There was a time when Personal Branding was all about packaging. – think business cards, well-starched suit and faked accent. It was reserved for the motivational speakers, authors and C.E.Os. It had nothing to do with the rest of us. Fast forward to today, the internet has changed all that. Thankfully!
While the internet has delivered us from the archaic way of doing things, it has also overwhelmed us with choices. Everything now requires research. The other day, I typed “Note App” into Google Search and the options were so much that by the time I was done, I didn’t even have power left to choose one.
That’s how I went back to using Google Keep to take notes. It’s not like the thing was even complaining, I was just looking for something new (as I always do, when I’m procrastinating)
To make it easier for you, I decided to share 12 free tools you can use to build your Personal Brand in 2020. These are some of the simplest tools you’ll find. Most people don’t know about them but they can help you reach Expert status faster than anything you could imagine, from organization to content creation to even getting certified.
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Speaking of Google Keep, I’m not a Google ambassador (Though, that won’t be a bad idea😁) but their tools are cool, especially for the following reasons:
- Syncing: They can be used across all your devices (I wrote this post over a few days, on my phone and laptop)
- Dependability: Google tools are dependable. Mostly because Google is a tech giant and has the capacity to manage all its products, and secondly, Google has access to a lot of data about what we like and how we work, so the features are really intuitive.
- User Friendly: Most Google tools don’t need a user manual but they still come with one. There are Help documents and support to answer whatever questions you may have. Thank you Google!
- No new accounts needed: With a Gmail account, you have all these tools for free. No need to sign up for anything else. You only have to sign in with your existing Gmail account.
Okay, enough of praising Google. Let’s dig in:
Have you wondered how some people always have interesting new content? How come they have something to say about the latest news as if they’ve been preparing for it for days? Google Alert is partly responsible!
With Google Alert, you can instruct Google to email you anytime there is new content on the internet about any topic you choose. Most people use this tool to keep up with trends in their niche, but here are some more ways you can use this for your personal brand.
- Reputation Management. Set an alert for your Brand Name so that:
- If someone posts something negative about you on the internet, you can see it quickly and fix it.
- If someone says something positive about you, you can see it and repost it as social proof across all your profiles.
- Educate yourself and keep up with the info you care about so you’re the first to hear the latest news, updates and announcements. For example, if you’re a personal finance coach, you can set an alert for “Amazon Stocks”
- Curate and improve content. I set up an alert for Personal Brand Websites so that I can find fresh and interesting ways to talk about it on this blog and on Instagram.
- Competitor analysis. You can set up an alert for a competitor to see where they are being mentioned and the profiles they’re building.
Best part is, it’s very easy to use. Get Google Alerts here
Fancy a tool that brings the trends to your doorstep? Google Trends gives you information about what’s trending, how it’s trending and where it’s trending.
So before you go and write an entire blog post about something nobody cares about, type it into Google Trends to see if it’s worth your time. You’ll be able to see how popular a search term is, suggestions for new keywords and even compare various keywords.
In the screenshot below, we made a comparison search of “Online Presence” and Website”, you can search for it in a particular place (Nigeria), at a particular time (Past 12 months), in a particular category (Business & Industrial), you can also do a web search, image search, YouTube search and more.
This is very useful for your personal brand because it shows you what kind of marketing language to use in your business. If you type “copywriting” and “Content” into Google Trends, you’ll notice that content is a more popular search term in Africa than copy.
If you’re hearing about Google Trends for the first time, congratulations you’ve somehow managed to live without one of the most useful free tools in the world. But there’s no certificate for that so Get Google Trends here
Feeling savvy already? Ah, I like you. Now, let me tell you about one of the most powerful Google tools that you can use as an entrepreneur.
If you have a website and don’t use Google Analytics, trust me, I’m looking at you somehow right now because that means you’re doing things blindly.
You don’t know how many visitors come to your site, where they’re from or what they like. How will you keep them coming back then?
With Google Analytics, you can learn so much about your website’s visitors without leaving your sofa, especially the following:
- Demographics: Their location and their language.
- Social Engagement: What social networks they come from and which social features they like using on your website.
- Mobile Information: Are they using mobile devices and apps to browse your website? (Most of them are!)
- Traffic Sources: What exactly sends traffic to your website? Is it keywords, search engines, other websites? If you know what it is, you can double down on it.
- Top Content: What do they like most on your website? What don’t they like? Where are people entering my site and what’s turning them off?
- Engagement: What do they do on the site? Do they look around, book a session, buy a book, subscribe, or do nothing?
You do know the best part right? It’s free 💃🏽. Start using Google Analytics.
What’s the point of having a website that cannot be found on the web Google search console helps you track how your website is performing with the most popular search engine in the world – Google Search
Add your site to Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) to make your site more visible to the millions of people searching Google everyday. You can see your:
- Site Configuration: Is your website setup properly?
- Site Health: Identify crawl errors, stats, blocked URLs, and malware alerts so you can fix issues with your site.
- Site Traffic: Search queries. What are people searching for that’s leading them to your site? How many people are searching for you?
- Site Optimization: How can your site shine in Google Search results? What can you do better to improve current performance? It’s all here
This is particularly useful if you’re a DIY website owner (Hey Solopreneur, I see you!).
You only need to spend a little time on this website to know how I feel about intentionally growing your online presence. One of my favorite tools for doing this is Google My Business
If you have a physical office, this one gives you a free business profile on Google so that you can get featured in search results as well as on Google maps. And guess what? Your business shows up before the general search results. Seee? Very easy way to put your business on the first page of Google search results. It’s like having a website with Google
Some – if not most – of us already know about Google Drive, but how many people actually use it? Since we’re talking about making life easier in 2020, Google Drive deserves an honorary mention.
Last month, I changed my phone and for the first time, I didn’t connect an old phone to my computer to transfer files. I simply saved the entire phone folder to Google Drive and moved on.
Google Drive helps you store files online and share them with others. If you have a Gmail account, you automatically have Google Drive with 15G free. And if you need more space, it’s very cheap. You can get additional 100G for N360 per month or N3,900 per year.
If you’ve only been using Google Drive to share files, you’re missing out. Move all your important documents and files to Google Drive so you can take them with you wherever you go without taking up any extra storage on your devices. Travel light in 2020.✌🏽
Google classroom was originally created for Teachers and Students, but you can use it to create a course for your employees, team members or even clients.
Bear in mind that it was designed for educators so, it may not have the bells and whistles of other membership platforms. However, you can create topics, give assignments, grade and send feedback, all in one place.
Best part is that it ties together many Google products that you already use.
What’s the use of personal brand tools when your marketing is zero? If you’re concerned about marketing online and the future of that, you’ll find case studies, data, resources, and even interviews with industry leaders here. Call it a digital cheat sheet you can draw inspiration from to grow your business.
Many people don’t know that Google has search engines for various things like images, shops, and books. Google books is not only for those who enjoy reading, but also for those who have to read – researchers, students, etc.
It is the most comprehensive index of textbooks and works like magic. You don’t have to open one book at a time. Just search and you can get results in the pages of books in all genres online.
This is a game-changer for learning. I mean, I can’t just walk across the street and check out Harvard’s library. But now I have access to their collection. Find books to learn and grow your business, discover new ones that interest you and some of them are free!!! (c’mon I can’t be the only one who likes free books).
Did I mention that you can also publish your book on Google Books to reach an even larger audience?
I don’t even know whether to call this a tool or a school. Google Digital Garage equips you with free online courses to grow your career and business. Whether you want to grow your business, improve your interview skills, or prepare for the career you want, Google has got you.
You can choose the topics you want to learn or complete an entire online course and get a certification from Google. You know the drill – certifications boost your authority so that people can take you more seriously.
Best Part? You already know😆. It’s free!
CONTENT CREATION & ORGANIZATION
One of the things you will do the most on your Personal Branding journey is to write. From Blog posts to pitch emails and social media content, you’re on a writing spree. And that’s what Microsoft Word is there for right? Hmmmm, not quite!
It took me a while to start using Google Docs because I couldn’t even be bothered to learn how to use a new Word processor. But it turned out to be very simple to use (like most Google Products), and now I’m stuck on it. Here are 5 reasons you should start using it:
Perfect syncing. Changes to your document are synced to the “cloud” almost instantly. Nobody needs to make copies of the same file with weird names like V2, finalist version, etc. You can go from editing a sentence on your phone to looking at it on the computer seconds later and the updates would be there. In fact, you can have the document open in both places at the same time, no problem.
Collaboration at its best
While I wrote this post, my Assistant included the screenshots – all at the same time. No more emailing documents back and forth. You can share documents, spreadsheets, presentations, drawings, and tables with other users to view online, edit or download.
You can add people to help edit or limit them to only viewing your document i.e. read-only. If someone makes an edit you don’t like, there is a history on every document so you can revert to any version of it.
Plus, when two different people open the same document, Google Docs lets you know where exactly in the document the other person is ready to type. That makes it easy for you not to both be working on the exact same piece of text.
No matter what device you use, you can access Google Docs with your browser. No software to install, it’s just there when you go to the website. Or download the app to your mobile phone for a better experience.
There are other tools that work just like Google Docs for various things:
Google Sheets If there’s a Google Word Processor, there should be something for spreadsheets right? Yep! That’s Google Sheets.
Google Slides Create, edit and collaborate on presentations wherever you are. You can even present from wherever you find yourself without carrying a flash drive around.
Google Forms Create surveys, interviews and collect feedback from clients using Google Forms. No need to go about with a notebook and pen to collect data from people. Use the premade templates or create your own form from scratch.
Google Keep Take notes, make lists and manage daily activities. For Example, you can create a note in Keep and then tell the app to remind you about it at a specific date and time or even when you are at a certain location. At the right time or place, you’ll get a notification on phone and in your Inbox. Quite nifty eh?
You already know what Google Calendar is, so I won’t bore you with that. This is only a reminder that you should use it more often – to end disorganization and stop saying sorry for forgetting the same birthdays every year.
You can share your calendar with other people in your network or embed it on your website. You can create different calendars for different purposes, schedule meetings, keep track of guest posting opportunities , twitter chats, expiration dates, editorial calendars, e.t.c.
Phew, that’s it! There are many other free tools from Google but these ones are my top-pick for 2020 so that you can stop fighting with apps and doing redundant work.
So tell me, which of these are you using already, and which personal branding tools will you start using going forward?