How to Analyze Your Competitors as You Build Your Personal Brand

When it comes to digital marketing per se, one of the biggest gaps I see companies unable to fill is the real-time understanding of what their competition is up to. During my fifteen years in digital, I’ll be the first to admit being so down in the weeds executing on the tactical plan that I’ve not had the wherewithal to notice what the competitive set have been working on.


Having learned that lesson, one of the first things we do at Delightful with any of our clients is conduct a competitive analysis to see who’s out there, what they are doing well and where the opportunities are to differentiate and stand out.

Competitive analysis is as important for you and your personal brand as it is for the company you work for. Understanding what other people in your niche are doing, saying and how successful they are is crucial to personal branding success and here are a few things you can do to figure out who they are, their impact and what you can do to wrestle attention away from them and onto you.

Use LinkedIn to Research Your Industry

LinkedIn should be your first port of call. We use it to look for people with similar roles to our clients at similar businesses and see how well they are utilizing the platform. How well a person is using LinkedIn tells you a lot about how serious they are about their personal brand: Are they publishing content? How active are they on the platform liking and commenting on other people’s content? How robust is their profile? Have they filled out all the experience fields? Do they have a summary and, if so, how does it position them within your industry?

LinkedIn is a goldmine of competitive information to help understand who’s got what experience in your niche and how well they are engaging with their connections. Your presence should be a living profile that you update on a weekly basis because, in our experience, the number one blocker to anyone having a tip-top personal brand is time.

Make time to understand your competition on LinkedIn and make time to be engaging on a regular basis.

Mine Twitter for Like Minds

Use tools like Followerwonk or an influencer discovery tool like Traackr (we’ve heard BuzzSumo is good too but we haven’t used it yet) to figure out who’s influential in your field and study their footprint. How many followers do they have? What are they sharing? What’s their social ratio (how much of what they share is personal versus professional)? What’s their reach? What content seems to resonate best with their followers? Are they following as many people as are following them (always a good measure of authenticity in our opinion)?

Twitter is a great way to understand how others in your industry exude their personal brand in real-time and you can pick up tips from power-users on what content you should be sharing and, more importantly, how agile and engaging you should be with your following if you want to compete.

Listen Out for Where They Speak

What can be an indicator of influence in any industry is being invited to speak at conferences and events, so scour the speaker pages of conferences you know of to see who’s talking and about what. Do a search for their name and the conference on Google or Bing to see if anyone covered their speaking session to see what was written about them.

Try and understand from their speech topics and extracts what their “angle” is and think of a way to differentiate or complement what they’re focusing on if it’s perilously close to your expertise. You don’t want to give a conference organizer any reason to reject any pitch of yours to speak, so make sure you know the lay of the speaker land.

Remember to be Qualitative

While the beauty of digital is the huge swathes of data it gives us to get stuck into number-crunching when analyzing anything, it’s also important to measure quality and not be swooned by big numbers. Combining a gut feel for the quality of the digital footprint your competitor may have with the amount of followers, engagement, content produced or shared etc etc, is far better than focusing on numbers alone.

Your number one goal by making your personal brand discoverable, sharable and memorable is to instill trust in anyone who discovers you or you engage with.

To quote Stephen R. Covey, author of the fantastic book The Speed of Trust:

“Trust is equal parts character and competence… You can look at any leadership failure, and it’s always a failure of one or the other.”

Being competent enough to know what your competition is doing with their personal brand will help you set your character apart from theirs and limit the chance of failure.

Remember to check back in a fortnight for the next installment in our series: Personal Branding: 10 Steps to Your Perfect Strategy

And don’t forget to:

Subscribe to The Delightful Times

Follow @Delightful on Twitter

Like the Delightful Facebook Page

Join us on LinkedIn


@MelCarson – Founder of Delightful

How to Demonstrate Social Marketing Value – Lessons from Simply Measured Webinar

Social marketing is increasingly raising companies’ attention as an integrated marketing channel to the business. According to the CMO survey in 2014, Social media spending of marketing budgets is expected to increase 128% to 21.4% in the next five years.


However, many social marketers are still struggling to demonstrate the value of social marketing. Although tons of new social marketing analytics tools are emerging, measuring ROI is still the number one challenge for marketers, according to the 2015 Social Media Marketing Trends Survey by Simply Measured and TrustRadius.

A webinar with Kevin Shively, Sr. Content Marketing Manager at Simply Measured, and Megan Headley, Research Director at TrustRadius, discussed the challenges social markers are facing and provided some insightful tips on what they can do about the challenges.

Here are our top learnings from the webinar on how to make the most out of social marketing and demonstrate its value:

Set Right Goals and Metrics

Why are you using social media? This should be the very first question you ask before setting up the social marketing strategy as it’s crucial for defining the value of any social programs.

How to Reengineer Your Digital Presence

Those of you who have been enjoying this series on creating the Perfect Personal Branding Strategy will know we’ve been talking a lot about being conscious of what content we share, how to listen and empathize and what our professional purpose is.

While not super-practical, the more theoretical steps are designed to get you thinking about being more thoughtful and disciplined about how you present yourself both on and offline.

Reengineering Digital Presence

Today I’m sharing a check list of more actionable tips you can use to get your digital presence optimized so you’re more discoverable, sharable and memorable:

Get a Professional Headshot

I’ve talked about this in a previous post, but no harm in giving you another nudge on this!

Label Files with Keywords

This is a basic requirement that is so often overlooked. For SEO (search engine optimization) purposes a file name can be an important factor in people being able to discover you. So when you get a new headshot or want to upload a PDF or word doc – ANYTHING – label it with keywords that people might use to search for you or your content.

All my photos are labeled mel-carson-delightful-communications.jpg which helps if people search for me or my company they see images related to me or my company in search engine results.

A social media white paper I wrote 5 YEARS AGO still ranks number one partly because we labeled the file name: social-media-white-paper-microsoft-advertising.pdf so it pays to spend a few seconds taking this extra step to ensure you try and rank properly for your name, company or expertise.

Update Your Social Profiles

Online profiles – especially on LinkedIn – should be seen living testimonies to your professional life. An out of date presence on the web shows a certain amount of laziness in my opinion, so getting up to speed and being disciplined about refreshing content on your profiles is hugely important as you never know when someone is going to be looking for you or your expertise and needs to be impressed. You wouldn’t show up to work unkempt and casually out of date, so set aside time each month (at least) to go over your profiles and make sure the most current information and data is available for any potential connection.

Add Social Channels to All Touch Points

You’d be surprised how often I get out-of-office responders from people saying, “I’m out of the office until blah, blah, blah.” They don’t say where they are or what they’re doing, they don’t leave their Twitter profile for someone to click on and follow, they don’t see the opportunity to leave a good impression about their personal brand at the same time as they’re saying I’m not going to be able to respond to whatever you want anytime soon.

Out-of-office responders, email signatures, public presentations and business cards are all vehicles for your personal brand to hop aboard and be amplified through social signals.

Be Delightful

It goes without saying that in order for your audience/followers/fans to want to engage with you and whatever you have to say, you have to be authentic, useful, relevant and actionable.

The other tip I give people is that they need to be delightful. It’s not just our company brand name, it’s a word that brings with it a positive experience. The experience people have with your personal brand should be a stimulating and enjoyable one.

Whenever we embark on a personal branding analysis and strategy recommendation for our clients, there’s always a long list of tactics they need to consider becoming part of the daily DNA and routine.

In order to reengineer your digital presence, I would say that these 5 are the pick of the bunch and ones you need to infuse into your pro-active personal brand from now on.

Remember to check back in a fortnight for the next installment in our series: Personal Branding: 10 Steps to Your Perfect Strategy

And don’t forget to:

Subscribe to The Delightful Times

Follow @Delightful on Twitter

Like the Delightful Facebook Page

Join us on LinkedIn


@MelCarson – Founder of Delightful

PR Week Webinar – Personal Branding with Mel Carson

Join Delightful’s Founder – Mel Carson – and the team from PR Week on Wednesday June 24th at 9.30am PST (12.30pm ET) for a webinar in PR Week’s Performance series entitled: Perfecting Your Personal Brand

Here’s the blurb:

From amplifying efforts on behalf of your brand to making you a stronger representative of your current organization to paving a path to genuine thought leadership, establishing a personal brand is a crucial career-advancement element.

In today’s social media age, it is more important – and challenging – than ever to communicate who you truly are and what you stand for. The benefits of doing so effectively – and, conversely, the issues that could come from doing so ineffectively – can have far-reaching impact.

Presented by Mel Carson, founder and principal strategy consultant at Delightful Communications, former digital marketing evangelist at Microsoft, and frequent speaker on the topic, Perfecting Your Personal Brand will be a 90-minute session detailing the key dos and don’ts of establishing and reinforcing your personal brand.

Crafted specifically for communications pros, this is the latest offering in the PRWeek Performance Series, webinars designed to help you do your job better.

Subjects covered in Perfecting Your Personal Brand will include:

  • Analyzing and improving your current digital footprint
  • Strategies to amplify your best work and instill more trust in your company/clients
  • How your personal brand helps you stand out in a competitive workplace environment
  • Cutting-edge tips to make a better impression offline
  • How to become a thought leader and back up your personal brand claims

Register here for this 90 minute webinar: Perfecting Your Personal Brand Hosted By PR Week

Hope to see you online in a few weeks!

Take 5 and Practice Writing

One stumbling block people looking to improve their personal brand often come across is the fear of not having anything to say online. For whatever reason, they feel they are not interesting enough or they are afraid to put themselves and their thoughts “out there”.

At the other end of the spectrum, there are those who have no problem updating their social channels with a stream of consciousness devoid of actual thought or empathy for those people they are broadcasting to.

Take 5 and Practice Writing-

In short, in our opinion, the perfect personal brand is a balance between the two.

I’ve written articles about writing in the past like How to Write a Blog Post in 30 Minutes, 5 Twitter Tips That Will Enhance Your Personal Brand and 2014 LinkedIn Buzzword List Revealed – Please Stop Using Them!

The main premise behind them is to encourage people to think before they share their thoughts online and to hone their writing skills over time.

Delightful Communications News: May Recap

May has been an amazing month for Delightful Communications as we’ve been able to share insights broadly on digital marketing and personal branding both online and in-person.

Earlier this month, Mel was invited by the University of Washington Foster School of Business to talk about social media strategy with the students. In back-to-back lectures to two different classes, Mel talked about integrated digital marketing using social media, big data and content marketing to reach new audiences and satisfy current customer demand.

He then stepped up to talk Personal branding with SEMrush and Simplicity Consulting to share ideas on how to build a compelling presence in a professional capacity both online and off it.

Watch the on-demand webinar below if you missed it…

How to Build a Compelling Online Personal Brand

This month we made two more steps further to perfecting your personal branding strategy:

Step 3:  How to Establish Your Professional Purpose

Step 4: How to Lear to Listen and Practice Empathy

Please sign up to The Delightful Times so you don’t miss a single edition!

Also, check out Mel’s new articles on

Improve Your Content Marketing to Increase Your Business’s Reach

8 Digital Experts Entrepreneurs Can Learn From

That’s it for this month, thanks for reading!

Bianca Hu – Delightful’s Digital Marketing Specialist


How to Learn to Listen and Practice Empathy

One of the top requests we get from prospective personal branding clients here at Delightful, is from executives wanting to be seen as thought leaders in their field. They understandably want to build their personal brand around their expertise, but during the analysis phase of the framework we’ve designed, there’s often a huge gap between how often they broadcast and how often they’re intent on listening.

Learn to Listen & Practice Empathy

The biggest misnomer when it comes to personal branding is that the focus should be all about you.

Yes, it’s your personal brand we’re trying to uncover and grow, but in order to make the best, most well-rounded impression on people in your sphere, you need to practice the art of listening and being empathetic.

Whether online or in-person, growing your network is important if you’re going to amplify the message that you’re a go-to person in your field for information or advice. Too often though, you run the risk of showing up on social networks or at events with an agenda that smacks of self-service, and after a while that attitude wears thin and does not reflect well on you.

What professionals looking to position themselves well in their industry need to do well is strike a balance between talking about themselves, and asking questions of others. It’s human nature to talk about ourselves (especially in professional situations) because it makes us feel good. Whether we’re happy about ourselves at that particular moment in time or not, it feels good to vocalize whatever is on our mind.

If it feels good for you, then it will feel good for other people right? So make sure you take an interest and ask questions.

A Comprehensive Guide to Twitter Marketing via Momentology

Twitter is a must-have for brands who want to build an engaging community, raise brand awareness, drive web traffic and generate leads. Most marketers are aware of it, but how many of them are utilizing Twitter properly?


A few weeks ago, Mel Carson, Founder of Delightful Communications, was asked by Momentology to provide some thoughts on how brands should effectively use Twitter for marketing.


Their comprehensive Twitter Marketing Guide covers every aspects of Twitter marketing including the characteristics of Twitter, how Twitter Advertising works, successful brand stories, and tips from industry experts, etc.

It is a perfect how-to guide to Twitter Marketing for newbies , but also provides interesting insights that will titillate experienced marketers as well:

  • Among all online adults in the United States, 19% use Twitter. Men tend to use Twitter more than women.
  • 90% of people consume content; 9% of people occasionally create content; 1% of people are power users and create the majority of content consumed by others on the network.
  • More than 78% of Twitter users access the site using a mobile device.
  • People who follow businesses online are influenced to take action on company information shared on Twitter more than on any other online channel.

For more insights and tips, see the full guide from Momentology.

And don’t forget to:

Subscribe to The Delightful Times

Follow @Delightful on Twitter

Like the Delightful Facebook Page

Join us on LinkedIn

Thanks for reading,

Bianca Hu – Digital Marketing Specialist

How to Establish Your Professional Purpose

In previous posts in this series, we’ve talked about getting a new headshot and trying to make ourselves more discoverable through search and social media. Now it’s time to focus on why we do what we do.


Simon Sinek and his Ted Talk, How Great Leaders Inspire Action, has been seen over 22 million times in large part because his simple mantra of starting with why is a powerful but often overlooked first step towards success in any area of life.

Nearly all of us have to work right? We have to work to pay the bills, pay off university loans, save into our pension funds, afford to go out, go on vacation and have a bit of fun while we’re not working.

If we know we have to work and that might be a 40, 60, 80 hour week, there has to be more to what we’re doing than just earning money. What helps us get out of bed in the morning? What helps us be better at what we do? What is it that separates us having just a job and having career? What helps us live, strive and survive?

It has to be more than a pay check. We need to have a professional purpose. Without purpose there can be no planning and we limit the possibility of channeling our future in the direction we desire.

My story started way back when at school when I realized I had a talent for acting, singing and writing. School plays, music festivals, talent shows etc. all saw me pouring my heart and soul into something I knew I was good at. Doing drama at university was an obvious next step and the bright lights of London and theatre/TV/film land beckoned after 3 years honing my craft at college.

Delightful Communications News: April Recap

It’s been a great month with lots of awesome industry events both here in the US and in Europe.

Delightful Communications has been busy attending MarTech in San Francisco on behalf of client,  The European Search Awards in Berlin, and HeroConf in Portland  with the guys from Bing Ads sharing and learning about latest digital marketing trends.

The 2015 European Search Awards, hosted by our founder Mel Carson, announced their winners last Wednesday at a glittering gala event in the heart of Berlin. You can read more details on Search Engine Journal in a piece by Matt Southern who Mel was particularly thrilled to have met at last!


Mel Hosting The European Search Awards

April also saw us launch a series of blog posts entitled Personal Branding: 10 Steps to Your Perfect Strategy. Please sign up to The Delightful Times so you don’t miss any editions!

Here are the first two steps:

Step 1: Get a New Headshot – Your New Image Starts With an Image

Step 2: How Discoverable is Your Personal Brand

Also don’t miss out Mel’s new articles on

Report Highlights Digital Trends Entrepreneurs Need to Know About in 2015

5 Ways to Tell If You’re Doing Social Media Right

That’s it for this month, thanks for reading!

Bianca Hu – Delightful’s Digital Marketing Specialist

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