Building your personal brand is the foundation of power-blogging, and the first step in making substantial money with your blog. Without this introspection and discovery, you’re merely marketing something that isn’t really you. Personal branding is all about authenticity, and you need to define yourself before you can market yourself authentically.
Personal branding is also about identifying your “maverick factor” – your differential. You will discover that your worth is dependent on two clear things: one, it’s based not on how same you are, but on how different you are; and two, just being different is not enough, your actions, decisions and external presence have to deliberately consolidate and project this difference.
Many people get an “aha” moment in their lives when they really see themselves as “not of the common herd” and therefore being “one-of-a-kind”. Enjoy this moment. It’s that juncture, when you see that your standout difference, well-promoted, can be the foundation of your new worth!
An introduction to Personal Branding for Power Blogging
Step #1: Knowing your deeply important values
Your deeply personal values can literally be the richness of your life. They are the core beliefs that add meaning to your life – and wealth-potential to your blog.
How would we describe “values”? You could see them as personal standards (that you may deliberately or unconsciously have set) which inform your attitudes, choices, and actions. Examples of values could be: ethics, integrity, honesty, professionalism, authenticity, consistency … there are many more in our idea-jogger list …
Step #2: Determining your passions and interests
To be able to galvanize your earning potential via power-blogging, you have to identify your interests and passions that can contribute to the differentiation of your blog – and you have to build these passions and interests into a competitive advantage. With so many millions of words written everyday on blogs of all sizes and shapes, what sets you apart can be the unique slant that your passions and interests imbue you with.
There’s an effortless and easy way to locate your true passions and interests. It is by watching where your energy and inclination want to naturally flow. What activities intrigue you and motivate you to allocate your energy to them? What do feel like spending more time on?
Step #3: Articulating your mission statement
A mission statement is quite simply a written-down statement of the path you want to take in life and work. Why should it be a written statement? Because barely 3% of people apparently reach their goals – and all of these successful people have been researched to have written-down statements!
Often, the greater your mission is, the more simply it can be stated. Mission statements aim to bring clarity and focus on goals via a short, crisp articulation. But just as you beware of overlong mission statements that are uninspiring, you have be wary of too short mission statements that also mean nothing!
Look at great brands and see if their mission-statements inspire you. Here are three awesome examples of extremely simple but profound mission-statements: TED: Spreading Ideas. (2 words). The Humane Society: Celebrating Animals, Confronting Cruelty. (4 words). Smithsonian: The increase and diffusion of knowledge. (6 words).
Step #4: Analyzing your strengths and weaknesses
After you’ve got a sense of your values, passions, interests and mission, it’s time to take an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses and do a very simple SWOT analysis.
To be successful, given your own unique mix of strengths and weaknesses, you have to make sure to “soar with your strengths and manage your weaknesses”. If you take an example – of “organization” as your strength and “handling numbers” as your weakness – then it’s clear you should pick activities that help show off your organization skills, while you back-pedal on activities that deal with number-crunching. It’s a good idea for you to showcase your own hand in your strength areas, and source others who can take care of your weakness areas for you.
Step #5: Identifying your unique “maverick” factor
Your “maverick factor”, according to the Cambridge Dictionary is the psychological aspect of yourself that makes you “think and act in an independent way, often behaving differently from the expected or usual way”. In short, it’s the way you are completely individualistic and separated from other human beings – and that could make you both uncomfortable and also very successful! Contrary to popular thinking, it’s not that some people are born more maverick than others. The truth is everyone has a “maverick streak” in them, and it’s only that some bloggers give expression to it regularly, whereas others do everything to hide it from themselves and others, because they have an inherent need to belong to the crowds.
If you are one of those who has left your maverick factor in disuse, by deliberately making no attempt to find it or exploit it, it’s time to take it out of your mental attic, brush the cobwebs away, and give it some air. You’ve got a hidden treasure that can make your power-blog richer!
Step #6: Taking stock of your future-facing credentials
There is a very big difference between trying to write a resume for a job you are seeking to get and writing a blog for authority, power and influence. In a job, your prospective employer is looking for validation from your past, whereas when you are an entrepreneur blogging for authority, people are looking for your “future-facing” credentials … to see if you have what it takes to lead them to the future.
That is not to say that you should disregard your own background and career, because most often the specialization and authority you already have may come from that education and that career that you’ve built some recognition from. Also in some professions, certain authoritative badges and certifications matter and they may need to be highlighted. But your past achievements are some things you should privately survey to see how far you have come, but they are not the biggest thing you should publicly tom-tom to others in a bid to get them to listen to you. Your target readers are not interested in how you got here, they are interested in how you can get them to their own pinnacles of success.
Step #7: Getting a 360º panoramic view of yourself
Most people would balk at knowing what others really think about them, but if you want to build a real brand, and make substantial money from your blog, you need to collect data from a broader objective base than just your own personal opinion.
There are many self-assessment tests you can do, and they will help you even more if you co-opt other people to leave their assessments of your personality on these tests. You’ll then see exactly where the gap lies between your own self-perception and how the world sees you. The idea is to try and get a panoramic 360-degree perception of yourself, so that you can fully exploit your potential and spark a boom with your power-blog.
Step #8: Investing in yourself to keep incrementing value
Most power-bloggers think that after they have done a fair amount of self-analysis to define their brands, target audiences and competitive positioning, they’re fully kitted out now to present their best selves to the world through their blog posts. Unfortunately, it isn’t that easy.
A blogger needs to constantly invest in himself to keep his skills up-to-the-mark, and his stock flying high. So don’t skimp on investing in new knowledge, new skills, new tools … not only are they repertoire-building, but they also serve as motivators for the times when action-habit-formation falters. You are the only one who can change your habits from inaction to action, and you need to motivate yourself by showing more and more faith in yourself. One of the best ways to motivate yourself is to keep continuously investing in yourself.
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