Personal branding

What’s your One Word?

By | Personal branding | One Comment

Last year, when I was researching my book The Million Dollar Blog, I interviewed this fantastic, hugely succesful American guy called Evan Carmichael about personal branding.

At 19, he built then sold a biotech software company. At 22, he was a VC helping raise $500k to $15mil. Evan was named one of the Top 100 Great Leadership Speakers for your Next Conference by Inc Magazine and one of the Top 40 Social Marketing Talents by Forbes. He has been interviewed or featured as an entrepreneur expert in The New York TimesThe Wall St. Journal, Forbes, Mashable, and elsewhere.

He now runs and ​coaches entrepreneurs for peak performance. 

The reason I wanted to interview Evan (aside from his success online of course!) is that he stood out to me because of his single word tagline ‘Believe.‘ When it comes to building a stand-out personal brand, your tag line and/or mission statement are hugely important and his single word seemed both impactful and also different to everyone elses.

I asked him the story behind it and he told me: My tagline for ages was ‘motivation and strategies for entrepreneurs’. It tells you what I do. But it’s boring! It doesn’t have an emotional connection. I couldn’t figure out how to fix it and I started writing down a list of loads of things I liked. I initially thought ‘believe’ was too short, but I kept coming back to it’.

Obviously I immediately said ‘I want a single word Evan!! How do I do it?’ And he continued:

‘I think it’s about understanding what you stand for – start with that. Ask yourself, ‘what do I stand for? What’s the impact that I want to have?’ I think the world needs more ‘belief’, that’s a personal value. I believe in people. 

I realised ‘Believe’ is my personality, the one word that represents my brand and it goes into everything I do. It’s at the heart of the content that I create and what I inspire others to do. And the deeper exercise for bloggers and entrepreneurs is that it becomes a tagline that you’re marketing yourself under, but to you, it’s not just a tagline, it’s who you are and your core value. It becomes your guiding light and motivation.’

Obviously, when I heard Evan written a book called Your One Word: The Powerful Secret to Creating a Business and Life That Matter, all about finding your own one word, I rushed out and bought it (ok, so that’s not strictly true, I asked him to send it to me!!!).

In the book, he goes into much more detail about how to find your One Word. I’m currently half way through, and I have a shortlist for my One Word. All I can say is BUY IT – and I’ll keep you posted as to my final one word. 

New website and personal brand launch for menopause guru Maryon Stewart

By | Business, Personal branding | No Comments

I’ve loved working with author (of 26 books!), menopause guru and coach Maryon Stewart. 

Maryon, a super well known health expert in the UK, wanted a new website to relaunch her personal brand following a few years off. Using her years of knowledge and expertise, Maryon coaches women in understanding the information, tools and techniques needed to get well, to the point that they are able to be completely symptom-free during menopause.

Our project involved visual branding, content editing and website build and Maryon is now one of the students in my Blogstar Academy.

If you want to watch someone build their profile and following with huge speed and total fearlessness, then I suggest you hop over to Maryon’s Facebook where, in less than 6 weeks, Maryon has embraced Facebook Live, has had half a million views on her videos and created a community called Midlife Switch with over 3000 members.

In the Blogstar Academy, we’re working on creating guest blogs for high profile websites as well as getting Maryon publicity (Ok so PR isn’t exactly blogging but if you want to be well known, you need PR!).

I absolutely love it when clients take action over everything else and that’s exactly what Maryon is doing, putting herself out there and spreading her message despite being new to this whole online world. 

Maryon plans to sell online courses and one-to-one coaching for women going through menopause, as well as have her own audience for when she publishes new books and launches new products, and it’s totally clear already that she’s going to be a huge success.

You can see Maryon’s new website here:


How to build a personal brand

By | Personal branding | No Comments

I recently sat down with the lovely Anthony Gell, the founder of the online platform Leaders In (a platform that showcases the opinions and views of some of the ‘world’s greatest leaders’ – I mean seriously! What an honour to be featured there!!!!).

Anyway, we discussed all sorts of things such as accidental entrepreneurship, online success and visibility, blogging, entrepreneurship and personal branding. 

And over the next few weeks, I’ll share some short snippets with you, starting with this one about personal branding.

The term branding has long been linked to companies, but today almost every individual has a personal brand. Building a personal brand is key to getting yourself and your business noticed, so if you’re looking to build your personal brand you should start by outlining two key element:  

What do you want your personal brand to say about you?

When I started my previous online business Talk to the Press, I realised that no one really trusted journalists. So if  I wanted to build a company that people relied and trusted I would have to do somethign different, and that would be pushing forward my personal brand into the forefront of the company message.

I thought if I can show I am a nice, honest, kind person, then I can build the integrity of my company – that is when I really started to learn about the value and importance of a good personal brand. Your personal profile can enhance your company: just look at business leaders such as Branson and Dyson.

Have a mission statement that is bigger than you are and bigger than you can ever achieve

Having a mission statement makes you more memorable and makes you stand out from your competition. People with strong brands are clear about who they are, what they value, what their strengths are and what their mission is. They know what they know about and who they can help.

For example my mission statement is: “I want to help every business and person become better known for what they do.”

In reality I probably won’t achieve this – I mean, helping everyone. That’s not going to happen. But leading with a mission statement gives me purpose and helps other people understand me quicker and more easily.

However, it’s no use you just knowing your mission, other people need to know it too. So clarify it on your about page, in your posts, in your online profiles and across social media, and seek opportunities that allow you to showcase and demonstrate your strengths.

See my full interview on the Leaders In website.

How to create topical content

By | Opinion, Personal branding | No Comments

Creating topical content for your website and social media feeds is really important, because it helps you position yourself as being on the ball and on top of what is going on, and also, because it helps you attract journalists who are always looking for experts to comment on topical matters.

PLUS, if you want to get publicity by writing for online publications, or even printed outlets, then it’s much easier to get editors to agree to take a piece that is topical.

So, here are 5 steps to creating topical content.

1. Use the news cycle of your industry, and turn it on its head

Whatever industry you are in, there is always industry news; so keep on top of all your industry publications and what they are talking about as there will always be hidden opportunities to find an original, personal angle that stands out.

One of my clients, a fashion consultant, for example wants to be a fresh voice in a luxury fashion industry that is currently full of doom and gloom. The news is all about how it’s over for luxury fashion, with several high profile fashion label closures. Now, if my client joins the fray talking about how it’s all belt-tightening from here for luxury fashion, her voice will get lost in the noise. So instead, she can turn the story on its head with ideas such as ‘Why there has never been a better time than 2016 to launch a luxury fashion line’ (and obviously backing this up with a load of credible and relevant reasons). After all, the closure of one or two large labels isn’t going to stop hundreds of people opening new labels –  so why not try to be a positive and uplifting voice amongst the negativity?

2. Move an industry story on to its next chapter

A different way of launching on the back of what’s hot and current in your news sector is to develop the story further rather than challenging it. Stories don’t really end – every story is linear and there is always something else that can happen next. In the case of the closure of high profile fashion brands, I’m no fashion expert but I doubt it marks the end of the entire industry – nor the story! Opinion blog posts could take up the next chapter in a number of ways: new up and coming labels have more space to come to market; fashion industry reaction; what’s next for the designer? etc.

3. Offer an analysis of a topical situation

Another story in the fashion industry seemingly all the time are the fortunes of M&S. Whether you’re a fashion blogstar or a fashion consultant blogging to raise your profile with the brands who might hire you, you will have lots of say on this topic from what M&S do right, what they do wrong, what you would advise them to do. And your thoughts and views on a topical situation demonstrate that you are a leader in this field.

4. Offer a solution to an industry problem

Part of being a thought leader is to be the person who always seems to have the answer to a problem. You’ll see this all the time in the national papers. But do these commentators who are called on to proffer solutions to problems really know best? Probably not. They just have the nerve to act like they do and can talk about it in an interesting and engaging way, promoting further discussion.

So what problems are there in your industry and what solutions can you offer? It doesn’t have to be the best solution in the world, just something that provides food for thought and is well argued. Solutions are often subjective and there might be hundreds of different solutions to any given problem. No-one is going to hold a gun to your head if your hypothetical solution isn’t right! Probably no-one will act on it at all, but the net result is that simply offering up a solution helps to position you as an industry leader.

5. Consistency

If only thought-leadership were as simple as publishing a single killer blog post and suddenly becoming ‘industry famous’ with a load of opportunities falling at your feet. Well, it’s not! Building personal brands takes time and so you have to keep creating content and publishing it over and over again. And the four ideas above all require one quality if you’re to use them effectively – consistency.

If you consistently offer sane, sensible, grounded commentary, you’ll get known for it. The key is consistency – and it will raise your profile and strengthen your personal brand.

Even better, your consistency will resonate both within your niche and beyond. So while you’ll gain authority and respect as a leader, you’ll also be sought out by the media as a commentator. Journalists are always looking for well-regarded people with opinions who can give arguments and counter arguments and who can move existing stories on. By creating content along the lines of the above, you are stamping out and establishing your personal brand piece by piece and proving you’re able to do what journalists need you to do.


Blogstar profile: Emma & Elsie Chapman from A Beautiful Mess

By | Blog, Personal branding | No Comments

Over the following weeks, I’m going to be showcasing the blog stars and experts featured in my book, The Million Dollar Blog. First up, it’s Elsie & Emma Chapman from A Beautiful Mess. 

Meet Emma & Elsie

Gorgeous sisters Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman from Missouri are the owners of A Beautiful Mess, a DIY crafts and food blog with an income over $1.5million per year.

Elsie and Emma were in debt when they launched in 2010, but now employ 5 staff and several freelancers. Their blog has around 1.5 million visitors per month.

For income, they leverage the blog to sell advertising and have worked with brands including Canon, Adobe, H&M and Valspar.

They also sell online courses such as scrapbooking and sewing to their craft audience as well as classes on blogging, photoshop and Instagram strategy.

Plus they have a range of their own stationery, books, planners, scrapbooking supplies, iPhone covers, cards, art prints and apps – their popular photo editing app has been downloaded more than 1 million times.

What to learn from Emma & Elsie

A lot of bloggers struggle to monetise their blogs, and that is because put passion over business, and often have no clear strategy. Emma and Elsie are true entrepreneurs, and strategically add a revenue stream to their blog each year. They are incredible successful, but not by accident.

They also accept that not every revenue stream comes to fruition, so they might test a few before deciding on one.

Words of wisdom 

Everyone knows you can make income from advertising, but there is so much more. The branding opportunities, design opportunities, book deals, TV shows, product lines, etc. are endless. If you can dream it, it’s probably possible.

Follow Emma & Elsie

Buy the book

You can hear more from Emma & Elsie in my new book, available for preorder on Amazon now

The Million Dollar Blog

New website & personal brand launch for former Minister of State for Employment, Esther McVey

By | Celebrity, Latest work, Personal branding, Recent website launches | No Comments

Today, I’d like to tell you a story about working with the former Minister of State for Employment, Esther McVey, whose brand new website and personal branding has just been set live.

I first met Esther many years ago when I was working at the Daily Mail newspaper, and was commissioned the most nightmare article I have ever been asked to do.

At the time, Rachel Hunter, had just posed nude but with a swimsuit featuring the map of the world body painted on her.

Everyone (as in the editor) went nuts about the photo and said ‘We must immediately recreate this image using 5 different celebrities and let’s ask Natasha to do it.’

And even worse, they wanted it to be published in two days time.

It was the most nightmare commission ever, and my colleague Alice was drafted in to help (we still joke about this today).

Panic striken, we hit the phones. Not only did we have to find the body painter, but we had to find FIVE celebrities who wanted a bit of quick publicity to get into a studio the next day, get naked, get body painted and help recreate these photos.

Now, somewhere along the way, I had got the phone number for Esther, who at the time was making the transition from TV presenter to politics. I thought (in desperation)

Well, you never know’

So I duly phoned her and said ‘Esther, will you be body painted, naked, tomorrow.’ And sensibly, she turned me down.

A few years later, I was at an event for female entrepreneurs and found myself sitting next to Esther.

By now, I was no longer working at the Mail and was running my own online press agency, and I thought ‘When I tell her I’m ex Daily Mail, she’ll remember this ridiculous request and I’ll have to confess it was me, so I might as well bite the bullet and tell her it was me from the off!

So after we introduced ourselves, I said, ‘erm, we have spoken before actually, I was the person from the Daily Mail who asked you to be body painted naked……’

Anyway, we got on brilliantly and have stayed in touch ever since, and I’ve watched Esther’s rise from where she was then to becoming Minister of State for employment with awe.

Last year though, Esther lost her seat as a local MP, and found herself at the centre of a rather vitriolic campaign which she’s written about on her blog here

Anyway, soon after the events Esther talks about (imagine having fellow colleagues calling for you to be lynched), Esther lost her seat.

I guess we all know politics is brutal, but what does one do when change happens suddenly and you effectively have to pick up and start again.

Esther is a one woman powerhouse, having started and sold a business, been a TV presenter, a local MP, owning her own charity, inspiring thousands of school girls and of course being a MINISTER. There is no doubt Esther has plenty plenty plenty to offer.

The question is how to bring everything she has done, does and is into a single positioning and coherent message and mission.

Working with Esther, we concluded really it all came down to her passion for socio economic change and inspiring people that no matter where they are from, or who they are, they can achieve the goals.

We went for a high end and minimalist feel to the site and you can see the finished website here. I’d love to know what you think.

You are who Google says you are: how to control the search results for your name

By | Digital strategy, Personal branding | No Comments

When people Google your name, what comes up?

Because in this day and age, we are who Google says we are.

The very first thing people are going to do when they hear about you, and your services, or after having met you and been impressed by you or wondered more about you is look you up online. And that could be everyone from potential employers or clients to friends, friends of friends and potential dates and even your dates parents.

And it’s not just me saying that

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Even ‘household names’ have to maintain their profiles

By | Opinion, Personal branding | 2 Comments

When you’re raising your profile or using the internet to build your business online and give you increased flexibility in your life, it’s only natural to want quick results. And as humans, I think we have a natural tendency to want immediate results!! And so if you write a blog post or get a piece of publicity and your phone isn’t immediately ringing off the hook with orders, you begin to wonder if your efforts are paying off.  Read More

4 steps to a powerful personal brand

By | Personal branding | No Comments

Building a personal brand takes time, and needs to be done step by step, piece by piece, both online and offline, and day by day within the industry and niche in which you operate, but the results will be well worth the effort.

The benefits will include having more influence, other people wanting to work with you, becoming more credible, being able to charge more, being seen as more of a leader and gaining a loyal following. Most importantly it’s about making you memorable and compelling to those you interact with, which in turn will open doors to new opportunities.

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5 tricks of great thought-leaders

By | Latest work, Personal branding, Thought leadership | No Comments

I was with my client Sara Simmonds, a highly respected fashion consultant who is developing a new platform – and I mean digital platform, not the shoe – for the luxury fashion industry, today (that’s us in the photo up there!). And we were talking about how Sara wants to become, and really needs to be considered, an industry leader, both in order to give her project credibility and to be taken seriously when it comes to raising investment for her project in the future.

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The 3 types of website for strong personal brands

By | Personal branding, The Million Dollar Blog | No Comments

Working mainly with high profile and generally all round talented people, I’m often asked about the sort of website you need for a strong personal brand, or for raising your profile. It’s easy to look across the internet and think ‘look at all these different people with different types of websites‘ and end up feeling completely confused, but the good news is most sites are much more similar than they look. So, to build a strong personal brand, you need to pick one of the three following styles of website.

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Thought-leadership strategy for Andrea Catherwood

By | Personal branding, Thought leadership | No Comments

I’ve been working with television and radio presenter Andrea Catherwood for the past few months, first designing and building her new official website at, and now helping her raise her profile through thought leadership.

Thought leaders are considered informed opinion leaders, they are trusted and inspirational and not afraid to step forward and have a ‘thought’ on something. As a presenter on Radio 4, and a mum of 3, Andrea is well positioned to have opinions on a number of topical issues. This article above is the result of an idea pitched to the Telegraph about Victoria Beckham having her tattoo removed.

The Telegraph were thrilled to have someone of Andrea’s calibre write for them, and for Andrea, the article helps her personal brand, positioning and keeps her in the mind of potential employers.


Monetising a social media following

By | Digital strategy, Latest work, Personal branding, The Million Dollar Blog, Web design | No Comments

I’ve loved working with Lizzie King on her new website

Lizzie has built up a huge following of over 10,000 people in Instagram through posting her quick and easy gluten, sugar and dairy free family meals on the social network. Yet she had no way to convert the interest in her and her recipes into anything that benefitted her.

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On website bells, whistles and standing out from the crowd

By | Personal branding, Web design | No Comments

I’ve just finished working on this website for the sports presenter Richard Kaufman Like everyone I work with, he’s keen to get more opportunities and stand out from the crowd. In his case, these opportunities would both be in presenting jobs, and also in sports event hosting, which is a huge and lucrative market to be working in.

I particularly love the floating audio bar that I’ve integrated into the site, which allows visitors to click and hear one of the football commentaries that Richard is most proud of.

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Working with a rising Instagram star on monetising her social media following

By | Digital strategy, Personal branding | No Comments

Today, I’m at a photoshoot for Lizzie King, otherwise known as @vitalovebaby on Instagram (well, when I say ‘at’ at photoshoot, I mean the photoshoot is happening in my kitchen, as completely incidentally, I rent out my house as a location house and location kitchen for all sorts of editorial shoots and filming for television commercials, but allow my webdesign clients to use it for free if they need a photoshoot done).

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