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Three personal branding lessons learned from Conor McGregor

Five years ago, Conor McGregor, the Irish UFC champion, was fighting matches that only drew a few hundred people. Now, he flies all over the world to promote matches that draw thousands.
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Although the fighting ability and professional record of Conor McGregor is very impressive, it’s his personal branding that is responsible for the anticipated $100+ million reward for his upcoming fight against Floyd Mayweather.

Personal branding is a practice every person, not just celebrities, can adopt to help others remember them. No matter if you are a business professional, a marketing consultant, or a local artisan, you can use personal branding to your advantage to find new jobs, customers, or clients.

Here are my top three personal branding tips learned from Conor McGregor.

(1) Position yourself as an authority in your niche

Whether you are a fan of the sport or not, McGregor is now a household name. He has been featured by every major media outlet, which has amplified his brand and story to a mass audience. McGregor maintains a consistent message across all his social media platforms: “I am the best.”

He posts several times a day every day to impart his branded message on his audience and remind his competition that he’s the best. Have a look at his Instagram feed and you will get the sense of a man on a mission to conquer anything he desires

To build authority around your branding, you’ll want to guest post on top publications in your industry. If you’ve been in your industry for several years, you’ll likely know which websites and publications are considered top notch, second tier and not worth reading.

Guest posting on a top website is something you must do continuously. Writing articles about current trends and events in your field will prove to readers you stay on top of what’s going on in the industry and you have informative things to say about them. Reinforce your position as an authority by linking readers to other articles you’ve written in your guest posts.

The point in reminding readers of who you are is part of the branding process. Consistency is key. You’ll want to maintain a consistent tone and style across your writing to familiarise readers with your brand.

(2) Regularly create and push content

McGregor is always posting content on his social media accounts. He talks trash about opponents, posts lavish pictures of his cars and luxury items and also posts humbling personal images. Hi efforts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have accumulated in a combined following of 26m. This massive following is due to a combination of his branding and a constant content push that has resulted in rapid growth.

When you publish content, you need to make a strong effort in promoting it. Ideally, you will have made profiles on social channels based on where your audience is located. These channels are where you’ll want to make announcements about new articles you’ve written and include links. When you share on social channels, you should include a call to action such as “read my article now,” “comment and let me know what you think,” or “share with your colleagues.”

Building up an email list through your blog is another great way to distribute content. On your blog, include a newsletter opt-in and send out a weekly newsletter with the content you’ve posted on your blog and in other publications. Distributing your content via email enhances your professionalism, and also makes it easy for others in your industry to forward your content to others.

And, as mentioned above, you should be sharing posts with the industry groups you’ve become a part of. Ask for their comments and critiques, and ask them to share the posts with their networks. But don’t let your content pushing stop online. Talk at community meet ups, industry conferences, and webinars. Speak confidently and spread the word about your expertise and brand.

(3) Talk the talk and walk the walk

McGregor absolutely talks a big game on social media and to the press but he can back it up with the fact that he regularly wins fights and gives his opponents a run for their money. That’s the value in his content – he gets fans excited through talking smack and then delivers in fights.

Now, writing content and sharing it with your audience is all well and good, but you won’t get far if you aren’t providing them with valuable content. What do I mean by valuable content? Anything informative or educational to readers. Creating infographics, courses, and explaining how new trends will affect what’s going on in your industry are all examples of valuable content.

Inevitably, there will be some overlap between what you and others in your industry write about, particularly if you’re following news events. If someone beats you to the punch, don’t be discouraged. Write an article with your own take. And as you write, keep asking yourself “would I find this useful as a reader?” Ask that with every sentence you write. Bringing value to your audience should be a key pillar of your personal branding.

When you build your reputation for providing excellent resources and information, you will find that your branding has led you to a position of thought-leadership. People and publications within your industry will seek out your opinions. You’ll also find that you’re attracting more customers, clients, or potential job offers due to your reputation as being knowledgeable and active in your industry.

Key takeaways

Building your personal brand is as important as developing a corporate image. Establishing and cultivating your personal brand opens the doors to more opportunities like new networks, new business opportunities and employment opportunities. McGregor developed his personal brand so well that he’s who we think of when we hear “UFC lightweight.”

To get the most satisfaction out of your branding efforts, align your personal brand with your values and your mission (personal or professional). Once you know what that mission is, you need to find your collection of like-minded individuals. These people will serve as your audience, sounding board and cheerleaders.

Staying active offline and online in speaking at industry events and publishing articles will help establish you and your personal brand as an industry thought-leader, increasing your visibility and opening doors to new business or job opportunities. Increasing his visibility on and offline is what garnered McGregor so many fans. Not only did he talk the talk, he walked the walk by winning more and more fights.

Finally, always bring value to your audience. You will do this by continuously learning and always think of yourself as a student. Do you think McGregor sits back and relaxes after a win and thinks he doesn’t need to improve? Absolutely not. He’s back in the gym training and has his eye on the next fight.

Jamie FitzHenry is the founder of Grizzly, a Bristol digital agency specialising in web design, SEO & PPC

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