Content Marketing

Why Should Your Personal Brand not be Your First Priority? – Here’s Why with Mark & Eric

While your personal brand is important, it should not be your only focus, or even your first priority. Mark Traphagen had a lengthy conversation with Copyblogger’s Brian Clark recently, someone who most would say has a very strong personal brand. Brian explained that you have to put your audience first. Be their hero and your personal brand will fall into place. Provide them with what they want, and sometimes what they didn’t even know they were looking for, and everything else will take care of itself.

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Eric: A strong personal brand can pack a powerful punch!
Mark: But you never want it to undercut things that are more important.
Eric: In this episode of “Here’s Why with Mark and Eric”, I’ll ask Mark to explain why effective marketing happens when you’re NOT a superhero of your own story.
Eric: Mark, you and I both know the power of our personal brands.
Mark: Right, Eric, because people like us, they’re more likely to want to read, share, ultimately do business with our company.
Eric: So then why would you say that your personal brand shouldn’t be your first priority?
Mark: Well you don’t have to take it from me, take it from Brian Clark, one of the best known personal brands in online marketing.
Eric: Brian is the founder and CEO of Copyblogger, one of the most trusted brands and marketing blogs on the web.
Mark: And there is no denying much of the success of Copyblogger is due to Brian Clark’s powerful personal brand. Through social media interviews, conference speaking, many other outlets, people get to know Brian as the friendly, approachable, effective communicator he really is. So I imagine many in the audience for his talk at this year’s social media marketing conference were shocked to hear him say he doesn’t pay much attention to his personal brand!
Eric: Shouldn’t something so powerful that it brought Brian Clark such a devoted audience deserve more of his attention?
Mark: Well, I had a chance to ask Brian that very question in a conversation we had later that day. In a nutshell, Brian told me that he’s found that if you concentrate on your audience, your personal brand takes care of itself. In other words, make your audience the heroes, not yourself, and you will become the hero without self-promotion. Now Brian drew an analogy to content marketing.
The most successful content marketing succeeds because it doesn’t appear to be marketing at all. People avoid marketing but they love content that is truly useful, interesting, or entertaining. In the same way, as a content creator, put the needs and wants of your audience first and they will follow you anywhere. People come to value you because YOU value what’s important to them.
Eric: So if you make personal brand your main goal, you might end up doing more harm to the brand than good.
Mark: Right, I mean Brian said that some people will put so much effort into building their personal brand, they end up being “That Guy”. In other words, they come off as “all about me” which ends up turning off their audience. And Brian said everyone wants to be a star, but the real stars, the ones who endure, are people who have done hard work and consistently brought value to others.
Eric: Thanks Mark, and thanks to Brian Clark from Copyblogger for those insights! Mark also asked Brian about the brand promoting its employees’ personal brands, a practice which has also contributed to the huge success of Copyblogger. To get Brian’s talk on that, be sure to click through to Mark’s full interview linked in the notes to this episode. Thanks for watching and join us for the next “Here’s Why with Mark and Eric.”

Thoughts on “Why Should Your Personal Brand not be Your First Priority? – Here’s Why with Mark & Eric”

  1. Great video guys. I love the point that you are making it is very interesting, although I do not know if I believe with it 100%. For example, I live in Dallas and I know some marketing professionals that drive most of their clients through the brand that they have created under them. They are so authoritative, they get to charge 200X more than regular SEO gurus and since they reap so much off each client they are not too concerned about getting a lot more customers.
    However, most brands are built exactly the way you explained. You have to focus on the customer and everything else will follow. Thanks for the video guys! Excellent job.

  2. Hi Vlad – we are not saying that you don’t want a personal brand. It’s more that you don’t get it by pursuing it, you get one by focusing on the customer.

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Eric Enge

Eric Enge is part of the Digital Marketing practice at Perficient. He designs studies and produces industry-related research to help prove, debunk, or evolve assumptions about digital marketing practices and their value. Eric is a writer, blogger, researcher, teacher, and keynote speaker and panelist at major industry conferences. Partnering with several other experts, Eric served as the lead author of The Art of SEO.

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