in my last post, “6 steps to building your personal brand for the job search“, I wrote about the opportunity to apply fundamental branding and online marketing principles to building your personal brand.  although the context of my last post was leveraging your personal brand for the job search, the same concept(s) can, and should be applied whether you’re on the job hunt of simply just interested in developing your personal brand for other professional and/or personal reasons, outside looking for a job.

so let’s talk more about step #1 – “get crystal on what you want to be known for” … this is where the old adage “focus is good” comes into play.  the reason (especially in context of online & inbound marketing) that clarity in this area is important is because defining “what you want to be known” for upfront is critical to effectively moving through steps 2-6 and is the basis upon how you’ll position yourself to be found (i.e. via search) and identified by others online.

let’s pretend you’re a baker.  although you’re trained, and  certainly cable of creating hundreds of different baked goods (cookies, pies, tarts, etc.) you’re an expert at wedding cakes.  You’re passionate about wedding cakes and want to pursue a long-term career in the wedding cake business.  whether you plan to start a wedding cake business of your own, or are looking for a job as a wedding cake baker,  you’re #1 objective, from a personal branding/marketing perspective would be to ensure people looking for wedding cake bakers find you.

in our example, it’s much more valuable if  someone looking for a wedding cake baker finds you vs.  someone looking for a pie baker — right?  not only is this person looking for someone who does exactly what you do, they’re clearly, at that moment in time, specifically interested in wedding cakes and are therefore are a more qualified lead …  more qualified meaning they’re more likely to want what you’re “selling”, are more likely to engage with you and as a result, you will likely have to spend less time, money and resources converting them to a customer … leading to a better marketing return on investment (marketing ROI).

so, back to the topic of FOCUS … for all the reasons mentioned above, it should be obvious why  focus is important.  not only will focus direct more qualified leads to you, it will also inform how you build out and position yourself in the market via both traditional and emerging marketing channels (collateral, website, social media, advertising, etc.).  significant  resources (both time + money) can go into positioning yourself in the market, so you want to make sure to focus on areas that will provide you the best  return on investment and/or effort.  this is where focus can really help.

in our example, it’s more valuable to be “found” by someone looking for a “wedding cake baker” than someone looking for a “pie baker”, if wedding cakes are what you do. Even more specific would be to geographically focus your efforts … for example “seattle wedding cake baker.”  in our example, geographically focusing is even better because the wedding cake business is very locally focused with people looking for wedding cake bakers in specific geographic locations.

so,  we’ve now narrowed down the focus for our fictional wedding cake baker. although there are many ways our fictional baker could go about positioning him/herself, asking some fundamental questions helped us focus on areas that will be most effective and beneficial to our baker:

  1. what do you want to be known for?  what are you most passionate about?  what do you love doing?
  2. how will the audience you are targeting most likely find you?  what will they be looking for?  use their language
  3. what will provide you the best ROI (i.e. least time, effort + money expended + best results)

as we move  through our conversation in upcoming blogs we’ll examine why this focus is valuable and how it will be applied to building your personal brand and marketing yourself.