My Biggest Mistake: Centralize Your Brand | Unskippable - Marketing Keynote Speaker - Jim Kukral

My Biggest Mistake: Centralize Your Brand

My biggest mistake from the past 7-years or so was not building my personal brand on my own blog hard enough, earlier enough. Some may wonder why someone like me who’s been around for a long time blogging (since 2001), only has about 600 rss subscribers. I’ll tell you why… because I never focused blogging and building my brand here on until recently.

I have been too focused on helping other businesses build their brands, and I was too busy blogging at other places instead of right here. Mistake. Sure, it worked out for me in other ways, but in terms of having my own large audience, I failed.

Don’t make the mistake I made. Build your brand early in one central location and keep it yours, and you can’t go wrong. Be like, be smart, it’s not too late.

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Chris Shouse - April 3, 2008

Very good advice Jim and one I intend to use when I get my new real life non borg blog up and running.

Michael Brito - April 3, 2008

Great advice Jim. Make it 601 … I just subscribed. ; )

karyrogers - April 3, 2008

“Build your brand early in one central location and keep it yours…”

What about video content? It seems nowadays most people are using something like TubeMogul to get their content out to as many places as possible. You can certainly include a URL for your own site in the video but now you’ve got your content scattered everywhere. There are lots of implications to this, both positive and negative. These sites could have RSS feeds with your content and you could gain a following from one of these feeds that you don’t really control. On the other hand, your content has the potential to be seen by many more people.


karyrogers’s last blog post..Arrested Development

Wayne Porter - April 3, 2008

As someone who plans to change mediums (either audio or video) I am interested on thoughts about this. I really like podcasting, but I like to work with others…blogging is broken though.

Joe Magennis - April 3, 2008

Agree 100%! We have spent years trying to convince clients about how to build their own brands — then one day we woke up and said we should just shut up and do it for ourselves.

We struggled to convince them of the strategies and work involved in doing it the right way. We would bang our heads on the wall as clients crapped all over the equity we built for them with fonts, colors, graphics standards etc.. all of the brand building essentials.

So now we’re practicing what we preached – we found our passion and we are loving every minute of it.

Jim Kukral - April 3, 2008

@Chris, yep! Good luck with new blog.

@Michael, thanks!

@Kay, I view sites like Viddler and YouTube as players of my branded content, that’s all. All used to drive more eyeballs back to my brand. Always, always brand your videos back home.

@Joe, The best way to prove to a customer it’s worth it is to do it yourself and prove roi. Drink your own kool-aid.

Amy Gahran - April 3, 2008

Great points, Jim.

I look at things a bit differently, however.

I’ve been blogging at since 1997 (Yep, I had to hand-code it for the first few years). And it seems to me I’ve managed to build a pretty strong personal brand (well, strong enough for my taste and needs) through that blog but also by having my name around in a lot of other places.

Like you, I do a lot of blogging work for various clients — the Poynter Institute, the Knight New Media Center, etc. And I’m also an avid user of social media.

Seems to me that while it’s important to have a “home base” like a blog and domain of your own, building your brand is not just about your own site and traffic or subscribers to that destination. In fact, I personally think it’s just as important to get your brand out there in other prominent, accessible ways. It’s *not* all about your site.

I’ve got no shortage of well-paying work, cool clients, and paid speaking gigs through my strategy. I don’t currently have advertising on, so I’m not focused on building huge traffic. Focusing on having — and being part of — a quality community is serving me well.

Anyway, that’s my take.

– Amy Gahran

Amy Gahran’s last blog post..Foolish Journalism

Jim Kukral - April 3, 2008

You’re right Amy. I guess my point was that I only have a handful of readers here, because I was elsewhere. I certainly did well for myself by being other places, but… I can honestly say that if I focused all of my time here for all of those years, I know I would have a full time big subscriber base and “business” on my brand like Darren has at Problogger.

Matt - April 3, 2008

You’ve got me, Jim!!! And you probably had no idea:) You had me at “I’m Jim Kurkal, and this this is The Daily Flip.”

Amy Gahran - April 3, 2008

Well, that model works fine for Darren, if you want to have the kind of business/career he has. (I admire him, too.) And it might work well for you.

Personally, I see a lot of benefit from being highly visible in a way that blends a “home base” with a wide-ranging territory online. That seems to make me more findable in a pretty flexible, robust way. Trying to bring everything back to my own blog probably wouldn’t get me as far or be as fulfilling. But my goals my differ from yous.

– Amy

Amy Gahran’s last blog post..Foolish Journalism

Jim Kukral - April 3, 2008

Amy, yeah, that’s specifically what I’m talking about. Having a home base/business built on my brand in one location. Sounds like a pretty sweet gig to me?

But you’re right, not everyone might think that would be as sweet as I do.

Amy Gahran - April 3, 2008

yep. I don’t think having a home base is a bad idea — in fact, I think it’s a good idea. However, it seems to me that trying to focus most of your efforts into bringing people to where you are instead of making yourself visible and findable where they are may not be the most effective approach, depending on your goals and who you need to connect with.

– Amy Gahran

Amy Gahran’s last blog post..Foolish Journalism

Jani - April 4, 2008

A very good advice. A home base is a great idea. I have such a home base too. :)

Jani’s last blog post..Handy Bundle mit Laptop - Where’s Your “Personal Brand,” and Why? - April 4, 2008

[…] my colleague Jim Kukral wrote about why he’s decided to focus on centralizing his personal brand. He wrote: “My biggest mistake from the past 7-years or so was not building my personal brand […]

Amy Gahran - April 4, 2008

Jim, thanks for getting me thinking about this topic. Just posted my own take on it:

– Amy Gahran

Amy Gahran’s last blog post..Where’s Your “Personal Brand,” and Why?

Laura - April 5, 2008

very great advice…i agree with you….i like your blog

Pugsley - April 6, 2008

I love the honesty, and the advice is great too. It is surprising how many people don’t either realize that you need to build a brand or don’t know they should start building their own brand now.
Thanks for the advice.


Jim Kukral - April 6, 2008

@laura, thanks, and glad you stopped by.

@Pugsley, great name! Glad you liked it.

Jens - April 12, 2008

This man sonds very optimistic and competent. And mistakes? Everybody makes them, it is not bad.

Luna - April 13, 2008

Jens is right, everybody makes mistakes :) Dont worry about it, now it can go better for the future :)

John Ettorre - April 16, 2008

Interesting discussion, Jim, which you get credit for kicking off. Amy is always among the most thoughtful on these subjects, so congratulations for hosting the kind of blog that she feels impelled to take part in.

Boston - April 17, 2008

very good advice !!! I like this video and of course your great blog ;-)

Micha - April 24, 2008

You sound very optimistic. A very interesting blog. I read here very often, Thanks :)

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