Why Marketers Should Drive a Badass Car

Steve McQueen movie poster from Bullitt. He drove a Mustang and he was very, very cool.

If you work in Marketing, Advertising, or some kind or related field, you are probably familiar with the concept of personal branding. Or “Brand You” as it is sometimes referred to.

Your Brand You is something you live every day. It’s the job you do and how you do it. It’s also your clothing, your blog, your online footprint. It’s a little bit of everything that supports the brand that is you. It requires care and feeding.

For example, I was talking with a colleague, who is in a new-business development job. It’s part account manger, part business development, and all relationships. Anyway, he was lamenting the vehicle he drove, which is a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited.

I asked him what was wrong with his Jeep. He told me that he felt strange picking up corporate clients in a Jeep, which he keeps immaculately clean because of his training in the military.  He motioned to the parking lot, which was a sea of cars from Audi, BMW, Infinity, Lexus, Acura, and Nissan. Those are the cars sales guys drive, he told me.

Yeah, I said, that’s is what they drive. And what you drive is different because you are different. Your brand is different. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Picture this: you’re a client. The sales guy has offered to take you out to lunch and for some reason, he actually has two cars with him. He says, “we can take the Audi or we can take the ’69 Corvette.” Which would you choose to go to lunch in?

My completely unscientific poll of industry colleagues and friends suggests that most people would go to lunch in the ‘Vette. Why? Because it’s a unique experience. It gives you something to talk about. The Audi is nice (which is why you buy one), but it’s not remarkable (unless it’s a performance model).

You want to be remarkable.
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Blog Traffic Tip #2: Know Your Stats

Blog-Traffic-TipsToday’s tip is about knowing your site statistics. But don’t panic, you don’t need to be good with numbers to understand this blog post.

Many people blog for professional reasons. Maybe they want to be considered a thought leader in their field. This kind of self-marketing, personal branding effort is sometimes referred to as Brand You.

If you’re blogging to build a base for Brand You, then you’re going to want to drive enough traffic to make it worth your time and energy. And how can you tell this? Site stats, of course.

Most blog platforms (I use WordPress) come with some sort of free analytics package that allows you to get basic information on visitors to your blog. Click a few buttons, and software will immediately start to track what people are doing on your blog. Neat and easy.

Here are a few things you should be looking for:

  • How are people getting to your blog? Is it search engine traffic? Other blogs?
  • If you are posting your blog and then tweeting it on Twitter, are people clicking that link?
  • What words are people typing into Google and Yahoo to get to your blog?
  • What day of the week are they visiting your blog? Time of day?

All of this is accessible in your stats. And — trust me here — it’s not that hard to understand.

If you really start to get into it, you can use a free software package for even more information. I recommend Google’s free Google Analytics software. It’s a bit more challenging to install, but the amount of information you can get is amazing.

Spend a little time looking at your stats. You’d be amazed at what you can learn about your readership and the basic usability of your website and/or blog. Keyword analysis may help you figure out better ways to search engine optimize your site.

Serious websites need professional analysts to understand site statistics. At work, we study the site stats to better understand what content, tools, and resources people use on our websites. This helps us build out future content and plan other digital media initiatives.

You may never want to get to that level of analysis, of course. But just having a basic grasp of your site stats will help you create a better blog experience for your readers.

Now get started. Your stats are waiting for you.

See also: Blog Traffic Tip #1 Be Controversial

Free…Me

A true Brand-You story.

Back when I’d graduated college, the job market was pretty tight. Not as tight as now, but jobs were scarce for communications majors.

I was working as an editor and writer, but I really wanted to get a job in public relations. Unfortunately, I had nothing on resume that showed PR experience, so I wasn’t getting called for interviews.

A friend told about a PR event she ran for a hospital. It sounded good, so I asked if I could borrow the idea.

I visited my local town rec center and offered to plan a “Summer Cycle Safety” event for kids in town. Something to teach the kiddies the rules of the road and encourage them to wear helmets ‘n’ stuff. I wasn’t looking for any money; just a volunteer project for experience.

They liked the idea (and my fee), and agreed to let me organize the event. Got a local bike shop to donate a helmet. Found a local sports-medicine physician to talk about bike injuries. Involved the police department, who brought safety literature. Some refreshments, a few signs, and we had an event.

With the Summer Cycle Safety event, I wrote a press release, which ran in the town paper. And I braced myself for the hundreds of people who would come streaming to the event. (Actually 25 people showed up, but who’s counting?)

Fortunately one reporter/photographer showed up, took a few shots, and we got a small article and photo in the town paper. But that was all I needed. I finally had something for my resume!

The very next PR job I applied for included my freshly updated portfolio. They called me. And I got the job.

I gave a little of me — for free — and it paid off.

My First Self-Published eBook for Kindle

I’ve officially entered the eBook age. As an author, I have published my first eBook for the Kindle. Gimme a big “whoo hoo!”

To explore the technology, I wanted to get something up there on the Kindle store. So I took the complete scripts for my comic book series “7 Days to Fame,” reformatted it, created a Kindle account, and published it on Amazon.com.

7 Days to Fame eBook cover

7 Days to Fame eBook cover

Check out my 7 Days to Fame – The Complete Scripts eBook for the Kindle. It sells for a whopping 99 cents.

To be honest, it wasn’t very hard to reformat for the Kindle. Mostly it just came down to reformatting for the smaller screen and checking for bad line breaks and hiccups in the code. Just a few hours of work and now it’s done.

This isn’t the first time I was part of an eBook. There’s a transcript of a podcast interview that I did a few years ago with Paula Berinstein called Writing Comic Books: A Writing Show Interview and I was a technical consultant on the photo book Artist’s Digital Photo Reference – Landscapes.

But for me, this is much more fun, since I actually did the reformatting myself and published it. It’s…addictive.

Brand-You Case Study: Bob Parsons of GoDaddy

Even if you’ve never heard of Bob Parsons, you’ve probably seen one of his ads. Or, at very least, surfed a website that he’s registered.

Y’see, Bob Parsons is the owner of GoDaddy.com, which is one of the places where people go to register their website names. They are known among web developers for having good prices and services.

Most of the world, however, if familiar with GoDaddy because of their racy, sometimes controversial, television commercials. GoDaddy spends a fortune advertising a very, very niche service to one of the largest annual television audiences in the country.

Why advertise a niche service to people who would never even be in the market to buy your services? It’s hard to say why Parsons would want to reach so many people who have never (and never will) buy a website URL.

One thing’s for sure….Parsons likes to promote himself and GoDaddy. And, as a marketer, he’s done a very good job. Not everyone likes Parsons’ outgoing, ex-Marine public persona. He’s an in-your-face businessman who wears his personality on his BobParsons.me website and the web properties that he owns.

On his site, Parsons tirelessly blogs and vlogs his opinions. No doubt his “Straight Talk” blog has raised the ire of some people. It would be an understatement to say that Parsons has an opinion about his competitors. It’s rare to see someone comment on competitors’ tactics so directly.

Love him or hate him, Parsons has made himself an Internet celebrity. And he’s not just a celebrity for being famous, he’s actually a successful entrepreneur. He’s been selling website registrations since around 1997.

Check out this video of Bob Parsons, as he makes direct comments about the competition, the advantages of using GoDaddy, and even mistakes he’s personally made over the year. Even if you don’t like him, you have to admit, he’s working hard to build the Bob Parson Brand.

Video: Bob Parson’s 1st Annual Ding Dong Awards (2008)

Also, check out the very funny GoDaddy video that was spread on the Internet when the SuperBowl supposedly (who knows if it’s really true) rejected the GoDaddy commercial. It shows an entertaining fictionalization of GoDaddy spokesmodel Nikki Capelli (actress Candice Michelle…link not for work) giving testimony at the Broadcast Censorship Hearings. It’s well written, shot, and acted and has been watched hundreds of thousands of times.

(It’s okay to watch this video at work.)

Podcasting Your Brand Message

Looking for a new way to spread the word about your business or service? Look no further than your iPod.

If you have an iPod (isn’t that a requirement for living in the USA?), you have iTunes.

There’s a button for “Podcasts,” which are audio programs. Like radio shows without the radio.

I download podcasts every time I plug in my iPod. It’s a free and legal service provided by Apple.

One of my favorites is the screenwriting podcast “On The Page,” hosted by Pilar Alessandra. As an educational and motivational resource, On The Page is nearly as good as having your personal writing cheerleader. (Note: If actual cheerleaders would like to cheer for me, please send photos.)

On the podcast, Pilar would talk about her Los Angeles screenwriting classes. These sounded great, but could be a long drive for me, since I live in New Jersey.

Then…she announced a New York class. And with the speed of Mercury and the riches of Midas, I sent her $125.

I sent my money because the podcast actually proved that Pilar knew how to teach screenwriting. Think about it. I sent a total stranger $125 over the Internet. Because I listened to her podcast every week, Pilar was not really a stranger. Her podcast proved that she was what she claimed: A professional who taught the craft and business of screenwriting.

For Pilar Alessandra’s screenwriting classes, podcasting turned out to be an effective marketing tool.

Is something you’re doing worth talking about? Consider speaking about your brand message through a podcast.

Pilar ALESSANDRA & Buddy Scalera in NY

Pilar ALESSANDRA & Buddy Scalera in NY