6 Ways to “Brand” Yourself to Success Even if You’re Just Starting Out

Steven Fabian personal branding

Steven Fabian

What are the most effective ways to get your visitors to like and trust you?

According to Site Pro News, you only have 8 seconds or less to convince the average web surfer to stay on your site.

If you’re like most bloggers, you’re crushed to learn that after all the hard work you put into a post, you have only eight seconds to impress visitors.

Don’t despair. You’re not completely defenseless. Here are 6 strategies that are effective in capturing the interest of your readers, pulling them deeper into your content… and finding your brand irresistible!

1- Be Completely Honest

Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income blog is an example of how transparency can lead to repeat visits to your site.

Pat started his blog in 2008 and ever since then he publishes a progress report every month where he shares the exact amount of money he earned from his online business models, down to the penny. He talks about his failures, not only his successes, which makes him even more trustworthy.

Tom Ewer from Leaving Work Behind is another blogger who isn’t afraid to share his successes and failures.

Both these case studies are from the “make money online” niche, but think about your own niche and what your readers need and want to know. Sharing your personal experiences from the heart will hook your visitors into becoming your fans.

2 – Respond to Every Email and Comment You Receive

email etiquetteIf you look at successful bloggers in any niche, you’ll find that they’re among the most active participants in the comment section under their posts. This builds engagement and the trust so necessary to build a base of ongoing visitors.

The same goes for emails. If you receive a plea for help via your inbox, don’t think of it as a hassle. Instead, cherish the opportunity to build stronger relationships with your readers.

It also makes you feel good that you were able to help someone. I recently received a message thanking me for my advice. In part, it read, “I am finding it so hard to believe that somebody out there is willing to go to these lengths to help me make a success of my life.” Talk about turning someone into a fan for life.

3 – Offer Tangible Proof of What You’re Teaching

This strategy can propel you to success if properly executed.

A favorite example is Spencer Haws from Niche Pursuits, who built a public website from scratch to show his audience how they can improve their search engine rankings.

He went public from the moment he got his site’s URL and shared his progress at every step in the process. Within 62 days, his site ranked #1 for the key words “best survival knife.” He gained an enormous amount of trust from his followers by exposing himself to possible failure.

If one of your goals is to teach something to readers, consider a  similar strategy to replicate Spencer’s “niche site challenge” to impress your visitors.

4 – Go on a Guest Posting Campaign

This powerful strategy can build your brand and potentially attract more readers to your site, especially if are published on an “authority blog,” which simply means that Google rewards that the site with a high page ranking because it publishes important and unique information.

Two impressive guest posting success stories are Danny Iny from Firepole Marketing and Bamidele Onibalusi from Writers In Charge. They’ve both had great success establishing their personal brands in a relatively short period of time by utilizing guest posting (see Danny’s post here on Write Speak Sell).

They were both generous in sharing exactly how they achieved it, so that you can get the same results for your brand. Danny explains his strategy in Write Like Freddy. Bamidele shows how to do it in his Guest Blogging Guide here.

5 – Create a Personal Intro Video

personal branding intro videoWith everyone and their dogs blogging in every single niche, it’s getting harder and harder to stand out from the crowd and convince people that “you are the real deal.” After all, why should anyone trust you when they have so many other options?

That’s where online video enters the picture. You’ll establish your credibility by talking directly to your customers about how you’ll help them.

Not only will you come across as a professional expert, but people will also see that you’re a real person and not a faceless corporation.

A excellent example is Marlee Ward, who has recorded several videos in which she talks to her audience, including this one about why marketing your business is so important, and another of my favorites about overcoming objections.

Many small businesses have yet to leverage YouTube to promote their businesses so that alone will make you stand out.

You don’t a lot of fancy equipment to shoot a video. Some people even use their smart phones. Iin about 10 minutes you can record your video, post it, and start attracting viewers

6 – Conduct Interviews with Credible Experts

This final strategy is a bit harder to execute, but Cori Padgett from Big Girl Branding shows that it’s possible to be successful.

Cori created an outstanding archive of interviews with online entrepreneurs around the world, called Entrepreneurial Wisdom. She interviewed 61 highly successful people to share their wisdom and insights with the world by answering three quick questions about overcoming adversity, overcoming mental roadblocks and the best thing about living the entrepreneurial dream.

Her page went viral with many shares and to date has received over 240 comments.

It was a terrific idea for generating content, but also to associate herself with the big names in her industry to gain instant credibility with her readers. It wasn’t easy to connect with so many highly successful, and super busy people but she persevered and is now reaping the rewards for her personal brand.

 Take One Action Now

No one is saying you have to try all these strategies to stand out from the crowd. But no matter how talented or smart you are, if you don’t take any action, you won’t get results. So try implementing at least one of these methods to “brand your way” to success.

Steven Fabian is a young online entrepreneur teaching newcomers how to start an online business and make money blogging. You can also find him on Twitter.

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Comments

  1. Those are definitely ways that can be used to brand yourself. If they work or not depends on if they are compatible with your brand and what kind of customers/clients you have.

    • Hi Catarina and thanks for the comment. Sure, some of these ideas are better suited for certain niches than for others, but I think they will work in every niche in the world with all types of customers – at least to some extent. For example being totally transparent is something that will always be appreciated by customers in every business.

  2. Great information Jeannette. Sometimes we don’t realize that here are solutions that are closer than we think. Just coming up with gold content. Maybe take a look at your data from previous bloggers. Sometimes trying to fight our way up the ranks of search results may feel like an impossible battle. I think what also helps is include helpful extras like diagrams, photos, tutorials, and videos like you suggested.

    What do you think about having user reviews and ratings?

    What I am finding it’s great to have an increasing following on social platforms, but social media is about more than numbers — it’s about engagement. The blogging communities have been very supportive. It is all about supporting one another.

    • Hi Arleen — Not sure about you reviews and ratings. Do you mean having readers actually review and rate your posts? Sounds a little scary!

  3. I agree with Catarina. Unfortunately too many people look for the easy way instead of thinking what tactics are right for what they want to achieve. While the examples may work for the people mentioned doesn’t necessarily mean it works for others, with the exception of responding to emails which is common sense.

    • Hi Susan,

      “While the examples may work for the people mentioned doesn’t necessarily mean it works for others.” But neither does it mean that they will NOT work. 🙂

      The only way to find out is to try them. For example, honestly, I can’t see a way how #4, 5 and 6 wouldn’t help most bloggers.

      Anyway thanks for reading the article and thanks for the comment.

  4. Great tips, but you’ve forgotten to include commenting on blogs! I think that’s a tactic many of us practice, and it certainly does help to expand your reach, even if you don’t have time to do the guest blogging circuit.

    • Yeah, blog commenting is another great way to do it (which everyone can use). In fact, it can help a lot if you leave some thoughtful comments on a blog before you ask the owner to run your guest post (if you have the time of course). Thanks for adding that to the list!

  5. Hi Jeannette, This is so very timely for me. I work hard at building my brand and hope one day that I can actually make a living from it. All these tips and suggestions from you and others only helps me stay the course and keep adding to my arsenal of things to do. Also, thank you for being you.

    • Susan — that is kind of you to say. I’ve enjoyed meeting you and reading your wonderful blog posts. I’m convinced that you will make a living from it — you work so hard and the posts are so good.

  6. Excellent advice. The biggest challenge I find with following it is finding the time to get it all done.When I advise people on what they need to do (never mind myself) I always get the same response, good ideas, but I have no time. In the end, you have to ask yourself, am I blogging for my own entertainment or is this a business venture? If it’s part of your business then it is simply the cost/requirements of doing business.

  7. Great tips! I just couldn’t imagine responding to every comment. So many of them would be the same response that Google might consider it to be spam.

    • Cassi — Never thought about comments that way. I think you could find something different to say in each comment, even if it’s just a variation of the other comments you’ve made.

  8. HI Debra, yes, finding the time is one of the biggest challenges as a blogger or entrepreneur. In a way I’m lucky because I don’t have a family to take care of, but Pat Flynn is the proof that you can always find the time if you want to. He shared how he learned how to be super productive thanks for becoming a father and husband at smartpassiveincome.com/the-effect-my-kids-have-had-on-my-business/ If you’re interested, I think you should read his advice and maybe you could even refer your own readers to his article. Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • Catherin — Glad that you like Steven’s post. Yes, make a statement and then back it up with proof. Did you know that you can’t write for Wikipedia unless you link to a source for every fact you include? Just learned this.

  9. I LOVE Pat Flynn’s blog! Awesome. All valuable tips to use in some way. As a trainer and speaker I always have video on my mind for those kind of gigs. Hence, some professional taped events where if needed I supply a copy for a meeting planner. I’m headed over to look at Marlee Ward as you mentioned. I cannot really nail my hesitancy to online video but it’s there. Valuable stuff here Steven. Thanks for sharing him with us Jeannette.

  10. This is great advice, and several of them I hadn’t heard before. I hear people like videos, I rarely watch them myself, but it is something I should really look into. I just hate hearing my voice and I typically do really awkward things on screen. Ha ha.

    I have been wanting to do a series of interviews. Now you’ve lit a candle under my butt.

    Thanks!

    • Rochelle — I know, we all hate to see ourselves on videos. All those wrinkles. But I think we’re too hard on ourselves. Go for it.

    • Hi Rochelle, I think everyone’s afraid of recording themselves, not to mention putting it on the net for the whole world to see. But I think we always think we look worse than we actually do, and honestly, no one really cares how we look other than ourselves. So we just have to let go of that feeling and not let it stand between us and our goals. I’ve just found an article that may help you deal with “camera shyness”, it has some really good tips: suzemuse.com/2011/05/camera-shy-you-dont-have-to-be/ The point is, just accept how you look, stay calm and keep practicing.

      • Thanks so much Steven. i do need to let go and just get over it! That was a great post, I’ll definitely be using those tips to help. Now I just have to figure out what I’m going to say! 🙂 don’t worry! I’ll get it done.

  11. All great tips, but #2 is especially important. When I see someone make that effort, it really helps put my mind at ease when it comes to interacting with them. Even moreso when the follow-up response takes less than a day. Video introductions are also a great idea. I recently put my book pitch video on my blog’s sidebar.

  12. I believe I have points 1 and 2 covered, so now it looks like it’s time to make my way through the rest of the list.
    Thank you for providing a guide for me to work through.

  13. This is very helpful! Personally, I have a blog on which I post writing-related topics in order to help people improve their work and/or submit it to contests and magazines. I hope to gain more views through following these steps! 🙂