26/04/2012

By Alexia Leachman, Personal Branding Coach at Blossoming Brands

One of the major ways for you to build your reputation is to get yourself out there. After all, if people don’t know about you, then how on earth will they “buy” you? When I say “buy” I mean; hire you, refer you, buy your book, hand you a contract, book you to speak, call you for a quote, or simply to have a conversation with you that may lead onto something else longer term. Whatever it is that you’re “selling”, if they don’t know about you, then it’s going to be pretty hard for you to get anywhere.

For many of us, at the beginning of our personal branding development journey can mean that we become the equivalent of “attention tarts”, you know the type; they’ll give a talk to anyone who needs a speaker, no matter who the audience is. They’ll write for any type of publication that will take them. Again, without considering whether they’ll actually be reaching their target audience and, they’ll attend every networking event under the sun.

This type of activity is very common for those starting out in business; after all, you need to get the ball rolling. But once your ball is rolling, you need to become a lot more strategic in how you spend your resources, your time being your main one. So this scattergun approach may only be appropriate for a short amount of time, if at all.

Let me for a moment assume that once you’ve got your ball rolling, you enter phase 2 of your reputation-building activities. At this stage, you’re probably beginning to be a lot more focussed in how and where you spend your resources (time usually), and you’re being far more selective in where you’ll speak, where you’ll write and what events you’ll attend. This stage may work very well for you and it may be appropriate for you to stay in phase 2 forever. But, depending on your long-term goals, you might need or want to enter phase 3.

Now you’re asking “Phase 3?” Well, yes! This is for people who want to become celebrities in their chosen niche. Maybe you want to be the industry thought-leader, or perhaps you’ve become best selling author in your Amazon category. You might even have landed a TV series on the back of your expertise or business launch and that has brought with it a media profile of sorts. When you’re in this phase, putting yourself about everywhere may not always be appropriate.

Maybe you’re always found on the speaking panel at all the usual business events. Or perhaps you have regular speaking slots at all your local networking events, which are indeed be relevant for you. But consider this, people can quickly tire of seeing you everywhere. There will come a point when, you’ll be bombarded with lots of opportunities, and none of them paying. You’ll find yourself to be very busy “putting yourself out there” and not really sure if any of it is actually moving you forward.

This is where my opposite approach should be considered. How about you start saying no? Sure, you may get responses along the lines of “Oh, but you’re one of our most favourite speakers, our audience love you – we always get such great feedback”. Well that’s great, but what is it bringing you? Scarcity creates demand. If you suddenly become unavailable, then you build curiously and latent demand.

Then, if you so wish, you can choose to attend or speak at one or two events a year, and charge for it. Having already built up a great reputation, you can be billed as “her only speaking gig this year!”. Or, you might choose to run an event and, wait for it, get people to PAY to come and listen to you, this time with YOU keeping the money. Fancy that!

Just think how you respond when celebrities who are launching a new book or film. Suddenly they appear on ALL the chat shows and radio stations. There’s a whiff of desperateness about it all. Far better to be confident in who you are and choose to put yourself out there every now and then, and then REALLY have people’s attention. Otherwise you risk being part of the noise that we’re all trying to reduce. And that will get you nowhere.

Alexia Leachman is a Personal Brand Coach and Head Trash Liberator at Blossoming Brands. She helps entrepreneurs find their mojo by helping them to clear their head trash, tell their story, raise their profile, build their digital presence and manage their reputation. You can find out more at www.blossomingbrands.com www.headtrash.co.uk And you can follow her on Twitter at @AlexiaL and @BBrands


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