Building a personal brand can be a powerful way to drive marketing results, but what's the best way to actually build your brand?
This week on The Inbound Success Podcast, Claire Bahn shares the strategies she's used to help entrepreneurs and business executives strategize and create strong personal brands.
Claire is a personal branding expert and founder of Claire Bahn Group where she helps entrepreneurs leverage their personal brands to develop the authority, influence, and trust they need to exceed their business goals.
In this episode, Claire talks about why it's so important for executives to have strong personal brands, and she walks through the exact process she uses with her clients.
Check out the full episode, or read the transcript below, for details.
Kathleen (00:01): Welcome back to the Inbound Success Podcast. I'm your host Kathleen Booth. And this week, my guest is Claire Bahn, who is the CEO and co-founder of Online Profile Pros and Claire Bahn Group. Welcome Claire.
Claire (00:25): Thank you so much for having me.
Kathleen (00:28): I'm excited to talk to you because this topic that we're going to discuss is something that I'm very, very passionate about, which is personal branding. But before we dive into it, I would love it. If you could share kind of your story what you're doing now with Online Profile Pros and Claire Bahn group, and kind of what led you into that?
Claire (00:51): Well basically I have a background in doing, working with fortune 500 companies in New York is kind of how I cut my teeth, so to speak. And I always kind of had this drive to be an actress. And you know, obviously many of us, you have to pay your bills. Right? So after college I did that with, with doing marketing and then I was like, you know, I really want to do acting, so I didn't have a ton of acting experience, but what I did have was marketing experience. So I knew how to market myself. And so I set up a website, set up all the social media channels and just really started kind of defining who I was, because I knew that if a casting director was able to see, you know, kind of how I presented myself, they'd be like, I know what part you know, I should, I should put her in or to have her come in to read for or whatever it is or for a commercial part.
Claire (01:44): And from then I was doing you know, a lot of international and national commercials and print ads and other, you know, I've done movies and that kind of thing. And so it really just helped. And I had a lot of actors coming to me after that saying, Hey, I need your help. So I kind of ballooned from there. And then I started online profile pros where I help people brand themselves for online dating and LinkedIn, which is so, so important.
And then from there I had investors and you know, angel investors, venture, capitalists executives, and people coming to me saying, Hey, I really like what you're doing. I've come across your personal branding blog. And I want to kind of have you do, you know, do that for me. And that's really just kind of how it was born. It was very organic just kind of practicing what I preach and people coming to me saying, Hey, I need your help. So that's, that's how it'll happen.
Kathleen (02:42): I love this story. And you just made me realize something. Cause I, I spend a lot of time thinking about personal branding, you know, partly for myself, cause I have this podcast and there's some work I do.
I work within a company, but there's work I do outside of that. But also because I'm such a strong that for every business, the best businesses build strong personal brands for their executives. They're thought leaders. They're subject matter experts. Like that's a true differentiator.
And, but you just made me think of something like I had a realization as you were talking, and I don't know if anyone's ever said this to you before, but when you talked about your experience as an actor and needing the casting agents or the people that you were auditioning in front of to be able to picture you in a role, it made me think of this parallel with staging a house.
Kathleen (03:34): Like if you're in real estate and you go to sell a house that has no furniture in it, it's really hard for buyers to picture themselves living there. But it's also why they say when you stage a house, like you shouldn't, you shouldn't put any of your own personal things in like your, if you live there because they need to be able to see themselves in the house.
And if they can see themselves in the house, the sale is so much easier. And, and all of a sudden it occurred to me that there's this, this is a little bit like that. Like you're, you're crafting a story, a narrative around who you are. And if somebody can see you as that person, like you you've, you've already sold yourself to them. Does that make sense?
Claire (04:13): Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, definitely. I mean, as far as like the, when casting directors they have such a limited amount of time. If you think about it, they, they, they look at your thumb now. If you've ever done any casting, I mean, I've lived in Los Angeles. So we cast for stuffs, I've cast for things, commercials and things like that myself. And you literally, you go online and you see headshots.
So you need to be able to look at that photo and say that I can, I can tell this person is interesting. Let me take a look. And a lot of casting directors will actually do research. They would actually look at, you know, pictures where that aren't your your headshot, because so many people do so much crazy Photoshopping. They wanted to see what you really look like. So you really ha so I kind of just being in the business, you kind of learned that you're like, wow, you really do have to do my homework.
Claire (05:00): People will dig deeper to find out, you know, do I really look like this without, you know, on my daily life? Or am I crazy Photoshop to look 10 years younger or whatever. And you start to kind of realize that, and it's so important when you go into LinkedIn and online dating as well, especially online dating because you want the, you want the picture that you see, obviously you, you're kind of, if you think about, you know, swiping right or left, you have this thumbnail and a little bit little bitty blurb.
If you're kind of like thinking about Tinder and this, you have to make an impact, it has to make an impact to make you decide. Do I want to even look, do I want to dig any deeper? Do I want to learn a few more lines about what this person is about?
Claire (05:36): And if you, so you think about all the things and it goes the same way for looking for a job press wanting to do an interview with you. People are going to do their homework and you have seconds to have them say, I want to learn more or add next. Yeah.
So it's in everything you do, really your, everything you do, it has to make an ad that makes somebody want to learn more past that, those like five seconds or whatever it is. So that's just, that's kind of what I do. I've learned it through, through, you know, my own work and I make sure that people want to learn more.
Kathleen (06:12): It's so interesting though, because I feel like there's a fine line between what I would call like clickbait. You know, I want to learn more and authenticity because as you pointed out, like, I think it's really interesting that you do personal branding for executives, but you also help people with like Tinder, because, because really when you think about it, it, yeah, somebody might want to learn more, but then when they do learn more, if they're like, well, this has nothing to do with the bill of goods I was sold.
Like, that's actually the worst possible outcome. It's kind of like, you'll have lots of first, but not a lot of second dates, you know? And I feel like it's the same thing with, with business, personal branding, like the best brands that I've seen out there for executives are pretty authentically true to who that person is.
Claire (06:57): But you also have the other, the other way around is if you have a great personal brand, but your initial gut reaction from, from seeing whatever it is, website, whatever it is, and you don't want to learn more.
So yeah, it's when they go together, when you have that great thirties, you know, five seconds kind of thing, where you're like, I want to learn more. And then when someone does learn more, they go, okay, this person is really who they say they are. They really are an expert. So you have to have both.
Kathleen (07:22): So let's kind of pull back for a second. And obviously we're, we're not focused as much on Tinder. Although I think that would be a fascinating podcast that I would love to do at some point you know, here, it's all about like, how do we use this for marketing and for business marketing and right. The thing that I would want to start with is really why should people even care? Because I, like I said, I passionately believe in this and every company I've worked at I've, I've really kind of pushed it.
But I will say I've gotten a lot of pushback from executives who are not interested in, in kind of shining the spotlight on themselves personally, like they're willing to do what needs to be done to promote the company, but they're very hesitant, not all of them, but certainly many of the ones I've worked with very, very hesitant to do anything that's perceived as promoting themselves. So maybe you could talk for a minute about like, why is this an important thing for an executive to care about and to want to participate in?
Claire (08:20): Well, I mean, I'm kind of thinking like all of the, there's so many things flying in my head, but one of the biggest things cause I do run into this when we have, you know, with my, with our personal concierge clients.
If you aren't telling, you know, essentially shouting from the rooftops that you're amazing, there's somebody else that is, and that person is going to be stealing your opportunities, your next career move, whatever it is because there's somebody that, that is doing this and they probably don't even have the experience that you do.
So I think that is just one of the things that we in this space that we're in right now. I think we just need to realize that we need to be, you know, our biggest champion because no one else is going to do it for us. You know, and you are number one and you need to take care of yourself.
Claire (09:09): This is really about taking care of yourself, your future, whatever it may, may happen in your future, the, you know, things won't kind of fall into place if you are not positioned well, if they just won't, you won't get the opportunities that somebody that maybe who is less qualified than you will get, because they're shouting louder than you are. So that's ultimately why it is important.
Even if you are the head of a company, you know, when you want the business to do really well, people get behind, they don't want this faceless entity anymore. You know, they, especially with, when you're dealing with small and medium sized businesses, they want to get behind the CEO, the person they want to know your passion. Why did you choose to do this? What makes you tick? They want those kinds of things because they want to know.
Again, like we've been talking about that you're authentic. You're not just in it to, you know, make money off them. They aren't just a number. They mean something to you. So I think that that, that really being personable and personal is really the only way to do that and showing people why you care and showing people just a little bit about you, you know, kind of that personal connection. That is what is so important.
Kathleen (10:24): I would also add in my experience that when you build a personal brand, it opens doors that otherwise wouldn't be open to you. And what I mean by that? Well, a few things. I mean, obviously when it comes to things like speaking at conferences you know many businesses want to get somebody up on a stage at a conference, ideally on the main stage, not in a breakout room.
And very few conferences are going to invite a nameless, faceless, faceless executive to get up on a main stage and talk about their company because that's seen as self promotional. So you need to have some kind of larger story that's of interest that's personally compelling. Or you need to have already established your expertise through, through having a strong personal brand.
And, and that in itself will bring invitations. But the other thing I found beyond that that's kind of interesting is, is that people, when you have a personal brand, it doesn't even need to be the world's strongest one.
Kathleen (11:25): People seek you out for things, you know, and, and like, I've seen this happen a little bit with me because of the podcast and because of some other things I've invested in and let me be honest. I mean, do I have a personal brand? I mean, yeah, it's, I'm not famous. It's certainly not like I would say I'm, I have a personal brand in a tiny little niche space, but, but people have come to me for advice, for introductions, for all kinds of things.
And, and I'm a big believer in there's an author named Adam Grant and he has a book called give and take. And I've always said that that's like the most powerful business book anybody should read. And it's not a business book. It's basically about how the most successful people in the world, both from a professional standpoint and personally are those who give first, who are, who have a give before you take mentality, because, because the very act of giving is what will at some point come back and allow you to receive, right?
Kathleen (12:21): And so when people seek you out, whether that's for advice or for introductions or for what have you, it opens the door to our relationship and it opens the door to it, the type of a relationship that eventually will, will pay dividends for you.
And I don't mean like it positions you to ask for a quid pro quo, cause that's not the spirit in which you should do it, but it just, it positions you to be someone who, who has the opportunity to give, which naturally will produce wonderful opportunities that you may not have even asked for, but that will be presented to you. That sounded very philosophical.
Claire (12:55): Oh, I, I believe it. Yeah. I I teach a masterclass and that's one of the things that I, that I talk about is that you know, a lot of people are using their personal brand for their business to sell a product or service or whatever it is. And if you're constantly like buy this, do this, click this, do that. You never just like here's information that I just want to impart to you.
Because I'm sharing my expertise, which like you said, is, is going to make people believe that you are who you say you are, that you, and if they go, when they try one of the tips that you give, you gave them, you just gave them a gift. And like you're saying, some people will just take the gift and be like, wow, awesome. But maybe they're going to go, you know what, that Claire, I did this masterclass, I'm going to tell a friend, so you get referrals, you get and maybe they'll, they'll turn into an, a customer, but yeah, I always say 80% give 20% ask because yeah.
Claire (13:49): Otherwise, I mean, if you think about it, I mean, I w did Ben in the influencer space, like on Instagram and things like that. And I just kind of think of some of them that are just like, buy this, buy this, buy this, click this. And I'm just like unfollow. I can't handle this. And you see businesses, it's all with time. It's just, Oh, it's just icky. I don't, it doesn't give you a really good feeling and it doesn't make you trust them. It doesn't make you think that they're an expert. Yeah.
And if you think about someone that you're going to go back to over and over like your podcast, it's because you're giving great information for someone to keep coming back and listening to it. You know, whatever it is, your YouTube channel, whatever the stuff that you're doing, the stuff that you're presenting, you need to make sure that it's actually really good information so that you get the email and you get people to come back to you.
Claire (14:35): So, yeah, that's, that's kind of like both ways, but yeah, I, we have clients all the time and, and that's one of the biggest things that we talk about it. You can do your personal brand in line with PR, but it, you know, when someone's doing their research on you and you don't have a strong personal brand, they're not going to have you come in to be an expert, to be a speaker or anything like that. And more often than not, when your personal brand is outstanding and you are out there sharing content and giving, giving, giving, giving people are going to come across your content, because they're going to do a Google search on personal brand. They're going to find something and they're going to go, this is a piece of content. Oh, I love it. You know, and, and that is ideally, that's, that's kind of one of the things that I always talk and I always teach is that ideally, when someone is doing a search on your L your area of expertise, you want your piece of content to, you know, be as front and center in front of them. And they're like, Oh, aha. I love this person. I'm going to follow. I'm going to subscribe. I'm going to subscribe to their email list and I want to be connected. And you know, that's what, that's what you want.
Kathleen (15:39): Well, and that is actually really what inbound marketing is all about. It's about educating first and naturally attracting the right audience to you. So thank you for setting that stage so nicely and tying it back to the topic test. All right.
So, I mean, there are so many good reasons to do this. Are there ever people that you come across where you say you shouldn't, you shouldn't like you're just not the right fit for building your personal brand? I don't know. Maybe the answer is no, but I mean,
Claire (16:10): One of the things that I mean, sometimes there's some, there are some people that need a lot of media training. They need a lot of help to feel comfortable talking. They'll comfortable speaking and things like that.
And, and maybe they're not right for certain things, but it doesn't mean you can't brand yourself. It doesn't mean you can't present your ideas and maybe it's not, maybe video is not your format or things like that, but you can present it in a blog and things like that.
I think it's still so important to make sure that especially when you're dealing with inbound marketing, you have to, you have to give, you have to give content. You have, people have to know why they should trust you. And that I have had people that are very reluctant to, to give away their information, because they think that if they do it, they're never going to get a customer.
Claire (16:55): They're like, if I give someone that, you know, the secret sauce, right. Yes. And I, and I remember, like I was dealing with, with somebody who is, you know, in my masterclass. And I was like, it's kind of hard. Cause you kind of sometimes want to see, you know, constructive criticism, but essentially nothing about what she said she did. And she had great credentials was, was in her personal brand and would make me trust that she was the one that I should go with.
And that's a big problem. So, you know, you have to give the information so that someone can say, you know what, this is good information. I use your, your you know, tidbit of information and I, this happened and thank you so much. I now know you're an expert. That's just really the thing. I mean, cause a lot of times people are going to compare experts.
And if you're the one that has like the great information they're to keep you, they're going to stick to you. But I think that's the biggest thing that I, I did a video on like, you know why you need a freebie, why you need to give stuff away. It's because no, one's going to trust you.
Kathleen (18:00): Yeah. Well, and the story I always come back to when I'm on this topic, because people do say like, we can't give out the secret sauce and I love saying, you know, who really has secret sauce? That would be, what is it is a burger King or is it McDonald's right?
Claire (18:20): Here in LA we have In and Out Burger.
Kathleen (18:21): They literally have secret sauce. They call it secret sauce. And McDonald's Canada actually built a website called your questions are answers or something like that, where you can ask them anything and people ask them things like, you know, is the pink slime real? What do you make your nuggets out of? And many people have asked, what is the recipe for your secret sauce? And they literally have the recipe on there. They have a video of their chef making it so that you can make it at home. Like they give away the secret sauce.
And they've done this for years. And I always like to say to people like, have you seen burger King selling secret sauce? The recipes out there? Like they're not doing it. No, because you know, that's not, what's going to get them ahead. Like so often our secret sauce really. Isn't what we think it is. I mean, yes, there's a difference between like intellectual property when you talk to technology companies. But most of us don't truly have secret sauce. We don't.
Claire (19:15): Yeah. I mean a lot of people, yeah. There's a lot of the same kind of stuff out there in the world. It's just how, how you present it or yeah. I, I really think that what draws people to you, which is why the personal part of your personal brand is so important and obviously video and things like that is that people really will connect to your story the way you present an idea. You know, sometimes like I have, I've had people that were really connected with way I've said said something. They're like, Oh my God, I loved that thing.
And I'm like, I don't even know what I said. Cause I just was like speak, you know, I was just speaking from the heart and like, I think, I think that's what it is. You know, there's so many, so many competitors in, in any space that I think there's probably enough to go around. Right? You have business. But you just, you need to speak from the heart. You need to be personal and personable to have the people that are your, you know, your champions, the ones that really love what you do, they'll come to you, there'll be magnetized to you. So, all right. So let's move down to tax here. Yeah.
Kathleen (20:21): Somebody is convinced that they need to build their personal brand. They come to you, someone's listening to this podcast and they're thinking, I need to do this. Let's let's talk about how you do it. Like how do you start with your clients? Walk me through it.
Claire (20:38): I think one of the biggest things that people first need to do is you need to, do, you need to know what's out there about you. You can't do unless you know where you're starting from. So it's either going to be something or it's going to be nothing. So if there's there's stuff that you don't want out there, figure out maybe how you can get, get rid of it.
But you need to know where you're starting from. And then from there, it's really about owning your name and you, I mean, if someone does a, if someone does a Google search on you, you need to be like, you need to own that first page. You need to own it. You need to have lots of content, lots of information, lots of what you want. You want there, like you were talking about, you need to own the narrative on your name.
Kathleen (21:23): So I have a story around that I have to share. So my married name, Kathleen Booth, you know, it's not the most unique name on the planet. And, but I have a lot of content. So I have a bunch of like first page Google results, but it turns out that there is a really famous computer scientist, Kathleen Booth, who's responsible for inventing a certain programming language and she's, I think she's no longer alive. But you know, Google has the, the information panel where it has on the right side of the, of the search engine results pages. And for a while there, it was putting my picture next to her biography.
Claire (22:05): Oh, wow.
Kathleen (22:07): She wouldn't be like 120 or something right now. And it was just so funny because there, I have a Google alert on my name. So every time I've mentioned in an article or something, I get an email about it. And I discovered this because I got an email. And then, and then there was actually a tweet that followed it, that a publication had written an article about the talk women in computing. And I was like named as one of the top 10.
And they had tagged me on Twitter and they'd included my picture. And I was like, I had to reach out and be like, you guys, that woman is no longer alive and would probably be 120 years old. If she was so much as I love this accolade, like you need to take it down. And it just, it was just so funny because I think it weirdly, it's easier said than done, like getting your picture disassociated with with a, it's like an AI result in Google.
Kathleen (22:58): Like it's not something that somebody enters in, it's them pulling information out of the information graph. So I guess that leads me to my question, which is, you know, it's one thing to say, you need to own your name. It's entirely another thing to do it. And yes, you can create a lot of content, but, you know, do you have certain strategies if, for people in situations like mine where there's a famous historical figure with my name or somebody who, whose name is like John Smith, which is super generic how do you stand out in those situations?
Claire (23:29): You, I mean, you definitely just need to make sure that you're kind of the one that's shouting the loudest, if your, your, your, any of your content, your name, anything like that is associated with this wrong person, make sure you fix that. We haven't, we have a client that this has happened to he there's somebody else in Singapore who is, is like, has done a lot in I think also the competing space and we're just like, Nope, separate clients.
And so we're always on it to make sure that they're separate or it's. Yeah. And so I just think that's basically it, but you ha you have to create that content that is going to kind of get some most you know, so constantly share it on social media. You've got to have people linking to it so that it's, it's all about back links and the shares and that sort of thing.
And so when you have that content and that's what will get you, you know, you to own that first page of your name, but yes, it's, it's work if you're kind of working against somebody else that has a lot of backlinks success essentially, and a lot of activity on their social media. So yes, you, you need to be there doing the same thing and you need to probably do it a lot louder than they are
Kathleen (24:39): In the entertainment world. There's this thing where like, you can't have two people at the exact same name, right? So this is why you have people who have assumed names and this and that. What are your feelings about, like in the business world about incorporating your middle name or like
Claire (24:55): I was gonna, I was gonna mention that. Yeah, you can always use your, your middle name, middle name, middle initial to make sure that people find you and not that other person, especially if it's an uphill battle that you're really fighting against somebody else that is creating great content as well. That's it?
It will be a pedal. And so if you just wanted to kind of not deal with the battle again, if you have a married thing that you can use, use your married name. Yeah. You might have to just kind of decide where you want to go. But if, if you are really dealing with a huge battle, because your name is very common, then you switch it up, go by that name professionally. Essentially,
Kathleen (25:34): I have a good friend who also has previously been a podcast guest on this podcast. George B. Thomas, who has done exactly that he's made the middle initial B like just a part of his name, like his friends, everybody who knows him, like people, it's George B. Thomas. It's never George Thomas ever. He's been really good about consistently using that. And so if you ever search online for George B. Thomas, it's easy to find him, but if you searched for George Thomas, I don't know. I don't know if it would be as visible.
Claire (26:03): Yeah. Well, and, and, you know, obviously if you use a middle initial or you kind of switch it up a little bit, it's going to be easier to get the domain name, your social media handles and everything like that. So yes, you need to figure out what name you can get and then own it across everything.
So if you have a very common name yeah. Just using middle initial or you can, I mean, yeah, you have, essentially, you may have to come up with a stage name, like you were saying, like an actor would have to because you really want to make sure that you're standing out.
Kathleen (26:34): So your goal number one is to own your name. And I think you've, you've taught, you've mentioned a few things that could help with that. One is creating content sharing that content. Another, you talked about getting a domain, like how important is it to have a website?
Claire (26:49): Very, very important, because it's what you own. You don't own your Instagram handle your YouTube. So you can't, yeah, you can't be, if you do something that violates their terms, you may not have even knowingly done something. And all of a sudden they turn off your account. You need to have somewhere that people where you actually own your domain.
And so it's all about driving people back to what you which is your domain, your content and that sort of thing. So make sure that it is one home and hopefully get people's email addresses so that you can continue to contact them because that's all you own. Really.
Kathleen (27:26): Yeah. Now, I mean, obviously we can, we can talk for hours about the digital side of this and I, and I do want to talk more about it, but I'm really curious what your take is on. If somebody is building a personal brand, like how far into the different aspects of their life should the tentacles of that brand reach. And I'll give you an example of what I mean by that question.
Another woman I know who is a published author has a personal brand as a female entrepreneur. And hold on, I'll just mention her name, Danielle Tate. And she published a book called the elegant entrepreneur and the book on the book cover, she's wearing a red dress and the colors are like black and white and red. And she literally, her wardrobe is black and white and red.
That those are the only colors she wears, which I thought was so interesting. And it had never occurred to me before I met her. That like that somehow the color choices of your clothes could be a part of your brand. Like, so I'm, I'd love to just hear your take on, on how much does the brand need to permeate the different aspects of your life beyond just your digital presence.
Claire (28:35): Interesting. I'm glad you explained that because I actually thought of it from a different perspective. So I'm glad that you, that you explain that I think it's whatever you're really, really comfortable with, but if you really, if you think about a brand that everyone is, you know, you think about the new, the Doritos ads where they just literally have the chip, right.
And you're supposed to know that that's Doritos. That's why the brand is so important. So if your color is so important, you always wear a red blazer or whatever it is. I'm not wearing anything now, now, but purple is my color. Like a deep purple.
Kathleen (29:07): Wait let's clarify, you are wearing something. You're just not wearing a particular color because you said I'm not wearing anything right now.
Claire (29:12): Oh yeah, no, no. I'm not wearing the PR that's a whole other brand. But yeah, a lot of times I will wear purple without even really realizing it just because it's something that I always gravitate to. So it's, it's what I have in my, in my logo. So I think that you just need to figure out where, how far you want to go with it. But I think that's a very, I love that idea of the fact that she's always wearing those same colors, because if you think about it, if you, you know if you just kind of see her in a distance, you know, and she's wearing that color, you're like, Oh, there she is. I picked her up.
Kathleen (29:47): Well, it's like Steve jobs wearing the black guy. That was just so you, so associate that outfit choice with him. Yes. All right. So, so somebody comes to you and they have to own their name, but like walk me through what,
Claire (30:04): So you were talking about how far do you want it to permeate into your life? And I one of the things that I really, I really always talk about is privacy. You need to know, you need to know how far you're willing to go in that aspect of your life, whether you're willing to share personal information about, about your background, your, your, you know, wherever it is, your spouse, your boyfriend, girlfriend, whatever it is your children, you need to know kind of how far you want to get personal with that.
And that is a, that is a very important choice. So that originally, that's what I thought you were talking about for how deep you want to go. And a lot of people don't want to go down that path. So I feel like you can be, you can share personal details about yourself, but you don't, you can make, I mean, for me, I never, I never talked about my family.
Claire (30:54): I just don't, I, I it's, they didn't choose to kind of be the one that's front and center I did. So I don't, I don't, I very rarely will show my husband and things like that. And I just, that's how I feel comfortable. So you that's, that's something that you needed to decide. And if you change your mind, you can always change your mind. But a lot, I know that most of my clients are very concerned with their privacy and their family, and they want to keep them separate. And so we can find ways to, to bring in aspects of their life and their, you know, personality without talking about their family.
Kathleen (31:25): Yeah. I talk about my husband a lot because he's in marketing and he doesn't care, but I don't talk about my children. Not only because I don't think I should, but they would probably kill me if I did.
Claire (31:39): I talk about my dogs a lot.
Claire (31:42): You see a lot of dogs in my feed.
Kathleen (31:44): Yeah. Interesting. So when I think about building a personal brand, I, one of the things I always think about is like that old quote, the, your brand is what people say about you when you're not in the room. Like, so it's like Claire Bahn is what, what comes after that, or Kathleen Booth is what, so obviously with building a brand, you, what you're trying to do in part is shape that narrative. So in my mind, I always think about like, what do I want to be known for?
What do I want to be known as I imagine you must have similar conversations with your clients. And I would love to understand how you work through that process, because I think it's surprisingly more difficult than it would seem that it should be. And, and I imagine, I know for me, at least how I answered that question evolved over time, which I also think is interesting. So like, I'm curious to get your take on how set in stone is that, or does that evolve? So I, that's kind of a big topic and not exactly a question, but I'd love to hear
Claire (32:52): We do have this happen a lot because a lot of our clients are multifaceted and have, you know, amazing credentials and things that they've done in their life and things that they're experts on. We really kind of do a deep dive and figure out what we can own first, what are the keywords we can own first? And those are the ones we attack first, because again, you're going after backlinks, you're going after shares and all this sort of stuff. So if you really own this space, and then you add to it, Google is going to say, okay, well, they'll give you more juice for the, for the stuff that maybe you have a lot more competition on if you actually own. And you're having a ton of, you have a ton of content on something else, especially if they're related. And so that's essentially what we, what we do. So it's okay.
Kathleen (33:39): Very much a kind of a classic SEO approach. Yes, yes. Done through the lens of personal branding, which you know, these days, if you're doing SEO, it means you're creating content. And you've already talked about that in the beginning.
Lots of executives that I know are very reluctant content creators and you kind of touched on like, you know, you don't necessarily need to be on video or this or that. Can you talk a little bit about how you figure out what is the right kind of content for somebody to create and do they always create it themselves, or do you pair them with someone who helps them or who ghost writes or who, you know, like how do you get the content out of their brain and out into the world?
Claire (34:21): Right. Well, so when someone comes on and they're in our concierge program that we have essentially again, we figure out what keywords we're going to tackle first. And then we create content. We do that with blogs. So long form blogs. We do have writers in-house that, that write all the blogs. And most of our clients from there, we also do kind of Q and A's. And we kind of, they do video Q and A's tackling a particular question, or it might relate to what we've covered in a blog, but yeah, we basically make sure that they always kind of are, again, are shaping that narrative and either through a blog or through a video, but when we do create the long form blogs, obviously you're thinking 2000 plus words, you need to make sure that you have them in there. So we asked for like a, either give me a video of yourself, just literally on your iPhone, tell me how you're feeling on this topic, and then we'll expand from there. So we always make sure that we get what they're feeling on every aspect of whatever we decide to cover.
Kathleen (35:25): Now, you know, obviously there are lots of ingredients that go into building the brand, but then there's the, okay. You have built your brand. Like you are a brand to what end, what then do you find that many of the executives you work with have certain goals in mind, whether it's to speak at a conference or to publish a book? Like what, what's the end game for most of them?
Claire (35:50): I mean, it's, it's all, it's basically what you said. So yes. Speaking engagements it's when we have investors, we have angel investors that work with us and they want deal flow. So they want the deals to come directly to them instead of them having to seek all these great things. Right. So, yeah, it's opportunities deal flow belonging to certain organizations being asked to join certain syndicates, obviously, if they're an angel investor, there's angel investor in syndicates.
So our clients have been invited to join these groups rather than them seeking them out. People seek them out. So it's, it's really about opportunities, press industry recognition, getting the opportunity to speak. So yeah, all of those things, those are usually what our clients want. Maybe it's to write a book, but again, you're going to have people coming to you saying, Hey, I have this, this idea.
Claire (36:42): I'd love to help you with this book. You know? So those things will come to you, especially if you're constantly sharing your expertise and your ideas and all of that will come to you. Because I, one of the things that I always say is you don't want to just be another choice. You want to be, be only choice in your market. And that's only going to be there by constantly sharing your expertise and showing why you are the only choice.
Why, why someone should want to work with you. And again, it goes back to the, what I said before, because you, people are going to connect with certain people that are going to connect with me. I, you know, my background is in New York, I'm a straight shooter.
I don't, you know, but sometimes my, my, the way I work, it doesn't people don't like it, but a lot of people do. So that's, who's going to be magnetized to me. If someone else is just like really laid back, you know, they're like San Diego, they're like brah, you know, they're going to love that person. They're not going to love me. Cause I am not that person, a lot of those around here.
Kathleen (37:43): Now, do you ever work with clients who come to you because they want to build a brand so that they can monetize it? Like they want to be a professional speaker or, you know, basically be paid essentially to go out and talk to groups and things like that.
Claire (37:58): Most of the, most of the time it's so not necessarily to be paid, but yes. I mean, obviously to have something that will, I like being part of a syndicate being part of an angel investing group being asked to be a limited partner. So again, they'll get payment from it, but it's not like a specific thing. Right. It's, it's kind of all, and a lot of times it's many it's ideas and then things just kind of start coming and then we get other ideas for new content and new ways to new directions for them to go to. And things like that based on the opportunities that are coming their way
Kathleen (38:31): That's. So I know saying that you work with so many investors, it's not, that's not a category that I would have thought of as one that would invest so much in personal brand building. But as I hear you explain it, it makes a ton of sense.
Claire (38:41): Well, what was interesting is for online profile pros and we're going out for investment. So I was in San Francisco a lot. It was doing a lot of networking events here in LA and I met an investor. And I did a Google search because if you've ever done investor, you've ever gone through investment, you know, you need to give a lot of details. You're given every bit of detail about your business. So I'm like, why should I trust this person again, going back to the know, like, and trust, why should I trust this person with all the details about my business? Who is this person? And that was one of the biggest things. Yeah. And so basically he became our first client actually, so that it just kind of came organically because he knew there was a missing link for him as well, because he didn't have the opportunities that he felt that he should.
Claire (39:26): And now he does. So I love it. Yeah, that's, that's kind of how it happened because it, it really is important for everybody. Even if you are somebody that's helping somebody else, the other person still has a decision. Do they go with this investor? Do they keep looking for another investor because you have to give a lot of information.
And you, you know, a lot of personal details, business details, you have to do a lot of work. Sometimes you're like, is it worth it? If this person really is not who they say they are. And if you've gone down the investment bank, you know exactly what I'm talking about with the amount of time and effort and meetings and all the things you have to do. So you want to make sure that they actually are who they say they are.
Kathleen (40:10): Well, and I'm sure it works the other way too, because if they're going to put all their money behind you, they're going to want to know who you are.
Claire (40:14): Exactly. So it's both. So yeah, so we work with founders and we worked with an investor, so it just kind of happened just because again, I was in that space talking to people, meeting people, and then they saw kind of what I did. They saw this initial investor and they were like, how do you, how do you have this amazing personal brand? Well, Claire helped me. So it's been a lot of referrals based on again, just doing, doing really good solid work. Yeah.
Kathleen (40:39): Well, I could talk about this for hours, but we're going to shift gears because we're running out of time. So there's two questions. I always ask all my guests. And first one is the podcast being all about inbound marketing. Is there a particular company or individual that, that comes to mind when you think of, you know, the gold standard for inbound marketing?
Claire (41:02): I mean, I, you know, I, I always think of, like, I think for marketing people, I often there are two, I know that you have two questions. I feel like my answers are probably for both is the same, but I, I always look at Gary V and Neil Patel because I look to them for a lot of guidance on what's hot, what's working, what you should be doing.
You know, you think of Gary V talking about like, don't be perfect. That's like one of the biggest things you tell your clients, you're never going to be perfect. Just don't seek it out. It's going to be the enemy of good. Yes. So I think that I love what they're doing. Cause they're, they're especially gravy, very, very authentic, very real and personable.
Kathleen (41:48): Then maybe we already know the answer to my second question, which is digital marketers already saying it's really hard to keep up with all the changes in the industry. How do you stay educated? I'm assuming you subscribe to those two blocks?
Claire (41:59): Yes. Well, definitely, definitely. Neil. I we've done, I've done some programs with him and worked with him in the past and yeah, always, always really, you know, put his money where his mouth is like, he's, you know, you've seen it, any of the challenges he's done or he said, Hey, I'm willing to do this.
You know, I'm going to get this many followers in this period of time and I'm going to do this thing to see if it works based on what I, what I'm doing. And I really liked that because you can kind of see the stuff that he's constantly doing. He's got a huge team. They're always thinking of new ideas. So yeah those are two that I always look for.
Kathleen (42:33): Awesome. All right. Well, if someone's listening and they're interested in connecting with you online, or they want to learn more about the kind of work you do, what's the best way for them to find you?
Claire (42:46): Clairebahn.com. I own my name and that's B A H N and yes. So Claire C L A I R E B A H N.com.
Kathleen (42:57): Awesome. And I will put a link to your site in the show notes. So if you're listening head there and you'll be able to find information on how to connect with Claire and thank you so much for joining me, this is a fun conversation. I love your background and how it started in acting. I think that's so interesting and it really gives you kind of a different perspective on this topic.
And if you are listening and you enjoyed this episode as always, I would really appreciate it if you would head to Apple podcasts or the platform of your choice and leave the podcast a review. That is what helps us get found by other listeners. And if you know someone else doing amazing inbound marketing work, tweet me at @workmommywork because I would love to interview them. That's it for this week. Thank you so much for joining me, Claire.
Claire (43:43): Thank you so much for having me.
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