Yinka Olaito is happy,excited and passionate Communication specialist, Social Media expert, Trainer and speaker. Yinka Olaito helps brands(Profits and Non-profits)with effective communication and positioning for premium service delivery and returns. Yinka Olaito also has special interest in Development Communication and has consulted for noted UN Agencies. Yinka Olaito is the CCO of Michael Sage Consulting(Communication/digital media), African Child Education Right Initiatives(NGO) and Content Director, Africa Development Talk( online Platform for discussion on Policy, Governance, development across Africa)
Today, I interviewed number one personal branding expert, blogger, writer, author, podcaster in the world who has larger than life followings. It is amazing how this young man of 25 achieve these. Dan Schawbel says anyone can achieve this feat as well as revealed what makes him an icon in this niche. Dan says ‘passion, creativity, uncommon dedication makes it happen for him. Below is our conversation.
Dan, you have become a phenomenon through your blog, how did this happen within two years as a blogger?
It was a combination of passion, hard work, creativity, focus, luck, community and taking a niche topic that was highly relevant. It seems like a lot, but when everything comes together for you and you make sense of it, things start to happen. For instance, if I worked hard and selected a niche, but wasn’t passionate about it, I wouldn’t be as successful as I am today. Also, I used the blog as the foundation for everything else I’m currently working on, such as a book, magazine and more. My strategy from day 1 was to become the #1 ranked site for “personal branding” in Google and I did for months, until people started linking to Wikipedia and I became #2. In retaliation, I worked twice as hard, posting 10 times a week and got back to #1. The reason why this is so important is because it positioned me as the top expert for personal branding, so I got a lot of attention from the media and from people interested in the topic.
As a young man, what gave you inspiration to follow this path you arefollowing in life?*
This has been more of a journey than a two year success story in my
opinion. I had eight internships during college, seven leadership positions in student-run organizations and I had my own consulting business. I learned how competitive it was to get a job in the marketing field and what it took to stand out and shine. I developed a “personal branding toolkit” when I was younger, even though I didn’t term it as “personal branding” back then. The kit had a business card, website, resume, cover letter, references document and CD portfolio that I used in my interviews and really impressed hiring managers. To me, this was all self-marketing. Then, after working at a Fortune 500 company for about a year, I experimented with social media after reading Tom Peters’ “Brand Called You” article in Fast Company. I aligned my passion with this topic and became a master rather quickly because I loved it and worked hard at it. After the blog, I had awards, then an online TV series, a magazine and now a book called Me 2.0.
Can you please share your experience as a blogger and what were the major steps you took to get your blog this large followings………*
I’ve had a few different phases while blogging. First, as a beginner, I had to learn the ropes, exchange links with other relevant websites, comment on every single blog pertaining to my topic, read countless blog posts to keep a pulse on the industry and reach out to everyone offline. Second, I formed content partnerships, shifted to online video and joined Ning communities and social networks. Third, I guest posted on other blogs, wrote for magazines and interviewed successful business owners. In another week or so, I will start the fourth phase, which is a community blog, under the same name!
Some of the secrets about successful blogging you have shared
includes good content and marketing, can you please expatiate on how to market a blog…*
Marketing a blog is a lot of work. The blog itself is the chief marketing engine because people love good content and will find you if you write well. Commenting on posts, guest blogging, linking, interviewing and other strategies help expedite the blog growing process.
You are a man of many parts i.e. a blogger, employee, podcaster,
author among many other roles, how did you combine all these roles without failing in one?*
I tend to focus my efforts on what’s succeeding and what brings in revenue. For instance, if you ask me what I do now, I’ll lean to the blog, my full-time job, the magazine and the book. Everything else is secondary to these and they all help market each other, with the reoccurring theme of “social media.”
Recently, you published a book Me 2.0, why do you thing PR should
embrace web 2.0? What implications are there to be suffered through
When it comes to business, social media has the great influence,
implications and benefits to the PR function. Most PR agencies have to get involved with social media now because the new influencer’s are bloggers and social networks carry messages quite fast (spread virally). In order to “tap” the new influencer’s, you have to be apart of the conversation and not be isolated with the mainstream press all the time. PR has no choice whether to embrace web 2.0 or not because the media landscape has already been changed forever. What are your guiding principles in maintaining a strong personal brand?
Here are a few important aspects to personal branding, which are noteworthy to those who want to achieve superstardom:
1. Authenticity – be the real you because everyone else is taken and replicas don’t sell for as much.
2. Transparency – be open and honest with everyone because bad press is more visibility and more talked about than good press.
3. Passion – be insanely enthusiastic about your topic or no one else will.
4. Courage – when people stop believing in you or make fun of you, you have to stay confident.
5. Determination – despite obstacles, you need to carry out your goals.
Your focus as a social media expert is on Generation-Y, why did you
chose this generation and do you think that is a great market to approach?
I chose to specifically gear my teachings and content to Gen-Y because they need personal branding more than anyone. During college, they don’t learn how to get a job, yet it is the point of going to school in the first place. Math and English are critical classes, but even they can help you get the job of your dreams. In college, you have many options, such as choosing a major, selecting classes and joining various groups. It is your chance to experiment and figure out your brand, yet many fail to do so. My approach applies to everyone in the world, but starting out at an early age is the best means to success. Heck, I’m only 25!
What further roles do you intend to take in this New Year and what do you think about the future of personal branding?*
In 2009, I plan to build my current blog into a community, where I’ll have multiple blog contributors and a complete redesign (I’ll be taking my own advice!). Also, my book, Me 2.0, comes out on April 7th, and I hope to be closer to the media by the end of this year. I’d like to be on national TV as well. The rest can’t be spoiled until the time is right.
What are your advice for upcoming personal branding experts?*
You need to love being a personal branding expert for you to come off naturally to everyone else. Otherwise, your business model will fold.Also, I recommend that you learn about how web 2.0 has altered first Impressions, how we market ourselves and how it ties in with getting free promotion. Any personal branding expert needs to understand how to build social media campaigns.
You can visit Dan schawbel’s blog www.personalbrandingblog.com
Dan Schawbel is the leading personal branding expert for Gen-Y. He is the author of “Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success (Kaplan, April 2009)“. Fast Company calls Dan a “personal branding force of nature.” Dan has introduced a whole new generation to personal branding, as he opens up new opportunities and strives to elevate the practice. His Personal Branding Blog® is consistently ranked in the top 100 marketing blogs in the world by AdAge, and has achieved syndication from Forbes, Reuters and Hoovers. Dan publishes Personal Branding Magazine®, is the head judge for the Personal Brand Awards® and directs Personal Branding TV®. He has written articles in major magazines and online resources such as BrandWeek Magazine, PRWeek, About.com, Web Worker Daily, T & D Magazine, Small Business Opportunities Magazine .He has 8 years of marketing experience, employed at companies such as EMC, Reebok, Lycos, LoJack, and TechTarget. He is on the board of advisers for a geo-social network company called ((Echo)) MyPlace. Also, Dan is keynote speaker at colleges and universities and helps individuals and companies with branding. Also, he was even invited to be one of the inaugural marketing speakers at Google. Dan graduated Magna Cum laude from Bently College (Now University) in 2006.