“I am a Consultant.” This declaration is probably heard more these days than the question “What is your name?” More than at any other time in history, this economy has compelled educated highly skilled professionals to seek to earn a living by attempting to ply their trade as consultants. So how does the “standout” consultant rise above the masses of tenderfoot claimants who are just temporarily between jobs? Or, even if you are one of the freshly minted masses, how do you stand on the shoulders of giants to pick the fruitful opportunities that the old guys have been neglecting.
There are “Six Keys to Success” that are essential to building any winning success plan. These attributes are integral to building your brand as a consultant as well. These concepts have been adapted to meet the complex demands of modern day enterprise building.
- Information: Become known as a trustworthy subject matter expert in your field.
- Image: Go out into the world every day and look, sound and act the way you wish to be perceived.
- Initiative: Always act on the basis of sound planning and good research, which leads to the pursuit of effective strategy.
- Confidence: Through dedicating your self to winning small victories, you will be emboldened with the confidence that you've done your best; this will be the basis of the momentum that propels you to success.
- Capital: The greatest source of future revenue and profits for your business will be determined by the purchasing and cost decisions you make today.
- Contacts: You must assemble a winning team. You alone will never possess all of the skills and abilities required for perfection, nor will you ever be able to earn every certification or degree needed to answer every question.
Every successful entrepreneur needs to gain a general mastery of the “Keys to Success”. However, there are four specific tactical applications of these concepts that you can use to help carve out a niche for your consulting brand. You can immediately incorporate these four strategies into your practice in order to gain a leg up on the “competition”.
1) Building Your Brand by Becoming an “Infopreneur”
It is often said that content is king when it comes to building an online presence for your brand. One of the most cost effective and high impact ways to generate and distribute the high quality content that you produce is through publishing a blog. As a subject matter expert in your field, it should not be very difficult to regularly produce high-quality content in order to generate a very informative, well followed blog. The content that you generate and a place to publish it are all that you need to get started on the easy road to “Infopreneurship”.
If you are not already blogging, the process for getting started is fairly simple. There are quite a few popular blog publishing services that can be used to create your own high quality blog. Some of the more popular outlets are TypePad, Blogger (which is owned by Google.com) and WordPress. You can easily determine which of these (or the many others) sites will fit your particular needs. The most common approach to making that decision is through either utilizing trial and error, researching online comparisons, or by soliciting referrals from other bloggers.
Once you start to publish your blog, you should list your blog with blog directories. A Blog directory is a service that lists popular blogs, much like an on-line index or card catalog to assist potential blog followers. Using blog directories enables your blog to gain greater exposure to a wider audience than just relying on being followed by random users of your chosen blog publishing service.
The most well designed and highly informative blog on the internet is nothing without followers. I cannot emphasize strongly enough that the best way to gain a large captive audience of loyal followers is by regularly generating high quality content that is relevant to your target audience. To promote this content and increase their blog’s following; most bloggers utilize their existing networks on the most popular social media platforms: Twitter; FaceBook; LinkedIn etc. Some other useful tips to growing your blog’s readership and fan base are to:
1) Use the blog traffic analytics provided by your blog publishing service to determine the readership patterns of your existing followers.
2) Make widgets or gadgets (apps that link your blog to other websites) available for readers to place on their social media pages, personal websites and personal blogs.
3) Interact with your blog followers by being responsive to their comments posted on your blog.
4) Follow as many other blogs as you can and regularly interact with other bloggers.
Now that you’re the publisher of a successful blog with an avid following, what’s next? You are the owner of your blog content and therefore free to publish your articles in other online and print publications. For most bloggers utilizing their blog to grow their business is more than enough payoff for their effort and ingenuity. However, some savvy bloggers may want to take it a step further by using their blog content to enter the realm of information marketing.
Information marketing is the business of selling Books, e-Books, CDs, DVDs, Webinars Podcasts, etc. to consumers seeking essential knowledge that they can use to enhance their business or professional lives. The most fundamental information products are “inspirational““motivational” “self-help” or “how-to” books. Turning your blog content into a book provides you with the perfect opportunity to enter the domain of legendary “Infopreneurs” such as Robert Kyosaki, Jim Rohn, Les Brown and Dennis Kimbro.
The traditional route to getting a book publishing deal is one that you might consider. However, self publishing is the easiest route to bringing your book and or e-book to the public. As with the process of publishing your blog, several easy to use print-on-demand, self publishing sites exist on the internet. Some of the notable names in the game are Lulu, AuthorHouse, xLibris and iUniverse. These sites provide users with easy to use tools that allow authors to download simple text documents and images from their own computers to create actual hardcover or paperback books. Within a matter of minutes, you can produce a bookstore quality publication or downloadable e-Book that customers can purchase or download from their own computer.
To market and promote your book; you will utilize many of the same tools that are used to market and promote your blog. Becoming recognized as an Author will allow you to create new business opportunities, expand your number of blog followers and make a few dollars from selling the book as well. By following the steps I have outlined, I am sure that in no time flat you can also elevate the way your brand is perceived. You will rise in stature above other consultants who just blog, into the ranks of published authors who influence a mass audience of readers seeking expert advice.
In summary: You and you alone are responsible for controlling the quality of your brand. The image you present and the information you transfer to the public are signs of your dedication to quality and the soundness of your ideas. There are many vital aspects that contribute to successfully building a powerful brand for your consulting practice. Whether you are a long time practicing consultant or a novice to the field, utilizing these helpful brand building tactics, as well as a general application of the Six Keys to Success should definitely help you stand out from the crowd in this economic environment.
Vince Rogers is the Principal Change Agent at Vince Rogers & Associates www.vincerogers.biz
Vince Rogers & Associates works with businesses, non-profits and high achieving individuals to formulate winning “Success Plans”.
The foundation for each success plan is tailored around optimizing the management and mastery of the “Six Keys to Success”: Confidence; Capital; Contacts; Initiative; Information and Image.
His books "The Very Best of Disguised Limits" book are available to buy or download free @ www.lulu.com
The complete article Building Your Brand as a Consultant by Utilizing the “Keys to Success” Is featured as the †Cutting Edge Topic in the 2013 Pfeiffer Annual: Consulting