Thursday, 27 June 2019

5 Things Bloggers Can Learn From Leave Your Mark by Aliza Licht

Let me start by saying that Aliza Licht is the mentor you never knew you needed. Even though Aliza's background is in fashion, which is an area I have zero interest in myself, I found this book to be a treasure trove of advice for people in any career field. More importantly, I found Leave Your Mark to be an especially invaluable resource to me... as a blogger. So instead of a stuffy book review that wouldn't do Leave Your Mark justice, I decided to share exactly what bloggers can learn from within this delightful book.

Leave Your Mark by Aliza Licht

1. How to Build an Authentic Personal Brand

When I read Leave Your Mark, I was in the middle of a huge rebrand of my own blog.

Up until this point I had been hiding behind a family narrative instead of embracing my own identity to empower my content. The task of rebranding was essentially one of establishing my personal brand and bringing it onboard and for that, this book was an absolute godsend.

What is personal branding? Well, I'll let Aliza handle that one.

"Branding on a personal level is the art of aligning what you want people to think about you with what people actually think about you."

Now I might be exaggerating slightly but when I look back on my degree, I feel like we spent at least 50% of the first year focusing on personal and professional branding. It's a big deal.

The reality is that we already have our own personal brand regardless of whether or not we actually want one.

I suspect that this is partly why I find it so strange that some people will literally go online and publicly present themselves as horrible human beings. These are the people who I consider to be the real life villains of the world and naturally I try to avoid them like the plague.

Personal branding can work both in your favour and against so you need to be really smart about how you present yourself both online and in real life.

So how do you decide what you want your personal brand to be? Again, Aliza has this sussed.

"You have unique qualities to offer the world and you just need to figure out which ones you want to put out there. The truer you are to yourself, the happier you'll be anyway."

It really is that simple but the most important thing to remember here is that being true to yourself is the only way to be authentic.

2. How to Effectively Manage Your Social Media Presence

Let's talk about Twitter for a second. As a platform, it's probably my favourite way to connect with others and I consider my almost 700 followers to be a massive achievement.

Aliza Licht took what at the time was still a relatively new platform, created a mysterious alter ego with her own voice and passion for fashion and then grew that following to over a million. That's still a huge amount even in today's world of influencers.

In her chapter 'Being Socially Savvy', Aliza shares a whopping twenty-one things to consider when it comes to using social media.

Now I'm not going to go into detail on all of these for obvious reasons but I am going to reflect on one or two.

In point #13, Aliza talks about enhancing your brand without outright selling and she shares one of her insider tips:

"Insider Tip: Sprinkle the commercial in every once in a while but the rest of the time, tell a really good story."
I can't tell you how often I scope out someone's Twitter feed with the intention of following them only to discover that they are solely using the platform as a way to share their blogs, vlogs or Instagram posts - essentially building an archive-like list of links to their external content.

If that's all you're sharing on Twitter, then I'm sorry but I won't be following your account.

You need a voice, you need a story and since you already have both of those things, please don't miss out on a great opportunity to put yourself out there.

It was also important for me to touch on the topic of engagement. No, not the ring kind.

In Leave Your Mark, Aliza makes it clear that there are only three things needed to build a loyal and engaged follower base on social media.

"How you build a follower base is the result of three things: 
1) putting out great content, 
2) engaging with the people who speak to you and 
3) proactively reaching out to others."

You can start every month with a target of hitting the next milestone on your follower count and follow a handful of people who might relate to your content and that might work in the short-term but if you're not engaging with your followers, you will lose them.

A conversation is a two-way street and that's exactly what social media is: a conversation.

So when you share something and someone replies, adding value to your conversation, you really should be responding to them. Even a courteous like is better than just ignoring it altogether.

Think about it as building a relationship. If you ignore someone who clearly sees value in you and the content you're bringing to the table, then you're not doing your brand any favours.

Put in the time and effort, it's worth it.

    3. How to Cope When Things Go Wrong on Social Media

    Being human, we're all prone to making the odd mistake from time to time but what do we do when we make said mistake on a public platform? How are we supposed to right a wrong in an era of screenshots and accountability?

    Well Aliza would probably tell you not to bury the evidence and pretend it didn't happen. It will come back to haunt you if you do.

    In the chapter 'Social Media Damage', Aliza lays out a strategy for managing a social media crisis. To summarise the eleven points made, it's all about the apology and doing so graciously without adding further fuel to the fire.

    You need to own your apology and control the conversation.

    Within these eleven points, there was one golden nugget that stood out to me in particular as I felt that it could just as easily be applied to dealing with those pesky online trolls we all love to hate. (There's also an entire point dedicated to trolls in the previous chapter!)

    "You will never win with some people and you can generally know who these people are just by taking a minute to read through their personal posts."

    This is gospel, seriously. If you can't take this onboard then you will find yourself in many losing battles on the internet - especially in mum groups on Facebook but hey, I digress!

    4. How to Make the Most of Every Opportunity

    There are two things in particular that Aliza puts a lot of emphasis on throughout the pages of Leave Your Mark: making the most of every single opportunity and paving your own path to success.

    "You have to recognise opportunity when it knocks on your door, even when the opportunity is something as small as the invitation to email someone."

    As bloggers, opportunity lies around every corner. Whether it's the opportunity for content inspiration or a brand partnership, we need to be ready to embrace whatever knocks on our door.

    Your success relies on you to take the next step.

    5. Networking is Key!

    Probably one of the most valuable messages that anyone who has forged a career in marketing or PR will tell you is that it's all about your network.

    Our world is so deeply connected and accessible now that there really is no excuse not to build a network.

    In fact, it's so important that Aliza talks about it in one of her many points on using social media.

    "It's important to build a community before you need one. Establish your network well before you want them to experience whatever it is you want to put out there. It won't work the other way around."

    So there you have it, five things that bloggers can learn from reading Leave Your Mark by Aliza Licht. But honestly, there's so much more that you can learn from this book. You need to read it.

    There's also a podcast coming soon - you can sign up here to be notified of its launch if that interests you.

    I read Leave Your Mark as part of my Summer Reading Challenge - you can find out more about that here and follow my challenge activity here!

    Do you like reading career development books? If so, please shoot some suggestions for me to check out in the comments below!

    P.S. Let's connect! You can find me on Twitter, Instagram + Pinterest.
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