Every day I get at least one call from a would-be thought leader looking to build their brand. I'll be honest: Some of these people have the goods, and some don't. But what most of them do share is the lack of a strategy to truly make that happen.
Here's just a short list of 19 things you can do in 2018 to help move your brand to the next level. Heads up: While some of these may seem simple and obvious, I can tell you from experience, they are often missing in many an entrepreneur's branding toolkit.
- Prewrite and set up six months' worth of tweets to post automatically (several times a day) using a service such as SocialOomph, Zoho Social, or Hootsuite.
- Create a branded background for your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts that mirrors the logo, colors and branding on your website. Be sure to use the sidebar space on Twitter to place important information about your book, business or product.
- Get your LinkedIn profile up to 100 percent complete. That means a fully complete job history, at least three recommendations and details about what you do and offer.
- Implement social bookmarking for the blogs you post by promoting them to the top sites including StumbleUpon, reddit and more.
- Join Help A Reporter Out (it's free) and make it a daily habit to scan for journalists looking for someone to interview and quote with your expertise.
- Write a 400-800 word blog post a week composed of high-quality, original content that proves your expertise in your field. If you are not a professional writer, or at least a very competent one, you can use a ghost writer to take your ideas and turn them into word gold.
- Invite a fellow expert in your field or an author to write a guest post on your blog. Give them a live link back to their site and a full byline.
- Contact an influential blogger in your area of expertise and offer to write a guest post for their blog and to promote it to social media when it comes out.
- Join Pinterest and create a board (or two) that focuses on your area of expertise. Link some of the images you put up back to a blog post, article or white paper you have written.
- Make a list of your past satisfied clients and request testimonials. Create a section on your website for endorsements and place them there.
- Do some initial keyword research and define the five to 10 most commonly used keywords or phrases customers might use to find you, and make sure they are used at least to some degree in the writing on your website.
- Create a short 7-12 minute single audio-cast episode of a topic you are an expert in and give it away on your website. The audio-cast can be just you talking, or you can ask a colleague to interview you.
- Make a short two-minute video of yourself talking about your business, your expertise and what you offer. Alternatively, if you have it, post a short video of yourself giving a speech or being interviewed on your website.
- Write a very short (30 pages or less) e-book or white paper that provides your clients (and potential clients) with valuable information. Offer it for free on your website in exchange for the person's email address.
- Send out a monthly or quarterly newsletter composed of 90 percent useful content and only 10 percent promotion. Pick a topic you know your audience will find worthy of opening from their email inbox.
- Create a SlideShare presentation on a specific "how-to" topic your audience is interested in and post it on your LinkedIn profile and website.
- Start using basic mobile marketing by integrating QR codes into your blog, business card and e-books that hyperlink to audio or video. This way anyone with a mobile phone can check out your business, book or product.
- Create a list of associations in your field, and contact them about leading a webinar (for free) on a topic of interest to their members.
- Take Facebook advertising, LinkedIn adverting or Google AdWords out for a spin. All three allow you to specifically target your qualified audience and can be capped at a certain spend rate. That means you can experiment and see what works -- without worrying about breaking the bank.
See, I told you, these are not sexy. But they are the stuff (at least some of it) that can move the needle on making your business or personal brand a standout in 2018. So, what are you waiting for? Don't just sit there; pick one and start.