Mission Vision Brand

3. Building Your Consulting Brand

Great consultants present their authority, validity, and relationships through their brand.

Your brand is not a slogan or logo. It is far more. First, your brand is an impression you give of the strength, authority, and experience you have to solve your client’s problems. Secondly, your brand needs to give prospects and clients a vision of their future. It should create an image of how good life will be when you help solve their problem. Third, your brand must be memorable, so that you are the first in mind when they have the problems you specialize in.

Create an Unforgettable Story

A short one-line statement may be all it takes to create a memorable image of what you do and who you work with. When talking with a potential prospect you can do that by asking questions like, “Have you ever known someone who had a problem with …?” After their answer you can respond with, “That’s what I fix!” 

That's the type of problem I fix!

Another way to build a brand image is using the “Hero’s Journey” developed by Joseph Conrad. Conrad found that throughout history in all cultures myths and stories follow a similar thread. They present a common man, for example Luke Skywalker, with an immense problem. That problem can only be resolved with the wisdom that comes from an expert, the Jedi Knight, Obi Wan Kenobi. As a consultant you are the expert-guru who guides your client to become the hero of their own story. Critical to Success can help you build a memorable hero's journey you can use to your brand unforgettable.

Creating a Magnetic LinkedIn Profile

There are two primary ways you can “publish” your brand to the world. One is on LinkedIn, the internet network for professionals. The other is on your website.

As a consultant you must have an excellent LinkedIn profile. A LinkedIn profile is often the first-place business people check to review your authenticity and authority.

Most LinkedIn profiles do a poor job of selling a consultant’s capability. They look like a resume or C.. Pictures occasionally look like they should be in Facebook and the background very often uses LinkedIn’s pre-built generic images. The experience section on marginal LinkedIn profiles is often continuous text broken only by a few paragraph returns.

Poor LinkedIn profiles give your prospects a poor impression of you. They make it difficult to see how you can help them. Often, they are so dense that no one reads deeply enough to dig out the credentials and experience.

What you want in a LinkedIn profile is a personal photo that shows your professional image with a professional or experience-related background. You want to write and format your experience section with bullets and concise text that addresses your prospect’s biggest questions,

  • Can you solve my problems?
  • What experience do you have with this problem?
  • Can we build a relationship with trust?

Critical to Success guides you step-by-step in creating a highly professional, LinkedIn profile. You are guided on how to crop photos, use just the right professional background from thousands of free images, and write a professional, easy-to-read profile using bullets and indents that make it easy to read.

In Stage 5, Building an Automated Marketing Machine, you will learn how you can use your LinkedIn profile as a publishing platform to increase your brand's reach and gravity. A well-designed LinkedIn profile is one more magnet that brings you leads.

Building a Website that Proves Your Authority and Captures Leads

Every consultant must have a website. Your website does far more than your LinkedIn profile. Not only can it illustrate your capabilities with examples, it should also give testimonials to reinforce your capability. It should become your primary vehicle for capturing and connecting you to new leads and prospects.

Independent consultants use two types of basic website homepages and layouts. One is a personality-based website. The other is a business-based website. 

Personality Based 

A personality-based consulting website can be very simple and highly effective, even if you aren’t Tim Ferris, Tony Robbins, or Marshall Goldsmith. Personality-based websites are used by many one-person online millionaire businesses where, as the name implies, everything is presented under the brand of the personality.

Service Based 

A business-based consulting website presents a stronger professional image based on your brand and services. Use a business-based website if your market is larger businesses or organizations and if you want to demonstrate multiple consulting specialties, such as, corporate strategy and operational performance. 

Your Website Layout

There is one website structure that Google ranks more highly than others. Organizing your website content in a tree-like organization moves it higher in Google's search ranking. This structure also makes it easy for your human readers to understand what you do and how you do it. It's a double-win.

Critical to Success members learn how to use free tools to find the best structure and keywords based on how people search in Google and which keywords they use.

At this stage in your consulting, you want to get your website up but have it ready to expand in Stage 5. For now you should just write a well-crafted main page, or trunk, like the "Consulting Niche" page shown in the figure. The topic pages and blogs you can add over time. 

The tall trunk of your tree is a single document that describes the three to five main services for your niche. This “trunk” should be a single page linked with a link on your main menu. It's like a table of contents showing your three to five core consulting services. 

Inside this main page each service you provide should have a heading and be described in about 200 - 350 words. This one central trunk document makes it easy for Google and your readers to understand what you do. It’s like a table of contents with each heading having a few paragraphs of description.

The three to five core topics in the main page should describe your main areas of consulting. Later you will write topic pages that go into greater depth on each topic.

Once you have the tree structure started you can begin writing blogs that link to the appropriate parts of the main page or any detailed topic pages you have created. 

In Stage 5, Building an Automated Marketing Machine, you will add detailed pages that link to each topic on the main trunk. This trunk-and-branch structure shows Google and readers that those three to five services are the core to your consulting services.

At this stage in your consulting write a trunk page with approximately 1,500 words. That’s about five pages of written text. Add a few descriptive charts and pictures to keep it light and you will have a great core for your site.

Later as you add blogs, podcasts, reports, or videos to your website you should link them to the appropriate detailed page. This structure reinforces the strength of your topics for Google. It also makes it easy for readers to understand your services and helps keep you focused on writing blogs that are focused on your core.

Magnifying Your Brand with Speaking and Publicity

Speaking and publicity magnify your brand and increase your authority. Speaking to groups with your client profile, when done with the right follow up, is also an excellent way to immediately capture leads.

Publicity through the press and media builds your authority by getting other authority figures, like associations and magazines, to work for you. Instead of writing and placing articles you write you can gain even more authority by becoming an expert quoted by journalists. 

Building Your Brand's Authority with Speaking

One significant advantage to selecting the right niche market and knowing their pains and gains is that most high-value niches have professional meetings or conferences. These meetings and conferences are a perfect place for you to present, build your brand, and gather leads.

When you speak at a meeting or conference you have two objectives. First, you want to build your authority as an expert. This also helps you get more speaking engagements. Second, you want to capture leads to build your consulting business. Capturing leads as a speaker takes a few extra tricks that Critical to Success teaches. 

Expanding Your Scope with Print and Publicity

Expand your brand’s geographic coverage and add more weight to your authority by becoming a source for the press and media. For many public-oriented topics, such as productivity, wellness, or career advancement, journalists are always looking for an expert who can give tips, answer questions, comment on trends, or forecast the future. For niche topics you want to connect with journalists working for industry association magazines and websites.

Critical to Success members receive resource sheets and cheat sheets that show how to make yourself a resource for editors, journalists, and writers who are researching specific topics. When you become a trusted source for journalists you can reach thousands with just a few minutes of telephone time.

Consulting Checklist:
Building Your Consulting Brand

Be the first person your prospects think of when they face high-value problems in your niche.

Create Your Core

  • Don't waste time designing logo and company names. Use the Critical to Success resource sheets to find pre-designed color palettes and logotypes. Then, get to work building your business.
  • Introduce yourself with a one-line introduction that delivers your brand and opens an opportunity for referrals.
  • Create a clear and powerful LinkedIn profile that confirms your authority and ability to solve a client's problems.
  • Lay out your website content using the proven trunk-branch information architecture to make your focus clear to readers and increase Google ranking. 

Quick Wins

  • Learn the keywords and blog topics that are most valuable to your competitors. Leverage their work to your advantage.
  • Stay top-of-mind with prospects with a weekly newsletter following the Critical to Success newsletter templates and content guidelines.
  • Publish articles and quick videos on LinkedIn focused on high-value problems in your niche. Apply hashtags to focus on your client's LinkedIn profile.
  • Add branches to the trunk of your website content information architecture. Add detailed topic pages. Link your blogs to each core topic. 

Expand and Refine

  • Create a short, memorable Hero's Journey story that relates how you turn your clients into heroes. Use the Critical to Success workbook to quickly create a winning story.
  • Save time and lots of money using the Critical to Success resource lists of free image editing tools and libraries of millions of copyright free images.
  • Magnify your brand by connecting with print and media journalists. Become the expert in your niche.

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