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Spread Your Thought Leadership, Spread Your Brand

Mary Rosenbaum | April 12th, 2011

How can you use thought leadership as a way of growing your business, improving your career positioning, or getting a job? Expressing your thought leadership is an excellent way to “show” rather than “tell” those who matter to you what you can do for them and how you do it. It enables you to differentiate yourself and stand out from the competition. It lets you “show your stuff” and solidify your personal brand in the minds of others.

There are many obvious ways of doing this such as writing articles for trade journals, speaking at events, creating your own events, participating in group on-line discussions, participating in professional associations, collaborating, etc. But before you even think about which road you want to take you should do some research and take the following questions and comments into consideration.

1. Who is in your target audience? Who are the people you want to get in front of? Are they decision makers or the ones who influence the decision makers? Which segment of the population are you addressing? The most productive use of your time would be to focus on a concentrated area or demographic and penetrate it more effectively through increased exposure.

2. What are their needs and pain points? How can you help them? Clearly identifying your target audience enables you to pinpoint and address their specific needs. Do the necessary research to find out what keeps them up at night. Provide value and stand out or you will end up being nothing more than white noise – easy to ignore. Stay current and timely, adding a twist or different point of view on information that may already be out there.

3. What do you like doing and what are you good at - speeches, written product, interviews? Focus on what you like doing and you’ll have a better chance of being consistent and constant in your delivery.

4. Where should your thought leadership be showcased? Whether it’s a blog, guest posts, newspapers, seminars, or special events your company develops, blanketing areas where your target audience lives is the best way to attain the visibility and credibility you want. Once you have captured your target audience’s attention and earned their following, your reputation, your brand, will expand beyond this group.

5. Patience and determination go a long way in building your thought leadership. It takes time for people to trust you, your information, and what you have to offer. Constant relevant exposure over a long period of time will help you build a consistent and growing following.

The rest is up to you. Do you have other ways of developing your thought leadership? Let us know what worked for you.

Utilizing her experience of over 25 years Mary Rosenbaum empowers careerists and entrepreneurs to gain greater clarity and more effectively communicate their unique promise of value. Strong leadership means leading with your strengths. Get her free report Top Strategies for Getting Visible and Getting Ahead.

Follow me on Twitter @careersguru


Personal Branding: Treat Your Blog as if it was a Gift

Mary Rosenbaum | May 26th, 2010

If you are like me you have probably received countless birthday or christmas gifts that were not what you wanted or even needed. What did you do with those gifts, put them in the back of your closet, returned them if you could, re-gifted them to someone else? One thing is certain, you didn’t use this gift or benefit from it in any way. In fact, you probably forgot about it as soon as you put it away.

If you want people to read your blog or newsletter you have to think of these communications as a gift. All too often I receive newsletters or blog postings that either rehash old news or reword something either they or someone in the industry has already written about. What they don’t include is anything of value for me. Value can be defined in many ways. For example, it can provide me with a new way of looking at something, or a new approach I can apply to my business or life, or even a story I can relate to.

If you have read my past posts on the value of a strong brand, writing a blog and the rules of blogging then you know that providing your target audience with some added value is more important than just getting something out there with your name on it. Your blog or newsletter should convey your opinions in your area of expertise. One of the benefits of writing a blog is to communicate your thought leadership (your personal brand) in a way that exhibits your expertise in a “show” and not “tell” fashion. Distributing a blog or newsletter that doesn’t provide valuable content can only hurt your personal brand – your reputation. Why? Because people will immediately delete your emails based on their past experience with you.

Just like everyone else, my email inbox is filled with newsletters, email blasts, and blogs. With the limited time we have and the surplus of information we receive make sure the communications you send out are worthwhile. Let’s make sure the delete button is reserved for someone else. If you follow these rules they just might help you keep your audience and grow your following.

1. Know what your target audience wants and needs. Look at the responses (if any) you get from your postings and determine how they can be better focused to improve the content you provide and the engagement you develop with your audience. Research the work of other thought leaders in your industry. Read the comments they receive, see how you can address some of the issues that are being raised, but with a different point of view.

2. Make sure you are not underestimating your readers’ sophistication or knowledge. There is nothing worse than providing information that is so “been there, done that, old hat”.

3. Are you addressing the right target audience? I know I receive emails from companies and individuals providing valuable information on hi tech products for large businesses, classes on becoming a fashion designer, and courses on passing the bar exam, among others. Just because you have someone’s email address it doesn’t mean they want to receive your gift of communication and knowledge.

4. Don’t overuse the send button. Unless you have something worthwhile to write about, don’t write. I know I have said in the past that consistency and constancy in communication builds credibility as well as a following. You should write at least one time per week to maintain that following. But having said this, there is nothing worse than writing just to publish – because you dilute the value of your blog and of your brand.

5. Connect with your readers in a way that resonates with them not only on a business level but on a personal level as well. The more authentic you are in your writing, the more your ideas will resonate with your audience.

Having the right formula – original ideas and content, well written text, reader connection and engagement, – will result in a growing targeted following.

What tools do you use to keep their finger off the delete button? Please share them with us.

Utilizing her experience of over 25 years Mary Rosenbaum helps careerists and entrepreneurs position themselves so they can stand out from the competition. Get her free report Top Strategies for Getting Visible and Getting Ahead.

Follow me on Twitter @Careersguru


Personal Branding – Get More Visible at Work

Mary Rosenbaum | April 22nd, 2010

How visible are you? How visible is your personal brand? Having a great personal brand but lacking visibility in your company is much like throwing a great party but failing to send out the invites. How do you get in front of those who need to know about you and your personal brand?

Getting visible sometimes requires you to take a chance and stick your neck out. Remember that keeping your head down and just doing your job is no longer a winning formula for getting visible and getting ahead.

Here are some tips on ways to get greater visibility.


1. Make sure those who have the power know your unique value. Make sure that updates about projects you are proud of working on get sent to those that need to know. It’s hard to cc the big boss on all your emails, but it might be possible for you to volunteer for a project that puts you in closer proximity where she/he can see you in action as well as hear of your successes. Use caution that you don’t overuse the cc and start to look more like spam than like real information.


2. Attend meetings or speaking engagements where the power people congregate and network with them before and after these events. The idea is for them to know your name, what you do, and ultimately what your unique value is to the firm.

3. Start an internal blog with postings that would be of interest to people in your firm, be on brand, and demonstrate your thought leadership. You could discuss articles, white papers, or interesting work that’s being done in your area that would bring to light your knowledge and expertise while gaining much greater visibility.

4. Networking across departments in your company is critical to developing relationships and alliances, gaining a greater understanding of what other areas of your firm are doing, the expertise they have and need, and how your skills and abilities can be utilized and augmented to better manage your career.

5. Don’t wait for new projects to find you. Create new ways for you to contribute to your company’s success/bottom line. By showing your creativity you will be showcasing your unique value, and building your own net worth and social capital (you make your boss look good if you look good).

6. Is there a project you would love to work on in a different department? If it furthers your career goals, is on brand, and would be a great way to highlight your skills and abilities volunteer to get involved. I know that this can sometimes be difficult to accomplish but this is where your exposure to those with influence helps. Try getting permission by focusing your request not only on why you would be a great addition to the project and add value but that the experience and perhaps even the results would benefit your department as well.

Stand out from the crowd by taking a stand.


Are there other ways you know of getting the visibility and recognition? Please share them with us.

Utilizing her experience of over 25 years, Mary Rosenbaum helps entrepreneurs and careerists position themselves so they can stand out from the competition. Get her free report Top Strategies for Getting Visible and Getting Ahead.

Follow me on Twitter @careersguru



Blog Your Way to Success

Mary Rosenbaum | March 13th, 2010

In my last post on Social Media Marketing I discussed the importance of using a blog in your business whether you are an entrepreneur, a solopreneur, a small business owner or a professional interested in career management. In addition to increasing the penetration in your particular market, the benefits of blogging are many and include developing brand recognition, exhibiting expertise, creating greater inbound traffic to your website and business, and learning about the needs of your target audience (see an earlier post To Blog or Not to Blog for more insights).

According to Hubspot, companies that blog get 55% more visitors and 97% more inbound links. So if you want to grow your business and create greater credibility the time you spend on this endeavor will be well worth it.

Here are some typical questions, and hopefully some answers, on how to get started building a blog.

1. How can I develop the content?

Research and Read- You can’t get into the conversation if you don’t know what it’s about.

-         Join those groups on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook whose members are people you want to reach – potential clients, customers, employers, and those who influence the decision makers.

-        Read the postings on these sites and learn about the issues, needs and wants of this community. What questions are being asked? What is being addressed? What is missing from the conversation that you believe would add  value to this audience? Which topics are over-exposed?

-    Which links are being resent and retweeted? What information and type of format resonate with your particular audience?

The research stage will provide you with ample opportunity to read and learn more about the community you want to join.

2. Once I have the content, then what?

Make it relevant.

-     Write as if you were having a conversation with someone.

-     Be authentic – write about what you know and what you believe.

-     Write about something you are excited about – excitement is contagious.

-     Be generous with information.

-     Always be on brand and on topic in every post.

-     Always edit, edit, edit and then proof read your work.

3. How often should I write?

Put reading, research and writing into your daily or weekly calendar in the same way you schedule other appointments or meetings.

-     Be consistent – write as often as you can, weekly, bi-weekly, bi-monthly.

4. How should I deliver the message?

By now you have seen many examples of ways to structure your blog postings. Although this is far from exhaustive, here are some ideas for structuring your content:

-         Articles on how-to in your area of expertise.

-         Provide resources and links that can help your readers.

-         Provide your expert opinion along with the opinion of others on current news and events of the day.

-         Discuss case studies or client issues you have successfully dealt with that might resonate   with your audience.

-         Connect your readers to articles, blogs, reports published by others.

-         If applicable, write about aspects of your personal journey and how you got to here from there.

-         Use video to deliver your message.

-         Interview a thought leader in the industry.

-         Use some combination of all of the above.

5. How do I get people to read what I write?

-    Participate in your community of groups – comment on other postings, answer questions generously, establish credibility and visibility.

-    Once you have gained credibility and trust, inform your groups whenever you publish a new post.

-     Learn from each posting which subjects and styles resonate with your audience based on comments they provide, number of visitors to your blog, and retweets.

I know these lists are far from exhaustive. I welcome any additional ideas you have for creating a blog that is interesting, well read, and delivers the message of who you are and what your personal brand is all about.

Follow me on Twitter @careersguru

Utilizing her experience of over 25 years, Mary Rosenbaum helps entrepreneurs and careerists position themselves so they can stand out from the competition. Get her free report Top Strategies for Getting Visible and Getting Ahead


Social Media Marketing is Here to Stay

Mary Rosenbaum | March 5th, 2010

When I started up my executive recruitment business in the early 80’s the only way to expand and develop my business was through real world marketing and by extension, word of mouth marketing. Much time was spent meeting with prospective clients, candidates, and those who influenced the decision makers. My marketing plan was centered almost exclusively on in-person meetings and presentations. Although my business grew over the 20 years I spent building it, I can only imagine the growth I could have achieved had social media marketing been around in those early years.

Real world marketing is still vital to growing your business and making those sales. However, in today’s world you must incorporate social media marketing in order to obtain many of the in person meetings and presentations that help you close the deal. Because consumers are inundated with messaging coming at them from all directions, they have developed screening mechanisms preventing old world marketing tools from being as effective as they once were.

What are the benefits of social media marketing?

-         Build trust, credibility and relationships in the virtual world in far less time than in the real world.

-         Reinforce your personal brand in ways that demonstrate your expertise – build brand recognition.

-         Find and build a like minded community that enables you to learn new tools and share ideas.

-         Engage your target audience across geographic borders without leaving the comfort of your keyboard.

-         Convert virtual relationships into real world contacts easier than through cold calling or other previously relied upon methods of spreading the word – they already know you and what you can provide.

-         Gain visibility in a more focused targeted way.

How do you start participating in the social media world?

-         Create a blog that reinforces your brand and demonstrates your expertise – this is where you give away information that your potential clients/customers WANT to know about. Crafting your blog so it markets your expertise rather than sells your service is the key to success.

-         Join Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter to engage and communicate with your target audience as well as your like minded community. Use these networks as a way to disseminate your blog postings, share ideas with others in your field, and respond to questions in your area of expertise. This will help you will increase your universe of potential clients, get the word out and create word of mouth buzz.

-         Participate and comment on other blogs that relate to your area of interest and expertise – demonstrate generosity as this often results in reciprocity.

What social media tools do you use to get the most visibility in your target market? Please share your ideas and comments with all of us.

My next posting will focus on how to write a blog that helps expand your following and your business.


Spread Your Personal Brand

Mary Rosenbaum | November 16th, 2009

Are your family and friends good ambassadors for letting others know what you do professionally, what your goals are, or what you are trying to achieve? It is important to define your brand to those who are close to you as well as to those who can more directly further your professional goals.

This was driven home for me this past weekend. I was visiting with some friends and inquired about someone they had known for years who had recently gone into consulting. It took them many attempts to try to identify what specialty their friend provided and finally gave up and admitted that they really didn’t know.

In providing your friends and family with information, it would be beneficial to:

§         Give them a detailed description of the type of work you do, the skills you employ in your work, the companies or industry you have worked for or the type of projects you have completed.

§         Provide them with an understanding of what you need – if it’s a job then be specific as to what you want to do (not only the title you want),  if it’s clients you want then what type of clients would be suitable.

§         Let them know what your qualifications are so they can more easily convey your expertise to others.

If this sounds a lot like your elevator pitch, it’s because it incorporates the same information. You need to let them know what you are good at, what makes you good at it (your validation), who you work with or for, and what you want or need. Don’t overlook the value of this type of “word of mouth” advertising. So go ahead, ask your friends if they can describe you in a way that conveys your expertise as well as your needs and wants. If not, get to work and spread the word.


The Entrepreneurial Quiz

Mary Rosenbaum | September 1st, 2009

With the unemployment rate hovering near 10% there is no surprise that many people are looking into starting their own business. Being your own boss sounds enticing – no more threats of being laid off, no one in control of your destiny but you. But are you prepared for taking on the role of an entrepreneur? The following Entrepreneurial Quiz was prepared by Career Coach Institute and I have found it helps weed out those that want to from those that can do. Although this does not address the “what will I do” of starting up your own business, it will help you in deciding the “whether or not” question.

Entrepreneurial Quiz

Do You Have the Entrepreneurial Personality?

Question Yes No
Is it important to you to accomplish something meaningful with your life?
Do you typically set both short- and long-term goals for yourself?
Do you usually achieve your goals?
Do you enjoy working on your own?
Do you like to perform a variety of tasks in your job?
Are you self-disciplined?
Do you like to be in control of your working environment?
Do you take full responsibility for your successes and failures?
Can you place the needs of your business above your family when necessary?
Are you in excellent physical, mental and emotional health?
Do you have the drive and energy to achieve your goals?
Do you have work experience in the type of business you wish to start?
Have you ever been so engrossed in your work that time passed unnoticed?
Do you consider “failures” as opportunities to learn and grow?
Can you hold to your ideas and goals even when others disagree with you?
Are you willing to take moderate risks to achieve your goals?
Can you afford to lose the money you invest in your business?
When the need arises, are you willing to do a job that may not interest you?
Are you willing to work hard to acquire new skills?
Do you usually stick with a project until it is completed?

Your answers to at least 15 of these questions should be yes if you are to be successful as a business owner.  While it is not necessary to answer all of these questions yes, but if you answer no to some of them, you will want to evaluate what that means to you and how significantly it may impact your ability to run your own business.

My next topic will be about the “how and what” of starting your own business.