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Personal Branding: A Personal Story

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I recently came across this piece on Inc Magazine about that “one word” that defines a great personal brand.

As a consultant and model, I was forced to build my personal brand early. (I was barely seventeen when I started modeling.) Somehow, I navigated the uncertainties of “the grown-up world” through all of its unspoken rules, business etiquettes, and professional networking strategies that college never taught me.

Developing a Brand that People Can Trust

Never be defined to the absolute. Instead, embrace in the evolution of your brand.

Tweet this thought.

Professionally, the most advantageous experience I’ve had in my career that helped me build my personal brand was (ironically) being a convention model. As a convention model, I represented myself to the agency. I also represented the agency to the client. And I represented the client to an audience. Once I realized that I was representing myself and others simultaneously, a personal brand seemed to be the only thing that made sense to tie everything about me together. (This is ironic because for years I tried to disassociate myself from being a “model” for personal reasons.)

What truly started to shape my personal brand were personal struggles; inevitable moments of weakness and uncertainties about my character. I questioned my strengths and purpose which carved a path for me to challenge my personal integrity. Each time we question ourselves is actually an opportunity to improve or further develop our personal brand. So trust your instinct.

If your brand story doesn’t feel right to you, then it’s not really your brand story.

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If my personal brand was a formula, it would be a concoction of fifty percent personal struggles (as a young, female professional), forty-eight percent observation, 1.5 percent analyzing, mimicking, and role-playing along with my embrace of the beautiful .5 percent knowledge knowing that I can never be defined to the absolute.

Ironically, after just making the preceding point of never being “defined”, I titled this blog post The “One Word” in Personal Branding. 

Advice for a Struggling Personal Brand

Before the rest of my colleagues realized how easily employers can find and view personal Facebook profiles, my online presence was already being built for me. I was branded as a model. And that was a problem.

All of a sudden, I was viewed as a model. Each job interview went well. (I was trying to break into the tech industry.) I was told that my personality and perspectives were impressive; that I had strong skills and fit the culture of the companies. Yet after that handshake and a friendly, “We’ll be in touch,” I knew that the interviewer would simply Google me and change his mind because my personal brand was associated with a different industry. The only jobs that were ever easily offered to me related to fashion and modeling.

Turn a disadvantage into a competitive, marketable advantage.

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Recently, I was in desperate need of advice and support from someone who understood the crises and challenges that confront me. Ideally, she would be another model about my age who also had aspirations to be more than “just a face.” Someone who also fits into the following demographic profile: young, female, recent college grad from an urban, socio-economically challenged background whose work experience thus far was mainly centered around her physical appearance. (I was a model, a restaurant hostess, a retail manager at a very superficial company that I won’t mention.) My fancier job titles included: “spokesmodel” or spokesperson, “brand ambassador,” and “receptionist.” I enjoyed all of my jobs but unfortunately only few contributed to a direct career path that I was seeking.

Strategically and slowly but surely, my job title evolved from being a “model” to “promotional model” to “brand ambassador” to “spokesmodel” and finally to “convention model.” Suddenly, I was an regarded as the “go-to” spokesmodel who understood the anatomy of brands because I worked directly with an extremely diverse series of brand strategies and campaigns (for big and small clients) on different levels. Suddenly, I became a straddler: one foot in one door and the other foot in another door. I was at the impressive, dynamic intersection where industries merged… and that was beautiful. With my high heel in one door, and my sketchbook in another, I was crafting a new me. Tweet this story. Yet with my college loans piling a year after graduation, I grew weary of my professional future.

Luckily, I met fellow Image Consultant, model, and friend Yanez Perez who shared with me the single most important advice I ever received about developing and, more importantly, maintaining my personal brand. Yanez recently ventured into the exciting business world and started her own Image Consulting business, Instead. She taught me three basic things:

  1. First and foremost, Respect everyone. No matter what title or power he or she may or may not hold. (Notice the capital R. It is crucial to note that respect comes with sincerity.)
  2. Secondly, make your presence be known. Be a (visual) statement. Carry yourself well. Make an impression.
  3. Always speak for yourself because you are your best (and only) true advocate.
  4. And actually, there is a fourth secret: Strategize.

Don’t let demographics, job titles, and other factors define who you are.

Tweet this thought.

After years of building my professionalism and cultivating a string of experiences as a social media marketing and field marketing professional for my own clients (in addition to my brief work at a Philadelphia-based, award-winning digital media company) even at age 26, I still get the casual brush-off as just a “pretty face.” Or in harsher words once said to me, “Why don’t you just stand there and look pretty?”

I had to carve my own brand before it was carved for me.

Tweet this thought.

Strategically, I snipped the strings that were tying me down. I remember when I first fell in love with Twitter. (Thank you Twitter cofounders.) I dreamed of its conception during my high school days when it was cool to update statuses but be AFK or “away from keyboard.” Who knew that my discovery of Twitter would lead to my next epiphany?

Social Media Networks

Social media saved me.

Before social media, I was just a model. That’s it. That was all there was to me according to Google. (Gee, thanks Google. I wish you would’ve let me know that there was another Sophie Tran who was also a model.) However, since I plunged into the beautiful blankets of social media, all of a sudden, I had a second opportunity to re-invent my brand.

“Call me,” Yanez said when I confided in her. And so I did.

During that one-hour phone call with Yanez, I realized that my fears of having a stale personal brand was actually a sign that I was yet again facing another milestone in the evolution of my personal brand.

So here’s my ‘one word’: Undefined. 

Be refined. Yet undefined. That is the essence of every personal brand.  

My name is Foxy, and my job is to sniff out the good guest bloggers from the ones who aren't. This post was written by a contributing author to Blogging Tips. If you would like to learn more about becoming a writer (not one-time guest blogging) for BloggingTips.com, please contact us.

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Blogging

Avoid this Blogging Wake Up Call to Enjoy the Journey

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Blogging need not be a lesson in harsh wake up calls. You can and will largely enjoy the journey by knowing this: success finds generous bloggers. Let that idea firmly impress onto your mind. Be with it. Allow the idea to worm its way into your consciousness until being generous becomes part of your being. Helping people for free boosts your skills and increases your exposure. Skilled bloggers with massive exposure become successful.

But one wake up call seems to find most bloggers who refuse to learn this lesson. Bloggers need to struggle, fail and suffer because they try to get money and traffic by focusing solely on receiving methods, versus giving generously of their time and talents. Imagine this scenario; a blogger writes and publishes one blog post weekly. Cool. But the blogger sits around and does nothing else blogging-wise for the remainder of the week. Hmmmm…this is not being generous, guys. This is being stingy. Bad move. At week’s end, the blogger did not make a penny of profits. Panicking, the blogger immediately analyzes their various income streams. How can they maximize profits through the streams? What is wrong with their income streams? Did they pick the right streams? Or did they pick the wrong streams? What gives?

Struggling bloggers then spend 2, 3 or 5 hours analyzing their income streams, focusing all of their attention and energy on the GETTING aspect of their blogging campaign. Terrible idea. Why? The reason why you struggle to get is because you refuse to give generously of your time, energy and talents. The income streams? Nope; not a problem. Your lack of generosity is the problem. The wake up call is most bloggers focus heavily on getting when struggling to drive traffic and profits when they should be focused heavily on giving generously. Giving generously leads to greater blogging profits. Instead of writing and publishing one blog post weekly, how about writing and publishing 2-3 posts weekly, weaving some stories into your blog posts?  How about you spend 4-8 hours daily generously reading blog posts, commenting genuinely on blog posts, promoting other bloggers and yes, promoting yourself, too?

Put in the giving time to make getting easier and easier. No need to slam into the cold, hard wake up call of focusing selfishly inward, trying to pin your struggles on inanimate, lifeless income streams. You have a giving problem, buddy. Time to be generous. Time to step it up. Write a guest post daily or perhaps, every 2-3 days. Go ahead. Do it. Begin video marketing. Build bonds with bloggers. Help them out. Practice writing. Gain invites to guest post on blogs from your niche. Blogging becomes more fun, more enjoyable and flat out easier if you put in the time, generously helping folks.

Focus heavily on giving. Your star will shine if you generously serve people. On the contrary, blogging and life become so much harder if you obsess over your income streams, analyzing, over analyzing, focusing, wasting precious time and energy on getting, when you should be giving more freely. Blogging feels more fun, too, when you focus heavily on giving, because we were designed to give, to be generous and to serve folks. Doesn’t it feel amazing to help people? Of course, it does. Enjoy the blogging journey and avoid this painful wake up call….plus….you get to sleep in, hehehe 😉

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Blogging

The Importance of Digital Marketing Research for Brands in 2020

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One of the key aspects of launching successful marketing campaigns is to conduct market research beforehand. This is no different when marketing on the internet. Digital marketing research is crucial to successful digital marketing, and without it, one can quickly blow through their budget without seeing any type of ROI at all.

A perfect example of this can be seen in social media marketing, where billions of ad impressions are served hourly. The same is also true with paid media marketing and pay per click marketing within Google. There is simply way too much information and user views out there, and if you aren’t careful and are using paid advertising–you could blow through a large budget in a short period of time.

If you have been neglecting digital marketing research prior to launching your campaigns, read on to learn the importance of digital marketing research and why you need to get on the bandwagon!

Digital Marketing Research

Market research helps the marketer understand the market and the trends. The information received can be used to develop a sound marketing strategy. Having an understanding of your audience and how to communicate with them is key to growing your business.

But, how do you go about implementing digital marketing research?

Here’s how:

Eyes on the Audience

First, you must know who your audience is. Your business should have a niche target demographic to reach out to. Once you have established who this target audience is, you will have a better idea of how to communicate with them directly.

After you have identified your audience, you will need to get to know them better. You want to know their behavior patterns: how often they shop, what they shop for, what their preferred products are. Using a survey is a great option to ask your target audience questions to garner information about them.

And even better, if you do plan on collecting any type of data from your audience, you should definitely consider your options with remarketing afterward. By this, you can start running Google Ads or Facebook Ads campaigns that target only the audiences that you’ve selected (whether that be through pixel or email data).

Social Media Marketing and Other Digital Platforms

Once you have established your audience, you want to use social media and other digital platforms to market to them. Note: in your survey, it is best to ask them which platforms they prefer.

Essentially, you will be adopting a multi-channel marketing approach to reach your target audience. This means that you will be using different digital platforms to reach your audience, be it through content, social media, or messaging systems such as email, chat, or text messages.

Your market research will tell you which is the best platform to reach your demographic. For example, if your audience are teenagers and young adults – you may opt to use Snapchat and Instagram for marketing campaigns.

An older audience would prefer Facebook or even traditional platforms such as email for newsletters. And of course, if targeting professionals then LinkedIn is your platform of choice.

Who Can Help You and Who Can Challenge You

The importance of digital marketing research extends to knowing who can help grow your brand and who your competitors are.

A prominent aspect of digital marketing is the use of influencers. Use your marketing research to seek out these influencers and ask them if they can help promote your brand. For example, if you ran a company that sold protein powder, you would want to find fitness models who could endorse your products.

Similarly, use your marketing research to learn who your competition is. You can also look at their marketing campaigns to get an idea of what you are up against.

Get The Ball Rolling

Now that you have learned about digital marketing research, it is time to get the ball rolling. By following each of the recommended steps and methods above, there is no reason why you shouldn’t see improved numbers across the board. Digital marketing is changing all of the time, and so are the ways in which you can target and reach new audiences.

Research your target audience and ask them what their needs are. Determine your platforms of choice. Utilize influencers and keep a watchful eye on your competition.

Are you looking for more tips on how to use your blog for marketing purposes? If so, then browse around our blog for more of our latest content.

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Blogging

Do You Honor the Law of Lag?

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The law of lag is always in effect. How it works; you generously, patiently and persistently help folks, trust in the process and yeah, make sure you promote yourself freely, too, OK? Be patient and persistent. Relax. A lag exists between you working generously, and, actually seeing traffic and profits increases. I refer to this as the law of lag. Lag times exist between you doing what works blogging-wise and seeing specific traffic and profits increases. Relax. Take a chill pill. Do not panic. Never believe that 0 traffic and 0 profits over the first few weeks of your successful blogging campaign indicates being generous, patient, persistent and trusting is NOT working, guys. Far and away, this is hands down the biggest mistake I see in blogging. Bloggers do not honor the law of lag. Bloggers panic and bail because they see minimal or no traffic and profits increases, during weeks or months, after they follow the successful blogging route.

See the journey through guys. Honor the law of lag. Know how it takes time and practice to become skilled enough and to yield enough exposure to actually boost your blog traffic. Boosting your blogging profits takes a bit longer, usually. Honor this lag time between work and results to become a highly successful, prospering blogger. Imagine being a doctor. During your first 3 months in pre-med, do you panic and bail because you have not made a cent through being a doctor? Nope; of course not. Do you panic and bail during your 6th year of medical studies because you have not made a penny from being a doctor? Nope; of course not. Do not panic and bail if you have not made a penny during your first 6 months of generously creating and connecting. Be patient. Good things take time. You need to become more clear and skilled in order to gain credibility in the eyes of readers. Plus you need to gain greater exposure by generously posting to your blog and by guest posting.

What happens when business slowly, steadily begins to grow?  Now it’s time to learn how to better serve your customers.  Nobody knows how to serve customers and clients fully until serving customers and clients in real world circumstances, gaining critical experience without a mentor or coach looking over your shoulder. I learned priceless lessons by boosting my traffic, by meeting more folks, by coaching clients and by interacting with customers. I had to put in the time and be patient during seeming lulls, or lags, to be a full time blogger. Being patient, persistent and generous made me the blogger I am today. You never grow until you go through testing periods where nothing appears to be happening but where everything is happening more quickly than you could ever see, in the background. All grows exponentially under the surface but only slowly and steadily bubbles up as profits and traffic stats. Envision the slow burn, bubbling up as a lag that cultivates your generosity, patience and persistent, and, your trust in self, as well as your trust in the blogging process.

I believe in you. See the journey through. Honor the law of blogging lag.

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