Personal Branding – insights from Trevor Young

This guest post is from Katie Sheppet, PRINKS Melbourne Coordinator, and originally appeared on the Edelman blog.

Trevor Young, PR Warrior and Head of Strategy and Innovation at Edelman Melbourne presented to a crowd of around 200 last week at a University of Melbourne Alumni Association (UMAA) meetup on: Building your personal brand using content marketing and social media.

Here’s my round-up of the night.

The presentation started with an overview of personal branding, where it’s been and where it’s going today. In the past, personal branding was a traditional marketing push, where people or brands would put out one-way communication, effectively ‘yelling’ at their audience, hoping the message would be received. These days you have to be more unique, interesting and interactive. Trevor’s big lesson was to be yourself and be authentic.

Key take-outs: Your brand is what people think of you, and what people say about you when you’re not in the room.

How can we change the way that we’re perceived or our personal reputation?

The three pillars of personal marketing: A.R.T.

Attention: we live in an attention and ideas economy, where attention and ideas are scarce. To get people’s attention, don’t create more noise, but attract attention to story ideas and opinions rather than pushing your message. The message here is to people to you rather than getting in their faces.

Respect: it must be earned by brands, teachers and peers. Respect people’s time, headspace, opinions and intellect. Show up to conversations and get involved to earn other’s respect.

Trust: Trevor referenced the Edelman Trust Barometer a global survey of the public’s trust in government, media, businesses and NGOs. You can build trust by being open, transparent and consistent. Be authentic, real, human and share your personality – this engenders trust. Trust is the social currency of today (according to Trev).

The importance of social media

Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn: share news, stories, give hat tips and participate in the conversation. If you’re on Twitter, tweet around 15 times a day about things that are interesting and add value to the sphere. Leave someone a note if you enjoyed their post on their blog. These things will get you noticed for the right reasons.

Content is key – create, distribute and share content. Whether you’re blogging, creating video, uploading photos or infographics, get it out there – hold a webinar, share your ebook or white paper.

Face-to-face: meet people, socialise, go to meetups or get involved in tweetups; face-to-face gives a layer of depth to your existing connections on social media. It will help you to build your network quickly. This is what Trevor calls the ‘not so secret sauce’, meeting people is essential to building your brand.

How do you create your personal brand? 5 Tips

Interrogate: what do you want and what do you want to be doing? Once you decide what you want to be known for follow the next steps:

1. Develop your platform and build your audience – beyond your friends, family, peers and colleagues. Choose a robust platform to get noticed on, amplify your stories, share ideas and express your views and opinions. Be your own media channel through a blog, podcast, video, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, you might have your own column. Having a united presence across web and content will create an aggregated audience.

2. Give relentlessly – by this Trevor means to produce good content and plenty of it, and share it. This is why people will notice you and what you’ll be noted for. It isn’t about pushing your brand relentlessly but by providing relevant content to your audience, and interacting around it and with others.

3. LinkedIn – get your profile in order and actively seek recommendations. Complete your profile, add everything relevant to your brand, leaving gaps can make you look suspicious. Give to others (recommendations or endorsements) and they’ll give back. When you have a meeting or phone call, send a LinkedIn request afterwards, make it a habit. Join groups and participate in a few, add value, ask questions.

4. Twitter – every connection as a potential business or social opportunity. People do business with those they know, like and trust, so get more people to know, like and trust you – over time.

5. – you’ll get found here, put all of your social networks there. By having an image of your face on your profile, this allows people to see you and puts your personality into your brand.

Tip: be interesting and be interested, attract attention in the right way.


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