The Road to Recognition: a New Personal Branding Guide from A to Z with Author Barry Feldman [EP 30 The Blog Chronicles]
Personal branding is your road to recognition.
That’s what you want as a blogger, right? You want people to recognize you have something to say that is worth checking out.
Or you want some folks to trust you enough to make a purchase through your website.
It all starts with personal branding.
If you are a little unclear about what Personal Branding is all about and why you as a blogger should care about it, you will definitely want to turn up your volume and listen in (or read the transcript below.)
If you are fascinated by the topic of personal branding, get ready to stay awhile because my guest today has a new book out called The Road to Recognition: the A to Z Guide to Personal Branding for Accelerating Your Professional Success in the Age of Digital Media.
The subtitle is a mouthful for good reason–the book is filled with great tips and sound advice on how to get more recognized in your niche by building your personal brand.
I’ve read the book myself and I can tell you that the book is like an A to Z manual on personal branding. Some are already calling this book, “the most comprehensive personal branding resource ever created.”
My guest on this episode of The Blog Chronicles is Barry Feldman.
Aside from being the author of this book, my guest has been a copywriter and creative director in the advertising industry for decades, and he has been a blogger and digital marketer since 2011.
Here are some other things you will discover in this interview…
–How Barry defines “personal branding”
–The difference between personal branding and professional branding
–What makes his book on personal branding unique
–How blogging works with personal branding
–How to use social media to build your personal brand
–Why LinkedIn is his top recommendation for beginners
–How blogging has changed Barry’s life
If you have any questions or comments for Barry, leave them in the comments! I’ll make sure he gets them.
Barry Feldman Interview Transcript
( For those who like to read.)
Matthew Loomis: Hi Barry.
Welcome to the Show!
Barry Feldman: Hey ”Kaboomis!”
”Kaboomis” Loomis thanks for having me on the Show!
Matthew Loomis: Yeah, Barry.
CONGRATULATIONS on the release of your new book!
THE ROAD TO RECOGNITION – The A-Z Guide To Personal Branding For Accelerating Your Professional Success In The Age Of Digital Media.
Tell Us About the Launch of – The Road To Recognition
Matthew Loomis: So, how is the book launch coming along so far?
Barry Feldman: Maybe I could have written a longer subtitle, huh?
Matthew Loomis: 🙂 (I’m outta breath.)
Barry Feldman: The book launch is one day old.
It premieres in days one-two and three with a Kindle edition only.
As measured by interest and climbing the charts on Amazon and reviews for the book launch has been amazing so far.
We are not shipping the printed version due to a printing hiccup until early May 2017.
But sales of those are coming in too.
We’ve developed this whole scheme where we’re buying in quantity, affords you to get all this bonus material and apparently a lot of people are doing that.
So I have zero complaints. Possibly the loss of sleep, it took to finish the book and do all the promotions that we’ve done.
How Would You Simplify the Term Personal Branding to New and Experienced Bloggers Alike?
Matthew Loomis: It sounds pretty exciting!
I’m sort of part of it.
I’m in your The Road To Recognition group that’s helping get the word out because this book is so good for new bloggers and even experienced bloggers.
The way it’s laid out and we’re going to get into your book here.
Barry let’s go ahead and dive into the book about personal branding. First of all, because so many listeners of The Blog Chronicles are new to blogging. I would like to start with the term ”personal branding.”
What is personal branding and how do you define it?
Barry Feldman: Well, Lee Odden has this cool term that I think he might have made up.
I think of it when I think of him at first.
He calls it a ”brand dividual.”
So that’s you! Once upon a time Tom Peters who everybody knows as the author of In Search Of Excellence. He wrote quite a long roster of great business books.
Once upon a time, he said that term in 1997.
It was in an article in Fast Company and he said ”you are the CEO of a brand called ME Inc.”
Personal branding. The term is so good I think it almost explains itself.
The act of personal branding is marketing you, with the intention of being recognised in an area of expertise.
Hence the title of the book The Road To Recognition. I guess as a noun what is a personal brand? It’s the same thing as any other brand except it applies to your persona or your individual efforts as it relates to your profession.
That is the experience that people have with you. Their expectations. Your reputation. Unfortunately, I think a lot of the times a brand is perceived to be simply a logo or a tagline or some combination thereof.
But it’s everything it’s a blog. It’s a website. It’s the handshake and the business card exchange and it’s what you learn and the value that you gave to someone.
It’s an experience.
Probably a better definition of personal branding than any other. In the book, we go with how Seth Godin defines the brand and hopefully, I’ve answered that question by now.
How Would You Define Personal Branding vs Professional Branding?
Matthew Loomis: Yeah, you did.
Barry, where do you draw the line between personal branding and professional branding.
PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL BRANDING
Barry Feldman: Professional branding being branding a company?
Matthew Loomis: Yeah, a company. A business.
Barry Feldman: That is a line for sure.
The book is targeted at six persona’s we identified at the early goings.
You can find that on the website. The Road To Recognition Dot Com it say’s who is this book for? (I think that might even be on the sales page on Amazon.)
I look at that and I think who did we leave out? There are not too many people who wouldn’t qualify for it. For most people, first of all, let’s say who it’s NOT for.
It’s not for the person (and this seems to be a dying breed although it’s not dead and maybe never will be) who goes to work for a company and is satisfied with a paycheck and some form of anonymity.
They are not interested in being entrepreneurial.
They may not even be interested in finding another job.
That person that is going to climb the ranks work forty years for a company and then hang-them-up and retire. They would probably be just fine without developing a personal brand.
However, even they can accelerate the success of their career. And help the development of the actual company that they work for by thinking like a brander in thinking entrepreneurial.
That line in terms of how you do it today with digital media? That’s a fuzzy line. You do it the way big brands do it. Media is so accessible and democratized.
Anybody can build a brand with tactics such as blogging.
If there is a line it’s that inside of a company that maybe you don’t own. It’s a small business startup entrepreneur thing which is an ideal target for this book. This idea of personal branding.
But inside of a large company? There may, in fact, be a line. Some companies understand the need to foster personal branding within and give people permission to market themselves. Therefore the understanding is that they are helping the company.
Then there are those that fear it.
Seth Price is the co-author of the book. He is a wonderful example of exactly what I am talking about. He is the vice-president of a company called Placester Dot Com
Placester is a startup but it’s been around for several years and on a great roll.
They help real estate agents with software services that help them develop websites and deliver content. While he is not the CEO he is a high-ranking member. Entrepreneur marketer evangelist for the company.
That company wholeheartedly endorses the building of his personal brand. There almost is no line in that case.
What Differentiates Blogging From Branding?
Matthew Loomis: Should your personal or online brand be separate at some point.
Or is it all one in the same or does that all depend on the size if you’re a blogger? Let’s take it down a little bit. A blogger. Whether they’re monetized or not if they want to have a bigger audience.
Is there any distinction between Blog Brand or Personal Brand?
Barry Feldman: I think that as much as you can attach it to yourself the better off you’re going to be. Right?
There’s this chilling reality in blogging that you’re probably nowhere near the first or only blogger in your category. Right?
You’d be pretty hard-pressed to pick a niche no ones in. If you do you’d be pretty hard-pressed to find an audience quickly.
There’s a little meta here but you know you and I talk blogging for bloggers. That said you will indeed put your name forward and develop a voice such that you’re overcoming this issue with speaking to a very popular category.
By developing a voice and a personality and a tone and a style. Maybe a look.
Maybe some features that you have that do indeed make you unique.
One of the great compliments that I get now and then is that I’m told like people have read posts I’ve written and they knew it was me.
Even before they discovered it was me. That’s quite an accomplishment.
There has got to be a balance. My website is called Feldman Creative. Right? I suppose if I was a true and true personal brander I’d have a new website called Barry Feldman if that was available. Seth has one called Seth Price Dot Net.
(I refer to Seth a couple of times and should probably explain that we did the book together.)
Ideally, yeah, you’re this brand of visualise is your name. You’re not always going to find that URL is available.
Feldman Creative is a hybrid. Right? I started out as a freelance business. Now I’m sort of boutique agency consultancy. When I do what I do for personal branding tactics while most of my accounts use the name Feldman Creative and I’m sending people to my website. I’m putting my name first.
What Compelled You To Write – The Road To Recognition?
Matthew Loomis: I’m glad you brought up finding a niche that’s never been used versus one that has been used.
When it comes to personal branding.
There have already been several books published on personal branding.
What made you want to write another personal branding book at this point?
Barry Feldman: Demand, I think.
At least perceived demand.
There is a story behind the development of the book. I’ve been fascinated with the topic for probably a decade. I’ve read great books on personal branding from those that brought it to the masses including William Arruda.
More recently Michael Hyatt.
It’s a pretty hot market.
My friend Mark Schaefer just wrote a book called Known that is apparently doing well. It’s targeted at those developing their personal brand.
I made an infographic. (I should say Seth and I made an infographic.) I conceived and wrote an infographic in 2014. It wasn’t the first time we collaborated and it was called the complete A-Z Guide To Personal Branding.
I was just going for reach. I was putting out infographics and finding them to be big viral hits. The A-Z of Personal Branding was an insane hit.
The design credit goes to Seth Price and his team. Even the promotion does, really. He must have got that piece on forty websites. After a while, it just happens but he aggressively marketed it as a guest blogging tactic.
I did a little of the same and there was this ”big buzz.”
There was a time when you could search for the infographic. Which of course there isn’t any reason anybody would do that. But I did it looking for vanity metrics I suppose.
It dominated the first ten pages of Google and that’s like a hundred hits.
And so it created an interest in the topic. I started speaking on the topic. I started getting interviewed. I started doing all the things that you do when you attach yourself to a niche and are perceived to be an expert.
Then I kind of moved on, most of my stuff is about content marketing in general. The ”buzz” wore off and then the phone rang one day and it was Seth and he said ”now we got to turn this into a book it’s just so well received and popular.”
That’s where I get back to my idea that you’re not going to be original in your niche. The conversation was not ”oh you know so-and-so already wrote a good book on personal branding we should stay away from that.”
I have that conversation now with clients who are saying ”there’s nothing unique about our niche.” Or sometimes even more ridiculous ”there’s nothing unique about our company.”
I can’t help but say ”well what if somebody wanted to write a story about a boy and a girl being in love?” They go ”oh no no Shakespeare did that.”
Stay away it’s just ridiculous. You want to go where the demand is.
And the infographic to answer your question demonstrated that demand is HUGE. You can search personal branding anyway you want on Goole Trends and on Amazon and see how the roster of choices is expanding daily.
Matthew Loomis: As someone who’s read the book.
I think for me, one of the things that set it apart from the other personal branding books is its comprehensiveness and how easily digestible its laid out.
It’s like a manual with the A-Z and I think it’s great!
I’m going to start recommending it to new bloggers. For sure.
Barry Feldman: Alright. Cool man.
I’ll write you that cheque.
Somebody said today in a Facebook Live interview ”one of my favorite comments on the book was the way it’s organized.”
Perhaps if the listeners don’t yet know even though the A-Z thing sort of makes it clear. It’s narrative it’s in alphabetical order with twenty-six chapters following the requisite Preferences and Forwards and so forth.
That go A B C D… and so on.
Each of those things stands for something that we consider a tactic. A strategy. A milestone in your personal branding pursuits.
On your Road To Recognition conveniently.
The comment that I’m talking about on this Facebook live discussion. These two guys that are on our launch team and Facebook. They made a video of them buying the book.
Which was cool.
And then they discussed it. One of them read it and one of them was about to read it. They discussed the book real candidly.
The guy that had read it said he loves that it’s organized like that because it’s a reference book and it will be for him.
I’ve also seen comments like some saying ”do I have to read it in order?” Well, I don’t care read it in whatever order you want.
If you’re interested in podcasting, the P chapter happens to be about podcasting.
If you’re interested in speaking, the S chapter happens to be about speaking.
W is for websites and so on…
I have a wall of business books behind me. This is not uncommon you probably do. This doesn’t sound very nice but an amazing amount of books on my bookshelf have sticky notes sticking out from chapter two or three when I got bored.
Matthew Loomis: You do that too?
Barry Feldman: I put it on the shelf and I say ”oh I’ll get back to this someday.”
You know the reality is, YOU NEVER DO. You buy another book.
We didn’t want that for this book. The idea that it’s been perceived as a reference book with chapters that you can read in any order is wonderful to me.
I was at a meet-up. I go to a meet-up in Sacramento where it’s about speaking. Almost every speaker there is an author. One guy about a year ago was writing his tenth or eleventh book.
He said ”research shows that most people only read the first chapter of a business book so my new book is just one chapter.”
Matthew Loomis: I love it 🙂
Barry Feldman: Because your business book runs out of gas. Right?
A lot of them are like overblown blog posts.
We worked on this book for two years making sure that every chapter and every page of every chapter. Every little tidbit is actionable advice.
That hopefully will apply for some time to come.
Matthew Loomis: One thing I want the listeners to understand is.
This is not a typical business book.
It’s very digestible. Easy to digest. You have to get it to see what we are talking about.
Barry Feldman: You can preview it on The Road To Recognition Dot Com
There are three free chapters A B C…
A is for Authenticity
Anything other than the real you won’t do. Discover exactly what makes you fascinating. Build your brand on your true strengths.
You mentioned that it looks cool. I didn’t speak to that in the book one of the things that took so much time and money is making this book, Seth once called it ”a children’s book for adults.”
To me, that’s not a perfect description. There is nothing kid-like about it. But we invented a font and a color scheme. A bright yellow type of thing and black.
The book has a lot of white space. It has twenty-six contributors. As just stressed a two color approach. It’s as pretty as we possibly could have made it.
A lot of comments that are coming in, make us feel good, all that time and money was worthwhile.
Matthew Loomis: I’ve noticed too that.
For a book, there are a lot of bullet points as well and short paragraphs.
Barry Feldman: I write like that.
Like we said ”it’s a reference book.”
One of my favorite books you’ve probably read is Everybody Writes By Ann Handley.
Matthew Loomis: I have not yet
Barry Feldman: Put that on your reading list.
You are already a talented writer but I don’t let that stop me from reading the occasional book about writing.
Her book is a reference book too for the modern ages. It’s about writing but it’s about writing in digital media. Every chapter she realizes if you will.
There are X number 0f rules. I don’t know the number offhand but I do know that I’m on page two-fifty-five. I got excited to be involved or to be included in a book by such a well-recognised star like Ann.
Her book reads like a series of blog posts. In her case short listicle blog posts. When I read that it felt like it gave me permission to chunk my book.
C H U N K I N G
Somebody called it that. The deliberate act of turning things into lists and quotes. Those ideas they call chunking. It’s like ”I had no idea I was chunking but chunk it shall be!”
Matthew Loomis: I love that word.
C H U N K I N G
Barry Feldman: Yeah. I chunked the book.
Can You Describe How Every Person Has the Hidden Potential of a Personal Brand Waiting to Emerge?
Matthew Loomis: You way you and Seth laid this book out a lot of people will appreciate and enjoy.
Barry, let’s get into your book a little bit more here.
You start your book by telling the reader that they already have a personal brand.
Your book is not about creating a personal brand from scratch. It’s more about developing what’s already there.
Can you explain what you mean by that?
Barry Feldman: There is this woman Erica Nicole.
She is the founder of some very well-known magazine.
She said ”If you don’t develop your personal brand somebody else will.”
So I have seen that a large part of our audience are realtors. (Thanks to Seth’s commitment to his company Placester.) Some of them don’t like what they see when they Google themselves. That simply doesn’t apply to the niche called realty.
You have a personal brand whether you like it or not.
You probably have some digital footprint if you’re taking your career seriously. You have a Linkedin account. If you understand the need to create content. You have a blog. If you understand the need to promote it you have social media accounts and you’re sharing and so on.
When your name gets Googled you know people are going to find out good or bad things. They are going to be from you and people who support you. Or they’re going to be from ”others.”
Which I guess is the frightening proposition. So to speak to your question I think you’re quoting the first paragraph of the whole book.
I’m trying to say you already have a personal brand don’t kid yourself unless you’ve gone out of your way to be invisible.
This is the age of digital media. You have a personal brand now it’s the time to develop it. It’s time to make it better.
Are you going to take an active role in that or are you not?
Matthew Loomis: That’s interesting.
I was going to ask you about Erica’s quote as well.
Her quote exactly was this – ” If you’re not controlling your personal brand someone else is.”
So what you’re saying is if you don’t control your brand the internets going to control your brand?
Barry Feldman: Exactly.
You’ve got to like what you see when you Google yourself you’ve got to strive to show up when people are using the search engines of social media channels.
Where the professional development takes place.
If you just sit back and let it be you may be unpleasantly surprised with what happens. I’m pretty conscious of that I did a blog post that did pretty well about the recommendation to Google yourself.
See what you see and learn from it.
In some cases, it’s difficult if you have a popular name. So if you’re John Smith or even Seth Price who competes with this crazy counter-culture. You duke it out with people that have beat you to it.
Sometimes you have to put a nickname in there such as you do. Or an initial… Feldman Creative I think is kind of a nice compromise.
In the book, I mention Jeff Goins.
A lot of people read his blog and he’s written quite a few books now. He brands himself as Goins Writer. Which I thought was a really cool idea.
Matthew Loomis: Exactly.
Even Matthew Loomis.
There are like thirty-five forty of them out there on the internet.
Barry Feldman: Yeah.
But there is only one ”Kaboomis” Loomis.
Matthew Loomis: Exactly.
That’s why I did that, to begin with, four years ago.
Why didn’t you put me in your book anyway?
Barry Feldman: I’m on the spot.
Because you’re ”NEW’‘man.
Matthew Loomis: I haven’t paid my dues yet, Huh? 🙂
Barry Feldman: Second edition you’re in the book! 🙂
I didn’t know you were going to bring the message to the masses :0
Matthew Loomis: I’m just kidding Barry.
Barry Feldman: The people who are in the book either wrote or spoke about personal branding in the past.
Seth and I had a bit of a discussion like should these contributors come from all walks of life? Should we get the chef and the chiropractor and the life coach and so forth?
That probably would have been good. There are books like that but Seth and I travel, speak and get interviewed. We do these things in marketing circles. So my friends in high places are the people in the book.
Jay Baer wrote the Forward.
In A. We have collaborated with Kim Garst.
B. We have Brian Clark whom I have collaborated with on his websites. Copyblogger and Rainmaker.
C. Is for content and in that section, we have Joe Pulizzi.
So we sort of went with these Rock Stars of the marketing approach.
Hopefully, that will pay off. Not just with the trust factor that comes with a recognised person and personal brands but hopefully they’ll get behind the book.
How Important is Personal Branding for any Blogger Even if the Website Isn’t Monetized?
Matthew Loomis: I think those are all great choices when it comes to personal branding.
I follow pretty much all of those people who you mentioned.
Barry, what if a blogger wants to build an audience but their website isn’t monetized is personal branding still important?
Barry Feldman: All important. I think.
You know what I did and I imagine to some extent, you’ve done this yourself.
You’ve told your audience to do it and that is a guest blog.
Regardless of your writing skills. Regardless of your design skills. Your chops. Your consistency. Your brilliance. You are going to struggle as a blogger in this unbelievably noisy space to find an audience.
There is simply no way around it.
I was really late to the game. It was 2011 when I got my first WordPress website. I wasn’t great at blogging right out of the gate but I started it voraciously.
Matthew Loomis: 2011?
I didn’t realize you were that late.
Barry Feldman: It was pretty late.
I felt like a dummy.
I was writing digital marketing stuff for the two decades that I preceded that. I didn’t take blogging too seriously. I thought it was a bunch of whiners talking about their lives.
I didn’t really see it as a marketing strategy to the degree that almost everybody agrees with what it is now.
Now with guest blogging. I quickly discovered it doesn’t matter how quickly I do this or how often I do this. Nobody’s reading it. How can I fix that? I suppose one way is with money but it would probably be a lot of money.
You can and you probably should experiment with Adwords.
And Facebook and the type of things that would be keyword specific and drive people to discover you.
A better way to do it and certainly organic and less financially based way to do it. Is to identify the people who already have large audiences. Right?
We have already talked about some of those like Copyblogger is one of them. Convince and Cover by Jay Baer is one of them. I became a columnist or a regular write on social media.
Today I busted into the content marketing institute. The list is long. I’ve written for more than fifty marketing websites.
Well, now that’s how I got an audience.
They discovered me there and there are links to assets on my website. There are profiles or author bios and that helped me drive people to my website.
Over time I got wise about various email subscription building strategies. I started offering lead magnets and now I have an email list of twelve thousand plus or something like that.
That’s how it’s done, man. It’s not the least bit easy and it’s harder today than it was yesterday.
How Does Authenticity Fit In With Personal Brand Building?
Matthew Loomis: What about authenticity as being important to building a personal brand?
Your book describes it as a compass that navigates us to developing our personal brand towards something that we can believe in.
How does authenticity work like a magnet?
Barry Feldman: Well, you know people buy stuff from people. Right?
Even though you love the Starbucks brand.
Maybe you have a favourite Starbucks or maybe you have a favourite clerk or barista.
So yeah. People but stuff from people. I think the idea of authenticity comes up so often when you talk about social media and personal branding. It sounds a little cliché. Like ”don’t fake it be yourself.”
It’s just true and I guess most clichés are true. I hold my nose when I see new bloggers that think they’re journalists. They try to be objective and they try to be everything to everybody and they try to extract themselves.
The bloggers that you can connect with. The Ann Handley’s, Ted Rubin.
Jason Falls. Brian Clark.
Darren Rowse. Jon Morrow. Matthew ”Kaboomis” Loomis.
They bring themselves to it. They are authentic. They tell stories and they have successes and they have flaws and in some cases they have pets. In some cases they have children and in all cases they have hobbies.
It just makes it a better story. There really are very few exceptions now with companies that are getting anywhere without understanding that.
Kim Garst tells the best version of it because she applies it to big companies. In a book she wrote, Will The Real You Please Stand Up.
It’s entirely a book about authenticity and when I bought that book I’m like ”how could you write a couple of hundred pages about authenticity?” But she pulls it off.
Matthew Loomis: To express that authenticity we do that through a blog.
Which your book talks about. There is a whole section on blogging.
Why do you warn us to be not too promotional in our blog posts? Instead, we should be focusing on value.
Can you talk a little bit about that?
Barry Feldman: I think that should be understood.
Unfortunately, in the enterprise space, nothing could be further from the truth.
Matthew Loomis: I think new bloggers may not understand that.
Barry Feldman: A new blogger for any sized company.
Probably more dangerous if you are in a big company.
You have fallen in love with your product and your brand. The more you talk about your product and your brand the more you’re going to deflect readers and fail to get readership because ”nobody gives a crap about your company.”
They give a crap about their company or themselves.
How many blogs have you seen that are poorly disguised collections of the press releases? Or a modern one today is about software as about updates to the software.
I’m not saying that that is completely out-of-bounds. You want to have a forum for doing that stuff and maybe your website has a product update section or a news section.
You don’t want to confuse that with a blog.
A blog is all about delivering value.
I’d like to say that people when they’re first getting into blogging. That the goal is not to get people to your website. I talked about how I achieved that with guest blogging.
The goal is to get people to subscribe to your website.
You do that by being interesting and helpful.
I think the golden trifecta of a blog that people love is
You can tackle one-two or all three. When you do that with some sort of unique voice? You are more likely to get people to subscribe and come back.
That’s how it works and there is no denying it that if you want to yak about your company. The people at your website don’t care about your company.
It’s a flawed strategy.
Why Did You Rank Yourself an F in Personal Branding?
Matthew Loomis: Barry, I think that you are a good example of that trifecta.
Of good blog content that you’re talking about.
That is why I was a little surprised in your book when you wrote if you had to grade yourself on personal branding you would give yourself an F.
Why would you give yourself an F in personal branding? Which I suppose you were talking about in the past.
DIGITAL MARKETING SUPER FREAK
Barry Feldman: Thank you for clearing that up.
That is like the first page of the first preface.
There are two prefaces so the only thing that precedes it is the legalese pages and Jay Baer’s Forward. I think it is very interesting in that the book walks you through the alphabet and that it starts with a letter.
I was walking my dog one day and I thought about where I might be if I started earlier. If I started like in the days that Copyblogger started or Problogger.
I don’t want people to hear this and shame themselves and say it’s too late. As they say in planting a tree and it applies to blogging too.
The best time to put that seed in the ground was twenty years ago and the second best time is today.
That F that I gave myself that I admitted to earlier, I didn’t get that blogging actually mattered. I didn’t get that content marketing mattered. I’m not alone. I think that I’m in detention with the other F students.
I wouldn’t give myself an F now.
As I also say in the book I’m somewhat satisfied with the reputation that I’ve built and the recognition that I get for being a digital marketing super freak. Adviser and writer and so forth.
What I wanted to as I often do with all my writing is slap people upside the head.
You know if you’re not taking personal branding seriously you get an F too!
Which Forms of Content are Most Effective for Personal Branding?
Matthew Loomis: Absolutely.
Your blog is very good. Let’s stay on blogging for a moment.
Your book talks about twelve types of blog content. That digital marketers and entrepreneurs can use to build their personal brand.
Such as tutorials, guides, roundups, lists, posts, stories and seven others types of content.
Which forms of content do you recommend the most for personal branding which do you think is the most effective?
Barry Feldman: There are the importance and longevity of search.
The book captures search in chapter G.
G is for Google
Think of Google as the business card the entire world has instant access to. You need to “Google yourself,” evaluate the results and create and execute a plan to look good in the eyes of the searcher.
And chapter K.
K is for Keywords.
With that idea in mind that you’re going to build your audience in every way and get discovered via search engines begs for you to create robust blog posts.
Perhaps embellished by other media such as audio and video and make it the kind of thing that ranks.
Today the thing that ranks are what Andy Crestodina (who is also featured in the book) calls ”the best page on the internet for that topic.”
Those are generally long. Meanwhile the populous is going ”nobody wants to read anymore and long is bad,” Well, that’s not right.
In the search realm long deep posts are what ranks.
That would probably be your how-to posts. They could be lists. These things overlap. They could be resources. ”Thirty-five of the best branding books of all time” that are likely to rank for best personal branding books.
Roundups are a different strategy that sort of introduces while they might do well in search of great titles. It introduces this, the other end of the dichotomy that I’m talking about and that is optimising for social.
Optimising for social might be more bite-sized. It might be more emotional. There are these things online given to us first by American Marketing Institue or something like that and the later by CoSchedule.
Two versions of the same thing this headline analyser. It analyses the emotional appeal of your headline. Which is quite a bit different to the rankability of your headline.
So I think the objects differ. I think a great blogger would look at my list of ways to do it. We mentioned quite a few roundups being a strategy.
Andy again says ”a partner in collaboration or a partner in creation is a partner in the promotion.”
The idea of doing a post featuring twenty-five Rock Stars. Our book is kind of a round-up in sorts that there are a lot of contributors to it.
You are going for the effect that you might get from social media of those people helping promote it.
The contrarians. I’m a big fan of the contrarian. Right? When there’s a conversation happening and it’s trending and you feel that you could challenge some of the opinions.
I often do this because I have less than mainstream opinions about SEO. I write contrarian articles.
Curation. Reviews. Guest posts? There is no perfect answer for which the personal brander should do.
Do the things that you feel good about doing.
So that you’re not forcing it and then follow it with things that work. Right? One of the chapters of the book is X is for examine. (Pardon the cheating by using a word that actually begins with E.)
Any brander. Any marketer. Any bloggers and personal branders included have to closely watch how it is going. What worked and what didn’t? What channels are pulling? What blog posts are improving time on site and engagement and click-throughs to other pages and conversions?
You need to know that stuff and that should inspire what you do next. You can’t just keep flying blind and keep guessing.
How Many Social Media Platforms Do You Recommend?
Matthew Loomis: You talk about social in the book.
That plays a huge part in this whole process.
Let’s talk about social for a little bit.
In your book, you have a section called Grow Your Audience.
Barry Feldman: F is for followers actually. I think.
Matthew Loomis: Oh okay F is for followers.
F is for Followers
You can’t have a brand without an audience. Social media makes it possible to develop a tribe of followers — like-minded people with common interests — you’ll aim to educate and inspire.
In this section do you focus on social media? First of all, do you recommend starting with one or two social media platforms?
Which platforms would you recommend for personal branding?
Barry Feldman: Linkedin.
L is for Linkedin in the book.
There is dog and cat videos. As adorable as they are they don’t fly on Linkedin. People are on Linkedin for career development.
In some cases unfortunately selling.
The idea is there are no chapters in the book.
F does not stand for Facebook. And T does not stand for Twitter. They could be. I’m not dissing Facebook and Twitter. I’m saying that one of the first places that you should stop and get serious about and therefore why the book can involve such a deep asset in L is for Linkedin. Is Linkedin.
You learn how to do it and then you learn how to make connections there and build your network and get involved in the things that are happening there.
Otherwise, the list is pretty long. If you’re trying to sell stuff to my kids hopefully you’re not ignoring Instagram and Snapchat.
If you’re trying to sell stuff to brides and win their love or chefs or cooking hobbyists you better be on Pinterest.
Where pictures flow daily in the bazillions of attractive-looking ingredients and plates and menus and so forth.
So it all differs but for a blogger, it’s really hard to ignore Twitter.
Twitter is like the classified advertising section. For blogging, it’s where you introduce yourself to other influencers and share each other’s work and converse.
And Facebook? I’ve never been real bullish on Facebook because it’s so difficult to break through. But it’s popularity is undeniable.
What I’m learning now is that Facebook pages are sort of a pain in the butt. Pay to Play Game. People get around that by making their personal Facebook pages about what they’re doing including their professions.
What’s really happening is Facebook Groups. Right? When you’re building a following you’ve got to go where a lot of like-minded people are having discussions. That list just keeps growing it could be forums it could be Quora.
It could be groups and private communities. Almost every platform like Google comes to mind. They tried them and seemingly failed.
To give you a community building platform called Circles and so now we have slack collaboration tools.
There are a lot of options and answers to which social media platforms you choose. You choose Linkedin Automatic and then you research where the action is and where the conversation is taking place specifically in your niche.
Matthew Loomis: Absolutely.
Let’s not leave out Pinterest.
One thing that’s interesting that I just discovered is that I have more subscribers on Pinterest for this Podcast than I do on my YouTube channel.
Barry Feldman: Yeah. That’s amazing.
You must be feeding them something to look at.
Matthew Loomis: That’s what’s interesting.
I have not been totally consistent on Pinterest.
So I need to be I need to be more consistent.
Barry Feldman: Maybe Matt, you have a female audience.
Pinterest is insanely female.
Matthew Loomis: I know it is slightly more on the female side.
Barry Feldman: I didn’t leave out Pinterest.
I love Pinterest,
I sort of have a love-hate relationship with Pinterest. I know once I click there I’m going to be trapped with curiosity for two hours and not get anything done. Besides reading cool stuff, printing recipes and so forth.
Bloggers. It certainly doesn’t jump to mind first it’s not super easy to optimize unless you’re really getting to understand it.
In the early goings, I think you were unable to have backlinks. Basically, your Ping was a backlink. That’s changed. Rebekah Radice whom I’ve interviewed about social sharing.
She says she gets the largest portion of her traffic through her blog from Pinterest. She is indeed very bullish on it and she teaches how to do that.
I haven’t figured it out.
Matthew Loomis: I’m still figuring it out too.
But I think it’s definitely worth figuring out.
Barry Feldman: Every social media channel has its own quirks.
Sometimes you make bad bets on ones that are not going anywhere.
(Rather than being cruel and naming names.) They seem to disappear now and again. Right? Like Blab and Vine. They are kind of distant memories.
Some of them are more obvious ones from big digital companies. What you get out of social media and this applies to a social media channel is what you put into it. Right?
So what if you want to put some time into learning Pinterest. You read blogs about Pinterest.
You go to conferences where Pinterest experts are speaking and you buy their books and you learn how to use Pinterest.
How Much Commenting Should We Be Doing on Social Media?
Matthew Loomis: I Like how you said that.
You get what you put into it.
I’m curious what’s your take is on social media commenting.
Should we leave a lot of comments on social media or just a few, is there some sort of amount that we should be shooting for?
Barry Feldman: I think you do it like you mean it.
It gets pretty clear when you’re link bombing and trolling and you’re just like copying and pasting crap on Quora’s answers streams.
That stuff’s not going to take you far.
Different social media promote conversation in different ways. Facebook enters the fray again here because it probably is the most conversational. It certainly is the most popular.
I think when you’re moved to say something and that doesn’t necessarily have to be ”oh I wrote something about that to click here.”
When you can add value it is the same as blog commenting. When you’re driven to add value to the conversation and take a contrarian stance.
Expand the story. Challenge the story (I guess that’s a contrarian stance.) Ask an intelligent question….
You should do that. I can’t tell you how much or how little.
I find this pretty effective and I’ve given this advice a lot. When you’re trying to get somebody on somebody’s radar. Right? Let’s say you’re going after Joe Johnson and he’s the leading blogger in your space and you’ve never met him and maybe you never will and you don’t know his email address.
Well, read his blog. Read his tweets. Follow him on Facebook and whatever social media makes sense. Hopefully, you can find him and connect with him on Linkedin. (That is permission based obviously.) Join the conversation and then he will know you.
Where Can the Audience Get a Copy of Your Book The Road To Recognition?
Matthew Loomis: Right. Barry this is such good stuff.
(Unfortunately, we are running out of time.)
Where can people get a copy of your book?
Barry Feldman: The book is available everywhere.
Even in places, I didn’t know.
The place where we would like you to get this as in late April early May is Amazon.
That’s where most people buy their books. That’s sort of a yardstick for its popularity. You need reviews. You need Volume. You need to show up in the search. It’s kind of its own search engine now.
If you prefer Barnes & Noble or 800CEOReads or whatever. Kobo I noticed has it too. Do what you need to do buy the book there.
You’re not going to have a hard time finding it with the keywords Personal Branding or its title The Road To Recognition.
Then if you act fast (infomercial 🙂 You can go to THE ROAD TO RECOGNITION DOT COM Make sure to use the word THE at the beginning.
When I say it like that I don’t mean that website is coming down anytime soon. Like now something like weeks on through three or something like that, are all of these special offers. Like we’ve talked quite a bit about blogging for obvious reasons.
Seth and I have prepared an offer that is a getting starting guide to blogging. That is even deeper than the B chapter. So that’s an example of one of the many offers there.
There is going to be a video series and all kinds of good stuff soon to come at The Road To Recognition Dot Com
Of course, we didn’t talk a lot about Feldman Creative but the website for Feldman Creative is Feldman Creative Dot Com. There you can reach me and contact me and click the click lets to find all the social channels that I’m active on.
Barry Feldman, How Has Blogging Changed Your Life?
Matthew Loomis: Excellent.
If you are interested in getting a copy of this book?
There is a link in The Show Notes to every website Barry just mentioned.
Barry before you go, I want to ask you the question that I ask all my guests on this podcast and that question is how has blogging changed your life?
Barry Feldman: Recognition!
What a convenient question for the name of the book. Yeah.
My career began in public relations and advertising agencies. I was recognized to be good at it.
I climbed the tidal ladder pretty fast. From assistant to copywriter. To senior copywriter to creative director. That’s a pretty anonymous job I mentioned something like that in the book.
You don’t write commercials and ads and billboards and put your name on them. So things have all changed and we’re all personal brands and blogging has been numero uno.
I write for blogs I mentioned a few of them before like Hubspot and Copyblogger.
Sometimes when the reputations are as big as those. People decide to hire me before we even talk. They’re like ”I saw you on Hubspot I love what you wrote what can you do for my brand?”
Blogging and particularly guest blogging have been numero uno in terms of building my brand. Therefore changing my life at least professionally.
Then personally I like it. It’s not always easy to find time to do it but it’s fun. When you’re in the ad agency business you don’t really get to express yourself.
When you’re blogging you really do get to express yourself.
Matthew Loomis: It’s definitely fun that’s for sure!
Barry Feldman author of the fantastic new book on personal branding called The Road To Recognition.
It has been great talking to you today!
Barry Feldman: I feel the same way.
Thank you for having me, Mr ”Kaboomis” Loomis.
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The Show Notes