Updated: Nov 23, 2018
Your personal brand positions you as a thought leader, expert or valued professional in massage. Every professional has a brand identity whether it is intentionally cultivated or accidental. You have the power to create your brand to reflect your talents and your strengths. Being a thought leader in the massage industry will help build your clients.
Once you strategize and plan your brand, there are countless ways to build it. This is a brief overview of ten ways you can develop and reinforce your brand.
Here are 10 effective ways to brand yourself as a massage therapy expert:
1. Social Network Profiles
Your LinkedIn Profile is the premier place to establish your professional massage brand online. A well-developed profile opens doors. This is the modern-day business card. You must develop a good LinkedIn Profile and be engaged and active in the massage community. There are articles to help you create a great LinkedIn Profile.
In addition to LinkedIn, other social media channels are perfect for brand building. Many massage professionals feel overwhelmed when considering all the popular channels. You may do well by focussing on one or two channels in addition to LinkedIn. Choose the channel that attracts your ideal audience, that suits the massage industry or the clients that you are trying to attract in your massage business, and plays to your communication strengths.
Social Media Options include:
It isn't enough to simply have social media accounts. If you are using social media to build your brand, you want to use a four-part strategy.
Build and optimize your profile. Write a biography that is authentic and contains keywords. Be sure and use a flattering and professional profile picture.
Post meaningful original content that shares a taste of your massage expertise and talents.
Curate high-quality content created by others. Your original content establishes you as a helpful resource and also as a massage insider.
Engage and interact with other thought leaders in the massage industry and with members of your ideal audience.
2. Question And Answer Sites
Quora and other answer sites allow you the opportunity to answer reader questions and subtly establish yourself as an expert. Massage forums and high-quality discussion groups are other ways to help build your brand.
3. Write For A Blog or Online Publication
Write articles, opinion pieces, tips and essays to create your position as a leader and expert. These days anyone can publish. Options include starting your massage blog or contributing to an established massage blog or online publication.
If you are contributing to another site, be sure to choose wisely. Select a site related to or within your professional niche and one that reaches some of your ideal audience. Many smaller blogs have a devoted readership, and the blog editor is often hungry for quality content. Be sure to vet the blog to ensure it is not spammy or low in quality. When your work appears on quality blogs, the online mention and the reference in Google search results reinforces your status as an expert.
Many high-profile online publications accept guest contributors. Some examples include Forbes, The Huffington Post, Social Media Examiner, Mashable, Life Hack and more. Also, be sure to look at trade and professional blogs in your field.
4. Public Speaking
Speaking engagements are a powerful way to build your brand. Look for local speaking engagements. When you are ready, apply to speak at conferences or other gatherings. Volunteer to speak to high school and college classes. Depending on your field of expertise, you can even nominate yourself to be a TED Conference Speaker!
5. Be Available for Press Interviews
Make yourself available to reporters, writers, bloggers, podcasters who are looking for experts to interview. You can be proactive and send press releases to local journalists if you have a great story idea.
Another easy way to get started is to join HARO (Help A Reporter Out). HARO is the largest network, journalists and writers frequently post requests for sources in all areas of expertise. HARO sends daily newsletters with curated requests from media large and small. As a source, you can reply directly to the reporter's request and then pitch yourself as an available expert. This can lead to national press or online mention.
6. Local and National Networking
One basic way to establish your brand is to join and participate in local and national professional associations and networking groups. It probably isn't enough just to pay your dues. You will receive the best branding opportunities through attendance and participation. Also, volunteering for prominent committees and seeking office gives you an "excuse" to network and to reach out to leaders in your field. This strategy is especially useful to younger or newer professionals who have not yet gained years of experience.
7. Attend Conferences
Professional conferences are the perfect opportunity to expand your network and to extend your brand beyond your local community. Conferences also may lead to writing or public speaking opportunities. To make the most of any conference, do your homework by checking the attendee list and browsing their LinkedIn profiles.
8. Write For Professional Publications
Publishing articles in trade or professional publications is an effective way to build your reputation as an expert. Some professional publications feature news briefs or short book reviews. The shorter content can be a great starting point that many overlook. Be sure to look at the submission guidelines for more specific details.
9. High Profile Volunteer Work
Through volunteer work, you can do well by doing good! By offering pro-bono work for well-respected community organizations, you boost your reputation as a good citizen. If the work is directly related to your chosen area of expertise, it also sets you up as a local expert. This can be a great way for the modest professional to attract attention and possible local media exposure. Be sure to align with causes you believe in and that are compatible with your business.
10. Attend Public Events
Be visible and attend regional events related to your niche and where your ideal audience gathers. This helps increase top of mind awareness and it also gives you the opportunity to develop meaningful professional and personal relationships. Be sure to have a quick elevator speech ready when someone asks, "what do you do?"
Make sure to answer that question with a detailed response. Do not just reply that you are a massage therapist, but rather reply that you are a massage therapist that specializes in deep tissue massage and sports therapy massage, for instance. Just like a product on the market you should own a space and define who you are to your audience. While some can get away with being all-things-to-all-people, most successful brands are known for something and work tirelessly to position themselves that way and own the mindspace of their audience for that category.
Bonus Tip: Write A Book or Whitepaper
Publishing is easier than ever. If you find you like to write, consider writing a book. If you like the idea, but do not like writing, then a ghostwriter may be a good option. Prospective authors may write traditionally published books, self-published books, ebooks, or whitepapers.
When it comes to personal branding, the options are endless. Any time you share your talents, ideas, and expertise with the public you are building your brand. If you need to brush up on your skills there are also massage schools focused on business skill that you can learn from. Above all else, educate yourself, have a plan and execute on it.
Choose the outreach activities that best suit your personality, skills, and interests. If you don't like to write, you can focus on speaking, offering interviews and face-to-face networking. If you are naturally an introvert, then you can focus on writing or meaningful volunteer work. Those with quick wit may want to concentrate on social media, face-to-face networking or media interviews.
Whatever your natural strengths, there are ways you can successfully build your personal brand. If you want your massage career to focus on sports massage then engaging with that arena is where you should focus your efforts. Write articles about trends in maintaining fitness levels in athletes and the benefits of sports therapy massage can have on a training regimen. If you prefer your career and personal branding revolve around deep tissue massage
For most, the online brand starts with your LinkedIn profile as that is where professionals gather. Choose the areas from this these 12 ways that you are most comfortable with and execute on them. You may not get through all ten, but start small and build.
Building your personal brand takes time.
Anything worth doing does.