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5 Things You Can Do On New Year’s Day to Improve Your Professional Brand

As the new year approaches, everyone is gearing up to set new goals and meet higher expectations, whether it be personally or financially. With the ever-growing need for a highly professional and visible brand, there are five things you can do in the new year to ensure you are leveraging your brand in order to be thought of as an industry expert and thought leader.

1. Revamp social media

By now everyone has caught the social media bug. But are you helping or hurting your brand with your social media? Know which platforms you are using and why. Really create purpose in your plans. Don’t just use it because everyone else is. If you’re not a social media pro, just keep it simple.

Easy action steps: Update your LinkedIn page. Many sources say that LinkedIn is or will eventually replace the résumé. Make sure yours is up to date with your current position, expertise, recommendations, endorsements, awards, publications, and any pertinent information that you want clients, potential clients, and peers to have access to.


2. Create a content plan

Content isn’t becoming king. It is king, and its reign will be a dynasty. Whether you run your own blog, contribute to online publications, or publish white papers, be succinct and purposeful with every second you spend with your content. Similar to social media, many have gotten on the content train, but they are only on it because it’s the thing to do. Publish content that offers real value.

Easy action steps: Start small by contributing to your company or personal blog and engaging that audience. Once you feel comfortable, start to contribute to other blogs and publications to increase traffic and credibility.


3. Review your website

Most people think that their website is exactly what it needs to be. Take a step back and make sure it communicates exactly what you do and, more importantly, why someone should work with you or utilize your product/service. Don’t focus on the bells and whistles — review how you are communicating what you do and how well you do it. Forget about increasing impressions, and work on increased conversions. Make sure that every time a potential client comes to your site, they know that you are the go-to person or company in that industry.

Easy action steps: Make your homepage simple. Don’t fill it with clutter and too many calls-to-action. Also, be sure to include any credibility stamps that you may have, such as publications you’ve contributed to, endorsements, reviews, and any awards that you have won.


4. Awards

Spend time researching and applying for targeted personal and company awards. The goal is to gain credibility among potential clients and peers — it shouldn’t just be an ego boost.

Easy action steps: Don’t only reach for top-tier awards. Look for targeted, niche awards that you can and should win. Then work your way up to gain more recognition in a broader category.


5. Networking Opportunities:

And you thought that your online visibility was all about your digital efforts? Those who truly understand the digital movement also understand the importance of getting out of the office and away from the computer. Whether it’s conferences, networking events, or local meetups, it’s important to be consistently growing your network — on and offline.

Easy action steps: Invest time and money to be at industry events with other well-respected leaders. It is also a great idea to get involved in regional and local startup and business communities.

Take this New Year’s Day as an opportunity to refocus and create a plan. Set goals, be consistent, and understand the value of growing your brand and online credibility.


 Ryan O’Connell is the Vice President of Business Development for Digital Talent Agents, a company that helps experts build their businesses through thought-leadership and content marketing by producing high-quality content for reputable publications.  You can reach out to Ryan on Twitter @Oconnellryan or on Google+.