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What’s Your Personal Brand?

This post was most recently updated on May 18th, 2012


I have been visiting many blogs and have noticed that I don’t know what the heck is going on at first sight. I felt I needed to share my experience on Personal Branding.

WHAT’S YOUR PERSONAL BRAND?

When I meet a person on my blog or any of the social platforms and want to get to know them, I look first for their picture. Then I want to know within a few seconds what they are about. This is called personal branding.
Our attention span, when connecting with new people, is only a few seconds. If your blog is not set up correctly, you are going to lose visitors as quick as a click if they cannot immediately decipher your personal brand. So here are some do’s and don’ts that I’ve found that can help you.

Have a blog that is YOU.

Do Have a Picture of YOU on your blog. Your picture gives you an incredibly powerful means for making your very first impression. This is who you. This is the very first foundation of trust. A real person! So prominently display a real good, clear photo of yourself. People say that it should be a professional one, but if not, make it the best shot it can be. I did mine just on my web cam. Not perfect, but it gives people a chance to instantly “meet” me.

Don’t leave a blank where your picture must be. This immediately gives the impression that you are hiding. It can also give the impression that you are a company, too big to care about your readers. These impressions may be far from the truth, but they are indelible impressions you will leave your visitors with if you refuse to “show up” at the “front door” when they come knocking on your blog.

Do have a few words about the purpose of your blog in your title and headline tags. This will tell the visitor what you have to offer, what you stand for. Make sure those words are congruent with the purpose, mission and intent of your blog. Your blog must reflect your personal brand.

Don’t use your industry’s blog and then put yourself under it. You will just be telling people that you are your company first, and the personal YOU only as an afterthought. I have noticed this a lot and even with some seasoned bloggers. They use a company blog and waste all their good efforts to throw back business to that company, totally missing out on a great opportunity to become THE go-to person in the organization.

Your blog is your central hub where all social sites lead.

So be the star – not some pencil pusher filling out sign-up forms for “the company”. It also looks too spammy. Like the only reason you want folks on your blog is so you can get them to buy your stuff, or join your business opportunity.

Do reflect on what makes you Unique. What makes you stand out in the crowd that populates your niche? We all have gifts we can share. This may take time to define and to portray, but it is worth far more than all the pop-ups you can muster. II suggest you carefully and completely write down on paper just who you are. If you don’t know, how can your visitors? List all the unique qualities you have. Eventually you have a concise picture of what qualities you have that make you unique. Portray these qualities so you can stand out in your crowd.

Don’t use catch phrases like everyone else in your niche. Example: If you are into the Law of Attraction (very catchy phrase these days) change the words up a bit. Come up with your own words that describe the Law of Attraction. It will work the same, but you will have the edge over the minions of folks calling themselves LOA coaches.

Do write about what you know and what you believe in.

Don’t pretend you know something when your really don’t.

An example here is that I know social media, but I’m all thumbs when it comes to things that are technical. If I were to write about a Word Press “plug in” I use on my blog, I wouldn’t be conveying a message that is in my heart and is my true passion. If I used a plug-in that I thought was absolutely the bees knees, and I truly wanted to share it with my readers, I might solicit a guest post on the topic from the person who taught me about it in the first place.

Don’t assume that simply by having a blog and social media presence that you are engaged in Personal Branding. There is so much more to it. And don’t assume people know what your Personal Brand is. Make sure you work hard to portray it to them at all times. That is the challenge of delivery your personal brand to your market, every single day.

So What’s Your Brand?  I would like to hear your comments and input on this topic.

Blessings,

Donna

 

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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41 Responses to What’s Your Personal Brand?

  1. Paul Cooley May 3, 2012 at 12:50 am #

    Great words of advice Donna! So true and very sad to see so many not doing the things you are recommending.

    Keep up the great work! 🙂
    Paul Cooley recently posted..Selling Vs. Branding – Don’t Be “That Guy”My Profile

  2. Lynn Brown May 2, 2012 at 12:29 am #

    These are great reminders Donna on how personal branding is so important to your success. I would also like to add, when you are showing your picture, be sure to add your name. Can’t tell you how many blogs I visit and i cannot find the blog owner, entrepreneur and even the marketer’s name. I like to address my comments to a person, and I know other people like that as well. I even wrote a blog post about this 🙂

    Your best tip Donna is ‘writing something you know’ and ‘don’t pretend you know something’ when you don’t. This can explode in your face if you try to make people believe you know something, then they find out, then you are toast! Because social media in a split second can blast out negative comments about you and your business.

    I always enjoy visiting your site as you continue to share good information that is helpful to us all!
    Lynn Brown recently posted..How to Come up with Relevant Content for Your BlogMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      May 2, 2012 at 4:31 pm #

      Hi Lynn, Thank you for that important part of “adding your name” in your branding. I too have tried to search for someone’s name and couldn’t find it on their blog. What happens is I can’t syndicate them as well as I want.

      Also, we always need to write about what we know. Sometimes we may feel it is mundane, but to a reader, it wouldn’t be. At times we take for granted those things we have learned in the past and it can be of value to other people.

      Thanks for your awesome comment,
      Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..What To Do When You Experience “Overwhelm”?My Profile

  3. Shelley Alexander May 1, 2012 at 8:59 pm #

    Great Post Donna! Eexpressing your personal brand in a unique way with your blog and company is really the key to keeping people engaged with your message. If they don’t have any idea what you and your blog are about and don’t see it reflected in your message they will lose interest and go elsewhere. Thanks for the great tips on how to express your personal brand in a way that truly reflects who you are!
    Shelley Alexander recently posted..Chocolate Mint Tea Ice CreamMy Profile

  4. Raena Lynn April 30, 2012 at 2:55 am #

    Hi Donna,

    This is an excellent post about personal branding. It can get pretty fuzzy when trying to brand yourself and promote whatever you are promoting! I’ve always focused on branding myself, and I think you made some excellent points. One thing I have to re-do is put up another video. I had one up for a long time, and took it down, and resisted to put it back up. After reading your post, it is a reminder of how important it is to be authentic and let people know who you are and what you have to offer.

    I’m way past the “fear” stage, but it hasn’t always been that way. I can relate to beginning marketers having those feelings, but it is something we have to get over. We are in the social media world whether we like it or not. I think developing our personal brand is a way to get out of our comfort zone and it does wonders for personal development!

    Authenticity is the key. Be yourself. Be bold. Be respectful. Be kind. People will be attracted to you as your own brand.

    Raena Lynn

    Thanks again for a wonderful, practical, take action post!

    Raena Lynn

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      May 1, 2012 at 3:49 pm #

      You said it all Reana and I hope my readers listen to your comment! Anything new is fearful, but we get out of our box and it becomes a norm.
      You are absolutely correct when you use the word “Authenticity” because that is the key to attraction and also Google! Google wants a real person sharing real things.
      Thank you so much for your input.
      Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..What’s Your Personal Brand?My Profile

  5. Tom Burt April 30, 2012 at 2:41 am #

    Hi Donna,

    I like your post. I know I need to work on my own blog to be more like what you describe. I’m a slow learner, lol. As I view other people’s blogs, I see things I like and would like to implement into mine.
    Thanks for your Do’s and Don’ts.

    Tom

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      May 1, 2012 at 3:46 pm #

      Hey Tom! A blog is an every changing thing. Just keep doing what you are doing and it will grow with you. Everyone starts and later says to themselves “if I knew then what I knew now” kind of thing. No worries, the important thing is that you do it.
      And..you are so not a slow learner. There is so much to it. What ever you learn, you can blog about. Just remember there are thousands of people that are behind you and whatever you learn can help them.
      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..What’s Your Personal Brand?My Profile

  6. Anne April 29, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

    Donna, I’m still working out what my branding is. I came to blogging simply to write because I had a lot to say. It was only after years of blogging – when I decided I was giving up so much of my time for no financial reward – that I began to read up about branding etc.

    I’m a great writer, but know hardly anything about social media, branding and technical stuff. After years of blogging I’m afraid I’m still rooting around in the dark. 🙂
    Anne recently posted..Confident Quotes For HappinessMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      April 29, 2012 at 7:02 pm #

      Hi Anne, I think you have a great brand. Confidence Building….it is an ongoing blog I visit and enjoy. There is never enough one can do to keep building up our confidence.
      Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..What’s Your Personal Brand?My Profile

  7. Christina Maynard April 28, 2012 at 3:10 am #

    Hi Donna,
    Thanks for this post. I am really struggling with developing my personal brand and narrowing things down on my blog. I’m going to use your tips and get myself going in the right direction! Funny enough, I just finished removing all of my personal photos because I was afraid to put myself out there… guess they’re going back up!! Thanks again,
    Christina

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      May 1, 2012 at 3:40 pm #

      Please put them back up Christina, because you ended up in my spam box! Without your picture that can happen easily. Good thing I scanned my spam and found you!
      -Donna
      P.S. Check out commentluv so your post will be clickable to others. Just a thought.
      Donna Merrill recently posted..What’s Your Personal Brand?My Profile

  8. Steve Vernon April 27, 2012 at 4:37 pm #

    Excellent article, Donna. So many people in business (even brick and mortar businesses) have no idea how vital branding is to their success. I’m always reminded of the Nike “swoosh”. Talk about simple but effective branding! A good friend of mine who is a marketing guru has some excellent articles (brief and to the point) on his website that I always recommend people take a look at: http://www.theartofhype.com/ramblings.php. I share this not to necessarily promote him, but rather to hopefully supplement the excellent points you’ve made here. Thanks!

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      April 29, 2012 at 7:10 pm #

      Thank you for your input Steve, I really appreciated it. I’ll go on the website right away. I just love it when I get a great comment like this.
      I always think of the Nike “swoosh” also when I hear the word branding lol.
      Thanks again,
      Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..What’s Your Personal Brand?My Profile

  9. Zena Wehbe April 27, 2012 at 6:30 pm #

    Hi Donna, thanks for this piece. You know, it’s exactly what I need, since for time I have been lost on the issue. See my blog is part of my website. I feel that my website’s users use my website for what it offers and not for the personal me. Specifically, my website is a free on-line diet centre that provides diets instantly according to a person’s specifications. On the other hand, I keep the people regularly updated with the latest developments in nutrition & dietetics through my blog on the website. So my question is, my picture is already on the about us page, so do you still think it’s necessary that I also put it on the blog, since I feel it will make it seem like the blog is about me, when really its about the scientific information I am providing them with. Would love to know your thoughts! Thank you!

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      May 1, 2012 at 3:35 pm #

      Hi Zena. Yes, I would put the same picture on your blog and all your social sites. I have made the mistake in the past to change my picture because of hairstyles. I went from waist-length dreadlocks, to very short hair, to funky hairstyles. OK…I get excited about the hair thing, but people got confused. I had to go back to my original picture (which by the way I really don’t like) and use that.
      People were finding me again. I just had to get over it. It must be a gal thing he he.
      But you need to be congruent on your website, blog, and all the other social sites so people can recognize you quickly. Hope this was of help,
      Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..What’s Your Personal Brand?My Profile

  10. Julieanne van Zyl April 27, 2012 at 10:07 am #

    Hi Donna, this is something I’ve been working on over the last few weeks, with a “branding specialist and copywriter”. She asked me lots and lots of questions and came up with a unique brand for me, which has actually “been there” with me for many years. But, I didn’t think to brand myself with it as she has recommended.

    I can’t tell you what it is yet Donna, but you will see it clearly on my blog in a few weeks.

    Branding is very important, and especially when you do paid advertising. If you’ve narrowed down your niche, it’s easier to compete ( if you’ve found something that’s truly unique to you)

    Great article and topic Donna, thank you!
    Julieanne van Zyl recently posted..How to embed your YouTube video into Blog PostMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      April 29, 2012 at 7:04 pm #

      Hi Julienne, I have been through the same process. Branding is so important but I had too much to say about too many things. Now, I’ve pulled it all together. Social Media is my main brand. BUT I do it with a little twist when I coach. I take it up a notch to work on the “inside” of people as well as directing them of what to do.
      Can’t wait to see your brand!
      Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..What’s Your Personal Brand?My Profile

  11. Pearly Quah April 27, 2012 at 8:49 am #

    Hey Donna,

    Excellent ! Thanks for this great article.

    To be frank, when I visit a person’s blog, the first thing I looked at is the over all look and design of the blog (just a glance) then come to the important part of that person. To me, not his/her business but the header, tagline and header title must be able to describe a little bit of the personality or the niche.

    These are the basic things I usually look at and it makes me much more comfortable and convenient to get to know a person first.

    Cheers
    Pearly
    Pearly Quah recently posted..Twitter Account Is HackedMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      April 29, 2012 at 6:42 pm #

      You are exactly correct Pearly. I do the same and so do most people. If a blog is blinking and jumping at you or if it looks like a squeeze page, I’m otta there lol
      Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..What’s Your Personal Brand?My Profile

  12. Kostas April 27, 2012 at 7:52 am #

    Hi Donna,
    Great advices, it’s really important to brand your business if you want people to trust you and make business with you. Actually trust is the number one factor in converting your visitors to clients and for small businesses there is no better way to achieve that than showing that they are real people, thanks for sharing…
    Kostas recently posted..Free WordPress Installation Service – Start Blogging NowMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      April 29, 2012 at 6:36 pm #

      Thanks Kostas!
      That’s my message loud and clear. Some of us know it and understand the power of it. Some are floundering out there. That’s why I wrote the post.
      Thanks Again,
      Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..What’s Your Personal Brand?My Profile

  13. Martin Casper April 26, 2012 at 9:41 pm #

    Donna…great post. It is so true that “a picture is worth a thousand words” and this is no more apparent than with branding. We live in a society of “first impressions” and “image is everything”. Even though this is a superficial thought process, it is an element that must be addressed in all forms of marketing.

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      April 29, 2012 at 7:08 pm #

      Yes, Martin a picture is worth a thousand words. First impressions do count. That’s why I was taught to get a “professional picture” done. The one on my blog is a professional one, but I really don’t like it. I can’t change it because I can easily “unbrand” myself lol
      -Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..What’s Your Personal Brand?My Profile

  14. marquita herald
    Twitter:
    April 26, 2012 at 4:26 pm #

    Great tips Donna. I think there are bloggers who already know what they ‘should’ be doing, but they’re still trying to find their way to that perfect niche – so in the meantime they make the mistake of trying to just throw stuff out there into the www to see what sticks. I have seen that carry over into articles as well where you get half way through and still don’t know what point the author is trying to make. It’s a process and having been there, my heart goes out to anyone making the effort. Hang in there!
    marquita herald recently posted..Stepping Stones to Greater Resilience – FREE till April 26!My Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      April 26, 2012 at 9:30 pm #

      Marquita, I think this is why I wrote this post. I go on blogs and get so confused, I’m dizzy. I try to find out what the heck is going on and their main purpose, but it goes nowhere. Sometimes I just feel like giving them a friendly critique. Guess I’m too shy or afraid they may take it the wrong way.
      I would appreciate anyone critiquing me so I can see it through different eyeballs and perfect what I’m doing. It is like taking a test. I want to know If I did well or not.
      Thanks for your input
      Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..What’s Your Personal Brand?My Profile

  15. Mika Castro April 26, 2012 at 4:57 am #

    Personal branding has a lot to teach us about personal growth. It’s a rich place to explore. I encourage you to try the earlier exercise with your friends, family, and coworkers. Ask everyone to describe you with 3 adjectives. You’ll learn a great deal from it.
    Mika Castro recently posted..Fingernail Fungus TreatmentMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      May 1, 2012 at 3:29 pm #

      Mika, you have caught my secret. Personal Branding and Personal Growth. I teach both. We must recognize our own growth and use it as a tool. Especially if we want to share or coach people, we need to be aware of our selves. When doing that, we can best understand what our “brand” is. We have to reach deep inside and know our passion. We need to know what we can and cannot do!
      As for your suggestion of asking people to describe you with 3 adjectives…brilliant! I have done it myself. It has to work because that is what we need to “brand ourselves” Three Words!
      Thanks for your input.
      Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..What’s Your Personal Brand?My Profile

  16. Oliver Tausend April 25, 2012 at 8:32 am #

    Hi Donna,

    as usual, very sound advice on personal branding. This is critical: Have a blog that is you. Our blog needs to reflect our identity, who we are and what we have to offer. It shouldn’t just reflect our guru’s identity our the one of our awesome “system”. Some people will like it, others won’t. The goal is to attract the right people who allow for mutually beneficial exchanges and to – sort of – scare away the ones that aren’t fit for us. The biggest problem for most people will be that they attract the wrong people and scare away the potentially right people if their branding is not set up correctly.

    Thanks for sharing your insights.

    Be blessed

    Oliver

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      April 25, 2012 at 5:51 pm #

      Hi Oliver, first I must say that I like your Picture! That is a cleaver one that will stick in the mind of people. You certainly have branded your avatar well! Who can forget the guy with the tie that has a piggy bank on it. It shows me that you know how to make money and you’re a guy to follow.
      They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Yours certainly does.
      If there was a contest of Avatars, you would be the winner!
      Good to see you again.
      Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..What’s Your Personal Brand?My Profile

  17. Carol Lynn April 25, 2012 at 2:18 am #

    Wow, I literally just spent an hour on a tweetchat talking about personal branding! I think the stars have aligned 🙂

    I completely agree that it’s important to be a person and have a face on your blog/business. Nobody wants to have a conversation with a logo. These days you can’t be camera shy, just get over it and throw a photo out there!

    Personal branding is a powerful tool for small businesses that are otherwise unknown and don’t have the full force of a big company’s recognition behind them. Marketing is about making an emotional connection. If you can do that, you can build trust and loyalty. But you can’t do it unless you engage in an actual relationship with someone and for that you have to be a person!

    Besides that, it gives you a chance to be “you” which is really the only thing that makes you different than anyone else. There are tons of people out there who do the same things as I do, and you do, and everyone else does. So what makes us unique? Just us! It’s the one thing we can build on.
    Carol Lynn recently posted..5 Questions With Eric Taylor: From Mastering The World Of Marketing To The Superhero Who Changed His LifeMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      April 25, 2012 at 5:47 pm #

      Carol Lynn, You hit the nail on the head. We do have to get “over it” if we are camera shy. When I am counseling someone new, one of the questions I ask BEFORE I decide to work with them is “Are you camera shy?” I have to address this issue before we start because if they strongly feel that they won’t put their picture up, there is no use working with me. It is not fair to them.
      Sure I can give them a pep talk and most will do it anyway, but the 2% that won’t just cannot work with me.

      I could read 20 stories about one topic and the one that I will remember is how the writer put him or herself into it.

      Thanks for visiting,
      Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..What’s Your Personal Brand?My Profile

  18. Sylviane Nuccio April 25, 2012 at 1:47 am #

    Hi Donna,

    Those are very good tips, and some of them should be obvious to any blogger out there, but I have also noticed that they are unfortunately not so obvious for a lot of people.

    I really don’t understand why someone would leave a comment on a blog, having themselves a presence online and not having an avatar showing their face. I even do know some people who do want to hide and I don’t understand how on earth they are expecting people to trust them and buy from them.

    I agree that your brand should always be YOU and not your company. You are the most important part of your business.

    Thank you for bringing up such valuable points.
    Sylviane Nuccio recently posted..How To Turn A Browser Into A Reader – Part TwoMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      April 25, 2012 at 5:34 pm #

      Hi Sylviane,
      Thank you for re-confirming my points on how important it is to have your own avatar. It does amaze me sometimes when there is a great blogger I go to and I get an empty picture.
      It can get confusing also. I may skip over him/her because I cannot recognize who they are. Hey, if I can get my face on a camera, anyone can. I must be the most camera shy person in the world.
      When I am at family events, I hide from the camera. But when it comes to business, I’m there and I even took it to videos. Although I don’t do much on Youtube, I mostly do it on my email list where I continually teach my students. It is so much easier that way.
      Thanks again,
      Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..What’s Your Personal Brand?My Profile

  19. Sonia April 25, 2012 at 12:01 am #

    I had a friend write a post about branding a while back and this post couldn’t be farther from the truth. Those small things that you can add about you really sums up allot of why I like and follow certain bloggers. Some might be camera shy, but if you’re online, there are going to be parts of you, I hope I get to know.

    When I read a post, I want to know that the person behind the post put their heart into their post. I want to know that they stand behind what they say and believe in what they write. If I suspect that they aren’t either or, I tend to not come back. Either way, being you is why I came to visit your blog in the first place. Something you said, wrote and believed in to make me stay around. That’s what I am looking for. Great post Donna!
    Sonia recently posted..Want to Make Money with Amazon? Amazon Makes it Easy!My Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      April 25, 2012 at 5:30 pm #

      Thank you Sonia,
      Yes, being ourselves and being transparent of who we are does attract more people to your blog. Our blog is our central hub of all communication. It is our “store front” Or “Home” It is the way we get to communicate with others.
      As for using a picture, People who don’t end up in my spam box all the time. That’s another reason why your picture needs to be there. If you are in this business, you just have to get over it and show yourself otherwise you are going to loose many readers.
      Thanks for sharing,
      Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..What’s Your Personal Brand?My Profile

  20. Adrienne
    Twitter:
    April 24, 2012 at 11:49 pm #

    I actually took a course a year ago this month Donna on this very topic.

    I’ve heard about personal branding since I first came online but I had no clue how I wanted to brand myself. I didn’t feel at that time I was an expert in anything and I really enjoyed doing a lot of different things. So I came up with a very generic tag line.

    Earlier last year I was told by several apparent “experts” that my tag line was too general and I needed to decide what I wanted to do online. I really felt horrible and it bothered me so I signed up with this almost thousand dollar course to learn about which direction I should go.

    So we’re on a webinar one night and they asked if anyone needed critiquing of their blog. I raised my hand because I needed to know. Do you know what they said? There was nothing wrong with my blog and because I get so much interaction and comments that I sure as heck must be doing something right. That I was catering to the people who wanted to know the same types of things I was sharing.

    All that money just to reaffirm that I should never listen to anyone ever again. I literally beat myself up for months over that.

    Your advice is very sound and I agree 100%… Just be you but let your readers know why you’re here even if it is generic in the beginning. No one said you couldn’t ever change directions later on.

    ~Adrienne
    Adrienne recently posted..When Life Gets In The WayMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill
      Twitter:
      April 25, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

      I can feel your pain Adrienne! I’ve opted into “experts” also and learned a lot, but whatever I am doing is working too. The tagline works. I must admit I was weary about coming out of my psychic closet at first because people always have some sort of a reaction to that.

      I used the word “intuitive counseling” and that has worked for me so far lol.

      It is difficult to explain all the things you are doing on your blog in just a few words. How can I brand myself? That was the question in the beginning. I had no idea what I was doing when I first started and depended on some “experts” to let me know.

      It didn’t sit right with me, so I took my own advice instead. Whatever it is, I am grateful to be attracting so many people I feel comfortable working with. Call it the Law of Attraction or whatever, it works for me!

      And yes, we can change our direction later on as we grow.

      Thanks for your input. As always, it is greatly appreciated.
      Donna
      Donna Merrill recently posted..What’s Your Personal Brand?My Profile

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