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8 Simple Strategies to Nurture Your Online Brand

This post was most recently updated on February 3rd, 2013

It is my pleasure to introduce you to my blogging friend  Marquita Herald.

Marquita is  a personal growth specialist, a “Top 50 Personal Development Blog Award” recipient for IGG-Tips, Tools & Tantalizing Ideas, and the published author of 4 books on the art of living your life by design.

I’ve known Marquita for quite some time and visit her blog on a regular basis.  It is a place where one can learn and grow. Her she  is going to share with you the importance of Branding!  So Take it away Marquita…………..

 

Branding is one of those elusive activities that we’re all aware of, and probably even considered in the creation of our marketing plan, but more often than not gets lost in the hectic pace of day to day life and business activities.

But the truth is branding has never been more important. It’s not about you being better than the competition – it’s about narrowing your focus, and getting clear on what you’re passionate about. It’s about creating a dynamic reputation that elevates you to the top of your field. One that highlights your expertness, but that also constantly finds ways to put you front and center in your audience’s point of view.

 

What do you want your brand identity (reputation) to say about you?

Your brand identity is basically what you stand for condensed into a single sentence or brief statement. For example, my brand statement is “Inspiring you to become the person you are meant to be.” That single statement reflects my mission and the purpose behind everything I do and write about online or off.

Once you know what you stand for, you can use this as the basis for everything else that you do to create awareness and trust in your brand for your audience. When they know and love you for who you are, and what you stand for, they will do the hard work to spread the word about you. But first they must get to know you – and that’s where we come full circle back to branding.

 

Following are 8 simple strategies to help you nurture and grow your online brand.

 

1. Maintain a central philosophy throughout all of your online business activities. For example, if your intention is to establish your reputation as a high-end provider, you can’t suddenly start offering flashy bargain basement deals, and not expect to confuse your target audience, and weaken your brand.

 

2. Regularly assess your online identity. Do you know how the world sees you? Have you ever Googled your own name? I guarantee you, others have. Your first page of search results is what people are using to make critical decisions about you. There are a number of tools you can enlist to keep track of your online presence, one of my favorites is BrandYourself (BrandYourself dot com). They have a premium service, but I’ve been very happy with the free basic account. They provide many useful tips on how to manage your online reputation and send you regular updates on your brand ranking.

 

3. Make the most of Google Alerts. Set up a Google Alert for your name, the name of your blog, your books or any other products you’d like to keep track of, and you’ll automatically receive an alert when they are mentioned on the Internet.

 

Here’s a great example of how well this works. I recently received an alert that my inspirational quotation book had been referenced on YouTube. Turned out to be a UK blogger, who didn’t just reference the book, he read from it and ended the video by promoting my other books! It was a great feeling to be able to send him a timely “thank you!” for his support.

 

When you brand yourself properly, the competition becomes irrelevant. ~Author Unknown

 

4. Establish Google Authorship. Google authorship is all about linking your content to your Google profile, which is yet another way of growing your brand. That makes it sound so simple, but it really is a big deal, and getting bigger all the time. Let me show you just one reason why you should care. Below is a snapshot of a Google search for my name – and to the right is my profile. That is just one of the perks of being an “established” author with Google.

 

Nurture Your Online Brand

 

5. Rethink your article marketing strategy. For better or worse, article marketing is most often associated with increasing links and online traffic. Whatever usefulness the strategy may have lost during the various Google updates, it has come back stronger than ever as an effective way to establish and grow your brand. Each profile you create, and each quality article that you publish, help to establish credibility, further building your reputation as an expert in your field.

 

6. Manage your profiles. As terrific as it can be to have opportunities to spread the word about you and your business, if you don’t create a system from the beginning to keep track of all of the places you set up your profiles, you’ll never be able to effectively manage the growth of your brand. Make a point of periodically reviewing your profiles to add any particular achievements or awards, and make sure your description still accurately reflects your brand.

 

7. Add a signature to your emails. This is so simple it’s easily forgotten. You can add your own special tagline and a link to your blog or a favorite profile. Look under the “Options” tab on your email to find the directions to add signature and hyperlink to your emails.

 

8. Ensure that your current brand is adaptable. While a strong brand is a good thing, don’t forget to leave yourself a little wiggle room to evolve as you grow. There is always the risk of making a brand so definitive that you can’t do much with it, or worse yet, without realizing it, you begin sending conflicting messages as you grow beyond your brand.

 

Of course these are just a few of the strategies that you can use to grow your online brand. The most important thing to remember is that, if you do not take control of your own professional brand, somebody else will. Branding YOU has never been more important in today’s online marketplace.

 

 

Donna Merrill
Donna is a well known blogger and creator of "Blogging Magic" - an intensive guide to blogging. "Blogging Magic" is for beginners who are trying to figure out how to bring their blogs to life with tons of visits, comments and social media interaction. It's even for advanced bloggers looking to reach new levels of authority and engagement with their audience.

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55 Responses to 8 Simple Strategies to Nurture Your Online Brand

  1. Shaun Hoobler February 10, 2013 at 4:52 pm #

    Thanks for this. I’m just about to start up a new blog and haven’t really finalised how I’m going to brand myself. I hadn’t really considered it actually to tell the truth. So I think this is going to come in very useful!

  2. Sarah Arrow
    Twitter:
    February 10, 2013 at 10:02 am #

    I loved reading this post! Such simple things that all add up to building a really good online brand. As Jim says in his comment, signatures in emails – simple, powerful and effective – like this post.

    Thanks Donna and Maquita for sharing 🙂

  3. Jupiter Jim February 9, 2013 at 11:52 pm #

    Marty,

    Great Post! Great tips. As for the signature at the end of every email — it may sound like a very basic tip but you would be surprised at how many business people just don’t do that!!! Gimme a break!

    As for Google Authorship — that right there is worth the time it takes to read this article! I was at a WordPress SEO Meetup the other night and the presenter also talked about Google authorship!

    So, once again, thanks for sharing!!!

    ~ Jupiter Jim

  4. Shelley Alexander February 9, 2013 at 1:55 am #

    Donna,

    I love that two of my favorite ladies have gotten together for this post! Excellent article Marty! All of your articles are so timely and really show all of us how to be successful in life and in business. You have included some tips that I have not done yet but now that I know about them I will be implementing your suggestions pronto!

    Best,

    Shelley
    Shelley Alexander recently posted..Healing Foods That Help Prevent and Fight CancerMy Profile

  5. nick catricala February 2, 2013 at 7:40 pm #

    Donna and Marquita.. THANKS so much for teaming up… it is a pleasure to read all what you girls have to write… enjoy all.

    This post was a little different and so had to re-read two times (you know me by now, so you know my “Brand” haha 🙂

    The second time around I got it more deeply and now have a better understanding about branding.

    Thanks so much once again, GREAT work Marquita 🙂
    nickc
    nick catricala recently posted..In Life ___ What Did You Do?My Profile

  6. Sue Neal February 2, 2013 at 1:51 pm #

    Hi Donna and Marquita,

    I’ve learned a lot from this. I know this is something on which I have quite a bit of work to do, so I appreciate all these tips.

    I’m interested to hear you mention article marketing because I was under the impression that it was no longer such a good idea – you’ve made me think I need to revisit this option.

    This is the second post I’ve read this week that’s mentioned the Google Alerts tip, so I must try that.

    Thank you very much for a post full of value and actionable advice,

    Sue
    Sue Neal recently posted..Writing Tips: How to Turn Your Draft into a MasterpieceMy Profile

    • Donna.Merrill
      Twitter:
      February 2, 2013 at 3:26 pm #

      Hi Sue,

      Glad you enjoyed Marquita as my guest. If it is the second time you heard about Google Alerts….I suggest you sign up. It only takes a minute.

      What’s great about it is that you no longer have to search Google to see where you are. You will get Alerts right in your in box. I cannot believe how many times I get them. I even get them on comments I have made.

      It has been a great help for me.

      Donna
      Donna.Merrill recently posted..8 Simple Strategies to Nurture Your Online BrandMy Profile

  7. Garen February 2, 2013 at 1:40 am #

    Hey Marquita,

    Good to see you on Donna’s blog. This really gives me a reason to brand my business Dead Dog Design. Pretty much want to market it as a SEO company. Over the years I have done some design and while I haven’t updated my site in forever this really gives me a reason to do it. Actually, had a conversation with my father the other day. He was like you never update your business site? I was like I don’t really care if I have more clients I am an internet marketer. His response was update it to that! It doesn’t look like you care.

    Thanks! I might be contacting you in the next month or so. I want to write a book. I have so many ideas there is a list a mile long!
    Garen recently posted..Giveaways – Part 2 Interview With Justin GerminoMy Profile

  8. Patricia Gozlan February 1, 2013 at 4:07 pm #

    These are important tips for all solo professionals that want a solid brand.
    I have learned so much during these 2 years on marketing and branding and everyday I am learning more.
    Thanks Marty and Donna for sharing with us the pillars of successful branding.
    Google alerts are something I should take care more closely , I used to subscribe and then procrastinate on reading the content that it offered to me.
    I guess I need to explore more about how to use this tip in a more fun productive way for me.

    Thank you Marty an Donna what a great idea to see you both here;)
    Patricia Gozlan recently posted..The #1 Mistake Mistake Heart-Centered Professionals Do When Connecting to their Higher SelvesMy Profile

    • Donna.Merrill
      Twitter:
      February 2, 2013 at 3:02 pm #

      Hi Patricia,

      Oh those Google Alerts! They do come in handy to track what is your most popular posts. I get them all the time and notice which posts are my strongest and which are my weakest, then I can use it as a guide line to write more on my strengths.

      Donna
      Donna.Merrill recently posted..8 Simple Strategies to Nurture Your Online BrandMy Profile

  9. Carrie February 1, 2013 at 12:47 am #

    Great post! You wouldn’t believe this but I’m not good with branding. Not my own branding nor my web and graphic design clients branding. I need to do more research on this subject.

    • Donna.Merrill
      Twitter:
      February 2, 2013 at 3:01 pm #

      Hi Carrie

      Branding is so important! Just figure out what it is you want to represent. It could be a business or a service. Whatever it is, that’s how you brand yourself. Hint: What do you mostly write about in your blog? Hmmmm maybe that is a start?

      Donna
      Donna.Merrill recently posted..8 Simple Strategies to Nurture Your Online BrandMy Profile

  10. Sylviane Nuccio
    Twitter:
    January 31, 2013 at 11:25 am #

    Hi Donna and Marquita,

    For some reasons I’d miss this post, but here I am finally.

    Those are really important tips that anyone with a business nowadays should be looking to apply.

    branding onself is very important. As you said not to try to beat the competition but really branding is to “define” your business, what you do.

    I certainly Google my name quite often especially because I have one of those names that makes me unique in Google so I need to know what they’re showing especially on first page, but since I have been online for so long, I sometimes go down the page 10+ and still find me 🙂 It’s a blessing and curse.

    You’re right this is how the “world” sees you, so there are some adjustment and things that need to be set up as you are explaining very well in your post.

    Thanks for this great information, Marquita 🙂
    Sylviane Nuccio recently posted..Change Your Actions To Create Different ResultsMy Profile

    • Donna.Merrill
      Twitter:
      February 2, 2013 at 2:59 pm #

      Hi Sylviane,

      I would sign up for Google Alerts. Then you know immediately what when you show up. I found that it’s great to track what is popular and what is not on my blog.

      I also found myself in comments that I have given. Go figure?

      Donna
      Donna.Merrill recently posted..8 Simple Strategies to Nurture Your Online BrandMy Profile

  11. Pauline January 31, 2013 at 10:15 am #

    Hi Marquita
    I use some of the strategies you have mentioned but I shall look into the others, I use Google alerts but do not seem to be getting any good results maybe I will have to take another look and see if I have missed anything, it is a while since I set it up.
    I must get around to using a signature and linking to a profile, an idea I had not thought of. A while ago I was into article marketing but have got out of the habit, I am now concentrating on building up my blog, I am seeing some great results in increasing my traffic and comments by blog hopping.
    Great post, thanks for sharing Donna and introducing us to Marquita 🙂
    Pauline
    Pauline recently posted..Why You Need An Opt In Form On Your BlogMy Profile

  12. Sonia January 31, 2013 at 9:53 am #

    Branding is very important and these are some of the key features we tend to forget. I never set up alerts for myself and I just did, but I do check my name often and blog to see what is being said about me. As your brand grows, it is better to do your due diligence now rather than later. You might not be able to change it once it has been said, but at least you can maintain it for the future. Great advice.
    Sonia recently posted..Are There Benefits of Failure?My Profile

  13. Barbara Charles
    Twitter:
    January 31, 2013 at 9:45 am #

    Wow Donna. Thanks for having Marquita as your guest blogger. This was right on time for me since I have been struggling with my brand for a while. Marquita – thanks for making it so simple and defining exactly what we need to do. Particularly important to me which brought some clarity to ‘who’ I am was the question ‘how do you see yourself?’ Good Question? So the trick is to define yourself but leave a little wiggle room to grow without sending conflicting messages. It’s something I need to think about as I re-evaluate. Thanks for this critical information! Thanks for sharing your information with us.
    Regards,
    Barbara
    Barbara Charles recently posted..What I Learned Today That Will Change How I Do Internet Marketing – Conquering FearMy Profile

  14. Anne January 31, 2013 at 7:30 am #

    Well said, Marty. It’s great to see you over here. That’s the thing about branding, we all seem to move in the same circles. I think it’s great that in your branding, people can see that you have common friends and that you keep company with people who think the same as they do.

    We can’t afford our audience to see us messing about on the internet, keeping company with spammers etc.

    Donna is a perfect person in our field to be seen around with 🙂
    Anne recently posted..How To Build Confidence In PositivesMy Profile

  15. Alan Jenkin
    Twitter:
    January 30, 2013 at 12:32 pm #

    Thanks, Donna, for giving us this helpful post from Marty. And thanks, Marty, for a really useful guide to branding!

    I had not paid attention to Google authorship before, but will not let it slip by any longer.

    Alan
    Alan Jenkin recently posted..Is Your Life In Balance?My Profile

  16. Neamat Tawadrous
    Twitter:
    January 30, 2013 at 12:04 pm #

    Hi Marquita and Donna,

    Thanks for such a great post. Branding is so important and I like what you have to say that it is not about being better than the competitors but it’s about narrowing your focus, and getting clear on what you’re passionate about.

    That’s true, you need to research your Niche Market and see what is there that people need and want and the other brands are not offering it or focusing on it and it will be your benefit to start branding yourself on what others are not offering to fulfill those needs and wants and focus on YOU offering them. The point of this research is to find out a VALUE that you can offer to people that others are not already offering or that you can offer it BETTER. This will be Your Unique Value Proposition.

    I liked all the strategies you mentioned and I think I have some homework to do regarding points 3, 4 and 7.

    Thanks again for such a wonderful and informative post.

    Be Blessed,

    Neamat

  17. Carol Lynn January 30, 2013 at 10:41 am #

    Hi Marquita, good to see you here! You made so many good points. I love the one about Google alerts. I’ve done that recently to keep track of my blog and my name. You never know what opportunities come up and like you said, you can be on top of any positive attention to extend a thank you. That goes a long way!

    The other thing that’s so important that you mentioned is keeping up with your profiles. There are so many of them, and it’s easy to lose track or lose sync so they don’t really reflect your brand in the same way. I think I’m going to start a long list of everywhere I have an account so I can schedule regular reviews.

    Thanks for having Marquita, Donna! I enjoy both of your posts and always find something new and interesting.
    Carol Lynn recently posted..If You Don’t Hate Your Business, You’re Doing It WrongMy Profile

  18. Damayanthi January 29, 2013 at 9:05 pm #

    First of all Donna thanks for introducing Marquita,

    I learned a LOT here Marquita, looks like I am no where near branding myself online. I have got few things to do with all these things I just learned.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Damayanthi
    Damayanthi recently posted..Don’t Let This Bug You?My Profile

    • Donna.Merrill
      Twitter:
      January 30, 2013 at 1:15 pm #

      Hi Damayanthi,

      I am so glad you have found this post by Marquita helpful. Branding is something that is so important. I watched many of your videos on your blog and they are very helpful.

      Keep on going my friend and be mindful of Marquita’s advice!

      Donna
      Donna.Merrill recently posted..8 Simple Strategies to Nurture Your Online BrandMy Profile

  19. Raena Lynn January 29, 2013 at 4:22 pm #

    Hi Donna and Marquita,

    Marquita, I’m used to reading your inspirational blog, so this was a pleasant surprise to read your article on personal branding. Overall you outlined some great strategies to develop and strengthen your brand. I have done most of them, except Google notifications. I would highly recommend #4 Establish Google Authorship. It’s very easy to do and has a lot of benefits. This is a great way for Google to give us help to solidify our brand. Thanks for your post. I think it is helpful for beginners as well as anyone who realizes the importance of branding.

    Raena Lynn
    Raena Lynn recently posted..What Does Hell’s Kitchen and Internet Marketing Have in Common?My Profile

  20. Adrienne
    Twitter:
    January 29, 2013 at 2:47 pm #

    Great tips Marty, good to see you here at Donna’s place.

    I use to have everything in place that you mention here. I became more dissatisfied with the BrandYourself service. I was also using the free version but they kept bumping my score down. That wasn’t something I cared to pay for.

    I use to use the Google Alerts but vary rarely would show up in the search engines using my name or URL. The funny thing though, people do Google me because I have my name and URL in my search results on several sites. I’m also all over the first page.

    I have everything else in place that you mention here Marty so this is some great information.

    Thanks for sharing this with us, great list for people who need to get things set up.

    ~Adrienne
    Adrienne recently posted..7 Tips For A Better BlogMy Profile

    • Donna.Merrill
      Twitter:
      January 29, 2013 at 4:00 pm #

      Aha Adrienne,

      That’s it. I find putting our name as our “brand” goes further than using anything else, as I mentioned above.

      So true that when people want to find out more about who we are, the first thing they will do is Google our name. Having that as our title on every platform goes a long way.

      Thanks Adrienne!
      Donna.Merrill recently posted..8 Simple Strategies to Nurture Your Online BrandMy Profile

    • marquita herald
      Twitter:
      January 29, 2013 at 6:27 pm #

      Glad you found the tips useful Adrienne. It’s always interesting to learn how people have such different experiences with the same service, but of course these were merely examples of what has worked well for me, not an attempt to pitch a services to Donna’s readers. The point is to use something to track online branding – whatever system or program happens to work best.
      marquita herald recently posted..Are You Handling Your Emotions, Or Are They Handling You?My Profile

  21. Mayura
    Twitter:
    January 29, 2013 at 8:10 am #

    Hello Marquita,

    Nice to meet you hera and a wonderful post about branding online 🙂

    The strategies you have been talking throughout the post are very practicle and easy to implement as we evolve with our brand or business 🙂

    Yet, some businesses ignoring these. Branding is not just another area to focus on but we have to focus on integrating the value, right? 🙂

    I’ve seen some businesses taking their brand as a strength and build their business upon it. The brand image we create on people’s mind can do wonders. Isn’t it why some businesses go for rebranding? 🙂

    From the point of view of my blog, I have most of ’em implememted dear. But I need to rethink about some aspects you have pointed here as they are involved with intangible benefits.

    Thanks for informative post 🙂

    Have a wonderful week, Marquita and Donna 😉

    Cheers…
    Mayura recently posted..Do You Call Yourself a "Blogger"?My Profile

    • marquita herald
      Twitter:
      January 29, 2013 at 11:22 am #

      Delighted to meet you Mayura! You are so right when you say some businesses will ignore the basics of branding. I learned first hand during my years of coaching entrepreneurs that all you can really do is offer inspiration, encouragement and whatever knowledge you have to share – some people will embrace opportunities to grow, others will assume they already know it all, and still more will keep looking for a quicker, easier way.

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the article, and thank you for taking the time to contribute to the conversation. You’ve made some excellent points yourself, and I look forward to visiting you in turn and reading your article on blogging – sounds fascinating!
      marquita herald recently posted..Are You Handling Your Emotions, Or Are They Handling You?My Profile

      • Donna.Merrill
        Twitter:
        January 29, 2013 at 3:58 pm #

        Thank you Mayura for that wonderful comment!

        Good point! Eventually, we do evolve. But need to keep our “brand” of who we are and what we stand for.

        I’ve notice myself that I have evolved and had to fine tune my branding, but by using my name in my brand I can work around it. Being donnamerrilltribe came from Seth Godin’s book of the issue of tribes. That is when fellow bloggers go to each other’s blogs, comment and syndicate.

        It is still what I do today, even though I’ve grown and lean more toward personal development.

        To me the keyword tribe on my brand is that it takes a bunch of people helping one another to get our business going. “Tribes” can be an official blogging network, or people we meet along the way and mastermind with.

        Now with Google+ Communities, it is so easy to join a community with like minded people, and syndicate one another. Who knows? It can even become a joint venture or mastermind opportunity.

        – Donna
        Donna.Merrill recently posted..8 Simple Strategies to Nurture Your Online BrandMy Profile

  22. marquita herald
    Twitter:
    January 29, 2013 at 4:45 am #

    Thanks so much for giving me the opportunity to share with you and your community of followers Donna! I look forward to following the comments and answering any questions that may come up 🙂
    marquita herald recently posted..Are You Handling Your Emotions, Or Are They Handling You?My Profile

  23. Sue Price
    Twitter:
    January 29, 2013 at 3:14 am #

    Hi Marquita and Donna

    Excellent advice thank you. Branding is so important and you have broken it down well. I have most of your tips in place and some I need to do. In particular I did not keep track of where I had profiles when I first came online. I spent last weekend updating those I can remember I have so I wish I had taken your advice and had a good system in place when I set them up.

    I do have an email signature but you have just given me an idea on linking to a favorite profile.

    Thanks again for sharing these great tips Marquita.

    Sue
    Sue Price recently posted..Nature an Unstoppable ForceMy Profile

    • marquita herald
      Twitter:
      January 29, 2013 at 11:16 am #

      Sounds like you are already on top of your branding identity Sue. Happy to hear the email signature tip sparked a new idea. It’s so easy to take for granted the many ways we make our presence felt online each day. Just yesterday I heard from book reviewer through Goodreads. She read a comment I’d left on a site (so new they don’t even have an Alexa ranking yet) to help a new author with a problem. Apparently she liked what I said, tracked me to my profile on Goodreads to invite me to do an author interview and review of my latest book on her popular blog. You can never know who your words will touch!
      marquita herald recently posted..Are You Handling Your Emotions, Or Are They Handling You?My Profile

  24. Chery Schmidt January 29, 2013 at 12:15 am #

    Thank You Donna for bring Marty to your site! She is such an inspiration to all of us. I have learned over the past few years that branding yourself is the most important part of you business. Like she said you have to let people get to know you, then like and trust you. I have heard of Google Authorship before but my blog has a different e-mail address, I guess it is time I go and try to figure this all out Marty was a Great guest Thanks for sharing Chery 🙂

  25. Celeste Smucker January 28, 2013 at 8:35 pm #

    Wonderful info Marquita. I have used google alerts before…but not to track myself. Glad to know also that article marketing is alive and well.

    It’s very easy for me to get pulled in a lot of different directions and lose track of the central theme…thanks for the reminder to stay focused!
    Celeste Smucker recently posted..How a Dream can Change the WorldMy Profile

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