It’s not every day I get to host an expert of Corey Smith’s caliber. His specialties vary from strategic marketing and business, web marketing and design, creative problem solving, to being a renowned author and speaker. Need help with these? Connect with Corey through his Linkedin or his agency Tribute Media.

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If you want people in your industry to consider you a thought leader, you need a distinct personal brand. If you want to be successful in business, you need a strong company brand.

So what if you want both? Do you have to put in double the effort?

Download Branding Resources Guide

Building a brand starts by having the right tools and advice. Download our top 10 essential tools and resources to kick-start your branding.


Not exactly.

When you find ways to tie your personal brand into your company brand, a single effort can often do double duty.

Before I share my story of how I did just that, it’s worth mentioning that I’m pretty well-known for my stories. When my employees see me going into “story mode,” I get teased about needing a rocking chair and pipe or how they should all sit cross-legged in the story circle. So I guess you could say that “Story Corey” is part of my brand.

Bonus Material: See This How To Guide for Creating Your Personal Brand in 2017

Jumping on the Brand-Wagon

As I was building my home in 2007, I observed that the only requirement to be a contractor was to own a pickup truck and a dog. Later that year, as I was starting Tribute Media, I noted something similar about internet-related business. Generally, if you had a laptop and lost your job, your next move was to start some kind of web company–usually as a “social media guru.”

I’m not passing judgment. I was one of those people. I just didn’t call myself a guru.

As a small business owner building my company’s brand in the relatively small Boise, Idaho area, I was connecting with other local business owners through networking and working out of shared startup spaces. To pay my growing success forward, I started helping my fellow entrepreneurs by doing speaking engagements, volunteering my time and leading events like Startup Weekend. As I created awareness about Tribute Media, the brand of “Corey Smith: Entrepreneur” started taking on an identity of its own.

Then in 2011, I published a book. It was geared toward people like me: founders, CEOs, company leaders. The idea was to share with them the fundamentals that I taught my web development and web marketing clients. I sold it on Amazon and offered it as a gift to clients as well as guests at events where I was speaking.

Brand-Aid

In late 2016, while wearing my Tribute Media owner hat, I was working with my marketing team to brainstorm ideas for content we could offer on Tribute Media’s website. We knew we needed to provide something unique and valuable to get the right types of leads coming into the website (i.e. decision makers like owners and CEOs). With this in mind, I decided to start giving away my book. After all, people looking to us for direction on web marketing needed to first understand the fundamentals of web strategy anyway.

Because I wanted readers to learn how to *think* about things rather than how to *do* anything, the fundamentals I teach in the book haven’t changed in the six years since it was published. I can’t imagine them changing anytime soon either–after all, the first story in the book comes from 1911. Talk about evergreen content.

Branding Together

Once we started offering the book for free on our site, we were able to repurpose a lot of the content from the book to drive traffic to the landing page where people could claim their free copy. This content included:

* Graphics for social media

* Blog posts that used individual stories and examples from the book

* Key takeaways and quotes for short social media posts

* Tips for people who subscribe to our Tuesday Tips emails

Much of the book’s content came from my personal experiences and stories I told to illustrate the points in my presentations. By posting content on Tribute Media’s website and social platforms that was similar to what I was using to represent my personal brand, I could create a stronger connection between the two. The Tribute Media brand gained additional credibility when people saw a strong personal brand behind the company. And people who saw “Corey Smith” on conference and workshop agendas could see a successful company brand that proved my credibility as a speaker and adviser.

To date, Tribute Media has given away almost 200 copies of a book that began as a tool to build my personal brand. When someone receives a copy of the book, my team follows up with them. We point them to additional Tribute Media content that we think would interest them based on what we know about the “buyer persona” of a company owner, CEO or visionary.

Today, whether someone encounters Corey Smith or Tribute Media first, each brand lends credibility to the other. This lets me concentrate on finding other activities that will grow both brands.

If you’d like to learn more or see this process at work, you can get your own copy of “Do it Right: A C.E.O.’s Guide to Web Strategy”.

Posted by Wendy Dessler

Wendy is a super connector who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customized marketing plans depending on the industry and competition.

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