I had the pleasure and privilege to speak at IBM THINK 2018 at THINK Academy about building a personal brand. In this 30-minute talk, I review:
- The five elements of a personal brand
- The four pillars of your brand voice
- The four types of video to record
- The 7-part content atomization process*
- The four-part content distribution process
- Four steps for activating and promoting content (examples specific to IBM THINK, but applicable broadly)
Enjoy the video!
Can’t see anything? Watch it on YouTube here.
What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for watching the video.
Alright, good morning, everyone
that you have, unfortunately, sat yourself in, think about your brand, a session on personal branding, which is what we’re gonna be talking about today. This is an expansion of a session that we did yesterday at champion day. So we want to, we want to take some time to dig into the details of it.
Actually, before we get started a couple of prerequisites, you should probably own a smartphone. If you don’t own a smartphone. I don’t know what you’re doing here.
You for the practical portion of this. You should also be comfortable working with the Watson speech to text API because we’re going to be using that so if you’re not comfortable with that. You might want to take a lab for that because there it’s an incredibly useful thing
have not switched to that’s not way better. Alright, just yell louder. It turns
terms of personal brand,
the more can’t close the power cord is there
in terms of personal branding? So why would you ever talk about this added particularly at a technology conference? Well, a few things. Personal Branding is nothing more than your reputation as a developer, as a technology professional as a practitioner, it is your reputation and it is the only thing that you have that is guaranteed to be yours uniquely, right? Everything else that you do, somebody else can do edit some point, probably an AI will be able to do right but your personal brand is the only thing that is uniquely yours.
There are three reasons why you would care about your personal brand. Number one, if you are at all If you or your company values being heard in the marketplace. Your personal brand is an integral part of that the reason for that is that if you haven’t people that care see are on a social network of some kind of post at least once a week. Okay.
we have decided that companies should just start paying an egregious sum of money to be seen for anything, right? Which means that the only way a company can be heard without spending a lot of money, swiping the credit card to Facebook and LinkedIn and stuff is for every one of you to help amplify the message. Some people call this employee advocacy, we just call it you know, posting on behalf of your company. The stronger your personal brand is, the stronger your network is, the more you’re able to help your company which by the way, also makes you really, really valuable to the company. The more indispensable you are to the company, the harder it is for them to get rid of you or downsize you Second,
if you like not working with jerks the part your personal brand is one of the best ways to do that. Because the more you share your stuff, your perspective how you do your work, what your company’s all about, the more you will help attract talent to your company and support your company’s reputation and voice in such a way that you attract.
The people who are similar to you like you would get along with you at work as opposed to attracting Sage just you know the, the some more on that they found on a job board, right? So your personal brand will help attract talent to your company that is like the people that you want to work with. And third, and most important for everybody here, your personal brand is your lifeboat. This is your insurance policy against Job Change. When you change jobs. When you change companies, you leave behind a lot of stuff, right? You leave behind the intellectual property you leave behind colleagues and a network but you take your brand, your reputation and your personal social network with you wherever you go, the bigger and stronger your personal brand is, the better off you will be your goal as any practitioner and not just a marketer, but as any practitioner is to never need a resume again, out of curiosity, how many people to get their current position used a resume or a LinkedIn profile?
Okay, a few about a third.
Your goal should be to never have to do that. Again. Your goal should be to put a post on LinkedIn or on Facebook or wherever, saying, Hey, I’m thinking about moving on, where should I go next? And have 10 job offers from interested companies. So like, wow, we really could use your help, right? That’s the power of this stuff. So there’s a lot in it for you, the person and it yes, it does help the company as well.
So we know why the things important what is your personal brand, your personal brand has five ingredients.
It’s your brand voice, which is sort of how you say what you say it is the people that you know, the network that you build, and then the stuff that you make that supports it and the stuff that you make that supports it, which is what we’re going to talk about a lot in the practical support in the session. But these first two things are really important. Your brand voice comes in one of four flavors and you can mix and match these flavors when you go to create content when you go to talk about stuff online.
It’s not, hey, here’s the sandwich. I eat, right? It’s it. Nobody cares about that. Unless you’re a Kardashian. And if you’re a Kardashian, I don’t know why you think
so what do you talk about that would be of interest to your audience to people who might want to get to know you. Number one, the store the foundation, the values, your perspectives, as a developer, as an IT person, as a technology professional, as a marketer, business person, what do you stand for? What do you not like? What do you see in your marketplace that you object to So for example, if you work on the series and you think that you know the CEOs and the zero downtime thing is super important and you see a whole bunch of companies out there cutting corners and using the cheapest possible Linux distribution on you know, ancient hardware that’s a position that you can talk about provide value to an audience say don’t do this you will cripple your company at the worst possible time you know the that’s the reason why is the US is so important because you is for people who cannot fail so hey, if you happen to run things like I don’t know nuclear missiles.
we’re likely to use something that has zero downtime. So your values and the things that you care about is foundation principles of your career as one way to find your personal voice. The second is structure. So science process, how do you do the work that you do. So if you are, for example, a DB to admin, and you’re talking about the virtualization of data, you want to show how federated database can be virtualized so that all tables appear local.
You can’t nobody else probably knows it quite as well as you do. In fact, based on Islam, it looks on your faces. Nobody knows here what that means.
But as a technology professional, if you can explain the structure, the process how you do what you do, how you bring magic, how you make things happen, that’s a great way to create a lot of content if you want to screen cast for example, how do you set up a no sequel database people want to learn that that it provides valuable people. Third is connection. So what are the things that you are passionate about? And this is now not just the tech
Knowledge itself, but the application, the technology, what are you doing that’s making the world a better place? What are you doing to volunteer? What are you doing that applies the technology you have and the knowledge you have to the to the world’s making the world a better place. So do you volunteer for a charity? Do you help on the side with things like if setting up Watson discovery to figure out what donors should be donating for or what your charity of choice should be talking about in order to be as impactful as possible in the world? That’s connection. And the last area for finding your brand voice, your personal brands voice is in service. And this is thing I think every single person here could do. How can you help somebody else as a technology professional as an industry professional, I publish a weekly newsletter goes out to about 20, 25,000
people every week. And one of the columns that I always ask for is a section called you ask I answer and all I do is to ask people, what do you want to know what do you know what questions do you have? And it could be something as simple as Hey, how do I find the admin
In Google Analytics, because on any given day, it may or may not be as Google because he keeps messing with the interface. Or it could be as complex as Hey, which is a better predictive algorithm. So remote or Amazon stage maker, which is based on a slightly different variation of arena. The point of that is that you have an audience that can ask you questions and you can provide those answers and probably in a perspective that nobody else can do. So if you’re working on finding your personal brands voice, it is a question of what do you know that you can share and and and serve other people and help them out in the world?
So how do we do this? How do we make this the ideas if you know what your brand voices and by the way you can mix and match those those attributes? How do we turn this into something usable?
Number one, there’s a distribution process. You have to make stuff and then share it. So again, just to show hands, how many people have at least one professional social network, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and stuff like that. So anybody who is not using social media
Okay, so one person,
try signing up for and building out, you know, at least the basics of a network. But you’re going to need to have that platform. And then to start the process of creating your content, figuring out where to share it, where to distribute it, activating it, and then promoting the content.
The single best way to create content that will save you a lot of time and check the box on as many formats as possible is to create video. So for example, I’ve got my iPhone right here. I it looks really stupid. I’m wearing two microphones because there’s one that goes to the speaker, which you can barely hear.
And then there’s another one that’s wireless plugged into my iPhone. What I’m doing is I’m recording myself talking about this stuff, because I want this I want this content available as many formats as possible. We’ll talk about administration in a minute, but there’s four kinds of video that you can make really, really easily number one is the video selfie, which is you sharing a perspective So this right here is effectively a video selfie, right? I’ve got a phone too.
Taking a video of me doing something
if you are not comfortable in front of the camera, and that’s okay. Most people aren’t. If you’re not comfortable front of the camera behind the camera, you are at a gathering of 10s of thousands of technology professionals right now, because you’re standing here you have the opportunity to take out your phone, maybe not right here, but talk to somebody else and ask them, Hey, what’s your perspective on Tivoli? What’s your perspective on tm one? What’s your perspective on moving from you know, old old AP cubes to more advanced data warehousing talked to a ton of people and ask them, Hey, what’s your perspective on this, especially if you’re in sessions where you want to talk to a speaker, we want to talk to somebody else’s in that session. You know, if you are in a CEOs session, probably everybody else in that room is also interested in CEOs, right? Because you wouldn’t be in that room just for fun. Well, maybe you might be but probably not.
So be behind the camera instead of in front of a camera if you’re not comfortable with being on camera. The third is interviews. How many of you
came here with somebody else. Okay, so you got, you got somebody else to talk to. So at an event like this, stick a camera on a table and get a little tripod or balance it on drinking glass or whatever, and actually talk to your traveling companion, your business partner say, Well, you know, what did you get out today? And you don’t have to do it just at a conference. You can do it every single week. Hey, what did you guys get out today? Or what happened this week that was of no you can take a look at the the news in your industry and say, hey, these are some things that we noticed this week that were really, really important and create video around that. And the fourth if you absolute positively, just do not want to have your face on the internet. for some strange reason.
screen casting is your friend especially in technology, because there’s no way to show better what you do and how you do it than to use a piece of screen casting software and actually broadcast as you do stuff. So you could be deploying a database you could be a normalizing some data, you could be connecting stuff in it. It’s not blue mix lift anymore. What’s it called now? IBM
but moving databases from point A to point B. So you can screen this and go through every part of your job that is not proprietary and share that because that’s how you can build a reputation is that this is not what I know it’s not a resume. It’s not an interview. It is a literal ongoing demonstration of all the content you can create. So one of the tools that I particularly enjoy using his camp Asia because it allows you to do video like this, I fire up a new project here and I can import video from my iPhone I can take a screen cast of me illustrating stuff on the screen I can drop in audio and video and still images and it’s a nice very quick project that I can then publish to YouTube whatever so let’s go into
this is an example of a very simple screen as drag and drop the clips and I have a video of me talking in my basement. You know, this is not glamorous stuff. This is not stuff that
is high production value and it doesn’t
have to be. That’s the other thing that’s so important. In the old days, yes, you needed a million dollar studio and stuff today, you have your phone. And frankly, as long as the content you’re creating is a value to somebody else. They won’t care how you look how much you weigh, what you’re wearing, where you are, or even how good you the language you choose to speak is and so having stuff on there, this is my basements not the most glamorous place in the world. But it does the job in terms of publishing and video to get out there. So I use campaigns to manipulate and and do stuff like that.
The only other thing on a practical perspective that you probably want for video is good audio. So this head warned microphone here is about 30 bucks on Amazon. It’s some Chinese company whose name I can’t pronounce because I don’t speak a word of Chinese. But it was on Amazon. It was cheap. And it seems to work just fine.
In terms of video quality. your smartphone is good enough. How many of you have ever gone to to watch sports at a bar out of curiosity? Okay, a lot of you. Wow. Okay.
Have you ever had a case where the TV in the bar wasn’t the best, but you can hear the game? It was fun. That’s fine, right? How many of you have had the same enjoyable experience watching a TV? There’s a really nice HDTV. But there was no audio. Was it as fun like not really kind of lose interest, right? Because we are primed to listen and watch at the same time. So if you’re going to make video online, invest in the audio because people will watch people will watch a person in their basement as long as they can hear it clearly. Right. So having having a decent microphone is an important part of that. When you’re doing things like interviews and stuff, grab a quiet corner as best as you can, you know, someplace, this room is probably the absolute worst acoustically other than having an actual marching band in here because the sound is bouncing around everywhere. So go to a hotel room go to, you know, someplace quiet. This sounds slightly creepy, but any place with padded walls is perfect because the sound does not bounce around.
So let’s say
You go and you create a video on your iPhone, there are a couple apps that I would strongly recommend that you have. One of them is called Adobe Spark video. It’s a free app and allows you to make like 32nd clips. You’ll want to do that for promotional purposes. The other is have a video editing app of some kind, I don’t know the Android ecosystem. But on the on iPhone, there’s I movie which comes with the phone. There’s also Adobe Premiere clip, I believe it’s called, which is a fantastic little video editor. And again, all you gotta do is drop drag and drop the pieces and hit publish and send it off to YouTube or wherever.
What do you do with the video video is so rich, right contains the images, the pictures, right, so you can take the video and upload it to YouTube. And you should you should upload it to LinkedIn. If it’s 10 minutes or less. Keep your videos to 10 minutes or less, by the way, because don’t tell anybody but LinkedIn is probably one of the best places to share video right now if it’s 10 minutes or less, because it gets like 100 times the engagement you
don’t put that on the internet. Oh, wait.
So you can put the video out there. But what comes along with the video, the audio.
So one of the things you could do if you have a Linux based system, there’s a utility called FF MPEG that allows you to take any video on immediately convert it to an audio format like mp3, MPM, for a or b and stuff like that. And it’s, it’s literally it’s like one or two commands.
Think about your brand. I’m going to convert this to a, an mp3.
FF MPEG will go in and transcoding very, very quick. It’s open source, totally free of financial costs. You just have to be able to install the bloody thing. And then once you’re done, what do you have? You have mp3, which means you can load it to soundcloud. You can load it to Spotify, you can publish a podcast, right? So your video series automatically becomes a podcast, put it on a WordPress blog, and now you’ve got yourself a full audio podcast and whatever you turn your audio into it.
is a podcast.
Alright, what else can you do with that audio? If you have the Opus encoder, which is also free you can go to Watson natural Watson speech to text and with again, a couple of relatively simple commands, you can trans code your audio.
Let’s see if this is done yet.
It’s done. Excellent.
I’m sure by the way, and someone can please tell me there’s got to be an easy way to do this. I’m just a terrible coder.
So now I have the text of that mp3 of everything that I was saying. I will obviously have to do some cleanup on
It but once I have that text, what do I have? I have content for blog posts. I have content for email newsletters, depending on how long I foam at the mouth for. I may have enough for a white paper or even an E book. But if
you have the video, what else do you have takes still frames out of the video. Now you have images, for social for Instagram, for Pinterest. For all these things, you have photos for your blog, you have stock photography, this one video here, assuming I don’t look like an idiot, or like pick my nose for some reason, I could take the whole thing, slice it up and turn it into like thousands of photos that I can use over and over again. So one video turns into all this content that you can then make use of throughout the year, right. So if you don’t have time to create new social content everyday to promote yourself, do some video recording and then transcoding into all these different formats.
Any questions on the slicing and dicing part
in terms of promoting it, the idea of build it and they will come died in right around the same time that MySpace died
for those of you who are have a little little more gray or a little less hair than you’d like MySpace was a popular social network in the early 2000s as popular mostly known for things to sparkle and glittered.
What you do is you need to be able to activate your content to make somebody pay attention to it. And this four different ways you can do that. Number one is to tag stuff when on most social networks, you tag somebody else you briefly get their attention and the people who you know who are immediately connected to them. So if you are how many of you are using the think 2018 hashtag for for the conference this week. Okay, everybody else? The hashtags think 2018 when people share content that’s tagged that anybody who’s watching the conference is going to see it so make sure that as you would create content for this event, you would tag it think 2018 and be at least
noticed by the folks who are participating in the event
second monitor things that are of importance for to your get to what your expertise is on social media. And this is as simple as just setting up some Google Alerts or some you know, things like that. It doesn’t have to be complex. But then when you see someone asking a question engaged, answer their questions again, they don’t have to ask you specifically they just have to ask a question you answer the question and you start to get gain attention. Third, as you create stuff, the stuff that does well the stuff that people actually like and comment and share those are the things you want to recycle so every two or three months put your best stuff on a treadmill if you have a perspective on for example data Federation and people keep wanting to see more about that turn it into a serious turning it into a series of videos and then obviously turn into a book turn into a white paper The more that you can take a piece of content that successful and expand on it and refreshed every three months the more likely it is you’re going to get that audience activation and finally
Be prepared. If you want to grow, say above the 10, 15,000
AUDIENCE MEMBER Mark tip, be prepared to spend a little bit of money on and buy a little bit. I’ve been maybe about five bucks a day. But how many of you have your own personal website?
Okay, that’s homework. Go make your own personal website, because you need a place to be able to collect data on all the people that you’re engaging with. How many of you have ever gone shopping online on like Amazon or something and seen ads for your browsing left for the next two days, right? That’s called retargeting. You can do that on your personal website. You want to do that on your personal website. When you publish a video. When you publish any piece of content. You want retargeting tags, and you want that people staying in that audience. You don’t have to spend money every single day but you want to track the living daylights out of those people because guess what, when you go to change jobs or when you have a major piece of content coming up drop 15 or 25 bucks in the retargeting machine and turn it on and make people pay attention for a brief amount of time as they as your big thing or bigger.
announcement comes up, having that audiences is never retroactive. So you need to have the retargeting on it to begin with. Facebook offers it. Twitter offers it their advertising platforms that offer and it’s as simple as putting some tags on your website. And then you go and annoy the living daylights out of people for as long as you’re willing to spend money to do so
in terms of who to tag and who to participate with your ad and IBM event. If you are not engaging with the individual handles for each of the IBM products you work with. Please do so. That means if you’re in cloud should be IBM Cloud. If you’re in Watson’s IBM Watson, so forth, partner with and get the attention of as many of the divisions of IBM that you have relationships with and do that so that you have those relationships after think ends. Don’t leave here saying Okay, I got a cool shirt.
You get a shirt for asking questions. But don’t just take home the shirt like take home relationship.
From the show if you are paying attention and monitoring Twitter here, Melissa,
if you’re paying attention to these different breakout sessions and session leaders get to know this folks share their content, because they will help you amplify things.
You’re here on the floor, take a look at any of the show floors. For other vendors. If there’s a vendor in your space, particularly a big one you want to get their attention at at the show, talk to them, build a relationship, share some of their stuff, so that when you go on again, to try and activate your stuff later on, you have their attention. There are a number of folks who are in the call the social VIP program, if you go on to any of the social networks and look for think 2018 talk to those folks, especially if it’s in a subject area that you know, well, like, you know, z series, for example. That’s the kind of folks those relationships you want to build. Because when you want to publish something, those people can help amplify you if you’ve built a relationship at the show, buy them a drink, buy them a lot of drinks, and you might be able
have built a really good relationship.
And then especially for specific technologies, look for people wearing the blue lanyards throughout the event. These are folks who are IBM champions, which means that they are subject matter experts within IBM within the IBM audience. They’re not IBM errs, who know a product or service really, really, really well. These are folks you might want to collaborate with. These are folks who also have really good relationships in the user community and certainly with some of the biggest brands in the space and make sure that you know who they are and you talk to them and get to know them better.
Finally, in terms of how long does it take to build your personal brand, you have to be consistently publishing and you have to be very, very patient consistently publishing means at least once a week, ideally once a day. So for example, when I get up in the morning, I will typically record the video and publish that as my blog post for the day and, you know, change all the formats and things it’s about an hour and the
mornings. I’ve been doing this since about 2007. And it’s the point now where I have about 100,000 followers or so which is a reasonable amount. I’m still not a Kardashian. Nobody sends me on any hot airlines first class.
But it’s enough that when I launched my new company brain trust insights, I got enough people to pay attention to it to, you know, at least get some some initial interest in it. So plan for your interest for your brand. Take two to four years to build up consistent work of tagging people of publishing on a regular frequent basis. And if you do that, like I said, that’s your lifeboat. That’s your insurance policy that helps protect you against the downmarket against the downsizing against a major industry change by having your personal brand you have the only person who can wreck your personal brand is you
unless you’re a politician.
So with that, any questions
you sir, and then you ma’am.
I don’t rehearse a whole bunch. What I like to do is I use mind mapping software to plot out the major points. So that gives me a skeleton so that I don’t like constantly repeat myself. But beyond that, I don’t I try not to script because what happens is it comes up very robotic and not a whole lot of fun. So on the Mac, I use an app called mind. No, there’s a good Jillian and a half different mind mapping packages. This is an example of one I just did. So I was talking this morning about the hierarchy of analytics and how each layer has a technology associated with it. So I made some quotes and as I went through, I just hope so I had them on the side to talk about them, but it didn’t go into like super detail in the script. This is the script It’s enough just for me to not lose my place and ramble for like 20 minutes kinda like working out.
so like trolls, and critics and stuff like that critic, if it’s legit, if it’s legitimate criticism, like, Hey, you are completely wrong about data virtualization, right. That’s not how it works. I will say, cool. Thank you and love to get to know you. Because you have something to teach me and I’m willing to be taught. I’m very happy to learn something. If it’s just an. Then just block them, right? Because if it’s like something like oh, well, you look fat. Well, thanks. I will take that into consideration blocked right because it depends on whether they have a legitimate interest in helping me become a better practitioner or whether they’re just being a jerk. There’s plenty of jerks on the internet, so just block them like crazy. It’s like whack a mole sir.
So the question is on boundaries, it’s a really good question. The boundaries are wherever you decide you feel comfortable with them. So for example, if you look on social media, I have a ton of stuff out there on, you know, interest of mine, the martial art that I practice what foods I cook, how will I shoot a recursive bow? Right? Things that are personal and professional, but you’ll find nothing about my family zero, there’s no photos, there’s no anything because that’s my boundaries is to, you know, keeping the trolls away from the people I actually care about
in terms of messaging, it depends on the company work for so IBM for example, is known as the relatively conservative company. So you obviously there’s a the social computing guidelines, the companies probably have like, Hey, here’s what you are not allowed to say or do don’t go outside of these rails like so. You probably should not show yourself like, you know, pounding shots at a bar at 2am on a work night.
Probably you could if that’s who you are
right? So the question of what you create a company time to is dependent on your employment agreement with the company of the company says anything you create during company time is the company’s like it’s all work for hire then you have to adhere to that you have to deal with whatever is your contract now the ideal is that your build your personal brand enough that in the next job you may you you jump to you have your attorney talk to the you know help you draft the employment agreements say hey things that create at the request of the company on company time and company equipment is the companies but stuff I do on my own outside of company time is mine right now. Depending on the company. Some companies are very draconian. Anything you do while you’re employed is ours. Right. So
It’s a negotiation point for your next position that’s up. But for right now, you have to hear it with whatever you’re currently under with. I which I have no idea what IBM says. Other questions?
You Watson personality insights for yourself?
yeah. So you can use Watson personality insights, I think there’s two really good use cases for that one, take all of your text content, feed it into personality insights, to get a sense of sort of what your own voice is, for those of you have not tried Watson personality insights. It’s a hill it’s an enormously fun tool, you load text content to into it. And that kind of does a little bit psycho analysis on you. It is not a medical professional,
and that gives you a sort of a blueprint of your voice. Are you introverted? extrovert, a technical confident, tentative and things like that in that sort of star fish shape thing. The second thing is you can use to score different publications.
So when you get to a point where somebody says, Hey, would you write a guest blog post for the think blog? Would you write a guest blog post for tech Republic or whatever, you can take a sampling of articles from that blueprint and get a sense, like, yeah, how close is my personality match the publication and if there’s a ton of overlap, that you can write your normal style and you know, and however you choose to speak, if there’s a significant mismatch, you may have said, you know what I, we can try it by I don’t necessarily know how good a fit I will be as a writer in terms of voice and tone with your publication. Like, for example, I probably would not go right for Vice News, right? Because they have a very different tone. I probably would not go right for the hub blog because it’s a very different tone. Their data science seems fantastic, but still not something that I feel comfortable with because it’s not my personality. So use personality insights to sort of fingerprint the different entities also, when you’re talking to the different influencers, use personality insights to figure out who is that influencer? What’s their tone and then is that somebody I would feel comfortable talking to?
Like aggressive and brash and and all in all sorts of way out there and that’s not you, maybe that’s not the influencer to talk to you. Maybe there’s a different IBM champion or or an influencer, who would be a better personality fit for you.
comments? Dad jokes.
All right. The video for this is going to be posted up on my website it whenever I get back to my hotel room tonight and edit it and stuff, so if you want it if you’d like a copy of the video, just take a picture of the screen and email me and I will be more than happy to send along to you. Thank you very much for your attention.
Christopher S. Penn
Co-Founder, Trust Insights
FTC Disclosure: I am an IBM Champion; as such, I receive non-monetary benefits from IBM to promote their products and services, such as travel expenses and branded apparel. All opinions are my own and do not represent the positions of either IBM or Trust Insights.
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