Why would anyone want to listen to you? Why would anyone care about what it is you have to say?
Those are some of the questions I used to ask myself. I had limiting beliefs in myself and I would frequently doubt if I was worthy enough to be taken seriously. I wanted to build a personal brand so bad. I knew that I had things to say and I knew that I wanted to say them.
The hardest part for me was getting started.
Luckily, I stuck with it. I am so glad I did because it has been my brand and my body of work that has been the biggest contributor to my success and also my biggest avenue to finding new opportunities.
Since I started sharing my ideas and putting out content on a regular basis, everything has changed for me.
Suddenly, I’m getting requests for podcast interviews, guests posts, I’ve been accepted as a writer for a major writing publication and I’ve been getting so many consulting and business opportunities that I’ve had to start saying no to them.
The development of my brand has helped me become more confident and has given me absolute control of my time.
If you’re like me, if you have something to say, then you will want to get to work on building a personal brand of your own. Sounds simple, but where do you start?
I had to learn the hard way. It’s taken me years to get to this point. I could have gotten here much sooner if I had the strategic and technical know how. I didn’t have anyone to show me the way. I made a lot of mistakes but I kept learning along the way.
That’s what this article is for. I want to help you get started. I want you to learn from all my mistakes so you don’t have to make them yourself.
Let’s get started!
Start at the Beginning and Build Your Own Website
It’s such a simple rule but so many people get this wrong.
You must house all of your content on your own website because you need to own it.
Anytime you publish original content on a social platform, you are essentially giving that platform your IP. They are using it to benefit themselves.
Using social platforms is a great way to grow and expand your reach. You can guest post on other websites. You can publish your work on Medium or Facebook. You can make videos on YouTube.
The mistake people make is thinking that their social media is their brand. But the reality is that you are not in control of your Facebook page. Facebook owns it and Facebook doesn’t owe you anything.
The same is true for Instagram and YouTube and Medium and all the rest. This is why you need to have your own website. This way, you can always be in control of your content.
It doesn’t need to be expensive. You can upload a free theme on WordPress or even Square Space. It’s not about having amazing design. It’s about owning your work.
Your website is your home base. The point is to use social media to build your brand. You don’t want to build your brand on social media.
Start With the Newsletter and Own Your Audience
If you are just getting started on building a personal brand, you will certainly run into people talking about the value of attention. Attention is basically a currency. If you plan to build a brand around your ideas, you want people to pay attention to it. That’s the point right?
What people forget to mention is that not all attention is created equal.
The data doesn’t lie about this. Web traffic that is referred from social media is by far the least valuable. It is the least likely to convert into a sale, it has the lowest time on site, and very rarely do these users click on more than one page.
You want to know what attention has the most value?
Email signups! Especially, opt in email sign ups.
Here’s what you want to do. You want to narrow down your audience to the smallest possible group. Let’s say you want to build a brand around drones or robotics. Go find out where these communities hang out and you want to get them to sign up to your newsletter. You can promote your newsletter on social groups. You can write posts about robotics on Quora or you can even get involved with online forums or robotics membership communities.
Then, you have to come through on your promise and create content that provides value to people. If you send people your content through a weekly, or bi-weekly newsletter, you will slowly but surely build a personal brand made of loyal followers who anxiously await your next email.
If people voluntarily sign up for a newsletter, it’s because they have a genuine interest in whatever it is that you are doing. I would trade 10 volunteer email signups for 1000 clicks on a Facebook ad any day.
Your email list is your most valuable asset. In the beginning, you should spend all your time and focus on building your email list.
Don’t Worry About Production Value
I started my podcast on my iPhone.
Over time, I was able to buy nice microphones and then a mixer. After that I learned how to edit. Then I learned how to record podcasts with people over zoom. I’ve learned how to run a legitimate, high production quality podcast.
But when I first started, I would hit the record button on my iPhone and I would use the mic on my headphones. That’s it. You can get started right now with what you have in your pocket.
The same can be said for video.
Your iPhone has a 4k camera on it. The sound quality is pretty damn good. If you need to edit, you can download the iMovie app for $5 and you can edit just about anything you need to.
You don’t need fancy equipment, you only need the courage to hit publish!
Too many people get hung up on equipment and production.
This is just another way of saying that people get caught in the trap of perfectionism.
Over time, you can always improve your production. You can buy better equipment and you can hire professionals.
In the beginning, your only job is to create content, share your ideas and put it out there in the world.
In order to get better, you have to be willing to fail in public. You have to be willing to publish your bad work. Don’t get hung up on it. Just keep going.
You will get better. You will get stronger.
Your brand is your reputation.
That’s all it is.
It’s not going to happen all at once. I’ve been building brands online for almost 10 years and I feel like I am just scratching the surface of where I want to go and what I want to accomplish.
You need to be patient.
If you are willing to make yourself vulnerable, you can truly build a business or a brand around your ideas, your passions and your work.
You can’t wait around for the perfect moment. You don’t have time to waste.
The moment is now. So go!