March 3, 2021

How to Best Build Buzz with a Powerful Personal Brand - BM262

How to Best Build Buzz with a Powerful Personal Brand - BM262

Do you want to know how to build buzz with a powerful personal brand?

Listen as personal brand expert, Jen Dalton shares how to shape an authentic personal brand to boost your reputation.


Do you want to know how to build buzz with a powerful personal brand?

Listen as personal brand expert, Jen Dalton shares how to shape an authentic personal brand to boost your reputation.

In this week's dynamic episode "How to Best Build Buzz with a Powerful Personal Brand" you will discover..

  • What is the importance of a personal author brand?
  • Which comes first, branding your book or yourself as the author?
  • What elements make up a personal brand
  • Why your reputation is like breadcrumbs
  • What it takes to be a noise breaker, not a noisemaker
  • Common personal branding mistakes to avoid
  • And a whole lot more...

Get your free copy of "125-Point Checklist of Profitable Income Streams for Authors"

 

Transcript

Susan Friedmann:        

Welcome to Book Marketing Mentors, the weekly podcast where you learn proven strategies, tools, ideas, and tips from the masters. Every week I introduce you to a marketing master who will share their expertise to help you market and sell more books. Today, my special guest is a personal brand strategist, international speaker and author. Jen Dalton collaborates with CEOs, executives, and entrepreneurs to build authentic personal brands growing their revenue and accelerating their impact. Jen has delivered hundreds of talks across the US, Canada, and the UK. She's spoken at the White House, state department, Fortune 500 companies including IBM and GE, and at events such as the World Trade Center's Institutes Global Conference. Her first book, The Intentional Entrepreneur how to be a noise breaker not a noisemaker, shares her process for launching brands that disrupt the status quo. Whoa Jen, what an absolute pleasure it is to welcome you to the show and thank you for being this week's guest expert and mentor.

Jen Dalton:                   Thank you so much Susan. I'm thrilled to be here.

Susan Friedmann:        

Jen I just have to ask you, what was it like and how did you feel presenting at the White House? What's the story there?

Jen Dalton:               

Presenting at the White House was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You're not allowed to take pictures or do anything like that. It's very top secret. They tell you exactly where to show up, et cetera. How I got there is a classmate of mine from Georgetown had me come speak to the group. It was all types of senior leaders from all different departments who were interested in building their personal brands. We have so much technology now that although people in the past, especially whether it was government or business or whatever it is, may not have really focused on their personal brand but now with internet and LinkedIn and social media everybody is find-able.

And som everyone really does need to think about what is their personal brand because if you're not defining it one you're either invisible or out of sight, out of mind, or two other people will define it for you. It was a crazy, amazing experience being there speaking to a large group of government officials around how do they think about their personal brand given that's not something they usually feel comfortable doing because it's such a secretive, refined, close-knit group. It was definitely fun, definitely different than speaking at a company event for sure.

Susan Friedmann:        

Well, it certainly sounds good in your intro so it elevates your status incredibly, at least for me so I'm sure for our listeners as well. Jen, I think that was a beautiful segue into talking about the importance of a personal brand specifically for authors. Talk to us about why is that so important.

Jen Dalton:                  

Well, when I think about building a personal brand it's becoming really clear on your why. And a lot of people, actually even senior leaders say, "Well personal brand, that's weird. We're not products. That's a company brand."But when I work with individuals on their personal brand it's really about their why. It's discovering their purpose and how do they leverage that purpose, the passion to move the needle not only on their visibility but on their impact. And I think authors have such a unique channel and way to communicate and really make a difference that it's extremely important to have clarity on their why. Why are you writing this book? What do you want it to do? How do you want it to make an impact?

And then of course, if they want to be picked up by a large publishing company or even just to be interviewed on TV, et cetera, the bigger presence you have, the more followers you have, the more community you have, that makes you a really interesting and exciting author to engage and to put out on the world stage. So I think for authors, as you're thinking about writing a book or if that is something you're wanting to do or if it's something you've done, it is really important to consistently be visible and to grow that community and grow that possibility for impact.

Susan Friedmann:        

That's an interesting position. So many authors I find hide behind their book and they're trying to push the book to the forefront rather than themselves and the message that they have. Can you address that as it relates to the personal brand?

Jen Dalton:                  

I love the way you articulated that and I think of it similar to how I think of a personal brand and a company brand. People follow leaders not logos. Much like a book, I read a book because I've heard of the author or someone has shared about the author's journey and why it's compelling. If you're just looking for a book title or a book image it doesn't convey a person or a personality per se. And so that's why having an individual really communicate how they think and why they wrote the book 100 times that would make me want to read a book more than just scrolling through all of the books on Amazon, because there are a lot of books out there. And so, the more I can hear about an author or see an author, that makes me want to get to them more and then read their book. I don't usually start with a book and then find the author. I'm usually looking for the author first.

Susan Friedmann:        

That's interesting that you say that. I belong to a book club and we decide which book we're going to read for the next month and sometimes it's fiction, sometimes it's non-fiction, but we always want to see if we can find something more out about the individual author. And if we can listen to an interview of that author somehow it just draws us in to appreciate more exactly what the author wrote about, again whether it was fiction or non-fiction.

Jen Dalton:                  

I think hearing someone's story really creates an emotional connection. When I think about personal brand or even just speaking to an audience whether you're at a business meeting or out and about when people just share numbers or facts or a book title there's not an emotional connection that's being made, it's still pretty factual. And so, it only engages one part of your brain. But when I hear a story, because I've heard the author and they explain what happened to make them want to write this piece, that triggers all of the parts of the brain. Because a story really engages elements of your brain that helps you remember the author, remember what you've heard. Because if you think about it, when someone tells you a story it's much easier to relay that story than it is if someone just gives you a title or one or two facts. And so, I think it's really important for authors to tell their story because that's what makes it memorable and can help spread the word.

Susan Friedmann:        

Yes and we love story. As we know, story is being highlighted more and more now as a way to connect with an audience. Let's talk about what are the elements that make up a personal brand?

Jen Dalton:                  

That's a good one. When I think of a personal brand, as I said before I think there's a piece around what is the impact or mission you're trying to make. But then there are things like, what are your values? What matters to you? There are things like your tone. How do you want people to describe you? How do you want the look and feel of your brand?

All of these elements I think of them like your personal brand's DNA. What is it that makes you different? What is it that if someone were just to describe you what words would they use? Those are all elements that really make up the foundation and then you can decide. If you're an approachable person then for example, very tactical example, your headshot should be approachable. You wouldn't want it to be someone who's not smiling who's wearing a suit that's black and white and not engaging. If your personal brand is about making a difference in the community, being approachable, energetic, then all of that has to be woven into not only your visuals, your headshots, but also how you speak, how you write on social media, what you write about.

So I think another key element of a personal brand is to pick three things you are really trying to be known for. A personal brand is your reputation and those can be soft skills or hard skills. For me I love reputation strategy. I'm extremely structured. I don't leave home without a worksheet or a PowerPoint. And I love coming up with creative ideas that give people clarity on their brand. And so if you interact with me, those three things always have to show up. I'm going to talk about your reputation, I'm going to talk about structure and I'm going to talk about how do we get clarity. And so as an author, really thinking through what are those three things you want to be known for that should be showing up in what you're writing, how you're writing, where you're seen and what you talk about.

Susan Friedmann:        

Yeah so you've got to know that first because you talk about social media and what you post on social media and that's all reflective of your personality, whether your controversial or you just take a very low key approach to things. You need to know that and get clear. I love that. Your whole reputation. Yeah, talk to us more about that.

Jen Dalton:                  

Well, I think of it like Hansel and Gretel leaving breadcrumbs. Your reputation is like breadcrumbs, it's the evidence that you are building, sharing, leaving wherever you show up, the Mark that you make so that people know what to expect so that you're consistent and that they really understand what you stand for. So they can also by the way, talk about you in a clear, compelling way. We can not all be good at everything. I used to hope that was true in my younger years. I know that's not true. We have to pick our lane and as soon as we can do that then it's much easier for people to remember what we're good at.

I mean, if Hansel and Gretel left a trail of all of these different things you wouldn't even know it's a trail. And so your reputation is about helping people know why they should work with you, why they should read what you write, and what you're an expert in and where you can add value. And that's really what a reputation does is it gives you permission to play in whatever audiences you're trying to shape or whatever conversation you're trying to drive.

Susan Friedmann:        

The title of your book, The Intentional Entrepreneur, how to be a noise breaker not a noisemaker, I love that. Talk to us more about that, breaking that down. What does it mean to be a noise breaker rather than a noisemaker?

Jen Dalton:                  

So when I think about noise, I'm guessing your listeners can probably all relate to this, there's plenty of noise. There's plenty of people saying the same thing as others, maybe a little bit differently, but there's lots of noise that's repetitive, that's not useful. I'll think of an easy example here. I go on LinkedIn or I go on any social media and people like stuff or people comment, "Great point." That's a lot of noise and it doesn't mean that it's not nice. I like that people like things in comment. But when I think of breaking through the noise, that's really about creating a new conversation, providing new insight.

Even when I wrote my first and my second book I know there are other books that dip their toe in the water of similar topics. So, I also know that whatever I write about has to add to the discussion. It can't just be repetitive. When I think a noise breaker is someone who adds to the conversation in a different way and sometimes in a disruptive way that really moves a conversation or an insight or an awareness forward which helps their audience be more, well-informed, make better decisions and hopefully learn something new and think differently.

Susan Friedmann:         Now your new book is about listening I believe, is that correct?

Jen Dalton:                   Right. It's Called Listen, how to embrace the difficult conversations life throws at you.

Susan Friedmann:        Talk to us about a few of the elements of that.

Jen Dalton:                  

So my first book was business-related and very much about my process in my business, the second book was a bit more of a passion project I would say. You never know when you go to write a book or when you feel like writing what might inspire you, sometimes you can plan for it but sometimes it does come out of the blue. When my mother passed away in 2019 I ended up having a lot of difficult conversations that I had not planned for that were a surprise.

As I was going into these conversations, and at the same time we also have as many of us know politics and religion and all kinds of conversations we face every day that we either are trying to avoid or trying to not disrupt our relationships at all. But what I've found is that first of all I think if we avoid difficult conversations you're never going to learn how to navigate them and we are going to have difficult conversations, that is a fact of life. And for the people that we're close to, wouldn't it be great if we practiced those conversations more so when we went to have them they weren't as painful or as hard and that our relationships got better or were better because we had them?

The second book was really a journey for me on how do I get better at communicating? What do other people do? So, I interviewed 20 people around what's the most difficult conversation they've ever had. And what I got back surprised me in that some of the people I had thought they would talk about this and instead they talked about other stuff. I got back business conversations but I also got back personal conversations like a father coming out to his kids, a mother trying to communicate how she was going through a divorce to her children, a woman who is in the sandwich generation having to talk to her father about moving into assisted living. And then you have business conversations around leadership or a leader might make a mistake and they need to have that conversation with their employee.

These conversations really were about how can we be authentic as individuals and have these conversations that if we don't have them we're really not living up to our personal brand, we're not living up to our purpose or our why. I mean, imagine not being able to talk about something ever even though you really, really believe in it. You can really be yourself. For me, this book really was about capturing every chapter is a different type of conversation and then at the end I introduce a new framework for how to think about conversations to help make it easier.

Susan Friedmann:        

That's really interesting in terms of how would you weave that into the idea of your personal brand. Because you talk about authenticity, I would think that that would be part of a personal brand that you, I would say would be a must as far as I'm concerned. But when it comes to this concept of listening how would you weave that into your personal brand?

Jen Dalton:                  

That's a great question and I struggled with that a little bit around if I write this book is it a passion project or is it aligned with my personal brand? And the more I thought about it and the more the word listen really mattered is because our personal brand is what our audience tells us it is. And so, although we can define our brand and say, "I want to be known as this," if your audience, perception is reality, if they don't perceive you as that then it's not really your reputation or your personal brand.

For me, listening is about understanding where your audience is at, doing so with empathy and really trying to understand your audience and then have a dialogue around that. And that same philosophy is very true in personal branding where it's knowing your audience and then how are you adding value and making sure that what you're doing, what brand you think you're building, is in fact the one that your audience perceives. That's why listening plays such an important role to be able to be authentic and to really be genuine and why conversations are so important because that's where we build relationships and we build that evidence of who are we as individuals and what matters to us.

Susan Friedmann:        

Yes I love that. That's why I love this podcast so much because I'm having a conversation with people and getting to know them and then having the listeners get to know them and myself as well in terms of the listeners may be getting more about who I am and what I convey as well, I think that's really important. How about mistakes, Jen? Our listeners love hearing about mistakes, learning about them, what they should avoid. When it comes to personal branding what should we look to avoid?

Jen Dalton:                  

When I think about personal brand and mistakes, especially where you're a solopreneur and you're starting a business I think it's really important upfront to define your personal brand and what you want to accomplish and to also go out and ask the market or your target audience what they want, what they're looking for. Many business owners are so excited to start their business that they launch it and run with it. The challenge is that sometimes if you haven't gone out and really tried to define your target audience you may be offering something that they either don't want, or the messaging doesn't quite resonate, or maybe you don't understand their pain points well enough to provide value. I see that as a number one mistake.

The other one I would call out that I think is important, and I made this same mistake of course, I was very excited to launch my business and one of the hardest things when you launch a business is to name it. And when I think about personal brand versus company brand many people name their business after themselves because it's easy. It's probably not something that already exists out there. However, the question to ask is what do you want to do with your business three, four, five, 10 years from now? Because I think it's important for individuals to think through if you're trying to look more like a company and play bigger then you might want of a company name or a company brand versus a personal name.

When I first started, my company was Vaughn Advisors because I just wanted to get out there and Vaughn is a family name so it was meaningful but it doesn't matter to my audience. Everybody thought I was a financial advisor. I very quickly realized, yeah this was a terrible idea. So I sat down with a few girlfriends and a couple of bottles of wine and talked about what's the purpose of my business and it really was around reflection, thinking about who we are as individuals, and then defining our "why" which is why I came up with the name Brand Mirror. I think that's probably the other thing for people to think about is how has their personal brand going to define the company brand and just give it a little bit of thought before charging ahead.

Susan Friedmann:         

It's so funny because that reminds me of what I named my business when I started and I sat down with some colleagues and we came up with A Diadem Communications and at the time we thought this was amazing. The problem was nobody had a clue. They thought we were a wireless communication company. We were in fact a training company. It was trade show training as well. It was like, this was the furthest thing that people would think about when it came to what we actually did. And funnily enough, the first strategy in my book Riches in Niches how to make it big in a small market is literally named the business in terms of what you do.

So, Brand Mirror is just fabulous for you as a brand strategist. I love it. I think that's a great name. But yes, we often use our name, and again I mean I've got a name that most people can't spell let alone try and pronounce it. It's not a good name for my business. Plus people don't necessarily look up your name. They might look up more what you do like when I was involved in trade show work that they would look up trade show training. They didn't look up Susan Friedmann. I think that's important as well that you bring that out really, really well. Thank you. Jen, if our listeners wanted to find out more about you, your services, how can they do that?

Jen Dalton:                  

Thank you for asking. They can find me at brandmirror.com. And then I recently launched my personal brand website which is thenoisebreaker.com. And of course, I'm on LinkedIn and Facebook and Twitter and Instagram. People can connect with me on LinkedIn, reach out with questions after hearing the podcast. I'm happy to answer

Susan Friedmann:        

Fabulous. What a great resource listeners. Jen's incredible wisdom with relation to personal brand strategy and what you need to know and how to build your reputation and get clarity on your message. Wow, incredible. Jen, if you were to leave our listeners with a golden nugget what would that be?

Jen Dalton:                  

I would say that, and this is a phrase I use with my clients, telepathy is not a strategy. So, if you have some amazing insight or thoughts and you're trying to figure out if you should be the one to share them I would say go for it. Because if you know something the only way it's going to add value is to put it out in the world. Telepathy is not a strategy, be gutsy and put yourself out there.

Susan Friedmann:        

That is great. It reminds me of a colleague who before he got married he said to his wife, or his to be wife, he said, "I've only got one rule and that is I don't read minds." We've got this habit, I don't know about you, but it's maybe a female habit of we think that the other person, particularly our spouse or partner, should know what we're thinking without telling them. I think this is perfect telepathy. Yes. Jen, thank you. You've been amazing. I knew you would be. I really appreciate you sharing your wisdom. And thank you all for taking time out of your precious day to listen to this interview and I sincerely hope that it sparked some ideas you can use to sell more books. Here's wishing you much book marketing success.