Personality Marketing | Unskippable - Marketing Keynote Speaker - Jim Kukral

Category Archives for "Personality Marketing"

The Wife Asked Me To Shave

I love my wife, so the beard experiment comes to a close. My first beard ever. How sad. It had a good run, but alas, it had to go. Here’s a short film I put together of me before and after the “bearcectomy”.

On a personal branding note. I think having a consistent look is smart. But… you can change it up from time to time to keep things fresh. I will now, however, have a lot of photos and videos of me with the beard, creating an inconsistency in my presence online. However, I don’t think that’s such a big deal. Change is good! Try it!

Personal Branding Tips – Guylights

I’ve been working in the affiliate space for years now. And somehow, I’ve become known in my circles as the dude who gets “guylights” put in for every trade show. Ok, I’m personally responsible for that idea… The point is, I’ve done it purposely. I get them put in on purpose. Why? It’s a good branding thing for me. People recognize me as the dude who gets his hair highlighted. It’s kind of a funny joke. And it works, well.

You wouldn’t believe how many people come up to me at shows I attend and comment on my blond “guylights” and how they like them. My “customers” are identifying with my brand that I have worked to build. What do YOU do to differentiate your personal brand from everyone else? How do you stand out?

Here’s a short little video about my impending guylights and a few quick personal branding tips to boot. See you in Vegas.

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Your Personal Brand Is The Experience People Have With You Face-To-Face

I must have written about 30 blog entries about personal branding over the past 5-years or so. Pretty much every single one said the same thing…

Your brand is the experience your customers/reader/viewers (whatever) have with your (product/service/whatever).

I believe this to my core.

You get the idea, right? It’s logical. Brand=experience. You cannot have a brand until the experience happens. In this case (story below), we’re talking face-to-face.

Here’s one of my best pieces over at MarketingProfs.com. Here’s another one about Google.

As I’ve mentioned many times before here on MPDailyfix.com, I’m a believer that your brand is the experience your customers have with your product/service/employees/blog/whatever. One of those “things” that is important in an experience with your brand is quality.

On to the point. Lately Mike Arrington of Techcrunch fame has been taking some major lumps to his brand. First, there was the miscommunication of his no-show at Blogworld, then today I’m reading a post by someone who felt she was not treated nicely by Mike at a party (his own party). And she muses… Bold is mine.

But this weekend, I discovered that Michael Arrington doesn’t understand one thing: there’s a time and place to be combative and complacent, and there’s a time and place to be collaborative and constructive…

I smiled and was just about to thank him when he snickered this out of the side of his mouth, “Whatever. It was certainly a pleasure meeting you too.” Then he turned his back to me and laughed with his friends.

This exchange left me completely… well, shocked to tell you the truth. Sure, Michael Arrington has a tremendously successful blog worth millions. People know him, respect his company, and may even respect his personality.

But is it all worth it? Because now, Michael Arrington also has one former reader sitting here wondering if anyone, other than his mother, really likes him.

2007 has also taught us that foul assholes are inevitably sniffed out. Genuinely rancid personalities are never good for business… they eventually just stink up the whole place.

Pretty harsh stuff. I have no idea if she’s right or wrong. Never met Mike. Perhaps she misread him? Maybe he really is a jerk? I don’t know.

What I do know is that your brand is the experience people have with you. Plain and simple. With blogs, it’s VERY easy now to have a meme spread that can destroy your personal brand.

Believe me, I’ve been blogging since 2001, and I’m completely over exposed. Heck, I’ve been Google-bombed by a malicious mob of political bloggers who didn’t like one of my blog entries. It’s easy to have your brand tarnished, sometimes even if it may not be deserved.

Check out some of the comments on the blog post bashing Mike. Pile on!

Wow… this is a blistering write up. I will say that Arrington is not the nicest guy in the world. I have met him on several occasions and he tends to make everyone, other than his immediate friends, feel like they are bothering him. It’s too bad, b/c he has a lot of influence and could really carve out a piece of web history for himself if he would just be pleasant.

Ew. This guy sounds like a total waste of time, insecure in his own success, as fickle a fraudulent politician.

Hum . . . too bad about this guy. I don’t know anything about the blogging world, except from reading yours and a coupla other blogs. I’m not surprised that there are jerks who act as foolishly as this guy did.

Protect your personal brand by, well… not being a jerk, and/or making sure people don’t misunderstand you. As for Mike, I hope to meet him someday to form my own brand experience. Until then, I’ll simply choose to take all the hearsay in stride.

How Does Jim Kukral Make Money? I Create Opportunities!

I get asked this question A LOT! Recently, I was asked this directly by Joel Comm on the Las Vegas tram ride to dinner after day 1 of the Blogworld Expo.

In my last post about how traffic is b.s., I stated that this blog has gotten me jobs, and that is part of the way I “monetize”. Yes, that’s true, but I wanted to explain that “job” doesn’t mean what you think it does.

Getting a “job” from my branding/blogging efforts is not “taking a job I hate because I have to.” I don’t take jobs to sit in a soul-sucking, fluorescent lighted, cubicle. In other words, I don’t “take” jobs… I “create” opportunities for myself.

Getting a “job” for me is…

1. Choosing an opportunity that I want to get paid for. That is fun and profitable.
2. Using my brand and expertise to create a paid consultancy or partnership that I want to do.

Far too many people “take” jobs because they think they have to. I’m here to tell you, you don’t have to take a job you don’t want. You need to create a job for yourself, and then go and get it. Here’s how.

Tip #1 – Decide What You Want
Very, very important. You must first decide what you want to do. If your dream job is to be the top banker at your local bank, you need to figure out how you’re going to do that. Now, if you don’t have the experience to get it done, you should choose a goal that is more realistic. If you don’t know what you want to do… what is going to make you happy going to work every day… then you’re never going to get what you want. I would stop right now and sit down and seriously think about this. You will get nothing you want until you realize this.

Tip #2 – Build Your Brand In Your Industry
Remember, creating an opportunity for yourself is all about selling yourself. There is probably not a better way to do this than to become the thought leader or expert in your industry by using a blog to achieve that goal. Again, if you want to be a banker, then guess what, you should probably be blogging about the world of banking and showing the world what you know, and building influence in banking circles.

Look at my friend Joel Cheezman. He blogs about online recruiting. Guess what? He sold a six-figure sponsorship to his blog just from blogging. Watch his video below.

Cheezhead Sells Out

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Tip #3 – Sell Your Brand
Now you need to tell the people who you want to work with that you are qualified. You first show them your blog and your expertise. Build your case. Show off your brand you’ve built.

Tip #4 – Tell Them What You Want
I haven’t gotten to where I am by “taking jobs” off the shelf. Once I decided what it was I wanted to do, I pitched myself to people in the industry and pretty much told them what I wanted.

Example: I want to build a new division of your company, and here’s why I can do it, and here’s the reasons why you should do it, and here’s how it’s going to be successful. I’ve already shown you my expertise, are you interested?

What could they possibly say that could be so bad? No? Big deal. Move on to the next company.

I’ve done this many, many times. Here’s an example of how I got my job at Kowabunga! years and years ago this way.

1. I contacted the CEO and told him I wanted to pitch him and his staff about ways to make their email marketing product and website better. He knew of me through a connection so he said “sure, come on up”.

2. I drove up to Detroit and presented myself and my ideas to him and his staff. I was prepared though. I had a full presentation with all of my ideas laid out. I gave reasons for why my ideas would work. I sold myself.

3. I told the CEO what I wanted. I created a position for myself (Brand director). I pitched a salary, plus I wanted to stay in Cleveland and work remote, benefits, etc… He was either going to agree or not.

4. I got the job offer the next day.

I’ve done this multiple times, and not just for “jobs”. I’ve done this for sweetheart affiliate deals. I’ve done this for equity in companies I’ve wanted to work with. I’ve done this for consultant gigs that pay nicely.

Summary
Decide what you want, and take it. I’ve shown you how I’ve done it. It’s actually pretty easy to do. You have to change the way you think though. “Jobs” aren’t want you want. You want “opportunities”. Make one for yourself, and be happier.

It’s True… I’ve Made Over $500,000 From Blogging

Blogging has changed my life and has made me a lot of money. Here’s part one of my blogging success story. Subscribe to my blog feed on the right of this page for future updates.

500k_jimkukral.jpg

I’ve been blogging since 2001. August 14, 2001 to be exact. I bought JimKukral.com and threw up a blog using Blogger.com’s advanced publish feature so I could use my own design. The blog was called “I Hate Lettuce”, and it chronicled my personal thoughts and opinions about my life. Check it out here in the Web Archive.

From the moment I pushed that magic “publish” button I was completely hooked. No longer did I have to rely on a newspaper editor or magazine publisher to decide if my content should be published. Blogging bypassed them and made me global in an instant.

But what blogging also did for me, although I didn’t realize it at the time, was start the first, and probably the most important step in my personal brand, which has resulted in me earning over half a million dollars in revenue from my blogging efforts over those years until now.

Exactly How Did You Do It Jim?

It’s pretty simple; here’s the short version. Note: I’m not including salaried positions or things of that nature in my numbers. That’s extra :0

Indirect Blogging
I’ve used blogging to build my personal brand, which has indirectly allowed me to sell my services, expand my reach and create powerful partnerships and relationships that have helped me produce income and actual businesses that I own.

Direct Blogging
But indirect blogging isn’t the only way I’ve used blogs to my advantage. More specifically, I’ve used affiliate marketing techniques to produce direct revenue through blogs. No, I’m not going to show you examples of those blogs.

In the coming weeks on this blog, I’ll continue to expand on my story, and talk more about how blogging can make anyone a success (assuming they like hard work). Be sure to subscribe to my RSS feed to keep updated on that content.

Final note: You should know that I have never used one single spammy or black, or even grey-hat technique ever to produce this type of income and success.

Credit: I consulted the master Copyblogger on the headline for this entry. Thanks Brian.

How To Sell A $100,000 Sponsorship For Your Blog

Joel Cheesman is a blogger in a niche of career/recruiting. Early in 2007 Joel sold a one-year sponsorship for his award-winning blog, Cheezhead.com, to Jobcentral.com for $100k. I recently interviewed Joel via email to find out how he did it, and how you can do it to.

jclogo207.gifJim Kukral: Was it your idea to sell your entire blog or did the sponsor suggest it?

Joel: Mine.

Jim’s Analysis: It just goes to show that success comes to those who ask for it. Decide what you want, then make it happen. It sounds harder than it is.

Jim Kukral: How exactly did this sponsorship come about? Who contacted who? Who came up with the $100k number?

Joel: My blog had done (and continues to do) a nice job of supporting my SEO business. So the issue arose of Do I focus on SEO and blog less, or do I create a revenue stream for my blog and justify the time spent blogging. Revenue stream and more blogging won. I contacted JobCentral. They were a great prospect because they had supported me before (http://www.cheezhead.com/2006/06/11/jobcentral-wins-auction/).

I came up with the $100K number. I knew that if we were going to garner attention, it would have to be something big.

Jim’s Analysis: Never undervalue yourself. Sometimes asking for too little is a very bad thing.

Jim Kukral: What exactly does the sponsor get?

Joel: Dominating presence on blog (header, banner, sponsors page, single post drop-down link); plugs in podcasts and videos; logo on T-shirts worn at tradeshows and conferences; advertising in anything I publish, etc.

Jim’s Analysis: $100k/12 months=$8,300/month. Not bad for all that. As Joel mentions below, a company can spend over $100k/year on a trade show presence and possibly never even track that ROI back. With a blog sponsorship they can track everything, and the buzz alone from the sponsorship can pay off as it reaches every major blogger in that space. Hey, look at this article for proof :)

Jim Kukral: What’s the advantage to the sponsor for doing this?

1) It sounds corny, but there was really an element of “supporting the arts.” Bill Warren, head of JobCentral, really believes in the medium and where it can go.

2) Brand awareness. My blog just won Recruiting.com’s Best Recruiting Blog for 2006. I have a good name in the industry and healthy growth.

3) Zagging. A lot of companies will spend over $50K on one tradeshow in our industry, where they largely go unnoticed. By sponsoring a blog at this level, JobCentral took a different approach to its competitors’ marketing activities.

Jim’s Analysis: While I don’t think this will be an easy sell to most companies who are used to dropping wasted money into trade shows and banner ads, I do think that smart companies will see the advantages Joel talks about. The trick is finding one like Jobcentral, who is obviously way ahead of the curve. I’m going to try and interview Bill Warren, head of Jobcentral next and get his thoughts on Joel and this sponsorship.

Jim Kukral: What’s the advantage to you for selling a sponsorship this way?

I can better justify the time spent blogging. Time is money, right?

Jim’s Analysis: I would agree. The #1 advantage is that Joel can now concentrate on his craft, instead of worrying about selling ads.

Joels’ Dirty Little Secret

I saw Joel in person at an event the other day and he secretly told me that after he sold this sponsorship he was contacted by other industry people he knew who wondered why he didn’t come to them first, as they would have given him way more than $100k. Lesson learned, it doesn’t hurt to ask.

Read Joel’s story about “selling out” on his blog.

Digg this story please?

Here’s Joel’s “selling out” funny video. Good work buddy.

Cheezhead Sells Out

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Don’t Blame Bloggers For The Dark Side Of The Internet

The scary part about being an online personality is stuff like this.

kom7.gif

As I type this, I am supposed to be in San Diego, delivering a workshop at the ETech conference. But I’m not. I’m at home, with the doors locked, terrified. For the last four weeks, I’ve been getting death threat comments on this blog. But that’s not what pushed me over the edge. What finally did it was some disturbing threats of violence and sex posted on two other blogs… blogs authored and/or owned by a group that includes prominent bloggers.

Let’s not blame this on the bloggers though, I mean, this kind of stuff has been going on in message boards and private online communication for years before blogging.

As Mathew points out:

As we have all found out to one extent or another — whether through blog comments, or email flame wars, or blog posts about us — the anonymity of the Internet has a tendency to free people from their inhibitions, as James Robertson also notes. That can be a good thing, but it can also be a very bad thing. People will write things that they would never think of saying to someone in person, or saying if their identity could be discovered.

While I’ve never had a death threat online, I’ve been Google-bombed and called an asshole countless times and a slew of other nasty Internet encounters that I’ve since forgotten. But a death threat of the likes as mentioned above? Truly, truly frightening. So frightening that even Scoble is freaked out.

It makes you wonder if it’s worth it to maintain such a public profile?

Online Success Lessons From ZEfrank

ZE’s gone, but not forgotten. Well at least “The Show” is over, and yeah, ZE’s still around in spirit, that’s apparant by reading one of his post “the show” interviews over at Slate.com.

070322_brow_zefrank.jpgThis piece is for anyone who wishes to learn how to be a successful online, in any capacity. Why? Because if you read it, you’ll learn just how accidental this type of stuff can be at first.

Ze Frank tasted Internet stardom early. In 2001, he made a party invitation of funny dance moves for a few friends. The invite went viral, and he had the experience of refreshing his e-mail to find 60 to 70 new messages from around the world. He was a network star, and the attention was addictive. The dance thing, however, was a fluke. The real challenge would be to create that kind of attention purposefully, from scratch. He quit his job and built up his personal Web site. He had a few successes, but nothing on the level of The Show.

This breaks the perception that a lot of people seem to have that ZE’s early dance skit was what propelled him into the world spotlight, it’s not. The “Show” is what did that. In other words, he didn’t stop when his first “hit” was scored, he kept pushing.

The Point?

The point is. You have to keep trying. You have to keep pushing. You have to believe in your ideas and keep working hard and doing what you love.

ONLY then will you have a chance at the success/happiness/money/love/whatever you desire.

At the very least, if you do all that, you’re doing what your passionate about, so even if you don’t become rich and famous, you’ve won already.

One More Point?

ZE didn’t get where he is today because he was trying to get rich. Think about that.

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