Dan Schawbel on 5 Great Lessons in Personal Branding



Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Dan Schawbel. Dan’s super skill is personal branding and he has an impressive set of credentials.

Dan is the bestselling author of Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success, an award winning blogger, and the publisher of Personal Branding Magazine.

He’s been called a “Personal Branding Guru” by The New York Times and has been featured in over 150 media outlets.

In this guest post, Dan outlines some common mistakes when it comes to branding yourself online and what to do about them.

Without further ado, here is Dan on the top 5 lessons learned in personal branding …

How Do I Manage My Personal Brand

In the past three years, I’ve noticed a lot about how people behave online and how people are building their brands.

Most of the time, people aren’t very self-aware of what they are publishing online and are actually hurting their brands in the long-term.

Everyone has a personal brand whether they like it or not, so the focus should always be “how do I manage my brand.” In the online world, perception is much more important than reality, but if you don’t deliver on that brand promise offline, you will fail.

5 Common Mistakes in Personal Brand Management

There are five common mistakes that I’ve seen and that you should not only be aware of, but you shouldn’t make them.

1. Don’t over-promote.

Don’t over-promote by tweeting about your products and achievements all the time. Instead you should have a careful balance of value contribution and self-promotion, so that you are helping your followers, having them spread your message, while letting them know what you’re all about in the process.

2. Be mindful of your blog comments.

Be mindful of your blog comments, not only because bloggers moderate comments but because people will only click through to your blog if you’re added value to the post.

Many people will cite their name, their company’s name, and multiple URL’s, when that subtracts from the comment and positions you as a spammer.

You should add your opinion when commenting on blog posts and let interested readers click through to your blog.

3. Discover your brand before you communicate it.

It’s very easy to start using social tools to communicate with the general public, but it’s not very effective unless you’ve discovered your brand first.

By having a clear understanding on what you want to be known for, your positioning in the marketplace (taking a niche), and the overall design and message you want to communicate, you will be much more successful when you’re actually on social networks.

4. Use the same picture, name, and messaging.

Be consistent with everything you do, so people are viewing the same picture, name and messaging wherever they see you online or offline.

Your Twitter avatar should be the same as your Facebook picture and the picture on your blog bio page.

If you position yourself as the top salesman for baby boomers in Texas, then make sure that branding exists everywhere as well.

5. Get your name out there.

Don’t just pump out content on your blog and pray that people find it. If you build it, they probably won’t come, unless they know to come.

You want to get your name out there by networking with the right people, not the entire world.

Use services like Twellow.com to narrow down your search to people who would be interested in what you have to say. Comment and guest post on blogs to attract more attention and build readership.

Put your blog or website URL on your business card, in your presentations, on your resume, and everywhere else.


  1. Thanks for hosting this J.D. I’ve come across Dan before and he’s got heaps of tips for managing your online branding. In a way I think it’s sad that people have to brand themselves but it’s definitely a necessity online and one that some people are handling poorly.

    Dan has a nice business-like image. He looks like someone you can trust and a man who can get a job done well.

    J.D, I have to say you look a bit small in that picture, a bit fuzzy too. I’d like to see something a little larger, clearer and more authoritative. Something that really reflects your expertise and authority and shouts out “this man’s got a wealth of knowledge and experiences he’s willing to share and if you want to be more effective you should tune in regularly.”

    Hmm, I wonder what you think of my pic?! I’m trying to look friendly, approachable and fun. But maybe that’s not the image I should be going for. Probably should be aiming for authoratative, worldly and cool. Love to hear your thoughts!

  2. Hi JD and Dan .. thanks for those wise words – as you say .. you are what you write, and what people see, or feel you are .. be true to yourself all the time. Really helpful ..

  3. Very useful post, Dan, thank you! Discovering your brand is the key I believe. You have to get clear on who you are and what you stand for first, took me awhile to do that.

  4. #3 is useful. It might sounds obvious – finding your brand – but it is not. Good one. I still see folks calling for being versatile, usually it leads to shallow expertise and average results.

  5. Being mindful of your blog comments is great advice. Poor grammar, inappropriate language, over promotion all can push your thoughts into the ‘don’t read list.’ I find part of the trick to useful commenting is to be selective about what blogs you read and comment on. If you read a post and can’t think of anything to say, move on to something that does inspire you to say something useful.

  6. I think finding your brand is something that takes time. I’m not sure I would wait until I was sure of it. I’m studying this now in relationship to my music as I get ready for a marketing blitz.

    But assume that everything on the internet could be there forever. I discovered that when I joined a musicians group called the “Queer Seattle Musicians”. The group is long gone, but it one of the things still attached to my name.

    Not that this is a big deal over all. I just I found it interesting because I’m not gay and yet this used to be one of the top things that showed up when searching on my name.

    It’s also the reason I specifically use Rob Boucher Jr in my professional life so I’m not confused with Adam Sandler’s the Waterboy. 🙂


  7. This is a phenomenally helpful post; thank you. While I understand some people’s desire to self-promote, and do so heavily, I’m really turned off by it. So for myself, I let others promote me. I figure if I can come from the heart in everything I do, people will feel that and the right ones will share the message.

    So far, so good.

    Be well, and JD – GREAT guest author!

  8. I like the point about using the same pictue for FB, Twitter, etc. How many times have we eached wondered (when we’re searching for someone, something) is this the right guy/gal? Small tweaks but more impactful results. Thanks for the great post!


  9. Some very good personal branding tips.
    Tip 5 is the best of the lot, and i live by it.
    Maybe there should have been one about the branding name?

  10. @ Annabel

    You look friendly, approachable and fun, so mission accomplished. I’ll update my pic at some point. I want the focus to be way more on the site than me, but in today’s world I think it’s a blend. I’m not sure I want to look authoritative (that’s my day job) … instead, just everyday and keeping it real 🙂

  11. Thanks! I know what you mean but I don’t know if you can just be a quiet writer these days. I think self-promotion and branding is a necessary evil that writers have to get into or otherwise they’ll lose out.

Comments are closed.