Mission Control for Your Personal Brand

When people first construct a “personal brand,” the last thing they're concerned about is juggling the content, data, monitoring and associated analytics that come along for the ride. Personal branding sounds like a great idea on the surface. It allows you to control ownership of your voice, create thought leadership and add credibility to your professional outreach. 

OH yeah - I want that!

Then time passes, your audience grows and so does the conversation around you. But what’s next? What do you do after all your brand dreams come true?

Sorry to break the bad news, but your work is far from done. With that conversation comes a great many responsibilities to nurture, control, retain and recruit.

These aren’t simple tasks, and it’s impossible to do them completely online or within your digital social graph. It's a balancing act between your digital self, and you in the real world. Some people look great online but don’t quite measure up in person.

Whether you participate in a speaking engagement, seminar, conference or networking event, the integration of your personal brand into the real world must be seamless. In Hollywood, moviemakers have an advantage called “suspension of disbelief” – in which audiences willingly ignore the reality that people in gunfights don’t have an endless supply of ammunition, or that forensic test results are not available immediately.

You don’t have that luxury.

You actually have to live up to the story you’re telling – or it can be devastating to your credibility.

So here are a few quick hits that I recommend. And yes, I use them myself virtually every day.

The value of currency.

Digital strategist Mark Krupinski asks his audience a few simple questions as measuring sticks: “Do you conduct ongoing research on your industry? Do you use an RSS reader to follow the latest blogs and related touch points to your industry?"

These are incredibly telling, because if you don’t feel a deep sense of missing out (see: #FOMO), or worse, paranoia because you wonder what people are saying about YOU, then perhaps constructing a personal brand is not the best idea.

In your own molecular way, you must feel as though you're a Fortune 500 company that is prone to the same ups and downs, challenges and victories as your competitors and related industries. You must be current.

I'm a personal fan of Google's RSS layout as my homepage. There are myriad other RSS readers and aggregator tools such as Flipboard. Get hooked on one - within reason.

Adopt and invest expertise in the social media dashboard

My primary tool is still HootSuite. Being able to have a quick look at all social activities both on my laptop and in a mobile environment is essential for a personal brand. You might also want to look at TweetDeck and Sproutsocial.

Just don’t ask me if these tools are worth paying for, because I will beat you in the head with a tack hammer the next time I see you in real life. Sometimes you gotta spend money to make money, people! 

Rubber mallets available upon request. 

Prepare for the worst

It is still incredibly important for you to monitor and listen for any potential crisis situation that could attack or affect your personal brand. First and foremost, utilize tools such as Google alerts, or Social Mention. As a baseline, make sure to add your e-mail address, blog URL, Twitter handle, full name, misspellings of your full name (Justis), your vanity URLs to any dominant social channels, and even perhaps your phone number.

This is the baseline! The price of entry. You must know what is being said about you. Remember, a brand is what people say when you are not in the room.

What are people saying about you when you're not around? 

The ego sniffer:

Behind every personal brand worth its salt are friends and mentors to serve as sounding boards.

While I have a number of them in my quiver, my go-to is one of my best friends and someone who will call me out without a second of hesitation – John Terry of readthisforme.com. Let's be frank, you need someone who can sucker-punch you from time to time so your personal brand stays grounded, topical and appropriate for the nature of your audience.

I'm not going to name names, but there are plenty of people in every industry who start "smoking their own product" and forget where they came from.

Lessons from Sunday school about being omnipresent:

As a young lad in Sunday school, I remember being told that Jesus is everywhere. I thought that that was pretty cool! Baby Jesus is in my house, in my crayons, and even in my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. 

Jesus is awesome!

And maybe a little sticky.

But no matter what god, gods or deity you might believe in … no matter what level of belief or disbelief you may hold … you still need to follow the lead of the guy I learned about in while sitting on a little wooden chair in that musty church anteroom.

Be everywhere.

Make sure you have a consistent avatar, tone and voice to your content. Be easy to contact. And share a bottle of wine with friends whenever possible.

The last aspect of being omnipresent is the distribution of content across your social channels. Look at tools like Triberr, IFTTT, RSS graffiti and other “appropriate” automated distribution and propagation tools.

The breath of the conversation within this article dictates that you cannot do all these tasks on your own and still maintain a life. Therefore you must utilize the technology to construct a matrix of tools that can facilitate conversation that appears to your audience to be natural and seamless.

Keep your head in check:

Now I know how Scotty felt when Kirk kept demanding more power. Because I learned recently there is a point where everything in life is maxed out, and there's simply no more to give.

In a constant and undying effort to keep up my social numbers, get speaking engagements, teach, keep a very full-time job, stay current, be relevant, etc., etc., etc. I hit a wall. I imploded. Somewhere along the way, I lost sight of how blessed my life is – and it is

Athlete's refer to it as "body shocking." Others refer to it as detoxing. I want to tell you it's about about "simplification of structure." It's time to kill Klout, drop the phone and fall off the grid. I pushed too hard for too long with no flexibility and paid the price with too much stress and not enough real life. I forgot to remember what was important and that my personal brand is only a small piece of who I really am.

And now back to you

I would love to hear more about your expertise as it pertains to managing your personal brand. Please feel free to chime in on this article and give me new insight, or perhaps some tools that I should kick the tires on.

Everyone who follows me knows I have an undying sense of fear that I'm about to be irrelevant. Therefore I must know what you know!

Give me the secrets of the Internets! Or don't, it's not like I have time for everything ;)