Collateral Material That Will Increase Your Online Personal Brand

We’ve talked about having a blog and we’ve talked about a landing page but there’s much more that you can do to “up” your personal online brand – in fact, you’ll be finding more and more strategies and tactics as you grow – so never stop learning!

But there are definitely a few things that I’ve found that have contributed to a positive personal online brand that are simple and not entirely difficult to execute on – and that are well within many of your wheelhouses.

What you’re essentially trying to do is refine and perfect the online deliverables that you’re client, customer, and community are engaging with. In other words, becoming the “total package” so to speak.

This includes not only the content that you create on your landing page and blog but also the visual elements that accompany them. For many first-time visitors this can create a profound and lasting impression about who you are and what you do.

1. The Business Card

Many of you might be thinking “I don’t need business cards for my online brand!” but I’ll tell you that it’s a strategic collateral investment that’ll increase your overall brand both online and offline.

The simple fact is that you literally carry your brand both online and offline and I still network a ton offline which then translates back to the online space when they re-encounter me there.

Having a business card can be a part of that. Some people are dogmatic about having one and others will tell you it’s pointless – for me I’ve found it to be a valuable addition to my arsenal and I hasn’t hurt my chances to network!

Here is an example of two business cards that I have in my possession and that I use at networking events:

I share some thoughts as well on what I think about them and why I have them. You’ve got a digital business card now (with your landing page) – why not also have the offline one as well?

2. Images and Photography

There is no question that a picture speaks 1,000 words – the challenge is making sure that the majority of them are positive!

It really surprises me how many people don’t consider this when they create their blogs and their own personal branding pages – I see self-portraits that would make most people cringe!

You know what I’m talking about because you’ve seen it before as well – the personal picture that’s either blurry, at a terrible angle, or has artifacts (other elements in the picture, people, etc) that just makes it look odd or plain terrible. Perhaps they took it in the bathroom of all places (location, location, location!).

You want to invest, when you can financially, in a good local photographer to come and take a few headshots that you can use on your blog and other related online properties. It’s worth it since it’ll be the first (and perhaps last) impression that your visitor will have of you.

There’s just no escaping the fact that your brand identity is wrapped up tightly with how you visually showcase who you are as well. There’s just no way around it, so make it count!

3. Overall Design and Aesthetic

In addition to photography above you’re going to want to make sure your design around your blog and personal landing page is solid, clean, and represents the very best of what you do.

This sound obvious but it’s quite apparent that some people simply do not take the time to digitally “groom” themselves when they enter into the space. I think of like getting ready for an in-person interview for a job that you really would love to have – what do you do to get ready?

  1. You take a shower. Clean up.
  2. You make sure your clothes are coordinated and classy, appropriate for the meeting and the culture of the business. Contextual.
  3. You make sure your breath smells nice and isn’t offensive. Same with body odor.
  4. You comb your hair and brush your teeth.
  5. You choose the right shoes.
  6. You practice, review your notes, prepare yourself for the encounter.
  7. You remember to smile, put your best foot forward!
  8. You also remember to relax, just be yourself.
  9. You show up on time (early perhaps) and psyche yourself up for the encounter.
  10. You walk in, shake hands, smile, and kick booty. You get the job.

Same thing online I believe. The problem is that people don’t have the same sense of “pressure” to make sure they tidy themselves up. They throw together a design “package” and just wing it.

The point? Make sure your design of your blog and landing page are great, not just good. You’re “interviewing” with hundreds if not thousands every single day. That aesthetic matters a lot! Practically this means that you go shopping for a good design and template, hire someone to do it for you, or make it yourself. Perhaps a combination of the three.

Do your homework, do your research, and make it happen.

[This is part of the Personal Branding Series.]

  • Mutant Minds

    Have collateral material or be collateral damage.
    Its a blogging war out there. A war for the eyes and minds of readers.

    John, you have a good arsenal.

    Liked your business cards.

    If it is not too late, here are my ideas for a name for your little creature:

    Little Bit

    Lil Bit

    Little BIT Lee

    Lil BIT Lee

    B.I.T (Bodacious Information Technology) or any other good “B” word, Binary, Big, Blog, etc.

    Lil B.I.T.

    I will post it on the other post as well.

    Got to go; Mannheim Steamroller Christmas music is playing and my mind is mutating too much.

    • Mutant Minds

      Or you could call him:

      Lil Byte



      Since he has fangs. :)

      Sorry, I am obsessed with naming the thing.

      For those of you who don’t know, The byte is a unit of digital information in computing and telecommunications that most commonly consists of eight bits.

  • Peter

    I totally agree with you John, we definitely need to create business cards for our personal online brand. That’s why I totally love this post and it caused me to have a question for you.

    I have both a blog as well as a personal landing page (mine is more actually like a mini website) just like you recommended. My personal landing page (mini website) is meant to give people more information about me as well as convert people to go to my blog.

    Which is better for my online brand for my business card, to point people to my blog or to point people to my personal landing page?

    Thanks John :-)

    • John Saddington

      hmm. that’s a good question. why not both…? depends on how you want to really position yourself. your blog might be specific to one industry while your overall brand might have more than that.

      • Peter

        That’s a good point, I’ll go ahead and do that.

        Should we include an email address on our business cards? I don’t think that you did but if you did, would you add or

  • Joe Lalonde

    Great information John!

    The business cards you created are awesome. Makes me want to design a killer one too.

    • John Saddington

      ;) thanks! i like them, for sure.

  • Katie @ imperfect people

    I sell promo items and have made a few items, mainly Tshirts and business cards for my blog and I have had a LOT of feedback from them. Especially the t shirts, they are like walking billboards! Thanks for your always helpful posts. I have spent a lot of time on your site recently trying to get switched over to wordpress :)

    • John Saddington

      have you done it yet?

  • Justin Mazza

    I always keep business cards with me so that I can do a little promoting of my site wherever I am.

    • John Saddington

      awesome! love that.

  • Joanna

    Business cards are definitely a worthwhile investment. I have two different designs I can choose from depending on who I am talking to and what info is relevant to them. Both sets have name, email address and phone number. One set has a formal design and includes my credentials. That one gets used in more professional settings like job hunting or professional conferences. I also have a less formal one with a fun design and my facebook info. Those ones get used when meeting new people at ministry events or in other non-formal settings.

    • John Saddington

      love to see them…!