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I enjoy living in Raleigh for a variety of reasons, but one of my favorites is the community of digital marketers we have assembled in this region.  Yesterday afternoon, I had the opportunity to listen in on a presentation on personal branding by Gregory Ng, Chief Strategy Officer with Brooks Bell based in Raleigh.  I’ve known Gregory (so badly want to call him “Greg” in this post; see below for more on why I’m not!) for a few years and each time we talk, I come away from the conversation with a sharper focus on a topic.  How could anyone not enjoy that?

importance of personal branding

What do others see when they find you online?

Gregory’s presentation was delivered at the monthly Triangle Interactive Marketing Association (TIMA) meeting and his topic was the importance of personal branding.  Personal branding is, essentially, the process of marketing yourself.  As a digital marketer, it is easy to become so focused on building the brand of clients that you simply neglect the importance of branding yourself.  I’ve long called this the “cobbler’s kids problem” because the cobbler is so focused on making shoes for others that he simply runs out of time to make them for his own children.

In his presentation, Gregory asked everyone a deceptively simple question: what are three branding terms that you want to be known for?  I say this was “deceptively simple” because, as

Gregory Ng speaking at TIMA

Gregory Ng speaking at TIMA

several responses from the crowd demonstrated, it is hard to pin down three terms right away.  Some strayed into values statements; others used terms that were too generic to be helpful.  To help clarify things, Gregory shared his: strategic thinker, online video and fighting hunger.  Now, those may not mean a lot to you or me, but to him, they created the foundation of his entire personal branding strategy.  For example: as he looked ahead into 2013 at the start of the year, he was able to create goals for himself grounded in building his presence for each of these three terms.  Any blog post, video, tweet, speaking engagement or other opportunity to share his knowledge runs through this lens.  If an opportunity supports these three terms, then he takes advantage of it.  If it doesn’t support them, he passes.

How Often Should I Post to My Blog?

One of the most common questions I’m often asked when talking with clients about blogging or tweeting is “how often should we post or tweet?”  A simple question, but one that doesn’t have a simple answer.  It would be great if I could say ‘just post three times per week to your blog and the traffic will come pouring into your site.”  Unfortunately, that’s not the case.  But as Gregory’s framework demonstrates, having a solid foundation of what you want to focus on — whether it be for personal branding or branding/promoting your company — can guide your efforts and help you determine the answer to how much, how often, when and where you should post/tweet/engage.

Gregory shared several other topics as well: how he chose his Twitter avatar so it would stand out from the crowd, why he branded himself as “Gregory” instead of “Greg” (short answer: Greg Ng is a fairly common name and he needed to differentiate), the reason he went ahead and purchased domain names for his kids (I’ve needed to hop on that one for a while!) and more.

The Triangle region is filled with a lot of smart people.  Many thanks to Gregory for taking the time to share his perspective on personal branding.  I’m confident that many left the session that day with a fresh perspective on the topic!