients.
Branding on a business-level is common, but today branding is becoming just as important on a personal level. After all, you might work for a business that works with other businesses, but it’s people working with people and that’s what makes business relationships valuable. Even if you have your own company, with a great brand, you, yourself need to stand out.
Remember: “People Do Business with People”
So, how can you go about building a great Personal Brand that stands out, is authentic, is valuable, relevant and engaging?
IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU:
What are your drivers? Your Values? Your Key Descriptors? Stay away from all those wonderfully dull, overused words; Professional, Team Player, Good Communicator. Everyone is all of these things surely? You want to stand out.
No – You NEED to stand out!
Aim to discover words that describe you, drive you and are a bit of a stretch for you. These will be your descriptors and will remind you at every touch point what you want people to get from their interactions with you. Find words that are Emotional rather than Functional. You’ll always bond with someone a lot faster over emotional connections.
Try out descriptors/drivers like;
Curious, Exciting, Kind, Welcoming, Empowering. They are all action based emotive descriptors. Before you go into that next Big Deal Meeting – Remind yourself of these words, Be these words and Stretch to Fit these words.
WHO WILL CONNECT WITH YOU?
The next area to really look closely at is who are you dealing with? Who is your Audience? Now, that may seem clearly straight forward. Your Customer – the one you really want to buy from you. But everyone in business (Business Owner, Manager, Entrepreneur, Solopreneur, Blue Chip Sales Director) has numerous audiences, some more critical to the “Yes Decision” than others. But ignore your Influencers, Connectors, Detractors and Advocates at your peril.
Make the effort to delineate those audiences, clearly. What they value, where they have knowledge gaps, what they worry about, what comes between them and a “Yes Decision”, who they need to impress, what’s relevant for them.
Use this information to craft your personal brand that is engaging, valuable, authentic and relevant. Build a series of messages based on your brand for each of these audiences. Show them that you are of interest and of value to them. Prove to them that you are a giver, a helper, a connector. Be authentic to yourself, your beliefs and values in a way that shows you to be the best match for them. In a way that is energising, engaging and clear. Be clear and concise in your Personal Brand. It must be easily understood by you and by those who meet you. It must be consistent, every time I meet you I know what you’ll be like; Don’t let me down, don’t confuse me or disappoint me.
A great authentic Personal Brand is the best calling card you can possibly have. Now all you have to do is get it out there!
We all know the effort that goes into creating content right? Wouldn’t it be great to create that piece of content and KNOW that you’re going to get LOADS of social media shares on the SAME piece of content? Here are some easy tips to ensure you increase the amount people share, comment and use your content!
Remember to follow the basics first:
Create Great Content
Use a Variety of Media – Text, Infographics, Video, Podcasts etc…
Store Your Content on Your Website – So You Control It
Use a Link Shortening Tool – Bitly/Tiny etc
Use a Scheduling Software (for free) Hootsuite/Buffer etc
Have Your “Standard Operating Procedures” (yawn) in place! More later…
Know Your Keywords
Know Your Audience
Know Your Message!
SHARE CONTENT MORE THAN ONCE
One of the best ways to get more social media “Shares” and engagement is to share your content more than once. You have one great piece of content, you put it up on Facebook and then you’re done? Seriously? After all that work? No Way…
Get your shortened link, a couple of good quality relevant photos, several keyword rich sound bites and you’re good to go! I’d even suggest you put all this into an excel spreadsheet to make it clear at a glance! Using Hootsuite (for example) you can then choose which platforms you want to use for this content and plan when you want to publish and with what keyword rich message. Don’t forget, publish several times on EACH platform with a different message at different times of the day. Very effective for very little extra effort…
Getting into the Habit (Standard Operating Procedures – more on this later) of sharing content more than once also lets you get to know what kind of images, messaging and hashtags work with your audience, and can help you to determine when your audience is the most active and what they are most likely to ENGAGE with.
CREATE CONTENT THAT ADDS VALUE TO YOUR CUSTOMER
You REALLY need to know your audience. Know what they value, know what is relevant to them, know what experience you bring that removes their worries, solves their niggles. Notice I’m using the word “Know”. This is not guess work on your side. You need to know it For A Fact. So, go ask them.
People are much more likely to share content that they perceive as highly valuable to them. If you can consistently create that type of content – they will share it.
CREATE “SNACKABLE” CONTENT
Snackable content is generally short, quick and easily digestible. Snackable content can include quotes, infographics, and stats. Get creative in the way you present your information and find additional ways to frame and present your ideas in shorter forms. You still need the longer version (like this post) as Google loves 1500+ words but to drive sharing and engagement people often share the quick bites. It’s all good brand building for you. And easier to create.
SHARE POSTS WHEN FOLLOWERS ARE ACTIVE
Figuring out when your followers are online and active is essential to getting the most impact out of each of your social media posts. Social Media platforms are so immediate that it’s easy to be missed in the thousands of tweets sent every second!
Use in-platform analytics tools to help you determine when your audience is online and ready to be engaged.
PROVIDE CONTEXT IN HEADLINES/MESSAGING
Your headline can make or break your content – research has shown that up to 80% of readers will decide whether or not to click through on a link based on your title or caption. Make sure headlines, sound bites and messaging offer clear context for your content and what the reader will get out of it. Good keyword research and knowing your audience well will pay hugely here. Be sure to use Active and Descriptive words to encourage your readers to interact with your content.
MAKE SOCIAL MEDIA SHARE BUTTONS EASY TO FIND
This sounds SO simple but seriously, I don’t know how often I find great content that I know my readers would love but can I find anyway of sharing it? I don’t have time to go searching, make it easy!
Be careful how and where these buttons appear. There are the coolest sharing buttons that are “Sticky”, they stay in place when you scroll through content and appear at the side of your blog post. BUT when you read the post on a mobile device you can’t read the content it disappears behind these lovely sharing buttons.
Make sure that its clear which buttons do what – does the big F at the end of your blog post mean I can share your content on my Facebook page or does it mean that I will now follow you on Facebook. There’s a Big Difference.
Always include an image in your post as it increases shares and engagement by over 80%. Even better, include an image showing people, better again show those people being Active.
Some platforms, like Pinterest and Facebook will automatically pull the post’s featured image so make sure it’s a good one. Using software such as canva.com makes it easy to get the correct sized image for each platform as it does it automatically for you. No more excuses for dodgy imagery. Just don’t lose your entire day designing.
TRY “CLICK TO TWEET” OPTIONS
It’s the little things in life! “Click to Tweet” plugins let you choose parts of your post that your reader can simply click on to tweet out to all their followers. Firstly, this makes it super easy for your readers to share key notes of your content. They’ll like that. They look good, there adding value to their followers. And secondly it lets you highlight the critical take away points from your article.
USE CALLS TO ACTION
Take it back to the old fashioned Call to Action (CTA). Have a think about what exactly it is you want your readers to do. For example ask them (nicely) to share your post if they’ve found it of value. Include this messaging in all your landing/sales pages too. Be clear in your Calls to Action, leave no room for doubt and incentivise readers to follow your CTAs!
As most of you know, I’m always talking about, and chasing you, on your “Descriptor Words” – words that you personally use to make you simply a slightly better, stronger, braver version of yourself. Have you thought about those words yet this year? I know a lot of people choose a “Word of the Year” that acts as their overall driver. So, let’s start with that! We’ll move onto your Descriptor Words next week… Have you chosen your word of the year yet? Will you share it with us in the comments below?
I’m also a huge fan of “Discomfort”, “Becoming Uncomfortable”, or as the US Navy Seals say getting “Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable” get used to it! You’ll always achieve SO much more in every aspect of your life when you move out of your comfort zone. Most people choose a positive word for their year, understandably. Words like Flow, Synergy, Ease, Collaboration (taken from a client training I delivered last week)
BUT what happens if you choose a different slant in 2022? The world is already on its ear and has been for a while so maybe if we look at everything a bit differently, we’ll get different results? How about choosing a word that challenges us? A word that forces us out of that warm comfy space we spend so much of our lives in? A word that stretches us…
As James Clear author of Atomic Habits asks…
“Are you willing to be uncomfortable for 5 minutes? Exercising is easier once you’ve started the workout. Conversation is easier once you’re already talking. Writing is easier once you’re in the middle of it. But many rewards in life will elude you if you’re not willing to be a little uncomfortable at first.”
So, I challenge you to pick a word for 2022 that makes you uncomfortable!!
Carol is a very hugely respected, award winning, keynote speaker in the areas of Personal Branding, Strategy, Communications, Executive Presence and LinkedIn. She has a huge passion for what she does and for the clients she works with. From C-Suite Personal Branding work to Communications Strategy projects and her Advisory roles, she brings all her energy, enthusiasm and focus to her work.