Do You Have the 5 Elements of a Powerful Personal Brand?

One of the most popular features at Platform University is our “Member Makeover.” Each month, Megan Miller, our dean, and I review the platform of one of our members, including their blog and social media presence. Then, in a screencast, we share our overall evaluation and specific recommendations.

Black and red pencils

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/focusstock

After doing this now for several months, we find ourselves returning to the same basic framework. I thought it might be helpful to share this with you as you think about launching or taking your personal brand to the next level.

A strong personal brand has five elements:

  1. A defined audience. When I first started blogging, it took me four years to attract more than one thousand unique visitors a month. Then in 2008, I hit an inflection point. My traffic exploded. I averaged twenty thousand visitors a month.

    There were several reasons for this, but one of the main ones is that I shifted the focus from myself to my readers. This was subtle but conscious. I started deliberately thinking about them, their needs, and how I could serve them well.

    Initially, I guessed. Then I decided to conduct a survey. I asked them specific demographic and psychographic questions and used SurveyMonkey to compile the results.

    I boiled the results down to a reader profile. It looked like this:

    My typical reader is a male (62%) between the ages of 31–50 (56%). He has at least a college degree (78%) and household income of $70,000 or more (53%). He lives in the U.S. (84%), most likely in the southeastern part of the country (35%). His faith is very important to him (92%).

    This profile enabled me to write more laser-focused posts that had a higher probability of resonating with my readers.

    As you are working to establish your brand, I suggest you start with your audience. Take the guesswork out of it. Use a tool like SurveyMonkey or PollDaddy to collect the results. I’ve done this for three years in a row and plan to do it again in the next week or two.

    Action Plan: Create a Reader Survey and ask your current readers to participate. Collect responses for a week or two. Summarize your insights in a blog post like I did here.
  2. A clear value proposition. Once you have identified your audience, it’s time to decide what you can offer them. What will you give in exchange for their valuable time and attention?

    This may take a little experimentation. I cast around for years trying to figure it out.

    • Do I offer resources to help people work smarter (my first blog)?

    • Do I offer perspective on the fast-changing world of book publishing (my second attempt)?

    • Do I offer insights into leadership (my third attempt)?

    • Do I offer tools for building a personal platform (my fourth attempt)?

    • Do I offer a bit of all the above with some inspiration for personal development thrown in (my current attempt)?

    To be honest, I didn’t really figure it out until a few months ago. It came to me while I was out running.

    I help leaders leverage their influence.

    This has become the organizing framework for everything I do. It is the foundation for all my work. Self-development, productivity, speaking, writing, and social media all enable leaders—the people I serve—to maximize their impact.

    What is your value proposition? What do you offer or intend to offer to your audience?

    Don’t be afraid to try different things out. You’ll know it when you finally land on the right one.

    Action Plan: Develop a one-sentence value proposition. What do you uniquely offer your audience? Start by making a list of possibilities, then narrow it down to one.
  3. A compelling brand slogan. We live in a busy, noisy world. People’s attention spans are growing shorter by the year. You only have a few minutes (if that long) to distill your value proposition into a slogan.

    Here are some good ones:

    Some larger personal brands don’t have a brand slogan per se. They can get away with it, because their names are synonymous with what they represent. Until you get to that level, I recommend you come up with one and use it. It will help focus what you do.

    Action Plan: Write a one-sentence brand slogan, using your value proposition and what you now know about your audience. Start with a verb or a gerund.
  4. An engaging headshot. If you want to build a powerful platform, you need photos of yourself. Why? Because people want to connect with people not merely brands, products, or causes.

    The right photo can help establish credibility, build trust, and promote engagement. These are at the heart of connecting in the world of social media and essential if you ever hope to sell someone on what you have to offer.

    The key is in getting the right headshot. This is not about creating a Photoshopped, glamour photo (gag). It is about capturing the real, authentic you—just as the people who know you best experience you.

    You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to get a great headshot, but you should be prepared to spend something. You’ll save money if you know what you want and plan accordingly.

    For example, in my last photo shoot, I told the photographer I wanted to communicate professionalism, approachability, and fun. That opened up a bunch of possibilities. Based on that, we got hundreds of shots in a variety of locations in less than two hours. It cost me $200. (Your mileage may vary.)

    When you are done, pick one headshot you can use on your website and all your social media networks. This should become your default avatar. In addition, I would ask for shots that show you doing what you do. Here are some ideas:

    • Working at your computer
    • Analyzing your client’s data
    • Coaching one-on-one
    • Facilitating a small group meeting
    • Recording a podcast
    • Shooting a video
    • Speaking before a large crowd
    • Autographing your book at an event

    I offer some additional tips in “9 Suggestions for Taking Better Headshots.”

    Action Plan: Find a local photographer and schedule a two-hour photo shoot. Identify what you want your headshot to communicate, then create a list of action shots you want to take.
  5. Simple graphic components. When I was the CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, I launched a re-banding initiative called “One Company.” Over time our brands had proliferated like bunny rabbits. We had scores of logos, colors, and fonts. Our customers were confused. We were confused!

    So we set out to simplify things by reducing everything to a singular logo, color palette, and font selection. (Yes, there were a few exceptions.) This was hard work, but it made our lives easier and the business more profitable.

    I strongly recommend you do this for your personal brand:

    • Commission a professionally-designed logo. You can hire a designer or use a service like 99Designs, CrowdSpring, or Logo Tournament. I have used all three with great success.

    • Decide on a fixed color palette. There are some wonderful, free tools that help you do this, including Adobe Kuler. Take some time to educate yourself on the psychology of color and then chose colors that are congruent with your brand position.

    • Select your brand fonts. Use two—no more than three. I recommend a serifed font for body text (e.g., I use Georgia on this blog) and a sans-serifed font for titles, subheads, and captions (e.g., I use Helvetica Neue). Then apply your standard ruthlessly to everything you do—website, business cards, advertising, etc.

    You might even create a web-based style guide as I have done here. I created this for our internal use, but feel free to use it as the basis for your own.

    Action Plan: Commission a logo for your brand. Then create a simple style guide (similar to this) that includes your color palette and font selection.

Before you can build a powerful personal brand, you must nail down these five elements. It really doesn’t take that much time, and it will save you months—perhaps years—in terms of getting you to your ultimate platform-building destination.

Question: Which if these five elements do you still need to work on? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read My Comments Policy.

  • http://JonDHarrison.com/ Jon D Harrison

    Wow! Michael, your style guide is an excellent resource – thank you so much for sharing this, it is quite helpful to me. I’ll be creating one of my own now.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Great, Jon. I’m glad you found it helpful.

  • http://www.MegaMoxie.com/ Amber Hurdle

    Thanks, Michael. This is exactly what I’m focused on throughout the next few weeks. Very timely post for my priorities!

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      I thought the same, Amber. What are you working on right now? New website, or tweaking the one you have? Or???

      • http://www.MegaMoxie.com/ Amber Hurdle

        Tweaking the one I have and more clearly defining what I do now that I’ve settled into my niche. Also, looking for how I can put ‘me’ in my brand. What I have representing me now is not at all who I’ve become! It’s a journey, though. What about you, Michele?

        • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

          Great plan, Amber. My new website went live over the weekend, although the official launch won’t be for another week or two. I’ll probably do a reader survey soon to make sure I’m in touch with my audience.

          • http://www.MegaMoxie.com/ Amber Hurdle

            Awesome. I like it. It is very warm and I immediately get that you are a writer. (Granted, I’m a typography snob!) What will your official launch entail? I hadn’t even thought that far ahead, yet!

  • http://blessingmpofu.com/ Blessing Mpofu

    great post mike. very helpful… my question: in terms of #1 and #2, how do you “harmonise” themes you blog about that may have some sort of “variance”. hope this makes sense…

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Yes, that happens. I occasionally go off-topic. I don’t worry about it too much, but I also don’t do it too much, because I don’t want to dilute the brand. I have a Miscellaneous category tag for these posts.

      • http://blessingmpofu.com/ Blessing Mpofu

        thanks. have you written anything about how you manage such instances when you go “off topic”?

        • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

          No, I’m afraid I haven’t. I just do it! (My posts on running would be an example.)

  • http://www.davebratcher.com/ Dave Bratcher

    Thanks for the great information, Michael. I value your insight and because of you, I am continuing to build my brand. How were you able to remain patient and trust what you were doing was going to build your platform with time?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Honestly, I’m not sure I knew I had a choice. I place a really high value on perseverance. You build a personal brand, one post at a time, having laid a foundation like I described in the post.

  • http://www.lawrencewilson.com/p/about-me.html Lawrence W. Wilson

    I hear people say they are “rebranding” their company, church, blog, but they’re really just getting a new logo. I think the first two (defining audience and value) are so much more important!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I agree. The logo and every other graphic element flows from those first two.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Great point, Lawrence.

  • http://dreamjobprogram.com/ Drew Tewell

    Having experienced a Member Makeover firsthand, I can literally say that in just one month it has transformed my platform! Thank you Michael and Megan. And Michael, since I’m doing a guest post every week in 2013, I have a great idea for a guest post around my experience with my member makeover and the transformation that has taken place. Would love to share it with you.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Awesome Drew. Currently, I am not accepting guest posts except from Platform University faculty and members. That would be you! I’d love to see it.

    • http://JonDHarrison.com/ Jon D Harrison

      Drew, I love what you have done with your site since the Member Makeover!

  • lucrecer

    Excellent post with great advice. I really like your style guide, Michael.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      We’re glad you enjoyed it. What’s one area you could start working on today?

      • lucrecer

        The value proposition. I am in the midst of making major changes to my site and what I am sharing with my readers.

        • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

          Awesome. I’m confident having a great value proposition will help you take your blog to the next level.

          • lucrecer

            I agree. Thanks for the vote of confidence.

  • Bill Donahue

    Using this to review and revise drbilldonahue.com – thanks Michael – great meting you with Kevin Weiss at the Indie Conference for Author Solutions couple years ago

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Awesome, Bill. Thanks.

  • http://www.joelarmy.com/ Darren Hibbs

    I’m about to start rebranding around my name in a month or two (my website JoelArmy.com is my current blog-shifting to DarrenHibbs.com). Is there a way to do that without losing too many users?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I don’t think you have to lose any. Just explain what you are going to do, provide the rationale, then do it. I have done it several times and my audience has grown every time.

      • http://www.joelarmy.com/ Darren Hibbs

        Thanks, Michael. That’s encouraging to know.

  • http://www.paulbevans.com/ Paul B Evans

    Michael, this is one of my all time favorite posts! I’m on the road this week and will work through every exercise as I continue to anchor my brand in a new market. Thanks!

    Love #2. Too often we think we have to nail our value proposition right out of the gate. It can become a barrier that prevents us from ever launching because we don’t feel we really KNOW what we stand for in the market place.

    The idea of attempting and experimenting takes the pressure off. The truth is that we are all in a constant state of growth and transition, especially at start-up, so it’s natural that there will be sculpting along the way.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      So true, Paul. We are all in a place of experimenting. My current brand is just this phase of the experiment! (Meanwhile, I am serving people and making a living!)

  • http://ochanix.com/ Ocha Nix

    Always great information. Looks like I still have lots to do before I get to my destination. But then again, things are likely to change along the way but your information here gives us a firm outline of how we should do it.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Ocha, once you get started, the destination gets closer. And it’s never as far away as it seems.

      • http://ochanix.com/ Ocha Nix

        So true Joe.

  • http://www.kenzimmermanjr.com/ Ken Zimmerman Jr.

    Thanks for a good guide, Michael. I definitely need to work on a logo. I wanted to get my blog up and running this year but I neglected some of these areas. Good information as always.

  • http://www.timemanagementninja.com/ Craig Jarrow

    Michael,

    This is a *great* post for those trying to define their brand.

    Wish I had it when I got started… :)

    Craig

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Craig. I wish I had had it, too. ;-)

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Me, too! However, I believe a brand develops/emerges only when you wrestle with it. That takes time and sweat.

      • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

        It’s a little bit like shopping for new clothes. You have to try on several until you find something you like that fits.

    • rabbimoffic

      I think all the struggles help us define it, though. Even if we feel perfect clarity when we start, we’ll still probably change.

  • http://taylormarshall.com/ Dr. Taylor Marshall

    This is a great post. This why I love the Michael Hyatt blog. Useful bullet list of things I need to do with compelling reasons to just do them.

    Thank you Michael. See you at Platform Conference!

    • http://JonDHarrison.com/ Jon D Harrison

      Your comment is a great testament to what applying the ideas in the post make possible. Bullet lists of things we actual want to do + reasons we find compelling are the byproduct of intentional application of Michael understanding his audience (us)

  • Sue Kemnitz

    Yikes! I need to work on numbers 1-4! Start at the beginning. Take time with each. And be intentional about it in the next 2 weeks. I like that I can still be fluid. I’ve thought about each of these, but discover changes in focus. In addition, going back to the beginning, only occasionally, I think wise.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Sue, go for it and see great results! Take small steps and you’ll be there before you know it.

  • http://elisafreschi.blogspot.com/ elisa freschi

    Thank you, Michael. I am afraid I will keep on avoiding photos (as with your policy regarding emails/facebook etc., I do not want my professional and my private life to completely overlap), but I will work more consistently on the other elements (and I already added a single defining slogan in my new blog (elisafreschi.com)).

  • Alexi George

    Michael,
    You said you shifted your focus from yourself to your readers. At the same time your readers wanted to hear more about you, what your doing, your experiences, etc. I am having difficulty combining both of these concepts. This is an area I struggle with in my writing. I share my experiences but I wonder if that would seem like I’m focused on myself.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Yes, you can share your experiences (as I have done here), but you always have to turn them around and make them relevant to your readers. Always be asking, “Why is this relevant to my readers?” “How will this help them?” “How can they use this to solve their problems?”

  • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

    I’ve been working on all of these. Even so, it never feels “done.” About the time I think I’ve got it, I think of something else I need to do! After reading this post, I think I need to do a reader survey. My audience has grown and changed significantly over the past year, and I want to make sure I know who they are and what they need most.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      That would be a great idea, Michele.

  • http://markstruczewski.com/ Mark Struczewski

    Another great post, Michael. As I was reading over your five suggestions, I was mentally checking off what I am doing well and what I’m not. While I am still defining my audience, I have committed to blogging everyday since my site went live on January 21, 2011 (948 consecutive days and counting). Now, to be sure, not every post is for the reader. Sometimes, like today (I hope it’s permissible for me to insert a link here, if not…my apologizes: http://wp.me/p1jbUH-2cq) are more of a message to my subconscious mind. But thanks to adding the Yoast SEO plugin, I’ve noticed by blog posts are improving because I spend more time than I used to on them (love that green!). As far as a head shot goes, I used to be a professional photographer and still have all my gear. So, my wife is able to take head shots whenever I want. But, seeing I am voluntarily bald, I really haven’t changed the way I look since 2003! But I am going to check out your blog post about taking better head shots. I do need some variety for my website. Thanks, again, Michael, for this great post. You gave us a lot to think about.

  • Lisa Lawmaster Hess

    Had to laugh at the profile of the typical reader — My typical reader is a male (nope) between the ages of 31–50 (nope). He has at least a college degree (yes) and household income of $70,000 or more (yes). He lives in the U.S. (yes), most likely in the southeastern part of the country (nope). His faith is very important to him (yes).
    I may not fit, but I sure enjoy your posts! Thanks for another good one.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Ha! Yet, it definitely doesn’t define everyone. I have to be mindful of that, too!

      • Lisa Lawmaster Hess

        …which is where it gets murky. That’s where I run into trouble – trying to please all of the readers all of the time!

        • http://readtoleadpodcast.com/ Jeff Brown

          From my time in radio, I learned the value of the counter-intuitive concept of focusing on a very specific – and what may feel like a very small – target (as Michael has laid out here). When you do that, you’ll be surprised at how many more people, from all walks of life, you’ll actually reach. Rather than aiming for the market (and missing your target), aim for the bullseye, and watch the market respond.

  • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylereed

    Thanks for the strong challenge to look at my readers. I often write what I want to hear but I really need to step back and conduct a survey and identify what readers want.
    Thanks Mike

  • http://www.johnrmeese.com/ John Meese

    Great post, and great resources! I’m always impressed by your unabashed openness in sharing the specifics of your resources and methods to the masses, it really helps.

    As I’ve recently started a new blog of my own, these questions are especially pertinent. While I don’t have enough readers yet to learn a lot from a survey, I have paid close attention to which posts have been the most popular and I’m using that to evaluate my current content and tweak my blog’s purpose as I go. I’ve discovered that defining my audience, rather than trying to cater to everyone at once (or just to my own interests), is a crucial part of this.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Great, John. Paying attention to your post popular posts is how I started in the beginning.

  • AlGetler

    Thanks, Michael. This is a read. Reread. Read again. Do. Do more. Put it in the calendar and go back to it every three months as a dipstick check. Excellent advise. Thank you.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Al!

  • http://www.GigaLawFirm.com/ Doug Isenberg

    Using a survey sounds like a great idea if you want to understand your current audience (so you can write for them) — but what if you want to create a new or different audience than the one you currently have?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I would just start writing for that audience. This will attract people who share your passion. You could also do some Facebook ads or guest posts, targeting audiences that would have an affinity for that content.

      • http://www.GigaLawFirm.com/ Doug Isenberg

        Thanks, Michael!

  • http://MikeLoomis.CO/ Mike Loomis

    This is brilliant for its clarity and brevity – !! I suppose the main thing that need scrutiny now is my headshot. Some people “get” the toy phone (and if they like it, they’ll like working with me!) BUT it might be time to grow up the photo – ?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Yea, that feels like an inside joke to me. It’s cute if I know your intention; otherwise, it’s a disconnect for me. Thanks.

      • http://MikeLoomis.CO/ Mike Loomis

        Good word, Michael – Thank you!

  • http://JonDHarrison.com/ Jon D Harrison

    After reviewing & digesting, I think I need to focus more on all 5 points…I would say my strongest point might be number 3 – “Helping You Succeed” but I need to refine the “you” a bit more : )

  • http://www.brainrider.com/ Scott Armstrong

    Terrific post Michael. Love your tips.

    For more background I always love Tom Peter’s Inc article
    http://www.fastcompany.com/28905/brand-called-you

    And in a digital world it has become even more important.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Scott Armstrong
    Brainrider
    Making BetterB2B Marketing

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Terrific. I definitely want to read that.

      • http://www.GigaLawFirm.com/ Doug Isenberg

        See also the book “You Are a Brand!: In Person and Online, How Smart People Brand Themselves for Business Success.” I read the first edition a number of years ago, but I see it’s now updated in a second edition. Available on Amazon (of course) at http://amzn.to/1cUqiga

  • http://www.escapingdodge.com/ Ree Klein

    These are great points, as always! I think my biggest challenge is that my landing page might be too busy and I haven’t defined my audience my audience well enough. I do know that I can’t say “it’s for everyone!” SurveyMonkey, here I come!

  • Christopher Sell

    Hi Michael,
    Wow – thanks so much for writing this post today. I’m currently in the midst of redesigning my blog/website and formally creating a brand identity. Your post is perfect timing and incredibly helpful. I particularly like the part about knowing your audience. Using a quick survey is a great idea! Over the last couple of years writing my own blog, I’ve also discovered that a thorough review of my site’s stats has illustrated which posts/topics about which I’ve written have seen the most traffic — another keen insight into what my audience prefers and what content I “ought” to be creating. Thanks again!

  • Zach Windahl

    Ever since I interviewed you for my first book a few years ago you’ve always been a huge inspiration to me. This post was extremely helpful as I just got done with all of the branding for my new company. Thank you for everything you do!

    Zach Windahl
    http://www.zachwindahl.com

  • http://www.CharlesSpecht.com/ Charles Specht

    This article is gold! Actually, that’s what I just tweeted about this article as well. ;-)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Charles. I appreciate you sharing this with your tribe.

      • http://www.CharlesSpecht.com/ Charles Specht

        You’re welcome.

  • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

    Great information Michael. I love it when you share these types of tips with us. One thing I know I still need to work on is getting a great head shot. It’s been too long with a less than stellar photo.

  • Eric Anderton

    Michael,
    Great article. Thanks for the stuff on color and font. I’m using your theme and kicking around a few fundamentals. Should I brand my company with my name or w/ a company name? Current name is non descriptive (ABC Group) based on my initials and a general ideal of what I do (Business Consulting). I’m considering changing the name either to ericanderton.com or to something more specific and descriptive. Any thoughts on that? http://www.abcgroup.co

    Thanks Michael.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      This might help. I posted this a couple of weeks ago: 4 Considerations in Picking a Website Name.

      • Eric Anderton

        Thanks Michael. Good advice on not using the book title for the web site.

  • portofpeace

    This is exactly what I needed. I am working on providing quality resources for my audience

  • Tommy Kiedis

    Really appreciate the clarity of your value statement, Michael. “I help leaders leverage their influence.”
    Yep, that’s you. Very helpful point for me.

    • rabbimoffic

      I think one of the beauties of this value statement is that it reflects Michael’s knowledge of his audience. Once he knows it, he gets an even better idea of what readers are learning from him.

    • Jim Martin

      Tommy, I would like to pick a value statement for my blog so that when my readers see this they also say (as you did) “Yep, that’s you.”

  • http://www.christianchildrensempowerment.com/ Jacqui

    Great post! Your guidelines are on point!

    My ministry is Christian Children’s Empowerment, and I have found that defining the audience has been the most difficult part, as ironic as that may sound. I have taken your suggestion and launched a survey. Last week, I commissioned a company to design a new logo for me, and I have tested the proofs with different age groups. Two thumbs up! We should launch that this week after some slight revisions. I have a good headshot, as it reflects one of the happiest days of my life. Our slogan is “Empowering children through the Word of God, so excellence is the standard, not the exception.” This has gone over well with children and adults, and it truly speaks to what we are doing. I welcome the audience to check out my site, christianchildrensempowerment.com, and provide feedback.

  • Rhonda

    Thanks for sharing all of these really useful tips, I can see where I could use some improvements, especially my graphics.

    • Jim Martin

      This post was very useful wasn’t it? I also need to improve my use of graphics.

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Thanks for mentioning Social Media Examiner Michael!

  • edward earwood

    The graphic components ideas are great. I will surely use them as we develop our blog.

  • http://www.paulcounts.com/ Paul Counts

    This was a powerful blog post! Great read! I realized I am missing my compelling brand slogan and seriously need to do a survey to my audience. Also, I am pumped for GetNoticed to go public. This is a big part of my new branding strategy. Have been looking for a theme like this.

  • Aaron Tkachuk

    Michael, I like how you had many attempts and finally landed on one that speaks the loudest, clearest, and most true to your heart. How do you reconcile having one website/blog but posting content that might attract completely different, if not polar opposite, audiences?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      You can occasionally go off-topic and it will be fine. I do it myself. But if you do it too much, you dilute your brand and don’t stand for anything. I really do think you have to focus in order to be effective.

  • http://teachingstewardship.com/ Brian Horvath

    Thank you so much for your help with building my platform in this post. I love the updated brand slogan!

    • Jim Martin

      Brian, I also like the updated brand slogan. It really does describe what Michael does on this blog.

  • Frank Manzella

    Hello Michael, I’m getting ready to launch a blog housed on my own name.com and I found this article extremely helpful. This article was extremely actionable and a must read for new bloggers trying to build a personal brand. Will curate and share. Thank you Sir

  • Jim Martin

    Michael, this post is particularly helpful. You made a couple of suggestions that I am going to act on immediately.

  • Bryan Van Slyke

    Great post! I think I definitely need to work on thinking about what my audience needs over what I want. I actually listened to a podcast this morning of yours and have already started coming up with some great ideas. Thanks again for all you do!

  • http://jeffsanders.com/ Jeff Sanders

    Ah! I need to do a survey just like that. I feel like I only know my audience in small doses. But is there a way to guarantee that many of them will respond to a survey? Don’t most people ignore requests for those things?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      You only need a sampling. Even though I garnered 1,500 or so responses each time, the results were predictable after about 200.

      • http://jeffsanders.com/ Jeff Sanders

        Thanks Michael! I’ll give it a shot.

  • Dave Hilgendorf

    Michael, I appreciate all the great information you provide and your engagement in the comments of your posts. I went off track a number of years ago chasing after every IM or Real Estate guru that had a $997 course “guaranteed to make me rich”. God has shown me a much better way through His Word and folks like Dave Ramsey. I have a desire to write and speak and don’t want to ever go down that path of being like the “Guru’s” so willing to take my credit card. I know you’re a man of faith. I’m wondering, how have you found the right balance between giving and selling?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I think so, but you’d have to ask my readers. I try to practice the 20-to-1 Rule, which I wrote about in my book. I try to make 20 deposits for every one withdrawal.

      • Dave Hilgendorf

        I agree you have found the right balance and I really liked your book and the 20-to-1 rule in particular. I was actually wondering how you went about finding the right balance and I think you’ve answered that. Thanks

  • http://RayDWaters.com/ Ray waters

    Michael,

    Your blog came at the perfect time for me. I was stressed all day yesterday feeling I was at a dead end then I read your article. It was exactly the clarity I needed to move forward. Thanks for sharing.

  • soumanguebasse

    Wow.. Powerful post Michael!..I’ve read probably 75+ of your blog posts and probably only commented on 3 of them. But I have to say, this post was filled with so much value. Thank you so much for leading by example. Also, I’m so very grateful that I am a member to be member of Platform U!!! Keep up the great post my friend.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Awesome! I’m glad you liked it.

  • http://www.teamworkandleadership.com/ Mike Rogers

    Very nice Michael. What I really like about your tips is the focusing on the right questions in terms of what your audience needs. I will be doing that more. Thanks as always!

    Mike Rogers

  • http://brettcohrs.com Brett

    Great stuff. I have some serious work to do. I knew this, but these posts remind me. Step 1 – just write more. Step 2 – stop pretending I’m just ‘minimalist’ and think through some of these things (I’m thinking about my http://www.nonprofitinsuranceblog.com page – in addition to my semi-broken http://www.brettcohrs.com). This guy needs a plan. :-)

  • http://asmithblog.com/ asmithblog

    Great post, Michael. Really enjoyed this one.

  • http://cruabroad.com/ Jason Coorts

    One of the most helpful posts in a while for me and timely. Context – I’m launching a brand new, non-profit study abroad (college student) program. Definitely need a Better headshot photo, will do, getting a new logo designed, will do. Defined audience – really helped me and my staff to make a decision yesterday on one of two choices for a marketing strategy over the next two months. We’re going with facebook ads because we can market directly to the type of college student we’re looking for.

  • Lynn Morrissey

    I need to decide on a compelling brand slogan. I notice that not all those you cited began with a gerund. How important is that? I was thinking of “deeper insight through reflective writing” for my brand on journaling. Would that nail it, Michael?
    Also, how does your (meaning you, personally) brand slogan complement your personal purpose statement (or does it)?
    Thanks
    Lynn

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      My brand slogan is now pretty much my purpose statement.

      I think your proposed brand slogan is great, assuming it resonates with you.

      • Lynn Morrissey

        I really appreciate this confirmation, Michael. Yes, it resonates w/ me, and judging by your reaction, I think it will resonate w/ others. Tx, and tx for insight on your purpose statement.

  • http://www.archcityhomes.com Karen Goodman

    I have 2 blogs that have some overlap. One is my real estate site (I’m a real estate agent) and the other is a lifestyle blog that includes travel and local experiences. This post just helped me think about the purpose of each blog and what I’m offering to my readers/who they are. With this newfound purpose for each blog, it should be easy to decide which blog gets which posts. Thank you!

  • Christopher

    Your site very edcational therefore when i get value i come back. Your new platform speaker sites are all good. Melaine duncans site not so good as it is all about her with pictures of herself everywhere.

  • http://www.marydemuth.com/ Mary DeMuth

    This was very, very confirming to me, especially after my latest web design. I finally feel like it’s “me” in the full, and it fits my audience.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Awesome, Mary. I am so glad.

      I am teaching this same content to some pastors on Monday. People so often jump to a blog or podcast before they nail down this basic branding stuff.

      • http://www.marydemuth.com/ Mary DeMuth

        Agreed. Blessings on your talk to pastors!

  • http://www.Cultivate.ws/ Twon Mai

    Your first point is great! It inspired me to focus more.

  • Kam

    This is amazing. Some of this information I find overwhelming because I’m just starting to re-think my platform, but overall I’m excited to see a step-by-step guide to make things more streamlined. Now, once I figure out whether to stay with Blogger or go back to WordPress, things will begin to make a lot more sense!

  • http://newdispweb.com/ Ms. J. S. Butler

    This was a wonderful post. I’ve been reading you for about a year, but this was one of the best ones to date. My slogan for my website is ‘The Web Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated,’ for compelling folk to allow me to build theirs. However, I need a lot of work to go along with! Thanks for pointing me in the right direction…

  • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

    Love this, Stephanie. Very creative. We will test it!

  • A P

    Terrific guide – however, link to Style Guide is broken on this page and a few others.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for pointing that out. It should be fixed now. Just make sure you refresh your page. You may have to clear your brewer’s cache as well.