For many entrepreneurs, it’s easier to brand themselves than the business. Here are four ways to do both.
1. Become an expert on something that relates to your business.
Entrepreneurs looking to garner media attention, attract new clients and build their businesses should focus on becoming an expert in their field. For instance, Alexa von Tobel, CEO of Learnvest.com, has branded herself as a personal finance expert for young people. As a result, Fox Business, The New York Times, and other media outlets have interviewed Alexa, which provides exposure for her company. Avoid establishing an expertise that’s irrelevant to your corporate mission, goals, and vision because you’ll be wasting your time. If you own a record label, it’s probably not wise to brand yourself as a nutrition expert.
2. Establish a website or blog under your full name.
The media and your customers both use search engines to research you, connect with you and potentially either do business with you or interview you. That’s why you need to purchase your full name as a domain name (yourfullname.com). By developing either a static website or a blog under your domain name, you will own the first result for your name in Google and other search engines. This should be a separate site than your company’s website. After purchasing your domain name, add your picture, a bio, your e-mail address and links to the rest of your online presence (i.e. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter). This way, people can get in touch with you in their medium of choice. Claim your name before someone else does.
3. Learn how to be a good source.
Find out which media sources your audience reads, listens to or watches, research the types of content they provide and locate the exact gatekeeper to pitch. You or your publicist can also e-mail journalists and editors in response to one of their articles, with a note that you are available to comment on future articles. If and when a journalist e-mails or calls you for an interview, respond with haste because they are typically on deadline for their stories. Answer their questions thoroughly, while making sure that you get your message across.
When you’re interviewed by the media, you will always be able to promote your company through your byline, which will help build both yours and your company’s brand. Once the interview is complete, send a follow-up e-mail asking if they have any more questions, and make sure you include your bio and your picture.
(BY DAN SCHAWBEL. Dan Schawbel is the Managing Partner of Millennial Branding, LLC, a Boston, Mass.-based branding consultancy, a speaker and a leading authority on personal branding.)
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