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.
Option 1 – a static showcase site
Example: Mary Nightingale’s official website http://marynightingale.tv
Lovely as it is, Mary Nightingale’s site is really fairly simple affair: an online CV, a much nicer Wikipedia and an ultimate resource for information about Mary and her career. It showcases the highs of her career and achievements, along with beautiful photography and it makes it very easy for anyone wishing to contact Mary (ideally for bookings) to get in touch with her management. This type of site is very low maintenance and will only need updating once or twice a year just to fill in Mary’s latest achievements. However, this site doesn’t ‘do’ that much in terms of all the potential that there is for websites to ‘do’ things.
Option 2 – a blog showcase site
Example: Jeremy Vine’s official website http://jeremyvine.tv
Jeremy Vine’s official website is a showcase site like Mary (ie, it showcases everything he does, his career, his show, his book and how to contact him) but it is blog lead. His home page, just like mine, is based on articles. This means he regularly publishes articles on it about whatever he likes but ideally things that visitors to his site – his fans – are interested in hearing about.
The result is that Jeremy has more opportunities than Mary to really engage with his fans and they can really get to know him. His site gets more traffic, his fans leave him the LOVELIEST comments and it’s clear they really enjoy browsing the site, which only further enhances his personal brand and their love of him. Jeremy’s site is an entertaining, newsy and fun place (and everyone in the spotlight needs engaged and loyal fans) and also the blog element helps drive Jeremy’s publicity as some of the articles and images he publishes on the site get picked up by the media. For a ‘non celebrity’ the equivalent would be that some of your articles and images get shared, bringing new traffic to the site.
Option 3 – Blog, build a fanbase and sell
Example: Food blogger Lizzie Loves Healthy www.lizzieloveshealthy.com
- We offer a free download, through which individuals add themselves to her mailing list as they download the free product.
- All purchases are automatically added to the mailing list too.
- Her products are digital and already hosted on the site. They are delivered automatically following purchase.
However, this site is not maintenance free, and Lizzie must do the following tasks
- Drive traffic to the site to keep adding people to her list/getting them to buy her digital products (Lizzie drives traffic through a large and growing Instagram following and through publicity).
- Stay in email contact with her subscribers (she sends a weekly email containing new recipes to her subscribers and also promotes whatever she has to offer on these emails, ie cooking workshops).
- Lizzie must also work on getting to know her subscribers and creating new digital products for them, or putting on new events for them.
Since we launched this integrated, automated, profile building, fan collecting e-commerce site, which clearly defines who Lizzie is and what she has to offer, she has got a book deal from a huge publisher!! Which just goes to show how the right sort of website can generate huge opportunity for its owner.
So that’s it in a nutshell: the 3 types of sites that are ideal for enhancing and building a strong personal brand.
And a final thought is that none of these sites would look the way they do were it not for the professional photography on them. So no matter what type of website you choose, a professional, styled, art directed photoshoot is essential, ideally with hair and make up professional done and a stylist to ensure you look like you just stepped out of a magazine.