5 Elements of Personal Brand Positioning

5 Elements of Personal Brand Positioning

June 16, 2016


Featured Speakers


Sara Conde, Director, Consultant Services at MBO Partners

Featured Speaker:

Amanda Miller Littlejohn, Personal Branding Coach and PR Consultant at Amanda Miller Littlejohn Consulting

02:31  Introduction of the event, MBO Partners, and the speaker

09:06  Why is branding worth your time and energy

10:40  When to build your personal brand

11:57 Definition of branding

13:56  Element one: A clear, concise message

19:27  Element two: Evidence of your work/cases

24:58  Element three: Social proof

30:33  Element four: Problem-solving thought leadership content

38:26  Element five: Audience broadcasting channels

43:23  Top branding mistakes business owners make

50:00  Q&A

1:02:21  Closing remarks

Independent professionals need to learn actionable tactics to create a clear and concise message and how to broadcast that message for their personal branding. They need to have evidence and case studies of their success, and establish social proof. It is also important for independent professionals to discover how to position themselves within thought leadership to help them land new clients. 

In this exclusive webinar titled, “5 Elements of Personal Brand Positioning,” Amanda Miller Littlejohn, a Personal Branding Coach and PR Consultant at Amanda Miller Littlejohn Consulting, discussed the five elements of personal brand positioning. She mentioned how independent professionals can have a clear toolkit for their personal brand to help them establish their business or take their existing business to the next level. She also added actionable tips on how they can use their brand to drive new business. 

This Q&A-style discussion covered:

  • Why branding is important for your business
  • When to build your personal brand
  • How to create clear and concise messages for personal branding
  • How to broadcast messages for personal branding
  • Branding mistakes business owners usually make

Are you interested in attending the next webinar in the Marketing and Branding series? View our upcoming events.

[00:00:32] Andrew Okay, so, Amanda, you should be the presenter again.

[00:00:35] Amanda Miller Littlejohn Got it.

[00:00:36] Andrew Very good, good! Excellent. We are all set. So I'm going to retire this again so that there has this and I'm interested, too. I'm being very rude.

[00:00:48] Sara Conde Okay.

[00:00:50] Amanda Miller Littlejohn Thank you, Andrew.

[00:01:06] Sara Conde What is that? Oh, good. Yeah, but still. Okay, it's 1 so I don't know if you want to start the broadcast, we can just give people some time for housekeeping. I'll let you know, Amanda, when we're live.

[00:02:09] Amanda Miller Littlejohn Thank you.

[00:02:16] Sara Conde Let's do it. Starting broadcast.

[00:02:31] Sara Conde Hello, everybody, and welcome to today's webinar, The Five Elements of Personal Brand Positioning, an MBO webinar featuring Amanda Miller Littlejohn, we're going to go through a couple of housekeeping slides here while waiting for everybody to join. Next slide, please.

[00:02:57] Sara Conde So, hey, there's me. My name is Sara, I'm going to be moderating the webinar today. Very quick background on me. I've been with MBO for about 8 years and I serve as a Director of Consultant Services and what that means is, I manage a group of advisors who respond to requests from independent consultants and self-employed individuals who are just curious about what we offer and we do consultation appointments, we learn more about the background of the needs, run estimates, and determine if our services are the right fit. So in the next hour, I will talk a little bit about very quickly our little MBO commercial, you know what it is that we do.

[00:03:39] Sara Conde MBO, we exist, you know, our mission statement is to make it easy for independent consultants and their clients to work together. What does that really mean? Well, we offer a complete, you know, all inclusive business system for self-employed individuals, meaning we take care of administrative items that you would typically outsource to several different vendors like a corporation contractor, liability insurance coverage, invoicing, expense reviews, tax and payroll, and access to tax efficient portable benefits, stuff like that. So that's us.

[00:04:16] Sara Conde Now we're going to go to some housekeeping on the webinar set up in the next slide, you can see the controls listed here. We'll be taking questions throughout that will be addressed at the end of the presentations. If you have a question, we'll get to that. The we're going to have a little Q&A session. Any answer, any questions that we don't get to. We'll answer after the presentation. This is important because a lot of people ask us about this. We will be emailing the slide deck and a recorded copy of the entire webinar to all everyone who's registered within the next week. So a lot of people say, hey, can I get a copy of that slide? Can you give me a copy? Yes, everyone's going to get it automatically just by registering. And we're also going to be presenting this on the next level, pull up, we're going to be live tweeting, so we're going to be using hashtag #MBOWeb to submit your questions and comments. And the handles are at @MBOPartners and @amandamogul and right up on the screen there so you can follow along with us socially if you like.

[00:05:26] Sara Conde We'll go to the next slide, and now it's truly my sincere pleasure to introduce you to today's presenter, Amanda Miller Littlejohn, and I'll just give you some background on her. Amanda is a top nationally recognized expert on personal branding. She's a former full time print journalists and a writer first by training and passion. She uses her unique storytelling lens and reporting skills to help her clients under cover and subsequently share better brand stories. So your coaching program's signature personal branding system, the branding boxes will talk a little more about later. Amanda is a motivating business coach for entrepreneurs and experts who are seeking brand clarity, fresh ideas on how to emerge as experts in their chosen field. She regularly contributes on branding and social media to media outlets like Black Enterprise. She offers her expertise through workshops, training and small group classes. The National Black Public Relations Society named her their 2012 Practitioner of the Year. Software giant Focus named her 1 of 77 marketing influencers to watch in 2013 and S.W. IPA named for their 2014 life and business coach of the year. So to say Amanda is more than qualified and brings a wealth of experience and insight and we're truly honored to feature her today. So with that, I'll hand it over to you, Amanda.

[00:07:03] Amanda Miller Littlejohn Thank you. Thank you so much, Sara, for that warm introduction and thank you MBO partners for having me today. I'm thrilled to present to all of you and share some nuggets on personal branding and the Five elements that you need to showcase your expertize and stand out as the expert in your chosen field so that you can do what we all want to do, which is land more clients. So a little bit about my brand, in addition to that wonderful intro and bio, I just wanted to share a couple of notes with you guys. I am very, very passionate about your potential and I have spent the majority of my career helping small businesses thrive through best marketing and PR. I have had several different identities in my career. As was mentioned earlier, I've been a journalist, a PR person and now a coach. So I'm not afraid to pivot and I know what it takes to kind of go through this process of establishing yourself in a new industry when you have been identified as something else and really solidifying yourself as an expert, because I have done that several times currently a consultant and a coach, but I am a lifelong learner and teacher, a writer and thinker first.

[00:08:28] Amanda Miller Littlejohn So a little bit later, we are having an exciting raffle, we are raffling off a copy of the branding box, which is my signature personal branding home study system that takes you through these Five elements even more in depth. But I want everyone to win, so I have a gift for you to help you plan out your personal brand. It's a personal branding calendar and goal planning worksheet, which you can find on my website at amandamillerlittlejohn.com/free-gift again that's amandamillerlittlejohn.com/free-gift.

[00:09:05] Amanda Miller Littlejohn So first of all, before we get into the Five elements, I want to make sure that we're all on the same page and understand why branding is even worth our time. And something that I see with so many small business owners who are busy doing the work of running their businesses and they say they don't have time to build their brands, to market themselves, to get the word out about what they do because they're busy doing the work but branding is critical. And here's what or rather here is when it's critical for you, you need to build your brand if you've got competitors. So who does not have competitors? If you're in business, you have them. So you need to stay in front. You need to build your brand if you want new clients. Right. And who doesn't want new clients? If you're on this webinar, that is why you're here. You need to build your brand if you've got contracts that you like to renew or you have customers that you like to remain loyal, you need to build your brand when you want to be taken seriously by media or maybe even publishers. If you're thinking about writing a book or doing something big or stepping on a bigger stage, if you want to charge more for your products or you want more inbound opportunities, which means your phone is ringing, you're getting those requests on your website without you reaching out to the client or customer. If you want more of those opportunities coming to you, you can build your brand in a way that people do come your way instead of the other way around. Also, if you want to stand out from those competitors, you're leaving full time employment to start your business, you want to leverage your existing network or what I'm seeing so much in current years is people who have been in the field, in their field for a decade or two decades and they've accumulated all of this expertise and they're ready to cash in on it by speaking on stages or writing a book or starting to consult and only consulting with those high dollar clients who pay them the rates that they want and make it worth their while or if you want to create more awareness of your company. So you may be thinking, I don't want to build my personal brand, but if you're the leader of your company or if you're a company of one, it's really critical that people know who you are because they're branding yourself as an expert. You really draw attention to your company and the products or services that that company provides. So really, to just hit on the point, we all can use personal branding if we want to grow our businesses and if we want to get more awareness around what we're doing so we can just be more successful.

[00:11:56] Amanda Miller Littlejohn A textbook definition, if you will, is simply the marketing practice of creating a design that identifies and to differentiate your product from other products. So essentially when we talk about personal branding, we're talking about differentiating ourselves from our competitors. What makes Amanda Miller Litttlejohn, the personal branding coach you hire over any other? It's because of the expertize that I share and what I put out there to connect with the audience. So when you think about your business and you think about your competitors, you really want to start thinking about how are you different and how is how you move through the world and represent yourself and and share and work with your clients or customers or how your products are unique and why people should come to you over everyone else.

[00:12:49] Amanda Miller Littlejohn So let's dig right into the content, and I hope you have a pen, pencil or your iPhone, whatever you take notes on handy, because this is going to go quickly and it can get a little complicated. But these Five elements that are I'm about to share are the five elements that I have uncovered over my decade working as a journalist, in PR and now as a coach. What I use when I pivoted from each from journalism to doing social media, in PR and then from social media, in PR to coaching what I use each time to grow awareness of myself and my brand and my expertise to get new clients on board, excited about working with me and excited about the transformation that we can experience together. These Five elements I have used personally and I take clients through each day, because when you have these Five elements, the clients come knocking down your door.

[00:13:53] Amanda Miller Littlejohn So what's the First element, I'm sure you're wondering, the First element is a clear, concise message, again, a clear, concise message. When you're thinking about developing this clear, concise message, you want to think about what are the top challenges that you see the most from your clients? Now, I know this is a webinar on personal branding, and we're here to think about ourselves and talk about ourselves. But one way to really learn about yourself and the difference that you provide to the clients that you interact with is to look at them. Let's look to our clients, our best clients. Right. What is the most common situation that we see these clients in? What are they worried about the most and what do they need the most? When you focus on your client or customer and you can develop a phrase that has the customer in mind and maybe starts with I help or we help and then you help the client or customer do that. So, for instance, for me, I would say I help small business owners identify their marketing messages so that they can communicate more clearly with their target audience. That is just one clear, concise message that would be applicable to the work that I do. And it speaks to the customer who's on the other end, not simply a flowery description about me and how I like coffee and jazz in Paris, which I do, but it speaks to the person who I want to hire me.

[00:15:22] Amanda Miller Littlejohn Next, when we're thinking about that clear, concise message, you want to understand what your standard prescription or most effective solution is for the customers and clients that you interface with the most. So when we think about a prescription or effective solution, it's very, very important to know not only who we help, but what problem is most common among the people that we help and then what is our most often prescribed advice? Now, once you understand what you're most often prescribed advice, that will help you outline what's your signature solution and it helps you communicate with your clients and tell them that this is how you can help them. So, for example, I developed a signature coaching session early on in the coaching portion of my business, and it was truly based on experiences that I had had with people who wanted to know how could they use social media more effectively to get the word out about their business, how could they crack their message to attract media attention? And so I figured out what is the question I hear the most? And then how do I go about solving or answering that question? How do I go about solving that problem? And I created a 3 step program that became that signature coaching session, which was my signature solution. So when you think about your clients, what are those commonalities that you see and from your best client experiences? And that's important because we really want to duplicate the people we had the most success with and we enjoyed working with the most. So when you think about your best client experiences, what are the most common recommendations that you always give and what is the most effective and client friendly way to solve their challenge? Because that becomes your prescription that you can say not only I'm a personal friend and coach who helped you outline your target messaging for your target market, but I also do that through my signature program, which is a 90 minute session, etc. So that's just a way to frame it up. But you really want to be able to talk about your expertize from the position of the problem that it's solving for the audience that it needs to reach.

[00:17:52] Amanda Miller Littlejohn Taking a little bit deeper dive into this core message and your core philosophy is once you know what your signature solution is or how you always most often approach the problem that your client is having, you want to think about your methodology just to keep it organized in your mind. So, you know, when someone comes to you to solve the problem that they have, what do you advise most often and what order do the steps need to be completed? Because your process is evident in your best clients, right? Your process is evident when you've repeatedly taken people through a series of steps. And all of this is very, very important, not just to communicate to clients, but it's also super important, this developing your methodology and figuring out what your signature solution is, because it's really the basis for figuring out what you're going to be pitching to conference organizers. What are you going to be doing? What are you going to be talking about in public speaking? What are you going to be talking about on social media? Where are you going to be talking about where you get the opportunity to do a media interview for TV? Right. All of this developing this core message is critical to knowing what your message is so that when you do have an opportunity to share on a larger stage, you know exactly what you're talking about. You're not just coming up to talk about something generic. You're giving people specific, actionable tips that they can take away.

[00:19:23] Amanda Miller Littlejohn So that's your message, a super important element to just as critical is we want to have evidence of our work so all of us on this car, like we running businesses with clients and we have done a great job of working with our clients. But how often do you think about the actual case studies and narrative that your work has created for your business?

[00:19:51] Amanda Miller Littlejohn So evidence most business owners that I speak to don't really keep track of their wins, but you want to think about how can you begin to communicate your track record by providing evidence of your work? What are some of the best examples of your past work? I want you to think about peak moments and ideal clients that can showcase the kinds of customers that you want to work with in the future. And then I want you to develop case studies with a narrative arc real quickly. On peak moments, peak moments, I read about those in a book called Do More Great Work. And essentially, when you think about a peak moment for all of us business owners, think back to an experience that you have with a client. Maybe it was a private or a specific client experience in its entirety that left you feeling physically energized. You felt stretched, you felt like you were growing, but you felt physically energized by the work because you were operating in your zone of genius. You were using most of your talents to their capacity and you were really making a difference and moving the needle with that client. We want to duplicate key moments. We want to attract more opportunities to work with the people who are going to leave us energized. So when you're thinking about developing your case studies, I would shy away from developing them around client work that you don't want more of. Right. So if you had an experience with a client and it was less than ideal or they weren't really the client profile that you want to go after in the future, maybe shy away from developing a case study around that. But overall, we want to develop some case studies that we can include on our websites. We can include on our LinkedIn profiles. We can share in conversation when we're asked about the difference that we make. We want those case studies to have a narrative arc.

[00:21:43] Amanda Miller Littlejohn What do I mean by a narrative arc, so you're developing your evidence if you were to write out a great case study. I have it laid out for you paragraph by paragraph, so in paragraph 1, you would talk about the preexisting problem. So remember, when we're talking to our clients, they need to be able to see themselves in the results that we've gotten for other people. So instead of starting with where we are, we want to start with where the client is so that they can kind of get in their heads and be thinking about the people that you help because you want them to identify with that person in the case today and say, wow, you help them, they're just like me or they are in the same position that I'm in right now and you help them get out of it, overcome it, improve it. I want you to work with me to do that exact same thing or that similar thing. Right. So in the paragraph 1, you want to detail the preexisting problem that the client that you worked with successfully in paragraph 2, you want to describe your approach to the problem. So what did you do? You assessed it, maybe you had a group team meeting that you brought stakeholders together. Maybe you outlined the key objectives. How did you approach it? And then paragragh 3, would explain your chronological methodology, your step by step solution. And remember to use those transition words like First, Second, then finally last to describe exactly how you took the client through the process of improvement. And then in paragraph 4, you want to illustrate the outcomes and bonus points if we can incorporate numbers and percentage points. So as a result, comma, as a result of our work together, X, Y, Z company experience 20% growth in fundraising over the 3 months after our work together. I'm making this up. But you want to think about the numbers that can really illustrate and bring to life the work that you did with this client.

[00:23:45] Amanda Miller Littlejohn Now that is developing your evidence and you may be asking, well, where am I going to put the evidence? I would recommend definitely putting it on your website near where people are thinking about working with you, having those lists and having those listed on your LinkedIn profile or your LinkedIn company page, maybe even having a PDF, a separate PDF that you've developed, that you can highlight some of those some of those case studies, especially if we're talking about work that you may not want to put on your website. It may make sense to put it in a PDF because it's sensitive in nature or something. And another great place for these case studies are in presentation. So webinars just like this one or presentations that you're making to other people. A lot of times I've been to conferences even seeing people who are representing an organization or a company. Their entire presentation is essentially a case study where they're presenting on how their company or their team or they personally were able to help their end user get a great result and how you can emulate those results as well.

[00:24:54] Amanda Miller Littlejohn But moving on to Element Three. Element Three, if Element Two providing evidence is what happened with the client in our own words, then the social proof is really that same story told from the client's perspective. It's so important to get social proof because evidence is great, but it means more when the customers and clients can see their problems from the perspective of a past client, because this really inspires confidence. Think about it. When you are shopping for a or you're looking at something to lose weight. So maybe you're I know I'm always looking for new things to help me lose weight. So if I'm in the aisle at Target or if I'm doing research online, I'm looking to see if this supplement or this protein shake or this diet, I want to see who would help. I want to see people who are coming forward say, you know, why they took this product or why they subscribe to this diet and then how many pounds they lose and how long did it take them and how many pounds do they need to lose in the beginning? And how many kids do they have? How much are they like me so that I can know, will this work for me? Social group is powerful because it's one thing, obviously, people are expecting you to toot your own horn and to say your services are great. But when your clients do that for you, it just takes on a whole different level of credibility, believability and connection for the people who are considering working with you. So if you have not done so, you want to think about who you can ask. Who personally can you reach out to to get recommended on LinkedIn? Not endorse, but recommend. So you want someone to actually write a recommendation that talks about how powerful it was to work with you or how your work together helped them or your company really help them. You want to ask you who you can ask to write a testimonial for your website? Because, again, LinkedIn is great, but when people are on our Web sites and they're thinking about hiring us, they want to know who we've helped in the past. And they want to see in those customers own words the difference that we made for them. If you have an establishment where people were coming and going and Yelp, you have a presence on Yelp or you have an account on Yelp or your customers are going on Yelp, you want to find out who can review you favorably there, because that's a really great search engine. It's a great way to find new places to go. So you want to think about how can you optimize that space because your customers are there looking for establishments like yours anyway. So you want to raise your visibility there by getting more testimonials? Because think about it. When you go to Yelp and you see a couple of businesses that sell the same thing, you immediately look to the ratings and you want to see how many Five star ratings they get or what's the average rating or how many people have rated them overall. And if they have a high number of ratings and most of those are Four or Five star, that gives you an added boost of confidence. And that's probably where you're going to go because more people have been there and you believe that what they are marketing and selling to you is really true. You also want to think about who you can ask to rate you on an industry site, so different industries have different niche sites that that customers are going to or not only that customers are going to, but that are showing up really high in search.

[00:28:41] Amanda Miller Littlejohn So, for example, I worked with a psychologist, psychologist based out of Detroit, and she didn't have a website and she wants to develop a website, which we actually just developed for her. But when we were looking for places for her to get social proof and get indoors, we did a Google search of just her name and then her, I guess, her title. So psychologists in the Detroit area, what popped up were these 2 sites that I actually was not familiar with. One was healthgrades.com. And there was another site, Psychology Today, I was familiar with. But a lot of people were were finding psychologists on that site. And so I encouraged her. If that's where people are going to find a psychologist and you need to be there, you need to build your presence there. You need to get ratings and reviews there, because that's where people are searching for psychologists in your area. So if there is an industry site that appeals on to the customers who will be looking for a service like yours, make sure you've got a presence there, because likely those sites are going to rent really high end search engine. So if people are searching just for that generic topic, that site will come up. So once they got into the site, they could then find you there. And then another idea just for capturing the social proof is asking people to record a video sharing their experience. This works really well at conferences and events when emotions are high and people have just learned a lot and they want to share that. They had a great experience and they're energized. It's fresh in their minds. That's a great time to whip out a camera or have your videographer there to capture the sentiments of the attendees and to hear about what they learned, how this empower them and how it really helped them.

[00:30:33] Amanda Miller Littlejohn So Element Four, which is likely my favorite, favorite lesson or element, rather not a lesson, and that is problem solving thought leadership content. So earlier we talked about creating that narrative arc, creating that message that resonates with the people who have the problem that we want to solve. So we're essentially going to take that message and we're going to develop content around it. And I hid it to it a little bit when I said this is important because you're going to use this information to create social media content. You're going to use this information to create public speaking content, as well as to figure out what could you talk about if you were given the opportunity to share your message with the media? So thought leadership content is simply a catch all term I'm using for content that you're creating to help you stand out as a as an industry leader, we all see the tons of content that's being generated on a daily basis if we're online. Right. So we see people publishing medium articles and LinkedIn articles and posting on Twitter and sharing on Periscope and posting photos on Instagram. Oh, that's fine. Well and good. I love social media. It's a really great way to connect, to showcase what you're doing and to find people who may be interested in working with you. However, for business owners, unless you are generating content that drives people back to you as the solution and connects their problem to you, their solution, the social media is really not helping you get clients. Right. So it's fine to grow your audience and to, you know, have almost the social approval of having a social media following, like, oh, you have ten thousand followers on Twitter. You must be someone I should look to. That's great for social proof. But when you want to use social media to become a thought leader, you've got to start generating content that helps people solve their problems because of the more you can connect the solution that you provide the company with the challenges or problems that are already experiencing, the more likely they are going to be to reach out to you and hire you either now because they realize they can't fix their problem with a blog post or in the future when they when they have that problem or that problem becomes more persistent and they realize they really need to enlist the help of a professional. And so that's a mistake that I see people making. They invest a ton of time in social media, but they're not using it to drive people back to their website because they are creating content that is shedding light on the solutions that they can offer to that audience.

[00:33:48] Amanda Miller Littlejohn So I want you to think about how can you begin to showcase your thought leadership and problem solving skills? One way to do that, and I'm loving right now is LinkedIn posts, because LinkedIn has the new pulse feature so anyone can publish an article through their LinkedIn profile. And for those of you who do not have a company blog or maybe you don't even have a website. This is a powerful way for you to reach potentially millions of people because your blog post is going to go out to your LinkedIn connections. And if you're lucky, it'll get picked up by LinkedIn Pulse or it could be put on a much larger stage to reach their entire network. But starting there, where you have a following, you have people who you're connected to and you don't even really have to send out the post because LinkedIn will publish it and alert your connections that you have written a post. And it's just easy for you to get in front of people with a solution that you provide and that could potentially support their needs. And so if you want to think about a link to impose out, share one that I wrote that did really well and it was called How to Turn Your Expertize into media coverage. Right. So I outlined four steps that you can take to begin to take your expertize and position it for mainstream media. Now, obviously, you can take those and if you're savvy, use them and get the media. But if you need a little support, I'm here to support you in that as well, because that is a part of what my business does. We do personal branding, we do some PR. And so for me, that piece of thought, leadership content, how to position your expertize for or turn your expertize into media coverage is driving. People are highlighting the fact that that's something I can help you with and is bringing you back to my site. Right. So that you can learn a little bit more about me, because at the end of each, like, impulse, I always link back to my site and share how people can learn more about me.

[00:35:54] Amanda Miller Littlejohn Thought leadership content doesn't just have to be writing. And that's the pushback that I get a lot from people who are not writers. Obviously, I love writing a former newspaper reporter and I've been writing since I was a child, but everyone's not a writer. But that doesn't mean you cannot create that leadership content. Thought leadership could be you creating an event, right? It could be you doing a training on your thought leadership content. So that same linked impulse that I shared with you how to turn your expertize in the media coverage, that could be a workshop and that workshop could be a half day or a full day. And it's still position to me as someone and aligned me with that topic. So if I'm marketing this workshop and trying to get you to come out, you're thinking of me as the person who can help you turn your expertize into media coverage, other ways to position your thought leadership content. Obviously, a book or report that's taking the concept of the blog to the next level. You could publish customer industry surveys where you survey your customers and then submit a report on the challenges that you're seeing the most. Maybe you've got some fresh new statistics that are new and noteworthy that could be consumed by the media on how people are using the services in your field. So, for example, to translate that back to the how to turn your expertize in the media coverage, I could survey all of my customers about their comfort with the media. How many times had you been on TV or been quoted before you reached out to me? What are your top, your favorite media methods that you want to get in front of print online TV? Right. And then say assess all of that data and say, well, 25% of the people we surveyed only want to be on TV and 75% of people are looking to be online, which is a definite shift from 10 years ago. So you can figure out ways to position yourself or your company as a leader just by generating content. Another idea is to host Twitter chats, which I still love and I think are very effective, or hosting your own podcast, which is something that I started doing in the last year. And I'm loving it. I'm loving, connecting with my audience on that level.

[00:38:18] Amanda Miller Littlejohn So once we've got all of our content together, we need to figure out how we're going to broadcast it right in, there are a few ways that I recommend that we go about broadcasting our thought leadership. Mainly, we can do that from social media. We can do that through mainstream media or we can do that through public speaking. Those are the 3 ways. So I'll say those again, social media, mainstream media or public speaking, because what we want to do is we want to take our expertize, our thought leadership content, our solutions from, you know, from our brains to our network to much bigger stages. Right. So we know this great information. Maybe we've told a few of our colleagues, our customers or the people in our immediate universe this great information. We need to look for bigger opportunities to share, not on a one to one basis, but on a one to many basis. We want to be able to reach hundreds of people at one time. We want to be able to reach thousands of people at one time. We want to be able to reach millions of people at one time. And that's very possible. If you get the right media coverage or you're on the right public speaking stage or if you have a big enough social media following, all of that is very, very possible. So once we have nailed down our content, we've nailed down our message. We've now we've packaged our solution in a way that we can communicate it, you know, online or through Twitter or through video or writing. We want to broadcast ourselves widely and so one thing I'm really passionate about helping experts uncover is how they can position themselves to get local media, national media, industry, press. It's so doable for all of us. And I think so many people think that they are not at a place where the media want to talk to them or the media, but want to hear what they have to say or that they have to be at a certain level. But if you have expertize to share, that can help the audience that the media is reaching, then you are definitely in a position that you should be submitting yourself to share that information via your local television stations. If you have a local audience and national newspapers, national magazines, national websites, if you have a more national audience or even industry pubs if you're doing B2B. Another way to broadcast widely, as I mentioned, public speaking, is a great way to get in front of lots of different people with your same message at one time. So you're spending less in energy. So once you know what you're what your solution is and you've outlined it, you've got the basis for your pitch for a conference. Right. So I'm sure you've seen calls for speakers, calls for prisoners, applications to speak at industry conferences. And maybe you thought, well, what do I talk about? What can I submit to even share on this stage? I wouldn't know what to send in. What will what you would send in is the very thing we just talked about at the beginning of the webinar, you know, so for me, just riffing back off on this, how to turn your expertize in the media coverage, if that is the thing that I'm building my content around, my thought leadership around, maybe that's the topic that I pitch to a conference so that I can share with their audience. How can all the experts in that room begin to turn their expertize into media coverage? Where are the 4 key ways that you can take what you know and turn it into press today? Right. So you hear that how that sounds exciting. And that sounds like something that if the conference organizers were hosting small business owners or people who were looking to emerge as experts, that would be very attractive, attractive to them as a breakout presentation or as a workshop at their conference.

[00:42:16] Amanda Miller Littlejohn So I want you to think about what industry events and conferences can you submit your thought leadership topic to? You might even look at your local business journal or local trade publications or national trade publications for awards that you can submit yourself to. That's another way to get some visibility on a bigger stage is to submit for industry awards. And I think a lot of people have the misconception that you must be tapped for every award, but sometimes it's a matter of getting nominated. And that might mean identifying a colleague who could nominate you for that award, but just having everything together so that when the opportunity arises, you can take advantage of it is extremely important. And again, we've talked about using social media to distribute your messages, making sure that you are being strategic and you're not just tweeting, just to tweet, but you're tweeting to illustrate that you are an expert on a specific topic and you're doing that by sharing your thought leadership content.

[00:43:22] Amanda Miller Littlejohn So here are a couple of the top branning mistakes that I see business owners making, and it's easy to do. I'm guilty of these from time to time, so I'm not immune either. But we spend all of our time working and not enough time branding ourselves because we're so into the work that we're doing for our clients that we forget to put some of that energy into marketing ourselves and branding ourselves and making sure that people know who we are and know what we know. Because think about it, you're going to need people to know who you are and what you know. If you want to create that steady pipeline and stream of new clients and customers when you're no longer busy with the ones that you have now. Another mistake I see so often is you're not taking advantage of technology to present a polished brand image. And, you know, in this day and age, it's so much less expensive, I think, than it has been in times past to get a polished website up, to have some nice headshots taken and to be using those in your digital profiles and to be using things like Twitter or things like LinkedIn that are free to log on and join to connect with other business owners or people around the world. Right. So you're not taking advantage of technology to present the image. You're not investing in small things that make a big difference like those professional headshots. I don't know. I can't impress, I guess, how much that how important that is to have that imagery in place or polished graphic design and graphic design is not your area of expertize finding someone who can help you present a polished brand image on your website, online so that your customers, you know, have a great first impression of you and take you seriously. Those things are important if they seem like small things, but they can turn people off if they're not done well. And and in the scheme of things, it's pretty inexpensive when you think about how how much one client mean. If you just invested in headshots, invested in a new website, invested in new graphics, one client would probably help you recoup that. So keep that in perspective.

[00:45:40] Amanda Miller Littlejohn You don't keep track of your accomplishments. That's another mistake that I see us making. And that's simply, you know, something that I try to tell my clients is every quarter think about what did I accomplish this quarter? What are some case studies that I may be able to pull out and update my LinkedIn profile with update my website with, you know, what are some who are some testimonials, some new fresh testimonials that I can gather from the clients that I've worked with this quarter so I can continue to market my services and market myself. But keeping track, because a lot of times I see people that come to me when they haven't kept track of anything. And we're literally having to build this entire history, this case history, this identity for them, for them from scratch. But if you kind of do it over the long haul, just kind of regularly update your social proof and your case studies, it's much, much easier. And plus, we forget when it's been a long time. A lot of people forget all that they've done. And you don't position yourself as an influencer, obviously, because that's why you want to learn a little bit more about personal branding. But your brand, your personal brand has the potential to unlock future opportunities for you. So it's so important for you, even if you just dedicate two hours a week, maybe Saturday morning at a time that you can do maybe it's Wednesday before you go to work or you go into the office. Maybe it's Thursday evening while you're waiting for your kids to finish their soccer practice, dedicate some time to just polishing some of these things up, put it on the calendar, put it on the schedule, give it the attention that it deserves.

[00:47:25] Amanda Miller Littlejohn So to close out before I give it back over to the people of MBO, I wanted to let you know, yes, we're raffling off a brand new box. But for those of you who may be interested in my signature personal branding home studio homestudy system, which you can see down there in the left corner, the bottom left corner, it's an actual box, all the branding box. And in it, I really help you to further outline your key messages, your thought leadership content, and create a PR strategy or a brand strategy, your social media content, etc. And for everyone, listening for a limited time is only going to be for a couple of days when you purchase this system. If you're not one of the lucky winners, when you purchased this this homestudy system that ships to your FedEx in one week, you will also get access to a phenomenal 90 minute master class. It's an audio training where I outlined how do you develop a signature product or offer that really kind of answers all of these questions that we talked about and positions you as an expert, especially for those of you who are moving into coaching, consulting, and you don't know how to package what you know in a way to sell it. This is a great way to to learn that it's a powerful class. Talks about how you can either develop a signature product, a signature event or training or a signature program that you can offer to the world. And you can find that training and that bonus offer on my website. And it's not advertised. It's amandamillerlittlejohn.co/BONUS. Again, that's amandamillerlittlejohn.com/BONUS. So with that, I want to take it on over. To MBO, I think we're going to open it up for some questions, comments, raffles, fun prizes and all of that.

[00:49:22] Sara Conde Yes, yes, yes. Let's get. Thank you so much, Amanda. That was wonderful and really informative. And I can tell you, just being on the phone with people especially who are considering going out on their own as independents, these are questions we get all the time. So I'm happy to have you because I'm always learning to. And, you know, I'm just one of those people that's guilty of just doing it. Sometimes you just got to do it.

[00:49:49] Amanda Miller Littlejohn We all are guilty. We all are guilty. So it just takes some intimation.

[00:49:54] Sara Conde I was going to convict and I'll tell you. So we don't have a ton of time left and we do have that raffle to get to. But I wanted to just ask a few. We had a few questions and participants and I promise we do a few Q&A and a variation of a question. We have it from a couple of different people. But what do you do if you're new? Right. So I don't I want to start off. I don't really have a lot of past customers I can bring testimonies from. I'm not sure how to go about getting recommendations is like it's my first one. I'm trying to get a brand new client. What would your strategy be for somebody like that?

[00:50:33] Amanda Miller Littlejohn Great question. And I hear that one a lot as well. So 2 things. Typically, when people are starting out with something new, hopefully it's because that they have observed some level of proficiency in that new thing that they're doing from their previous roles. They're either their full time job, a career that they've had, maybe working under someone else. So I really encourage them to mine their experience and think about those peak moments again. So it's not always building case studies or thinking in terms of people who have paid you, sometimes just thinking about people who you've got results or who asked for your help or your support. And maybe they were in your family. Maybe it was just a friend. Maybe it was casually for me when I started doing the coaching thing, it was literally because people kept asking me to have coffee so they could put my brain. And I love coffee. So I would go whenever I was asked and I would give them advice. They would use it, they would have success. And then I would be like, Okay, that's great. And so I started thinking about those people and going back to them and ask them how I had helped them. And what about what I'd help them was what was good for them or what helped them move the needle. So I want you to think about people you've helped for free, people who have given advice. We are always helping people, especially if we're in business and we have some sort of service based business. We're always helping people. So think about the people you help for free. That's number one. And number two is if you are brand new and you really, really just I have no one at all, whatever it is it you're trying to sell to people, what I like to encourage people to do is to find 5 or 6, maybe even 8 people who fit the profile of that target audience. And then, you know, maybe those are colleagues or people we know or friends of family, etc. and ask them if they would be willing to almost be like our guinea pigs and allow us to give them at least an abbreviated version of our service if the service is really involved, to let them test it so that you can get that social group. It's almost like when you see people at the supermarket giving out samples of food, you know, because they want you to taste it and they want you to like it and then buy it. So using that strategy, figuring out what can you test and give away to people and refine it as you test it to see what works, to see what is getting the most results, and then hopefully getting some success through those people that you're working with for free in the very beginning and using that success for your social proof and your evidence.

[00:53:20] Sara Conde You. We have I'm just we have time for just a few more and remember, if you answer the question, we can't get to it. That's right, we'll follow up with you via email.

[00:53:29] Amanda Miller Littlejohn and you can always tweet me. I'm on Twitter.

[00:53:32] Sara Conde I just started following you. I saw, I found you. So we have one here asking, can you take your standard, quote, unquote, prescription from your Five methods and develop a product like a book or seminar or technology?

[00:53:48] Amanda Miller Littlejohn Oh, my God, absolutely. So the the prescription is really the basis. The prescription is the basis of everything. Right. You can build a book. You can build a training, a workshop, a coaching session or a consulting service, a product all around your prescription. So for me, my prescription is the 5 elements of personal brand positioning. I've used that prescription to do webinars like this one, day long retreats and workshops. I just wrapped up a 10 week coaching program group coaching program. It's the basis of the brand new box, which is a product. It was the basis of my initial 90 minute session. So, yes, and that's why it's important to really get clear on the prescription, because it can be so many different things. I've given it as a keynote. I've given it as, you know, a media segment. But once you're clear on that prescription, you can either build it out and make it really big and comprehensive or distill it down to its main points so that you can share it in a media interview or even an article if you get that opportunity.

[00:54:57] Sara Conde We have another question from someone who's asking that I kind of wanted this to you, can you oversaturate social media? Is there a point when it's not helpful anymore?

[00:55:11] Amanda Miller Littlejohn Oh. So I'm wondering if they mean by the platforms or just by one platform, like, for instance, I don't believe that you have to be everywhere. I think that you should go where your customers are and try to develop traction where people are that need you the most. In terms of saturating, do you mean is it not helpful? Because I'm just creating all this content and it's not going anywhere or I'm in all these different places? I think both could be true. I don't think it's necessary to inundate all of your feeds with content from some platforms once a day is enough. Like for me, I might post one photo on Instagram a day if that, but I have multiple tweets going out for a day. I might share 1 post, maybe 2 posts per week on my Facebook page and I'm only sharing when I have something. So I think you have to figure out what your rhythm is and don't feel obligated to just push out a ton of content if you're not seeing traction or result. A great sign of traction is are people sharing it, engaging with it, asking questions, retweeting, following you, liking your page, like your posts. Those are ways that you can tell if you are getting somewhere. But if you feel like it's not, it may be time to strategize around the social media.

[00:56:31] Sara Conde Yeah, he elaborated today. Basically, I think you really hit the nail on the head. It's kind of like do you have something worth sharing? And, you know, versus just annoying people. And then you kind of could do maybe negative and negative random damage, you know, like because they're just always they're always tweeting. But yet there's not a lot of substance there, perhaps.

[00:56:52] Amanda Miller Littlejohn Well, here's the thing. You know, I think, you know, like he I think he answered his own questions, like, if you're that annoying, sounds like he may even be annoyed with it. I think we need to follow our excitement in our energy and our curiosity if we're excited about our content, if we have something to say, and we just want people to know because we think it can help them. That's a good indication of whether it should be here. Right. But if we're not even excited about it, then what's the point of sharing it for other people because they are likely to feel that energy that we put into it. So if you're excited and you think this is something people need to know, share it but don't feel the need to share just to share.

[00:57:33] Sara Conde I think that's good advice because sometimes I you know, I think you feel pressure to be on Twitter and to be sharing all the time, and it's kind of like you do need to be thinking about it, you know, like put in some good content behind there because people are inundated with a lot of messaging and that.

[00:57:50] Amanda Miller Littlejohn What do they say? Cream rises to the top. So make sure you have something good to say when you say something.

[00:57:57] Sara Conde Yeah, yeah, we have time for a couple more questions. We have someone here asking, as does respond to industry articles, where's my expertize, like I'm linked in with comments, help with thought leadership

[00:58:15] Amanda Miller Littlejohn response, responding to to articles online,

[00:58:18] Sara Conde making comments on them, maybe helping, like helping. I'm just I'm elaborating on this question. I'm taking a little liberty here. But I'm kind of curious for myself to let you know when you see it on a topic and you see a lot of people commenting. I see this a lot on LinkedIn. You know, a lot of people are asking questions. Are you helping things? Things like that, cannot drive traffic, cannot drive thought leadership on comments.

[00:58:45] Amanda Miller Littlejohn And I definitely, definitely and definitely on those posts that have been designated as the Pulse Influencer Post or the Post that are on the homepage of LinkedIn, absolutely. If you are sharing if you're adding value to the conversation. So again, don't just comment just to get in there and say the same, say I agree or say the same thing that everyone else is saying something new to the conversation and get your perspective heard that absolutely does help with your thought leadership. Although I would like to see instead of just commenting, I would like to see you generating an article of your own.

[00:59:24] Sara Conde A little challenge there.

[00:59:26] Amanda Miller Littlejohn Yes.

[00:59:28] Sara Conde [inaudible]

[00:59:30] Amanda Miller Littlejohn one minute, but ultimately whoever wrote the article is the person who's going to be remembered the most. You know,

[00:59:37] Sara Conde it's it's a fair point. It's a fair point. Okay, we'll do one more. And we just have time for one more. There's actually a lot of questions coming in. I really appreciate everyone's feedback and interaction. So is there are there any other additional examples of top branding mistakes? You know, we have not taking advantage of technology, not investing in small things that make a difference, anything, maybe a little bit more like anecdotal or some things you typically see.

[01:00:13] Amanda Miller Littlejohn I would say from a mindset perspective, just not believing that you are what you have is should be shared humility. Modesty is a big mistake that I see as business owners. If we don't put ourselves out there, how are people going to know about us? But I see that a lot of people are afraid to talk about their successes, their accomplishments, what they're doing, because they feel like they're going to be judged. But ultimately, that's how people find out about you. Other mistakes that I see people make not focusing, especially when you're starting something new, trying to do too many things at once or or moving from thing to thing before you get traction on one thing.

[01:00:58] Amanda Miller Littlejohn So, for example, social media, if one of your goals is to grow your social media following and you jump on Instagram, you jump on Twitter and you jump on Snapchat, and you're doing everything in a mediocre way, instead of focusing on 1 platform, mastering it, growing it before you move on. I see that with social media. I see that with product development, service development. When people come out with 5 services instead of coming out with one and getting traction and marketing it really, really well. So people know them for that service and then adding the next one or coming out with multiple products instead of just focusing on making one really great one and focusing your marketing energy into that one great one. I see that a lot because people get excited. I got a lot of ideas and they just want to do everything. But I say don't move on to the next thing, whether it's a goal of getting more media or growing your social media filing, etc, until you've mastered that first thing. So master, refine, build out, get traction. And before you move on to the next thing, a lot of times people will abandon something because they haven't seen success. But it's really because they haven't given it a chance to mature and they haven't put enough energy into it because their energy has been diluted because they are trying to be in too many places at once.

[01:02:21] Sara Conde Thanks, Amanda. That's really, really practical advice, give a heading all hitting a little too close to home for your family. We have we have a survey right now. You guys are very smart. You figured it out. Just let us know if you want to hear more from us, from MBOO, Amanda or both of us. We will be for the rest of your questions via email. We will pick our winner randomly and let the email and email the winner of the branding box, a recording of this webinar and all the slides will be emailed out as well, along with links, the promo links that Amanda had shared with how to get some of some extra content on her site and to sign up for some of the promotional offers that she has. I just want to thank you, Amanda, and thank everyone for attending today. Really great job. And we learned a lot and we just really appreciate your time.

[01:03:14] Amanda Miller Littlejohn Well, thank you so much for the invitation. It was really a great opportunity to share. Thank you for having me and thanks everyone for their attentiveness. And I look forward to seeing you all online.

[01:03:26] Sara Conde Yes. Bye, everyone. Thanks for attending. Thanks for your participation.