HOW TO BRAND YOURSELF ONLINEBEFORE YOU BEGIN If you jump right into advertising or marketing, and miss branding as foundational, then you may waste a lot of time and money.

I’m here to help you avoid that. In this piece, I start simply, with foundational concepts, and then build upon the ideas, adding more details which you might find changes the picture for your situation.

I’ve also purposefully limited the scope of this piece to branding. I cover marketing and more in subsequent pieces.

Just like medicine or law, life online is a practice. So, don’t worry if you have to try a few attempts at branding, before you get a good result.

Just start, or start over, and keep going, you’ll get better. That’s how we learn most things in life. Exceptional branding is not instant, or luck. It’s a practiced art.

This eBook has nothing to do with tattoos or cattle irons. And although we could draw some interesting parallels, we’ll keep things focused on helping you brand yourself online. Personal branding is not just a fad or buzz word on the interwebs. It is business. Big business. And it is the future. Period.

Business has always been about products and service. But now, more than ever before, it is about branding. And not just the branding of multinational companies.

But people. It’s personal now. People like Apple the company, but they also want to know about Steve Jobs its founder. People like Nike, but they need a person to properly represent the brand, e.g. Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods.

You can do this!

Companies and organizations rise and fall on their personal branding. People want to do business with people, not computers. So even if we are at home by ourselves, we still follow each other on Twitter, and friend each other on Facebook, and like each other on YouTube.

We still want to feel connected. And yes, unfortunately for many, it’s still a popularity contest. Remember high school. Well, popularity! online matters. What, you want fluffy bunny slippers, or honest truth to help you brand yourself?

So, let’s keep it real. You’ll be better positioned to promote your product, service, or yourself, once you understand why branding is so important. And don’t worry, anyone can brand themselves online. Yeah, this is way cooler than high school. All it takes is a little time, money, and strategic focus.

Sure, there’s a cost. Companies spend millions of dollars on their brand, to keep a good image. Actors spend millions of dollars on their image, because they are their brand.From sports teams to nonprofits, successful brands are built and maintained through focused strategy and constant care.

So, whether you’re a starving artist, or a thriving small business, whether you’re just starting out, or been in business a while, you need to be watching and learning from how successful people and brands spend their money and time. You can even emulate favorite brands and personalities.

What happens when someone
Googles you?

Today, people are “googling” each other more and more. Especially when they encounter you, but don’t know who you are. They look to Google to tell them. So, being found online, the way you want to be found, is very important, and should be your priority.

How you appear in the search engines speaks directly to your character. Are you credible? Can you be trusted? Are you at least presentable?

There’s no longer room for weak excuses about how you look, or not being into ‘techie’ stuff. It’s time to put down the bag of chips and get to work branding yourself online.

Yes, you can do this. Even if you’re a newbie, or tech illiterate, now with the power of web 2.0 (cue opening music) you can create a look you enjoy and are proud of.

So, if you’re serious about your personal brand, then you must understand some foundational basics first, and then strategically implement some of my recommendations below.



My Dad told me once that “clothes don’t make the man.” True, but they sure do make a first impression. So, let’s be clear– Branding is everything!

Being found online the way you
want, is your top priority.

If you want to matter at all, you must brand yourself. It’s no longer optional. In 1980, would you want to do business with someone who was NOT in the yellow pages? So today, what happens when someone Googles you? Are you there? Do you matter? Do you represent well? What’s the first thing that pops up? Is there some stupid photo of you at a party you’d like to forget?

Remember, we DO judge a book by its cover. It’s like leaving the house without having performed any grooming or personal hygiene rituals. You will be judged by society’s standards. Conclusions about your character, skills, connections, likeability etc. will be instantaneous.

So, you MUST prioritize branding yourself.

Also, branding is different from marketing. Branding comes first. Branding is who you are. Marketing is what you say. Branding is your identity. Marketing is your activity. So, start with branding first. Marketing, or getting your message out, comes later.

In this piece we will layout practical steps you should take to brand yourself. Some of the steps will also include some marketing strategies, sure, but that is not really the focus here. We’ll cover that in subsequent piece.

Branding is being yourself. But it is being your best self. Dirty laundry is for the washing machine, not your blog. So please be cool online. Unless bitching is your brand strategy. Sometimes hater blogs do work and have large followings.

But I’m giving you general principles. Even if you want to be a badass online, you can still be likeable. Because most people don’t enjoy haters in the long run.

So, I’m suggesting you keep a long-term focus. Remember, that tattoo you think is so hot at 19 is probably going to be pretty lame when you’re 39. Just saying.


Online, you can be whatever you want!

So, first things first. Who are you? How can you be your own brand if you don’t know who you are? Know thyself said the ancient philosopher. Aheem….well….sleeping through humanities class was still a good idea, because it doesn’t really matter who you are in real life.

Online, you can be whatever you want. Just pick something you like. Something you’re good at, want to be good at, want to do, or just really like to talk about. If it’s your business, then that’s easy. Be Richard the CPA, or Jake the Lawn guy.

If you’re a mid-level manager, be Susan CEO. It’s ok to think up. Talk in the direction you want to go. If you’re a Mom, that doesn’t mean you have to be just a Mom online. You could be an artist, author, commentator, cartoonist, whatever. (Of  course blogging about being a Mom is just fine too, if that’s what you enjoy.)

But whatever you choose to be, it does need to be something you’re proud of. Again, think of it like a really noticeable tattoo. You better like it and be comfortable with it, because that’s what everybody is going to see and associate with you.

Getting a domain name is a good place to start. Although Facebook and YouTube and Tumblr and Pinterest have their own merit and spaces, the big deal is a website listed in the search engines. It’s says I’m here, I’m for real.

Here’s some examples. If you’re name is Rikki Mouskawics, then you’ve been blessed with a rare uniqueness. Your own name itself is valuable, because Google doesn’t know of anyone else online claiming that nameness.




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