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Reach Your Audience with Your Personal Brand

Determining the best ways to reach your audience begins with a review of who you are trying to reach. You need to express your personal brand to your target audience, which may include your peers, your work colleagues, potential customers, or even your competitors.

Identifying who you want to communicate to is the first step in determining how you should go about communicating your brand. When you have your target audience firmly in mind, you’re ready to move toward a communications strategy, which is the focus of this section.

Constructing a communications wheel can help you be lazy (in a good way) and lays the groundwork for your communications strategy. The idea here is that you want to identify a content area that you know well or can develop some expertise in. Then you use a visual tool to help you see how to spread your expertise to your target audience via various types of communication.

[Credit: Communications Wheel inspired by William Arruda.]
Credit: Communications Wheel inspired by William Arruda.

To create your communication wheel:

  1. Determine your content area of expertise that you want to use at the core of your personal brand communications.

    Your content area of expertise is your professional knowledge around which you want to build your personal brand communications. Remember to keep your target audience in mind

  2. Draw a circle with another circle in the center.

  3. In the center circle, write your content area of expertise.

  4. Draw several slices in the outer circle, as if you’re slicing a pie.

  5. In each slice, write a specific communication method that you might like to use to convey your expertise.

    If you’re unsure what to put in each slice, continue reading.

Figure out your area of expertise

Your content area of expertise likely will be a specialty area within your professional field. For example, if you’re a dentist and want to specialize in pediatric dentistry, that would be your area of expertise. Having such a specific focus distinguishes you from all other dentists.

You want to find something that is special enough so that you stand out and aren’t competing with thousands of other people communicating about the same subject. Your specialty subject can be a narrow focus of your broader niche.

How do you get specific about your desired area of expertise? You likely need to do some research. First, brainstorm to create a list of subjects that you are interested in. Then, do some sleuthing to see how many people in your community consider themselves experts in those subjects.

If you find a specialty that interests you and isn’t too crowded with experts, you’ve got a good fit! Discovering your message and delivering it over and over is how you make a name for yourself.

Choose your communication methods

Within the slices of your circle, you need to specify how you want to communicate your message. The delivery of your content should be appealing to you (so that you enjoy what you’re doing) and take into consideration the people you’re trying to reach.

Be creative and choose communications methods that you enjoy using and that fit your brand. For example, if your expertise relates to technology and you’re a terrible public speaker, your methods of choice should be heavily weighted toward online communication.

However, if you want to brand yourself as a hometown, hands-on expert (whether in baking or plumbing or any other field), you should plan to make yourself visible in your community in as many ways as possible.

The following starter list offers ideas on how you can deliver your content message:

  • Be a community volunteer.

  • Join professional associations.

  • Create a blog.

  • Start a Yahoo! group and moderate it.

  • Create a website.

  • Write articles.

  • Conduct a webinar or teleseminar.

  • Write a book or e-book.

  • Write From The Expert articles in the local paper.

  • Brand your e-mail signature.

  • Write a newsletter or contribute to one.

  • Interview others for case studies.

  • Start a theme-specific book or movie group.

  • Create networking events.

  • Sponsor events that are important to you (such as a wine tasting, a sporting event, micro-financing events for entrepreneurs, or speakers of interest to your target audience).

  • Record a podcast with your content expertise.

  • Speak at events within your target market.

  • Write a whitepaper, a report written for your target audience that helps solve one of their problems.

  • Deliver workshops.

  • Create videos and post them on YouTube.

  • Post your profile on social media sites (such as LinkedIn).

  • Issue press releases.

  • Teach a college or adult school class.

  • Comment on other people’s blogs.

  • Post book reviews online at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

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