With the huge increase in personal and business blogs in the last few years, the blogosphere has become super crowded and very competitive.
One of the worst things you can do as a Blogger and an Online Marketer is to blend in, to be just like everyone else.
The key to getting noticed is to STAND OUT!
But it can be tough to figure out just how to do this, especially for those just starting out.
So I've decided to bring in our panel of Experts to share their journey and how they came to Stand Out from the Crowd.
In today's edition of Experts Speak, our fellow Expert panelist Ken Pickard asks the question….
“What Steps Did You Take to Separate Yourself from the Masses and Build Your Brand?”
Take a journey inside the business of these top bloggers as they reveal their biggest secrets to standing out from the crowd… and how you can do the same.
Kristi Hines of KristiHines.com
“Although I didn't do it necessarily to separate myself from the masses, one thing I did was tried to understand things from different points of view. There seems to be a big gap between bloggers, Internet marketers, and business. There are a lot of businesses that don't understand bloggers, bloggers who don't want to deal with businesses, and Internet marketers who don't want to take the time to learn to bridge the gap between them.
As someone who worked in an Internet marketing company and also owned a blog, I got to see different sides of the story – how bloggers wanted to be approached by businesses, what businesses needed to know to approach bloggers, and why Internet marketers were missing the boat in connecting them. So I started writing content with three readers in mind – bloggers, businesses, and the Internet marketers representing these businesses.
The result? I now have fans in all three areas, and I know that I have helped (some) bloggers be more open to businesses, businesses be more aware to what bloggers want, and Internet marketers learn how not to drive bloggers up a wall with miss-targeted requests.”
Read Kristi's Latest Post on Kikolani.com: How To Get 40,000 Readers Without Guest Blogging
Jerry Chen of Build a Magnetic Network
“Do the things others aren’t willing to, and enjoy the kind of results others only dream of having!
I took the time to observe and understand the efforts of the masses and the common activities that they all seem to do ineffectively.
For example, I looked at this idea of doing interviews with industry leaders, why people did it and why they did it so ineffectively.
Doing interviews, though a high-value concept, is not a novel concept. What the masses do when it comes to doing interviews is that they do it very casually. They whip out their little pocket camcorder and record a 30-second to 2 minute clip with a leader after a whole line of people had just done the same.
While the effort is commendable, it is mostly ineffective. Why?
* First of all, the person you're interviewing is already tired! He/she is a human being, too, you know? He/she's been smiling for the camera for 1/2 hour, answering the same questions over and over and by the time it's your turn to do the “”interview”” the interviewee is already exhausted. You want to catch the interviewee when he/she is comfortable, calm and collected. In that way you get the desired results you want, and he/she will appreciate it! The way to do this is schedule a time with the interviewee. You might have to invest a few bucks to fly somewhere to film this. If it's outside of your budget, start with a leader in your local area and sit down with that person first. You don't have to go after the big guys right from the get-go.
* Second of all, most people aren't using their equipments correctly to create the best results. They don't have to invest a ton of money into professional camcorders or microphones. Buy a Kodak Zi8 and a $35 Audio Technica external mic, and they're in business. The key is to use them effectively and consistently. That's a mere $200-$250 investment that will go a long way in making these interviews WAY more valuable than 99% of the crowd.
The bottom line is, observe, innovate or simply do a better job at something, and INVEST time and sometimes money to build relationships, leverage tools and services to create a better brand.”
Read Jerry's Latest Post on his blog: Orrin Woodward Interview – Team, Life and Leadership!
Adrienne Smith of AdrienneSmith.net
“That's really a great question Ken and Bob because I wasn't really sure how I was going to stand out from all the rest. I think I was uncomfortable in the beginning just being me because I'm not as young as the majority of people online today building their business so I didn't know if people would be able to relate to me as well.
I started in late 2010 with another blog and I chronicled my journey of how I was building my business online and they were just in my own words. They were very well received and I guess that was my eye opener.
I started bringing more of me into my posts and people really responded well. I make myself available to answer any questions people may have so they see me as very approachable.
I respond to all comments left on my blog and interact with people as much as I can on all the social media sites. Now when people visit my blog they can see all the conversations going on in the comment section and I think that puts them at ease. That most definitely has benefited me with building my brand.”
Read Adrienne's Popular Post: Why Content Is Not The Only King On The Internet
Jane Sheeba of Guest Blogging Champion
“This is one of the most important things that every blogger/internet marketer has to be concerned about. I see that not everyone is aware of it in the first place. Most of them don't even think that they need to stand out.
To me, I was really concerned from the beginning about my uniqueness. I know it is really hard to stand out on a crowded and highly competitive niche like that of “”Internet Marketing”” but that's not impossible, given that we're all unique persons.
I re-branded and re-launched my blog at the end of 2011 to achieve this goal in a laser focused manner. In addition I used guest blogging a lot to establish my style, expertise and my position in the niche. In my opinion, it gets a lot easier to brand oneself and get established with guest blogging (I saw that most bloggers are not using this technique to the fullest, and hence I wrote a premium report on the topic).
Of course, it goes without saying that you need to be very careful in writing guest posts because it also gets easier to damage one's reputation with guest blogging, if done incorrectly. So doing guest blogging religiously is what helped me brand myself and my business quickly and effectively.”
Read Jane's Latest Post on her blog: Timthumb Vulnerability: Your Site Security Could Be Compromised
Teach Jim of Inetin.com
“Early on I kept hearing the “”Guru's”” say proclaim you are an expert, you know more than somebody. I couldn't proclaim what I was not (Step 1 : Stay true to you!). Then and there I resolved to leverage my learning to becoming an actual expert in a topic of interest to my peers.
I remembered learning how to become an expert on any topic from my early personal learning projects. I applied the “”Syntopical Reading”” strategy to become an immediate expert. (Step 2: Leverage what you know into what you need to know.)
The write up of my study: An InterNET INvestigation of Lead Generation Systems (inetin.com) became a starting place for many rich experiences. I spoke with leaders as a fellow expert in my new found area of expertise on The Teach Jim Show. These interviews opened doors to deeper discussions meaningful to people struggling to learn new skills on their own. Now, I help my students leverage their learning into significant solutions that help them breakthrough to new areas of success. (Step 3: Serve others with what you actually know!)
BTW the Syntopical Reading strategy is found in a book written in 1940, “”How To Read A Book”” by Mortimer J Adler & Charles Van Doren”
Read Jim's Latest Post on his blog: Service Solves Self-Pity
Richard Goutal of Fitting The Pieces
“I see myself to be in the “”make money online”” niche generally. The main step to separate myself from others in this niche has been to focus on one main approach to online marketing, namely collaboration with others. I can't say that I am the only one doing this (after all, there is my great colleague Teach Jim), but I don't think it is possible or even necessary to be “”the only one”” in a sub-niche. However, it does help to be “”known”” for something.
Others in the “”make money online”” niche are known as blogging experts, SEO experts, article marketing experts, niche or branding experts, and so on. No matter what your general niche, it helps to have some aspect for which you are known as an expert.
For me that does not mean that collaboration is the only thing that I talk about. The collaboration approach does not happen in a vacuum. But again, it is the basis for the rest that I am doing. I often show the relationship to collaboration and the “”other”” matter that I am writing about.
I am in the process of further defining myself during 2012. I don't want to spill the beans on that just yet. 😉 ”
Read Richard's Popular Post: Will You Make Changes in Your Business in 2012?
Eric Walker of Eric Walker Marketing
“There are 3 routes you can take to separate yourself from the masses and build a brand.
*Market someone else's product
*Create a product
*Serve the high-earning gurus (doesn't matter what industry).
I've chosen “”Serve the high-earning gurus”” because, for me, I see that's the path for creating a product that sells, and building a service-oriented business best.
The high-earning gurus need people who have your diverse skillset and ability to learn – that's me all the way. They also pay decently.
I've also demonstrated on many occasions that I'm able to connect with successful people, and work with them, and I fully understand that they (1) do not have the time to do it ALL, and (2) need talent to help offset some “”heavy”” that can come with success.
But hey, this is just my story… and I have a LONG way to still go.”
Read Eric's Latest Post: “Perfect Customer”Workshop
Natasha Nassar of NatashaNassar.com
“It was a process, really. To be honest, I started out as a “”me too”” marketer, teaching the concepts of “”attraction marketing”” but adding my own “”spin”” to the information. My husband Rich and I have done extremely well in this niche and have successfully marketed and sold our own products on this topic.
But then, we quickly tired of the “”me too”” gig and started really looking into what our target market NEEDED but others weren't providing. I started writing on the topic (how to discover, build and monetize your personal brand online) and have gotten lots of great feedback. I have been reading a lot of books outside of the industry to get fresh ideas to bring to my readers.
Now we're expanding our reach outside of the Network Marketing arena, and we're educating, empowering and equipping solopreneurs so that they can build an online business based on their passion, skills and talents.”
Read Natasha's Popular Post: The 10 Commandments of Building You, Inc.
Emma Tiebens of The Relational Marketer
“Great question Ken Pickard! I love how sensitive and “”in touch”” you are with our subscribers!
So, “”What Steps Did I Take To Separate Myself From The Masses and Build My Brand?””
It's rather simple…
When I first started my quest for online marketing success in mid-2008, realized that there were a lot of people who were so far ahead of me. I was quite silly to think that I was just discovering the internet all to myself! Ha, ha!
I immediately realized that I need to develop more sensitivity to the leaders I will choose to follow and communities I will be involved with. I followed leaders and participated in communities, continuing to give value and receiving the same in return.
However, with the onset of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Traffic Geyser, etc, the choices for leaders and communities became even more overwhelming! I started being more selective of events I attended, courses I invested in and leaders I allowed to speak into my life. And because the noise was so loud from everyone sharing their ideas, etc. I knew that for me to stand above the crowd I had to do these 3 things:
1) Uplevel the quality and caliber of my Mentors.
2) Right when money was tight, I chose to stretch myself and invest thousands of dollars more in those Mentor's high end programs that have proven results based on the people I want to model after.
3) Be more protective of my time and set my boundaries.
4) Be more selective of the people I hang around with because it all goes back
to the time you spend on people who really don't value your time is less time spent with those who matter most. In short, with the renewed clarity and high self esteem, I learned to value my time more!
5) Last but not least, I stepped into becoming an Author, Speaker and Brand Marketing Strategist… as a newbie online marketer, to become an Author, Speaker and Brand Marketing Strategist, were not part of my goals, yet my consciousness to uplevel my game, revealed those hidden gems that I never thought were possible.
6) I built my own “”Tribe”” – The Relational Marketers Facebook Group.
7) I continue to create and celebrate my Success Stories from clients who are seeing powerful transformation and success in their life and business!
It's your turn to think about how you can separate yourself from the masses and build your brand!”
Read Emma's Latest Post: Clarity Begins With Your Core Message
Kim Castleberry of Just-Ask-Kim.com
For me, setting my brand apart was really twofold. First, figure out what the reader is yet wanting. In my case, that's access to someone they can ask that speaks english (non-technical jargon). Second, to not be afraid to be somewhat controversial and be willing to take a stand when I see people messing with my community.
I don't like “players” that prey off the novices and my willingness to call them out helped provide a place that those just getting started could get straight answers. Perhaps third would be that I'm pretty down to earth and not hype, hype, hype. When I've got something to see ya, I sell it, but I'm equally at home hanging out with the community and sharing a laugh, joke, or touching moment. These three things help set my brand apart from others pretty effectively.
Read Kim's Latest Blog Post: Using Google Real Time View To Monitor Impact of a Social Share via @DragonBlogger
Timo Kiander of Productive SuperDad
“Simple answer: I hired a coach and listened to his advice!
Earlier, I didn’t have any decent plan for targeting my content to a certain audience, nor was I branding myself in any special ways.
However, soon after hiring a coach, he suggested that I do some research on different markets and which ones of them would be interested of what I have to offer.
This led finding a market which I can easily relate to (time management for work at home dads).
Since this differentiation happened quite recently, the change process is still ongoing.
All I can say that this differentiation really gave me a huge boost in my productivity, since I’m not trying to target just everyone, only a certain group.”
Read Timo's Latest Post:PSD Video Tip #3: Using Triggers for Creating Habits
Heather Stephens of Clever Marketer
“The most effective thing I did to separate myself from the masses to build my brand was to connect with the leaders, people I was purchasing training from such as Ty Tribble, Ann Sieg, Carrie Wilkerson, Kim DeYoung.
I participated in their training calls, asked questions, wrote reviews of their products, sharing my before and after results. I spoke with them in social media and on the phone in a couple of occasions thanking them for helping me. I wrote guest blog posts for them and I consistently shared their content with my growing audience.
This resulted in opportunities to be critiqued by them, interviewed by them, and introduced to their audiences which gave me credibility and authority with my own community as well as theirs.”
Read Heather's Latest Blog Post: Growing Pains and Profitability
Michelle Pescosolido of Online Wealth Partner
“I focused on what I was passionate about and felt comfortable doing. In the beginning of my internet marketing career, I followed my mentors advice to master one marketing method at a time. That's why I focused on Facebook to build my brand.
Through my testing and making many mistakes, I realized I was becoming a master at marketing on Facebook with the results I was getting. After buying a few “”guru”” courses on Facebook I quickly realized I really had something better to offer the people in our industry. Something that would be “”real”” and ‘step by step””. No hype just REAL content and VALUE. Something I noticed others were not offering.
My focus remained on building my brand on Facebook and helping others do the same. By offering massive value to those who have followed me I became known as the Facebook Marketing Queen. A brand that was not intentionally meant to be built but happened naturally through my efforts of teaching others to do what I had done to be so successful in my own business.”
Read Michelle's Latest Blog Post: Facebook Marketing
Oliver Tausend of AskOliverTausend.com
“The answer might surprise you. The single most important step was stopping trying exactly that: Separating myself from the masses.
When I tried to separate myself from the masses, I wasn't natural at all. When I allowed myself to be just me, with all strenghts and weaknesses, good days and bad days and let it even shine through on blog posts, not on purpose, just because it happened, I become natural and authentic. Real would be another world.
In my experience, when we are looking for something, love, happiness, our purpose, our “”brand””, our USP, whatever it is, we need to stop searching. How many people spend their whole life wasting their precious time looking for something ?
Everything's already there, we just need to do away with the clutter in our brain, all the false information of what we are not, all the marketing conditioning that we have to do this or to be that, to reveal the power that already lies dormant within us.”
Read Oliver's Latest Blog Post: Network Marketing Success – Reunion Of A Chosen Family Pt. 3
VaNessa Duplessie of VanessaDuplessie.com
“Brand building is something I took seriously from day one. This is why I started blogging – to build my brand. Here's what I did in a nutshell.
Get a Gravatar and Branding Photo – use that photo everywhere. People will begin to recognize you the more they see the same photo. I have a branding color – burgundy. It is a key element in all I do, including when I do speaking engagements.
Have a solid tagline or message. For me: I help people have more time, money and satisfaction in life. And therefore, this is my main message.
Be consistent with your communications – meaning build that relationship which builds your brand. Email and blog consistently, whatever that means to you.
Start creating your own products if that interests you – you become the expert at X topic and people will be drawn to you.
Attend Events – be seen, see others and build relationships realtime, and learn while you are at it This is critical.
Lastly, collaborate with others. The biggest brands are built by people helping other people.”
Read VaNessa's Latest Post: What Keeps You Positive?
Ken Pickard of The Network Dad.com
“The issue of building your brand is a funny one. On one hand we advise people to separate themselves form others in a way that makes them unique and attractive. IF that's what they want to focus on…attraction marketing. Some of the best ways to do this is to know who you are and what you have to offer. This is a challenge with new marketers or bloggers as they may not have thought of this before. Building a persona online is daunting. But we should look at our passions, hobbies and things that make us tick.
Second we should look at who we are attracting. Understanding your target market and answering questions like..what are their likes, dreams hopes, and fears. What keeps them up at night, where do they vacation. Knowing our target market just as well as we know ourselves sharpens our ability to reach them. Which brings us to the last point. We need to bridge the gap between who we are and who are market is. We do this multiple ways, but the strongest asset in this is the “”What”” we bring to the table. This would be our skills and leadership. This is the part that takes time to develop. We all must pay our dues to build our base of confidence and influence.
And on the other hand your brand should evolve naturally. Your brand is developed not just by the factors above as in what you do, but also how you do it. You become know for certain things like traits and efficiencies, not just for your tips and tricks. So yes a brand should be thought of in what you can bring to the table, but not stressed over so much that you don't even get started marketing. Last note…let you be you. Be authentic and natural and let your voice and passion carry you towards your success.”Read Ken's Latest Post: 10 Quick Tips To Increase Your Productivity: Take The Quiz___________________________________
Dr. Bob Clarke of Part Time Entrepreneur
Wow, what an amazing group of answers to this complex question.
As you can see, there are many similarities and many, many differences in response to this question.
My response is unique to me, as yours will be to you.
After years (yes years) of struggling to stand out from the crowd, to stop blending in with everyone else, here's what made the difference for me:
1. I hired a coach, someone who has experience in building and promoting brands.
2. I took a step back, stopped trying to be like the “gurus” and began marketing within my integrity, first and foremost. If it didn't resonate or didn't sound quite right to me, no matter how successful it was for someone else, I abandoned it and went with my gut.
3. I began associating myself with top marketers, forming collaborations that put my name right up there with the best and most respected marketers. That's how this group was born.
4. I put my prospect's and reader's needs before my own, no matter what. This was probably the biggest reason for my jump in popularity and success. When you help others, big things will happen.
Read Dr. Bob's Latest Post: How To Make More Money in your MLM Business Part Time.
We Want To Hear From You!
If you've successfully built your brand, how did you do it? Your story will help others.
If you continue to struggle in standing out from the crowd, what are your biggest obstacles?
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