Your Steps To Building a Successful Brand

You want to be successful. You want to have an impact. You want to uniquely provide unique value. You want to be special and useful. Maybe you want to be that 21stcentury “It” noun: an “influencer”.  Your dream can become a reality. Probably. Variables that affect your brand’s success include:

  • Your niche (sub-niche)
  • Your talent/product/service
  • Whom you know – and who knows you
  • How much time you have to devote to your brand
  • Your USP (Unique Selling Proposition)
  • Your brand’s clarity
  • How dedicated and committed you are to following all the steps!

Will you be a millionaire and a household name? Probably not. BUT – you CAN grow a loyal following within your niche/field. You can become known outside your local community and known to others in your niche. You CAN have an effect and impact on people who need what you offer.  And that’s priceless!

THE BEST MARKETING HAPPENS WHEN YOU…

  • CARE about and for your customers, clients, audience, readers
  • Provide what people NEED
  • Build long-term RELATIONSHIPS
  • Leverage OPP (Other People’s Platforms, more on this later)
  • Are your best and most AUTHENTIC self

Sell products on platforms like:

  • Etsy
  • Ebay
  • Fivver
  • Shopify
  • Amazon
  • Udemy
  • iTunes

Share free content on:

  • YouTube
  • iTunes (podcasts)
  • The Web

STEP ONE: BUILD YOUR BRAND, KNOW YOUR TRIBE

 Build a marketable sub-niche where you can dominate and become the go-to person.

 Be a specialist in the sub-niche so people will come to you for help they need in that area. A specialist exudes exclusivity, expertise, know-how and excellence. A MUST-HAVE for influencer success is to FIND A SUB-NICHE YOU CAN DOMINATE. Be a specialist that generalists refer to. 

How do you find your sub-niche? Ideally, you are looking for a popular topic (weight loss, dog-training) with a potential sub-niche where you can dominate. You want there to be traffic but no big influencers already there.

Subscribe to top 10 influencers in your field. Read through all the content – and the comments. The comments have a lot of useful information  about what people need and lack. Pay attention to their frustrations, problems and the specific language they use. Whom do they admire? What are they looking for? It’s important to do this for at least a month – find out where people are and what they need as opposed to where you thinkthey are and what you thinkthey need.  REVERSE ENGINNER the process and let what people  need dictate how you’ll serve them.

 The research phase’s importance cannot be overstated. In-depth research about your niche topic and what your target audience need will make ALL the difference.  Research your niche in Buzzsumo, Medium and Alltop.

If you need to monetize you brand, you need to find out if your sub-niche is marketable. Can you sell books, courses, etc.  (Research this by searching for {sub-niche candidates + “buy”} You want to see a lot of products’ ads. Vet and validate your candidates’ potential for marketability.

Compile a list of topics that haven’t been fully addressed or explored yet; this is where you might leave your mark.

KNOW YOUR TRIBE. Identify a clearly defined target audience (demographic and psychographic). The importance of this step cannot be overstated!

When you do your sub-niche research, you’ll also learn a lot about your target audience. You want to hone your brand so that it is SPECIFICALLY targeted to your demographic/psychographic. (Use pet portrait example here.) If you don’t know who or where your audience is, how can you reach them? You might even create an audience avatar. Use a photo, create a name, talk to them, etc.

Make your brand fun, valuable and unique.

Define your USP or UVP (Unique ValueProposition). You need to be able to define and describe your USP – the Unique BENEFIT you will give your customers/clients/readers. NOTa list of features – benefits

Have a memorable (true) story that your audience can identify with, and relates directlyto your service/product.

No sales pitch or press release in the world is as effective as a well-told story an audience can relate to. Your true story(s) will help people engage with you and your brand. Again, it’s when a story serves people.

STEP TWO:  CONNECT WITH MAJOR PLAYERS IN YOUR FIELD

 Subscribe to the big influencers and experts in your field. Read all their material and the comments section, listen to their podcasts, read articles about them. You can also check Buzzsumo periodically to see what topics and experts are trending in your field.

Now, in a non-pushy way, you want to get on their radar. Start slow in building this precious, mutually beneficial relationship.

  • First, participate in the comments. Do not pitch yourself or product. Be helpful and engaged. Leave thoughtful comments. Show you’re engaged, be enthusiastic.
  • If you can answer a question, do, but make sure you are indeed an expert and are adding value. Your ONLY aim is be useful, to provide value.
  • Participate on their social media platforms. Be interesting, smart, enthusiastic.
  • Be a great ambassador for their brand on yoursocial media platforms.
  • If you do share expertise or info, make sure you do it in a way that makes your expert look good. If you can provide solid, useful information for their audience, they won’t usually hesitate to re-tweet or share your info.
  • Ask them to do an interview for your website (or next article, book). This is a great example of how your relationship can be mutually beneficial. Not all will answer yes, but it is always flattering, and it helps get you on their radar.
  • If relevant, write a glowing review of their book, podcast, etc. Positively review their product or service. Give them an effusive testimonial. Who doesn’t like that? (Ideally, they might list your testimonial or review on their website with a link to yours – the biggest, best-est win-win!

While going through these major players’ work, look for aspects that could be explored further. These are golden opportunities where you can be useful to your shared audience in the common niche.  If an expert wrote an article on a topic but only devoted a sentence or two to one aspect, you might write an entire article expanding upon that sub-topic.

The main thing to remember is to put their interests first.  Major players are majorly bust and don’t’ have time to hand-hold every fan. But if you can provide genuine value to what they do and who they do it for, that’s a great building block to a mutually beneficial relationship.

STEP THREE: INTELLIGENTLY ENGAGE PEOPLE

 You can build several major assets to serve your audience (and build your brand while doing it). These can include:

  • Email list (including newsletters)
  • Social Media (including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.)
  • Facebook Group
  • Facebook Business/Fan Page
  • Podcast

This is a LOT. Don’t try to do them all at once. Maybe focus on just one or two at first, otherwise you are bound to get overwhelmed.  In fact, if you choose social media as a focus, I’d go further and suggest you focus on just one social media platform at first. It’s very hard to crush it on social media unless you really CRUSH it. Spreading yourself thin among platforms will be a lot of effort without much in return.

Things to concentrate on when you want to build and inspire an engaged tribe:

  • Ask questions. Answer questions. Ask for their opinions. (People love that.) Use surveys and polls. Give them infographics to share. Outside of Facebook, you can use a free plug-in like WP Poll or free software like Wufoo.
  • Give your audience a call to action. You might set a challenge, create a competition,or start a Q & A day/live event. A quiz is often an engaging, even fun, way to engage readers and painlessly disseminate information.
  • Everyone likes free stuff! You can build engagement and affection for you and your brand with free products or samples, excusive offers, discounts, free or inexpensive introductory offers, a free call or analysis. Of course, you should always be providing “free stuff” by way of access to free content, information, cheat sheets, templates, infographics, videos, podcasts, recommendations, reviews, advice, specific answers to specific questions, and all the inspiration you have to give!
  • Does your tribe already exist…does it already have a name? If not, why don’t you provide one? I looked for a name for my particular demo- and psychographic (cool women over 40 and the people who love them), and came up with Dametown.

STEP FOUR: GO FORTH AND FIND YOUR TRIBE — AND HELP THEM FIND YOU

 Once you’ve developed your brand (content, products or services) to be the very best they can be, when that awesome tree falls in the forest you need people to hear all that juicy awesomeness. In other words, it’s time to be everywhere so your tribe is exposed to all that value. “How?” you ask. Glad you asked!

Sure, you can get a publicist, buy Facebook ads, or hire folks to make fancy videos. Or you can save a shitload of money and get down with OPP. No, not that OPP. I’m talking about Other People’s Platforms.

Back to my main thesis: add value.  You can serve your tribe while also serving influencers in your niche. Supplement the service and content they provide while leveraging their platforms and reaching their audiences. Your brand and expertise will reach a larger audience when you guest on their podcasts, have links on their sites, populate their re-tweets, etc. You can also pursue guest-blogging, or being profiled or featured on popular sites, but that topic deserves a whole separate chapter.

STEP FIVE: THINK BIG…JUST NOT RIGHT NOW

 When (and only when) you’re clear and committed to your brand, your expertise, your specific sub-niche and your tribe – then you can build outward. That’s when you can start focusing on multiple social media platforms, writing a book on your sub-niche, create a podcast, YouTube channel or an online course.

STILL, my strong recommendation is to focus on one platform at a time. Crush Instagram before you move on to another platform. (OR, work on your podcast for 6 months before adding Instagram.) There’s no one formula for whichplatform to master first, but the formula for success is to master one rather than being adequate on none. Do not set out to be a jack(ass) of all.

Still, dream big. Down the road you might pursue multiple courses (#passive-income y’all), TedX Talks, memberships and subscriptions, webinars and hosting live events. But for the time being, concentrate on crushing one platform while you work tirelessly on honing and improving your brand’s value.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dixie Laite - Dame Town Writer

Author: Dixie Laite

I'm Sarah "Dixie" Laite -- a writer and branding consultant in New York City. I love classic movies, animals, flea markets, and "Law & Order" re-runs. I live with my husband, 2 dogs and 5 parrots in midtown Manhattan.All my life I've been obsessed with figuring out how to navigate life as a woman. There are endless books, TV shows, gurus, guys, movies and magazines out there to guide you. But now that I'm closing in on 60, I've noticed that the old rules don't apply, and most of the role models aren't old enough.I'm older now. I know more and I weigh more. I want to be inspired and I want to inspire. Let's get a handle on this shit and figure it out together.

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