How to Get Started Building a Personal Brand
You’ve spent years building up your startup. You built an email list with nearly a million subscribers. Your blog’s getting half a million uniques a month.
And you’ve just sold to BigCorp. You’re super excited because everything you’ve been working for’s come to fruition.
A day later, you’re back to zero.
All your subscribers, all your loyal readers, you sold them all along with the company.
Because you don’t have a personal brand, every time you stop working on a venture you’re right back at the start.
So you start all over again, and get building up that audience.
There’s another way though. Instead of starting a company then building a brand, you build a brand then start a company.
That way, each time you start something, you have a dedicated audience of people literally chomping at the bit to buy from you.
You’ll never struggle with customer acquisition again, and never again will you have to reset that counter to zero.
But how do you go about building your personal brand? Here’s some techniques that’ll help you get started.
Regular blogging’s a bit of a passion of mine. I write daily articles—like this one—on Medium. It’s gone a huge way toward developing my personal brand.
In my experience from running a content marketing startup, you’ll get best results from your content if you’re writing at least 4,000 words a month. You can split that however you like though: a 1,000 word article a week, a 4,000 word article a month, four 250 word thoughts each week. Doesn’t much matter.
You just need to be writing regularly. That way you’ll be rewarded by readers and search engines.
It’s tough work. You’ll need to dedicate some time each week to writing. And at the start it’ll suck.
When I started out blogging for myself I was scraping a few views a day. A couple months later I was getting hundreds. It all adds up.
You can write wherever you like. I’ve had an awesome experience with Medium, but I run a couple other blogs. Mostly for work.
Just do whatever’s easiest for you to stick to.
If you write all the time you’ll end up with a lot of content. You’ll want to promote that content to your most dedicated fans so they don’t miss out.
Many blogging platforms have some concept of following another user or subscribing to their articles, so you should prompt people to do that.
But another, cooler, way to build your brand is to send out a newsletter. No, email’s not dead, it’s just not growing quite as fast as it used to.
There’s a couple options here.
You can create a whole newsletter of your own, writing original content for each issue, and only include things you’ve written.
You can send your subscribers exclusive articles that you write just for the list, and maybe link to your best pieces that week.
Or you can send out a curated digest. This is my favorite option. You curate the best links you read from around the web and include them in an email digest alongside your content.
That way you’re giving your audience a ton of amazing links each time, but you don’t need to write them all. It builds your brand as a thought leader.
You can choose the frequency of your emails. Monthly, weekly, daily, whenever really. It’s best that they’re regular though, and be sure to tell your audience when they’ll be sent out.
The branding and tone are all totally up to you too. I send out a weekly digest for startup founders called Starting Up, and whilst it’s just me, I’ve chosen to write under a brand.
There’s a few things you should be doing to build your brand on social media.
The first is to share everything you write. Not once, but many, many times. The half-life of an average tweet is minutes, your audience probably won’t see it. So over-share.
This varies by network. On Twitter you can post the same content multiple times a day. On Facebook maybe a couple times a week. Google+ just once. You get the idea.
Worried that’ll look spammy? You should be. Break up your self-promotional content with a whole lotta content from other people. Curate content like a pro, and people will look to you as a thought leader.
The other side of social, for me, is the social side. Don’t just share stuff, actually interact with your audience.
If someone shares out your content, thank them. If they send you a DM (and it doesn’t try to sell you something) respond. Reach out to people you admire. Respond to questions. Be a good netizen.
It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of networking. Connecting with new people and talking about startups, health, productivity, life, I love it.
In a non-business sense, you’d probably call it making friends or socializing.
The cool part is, even though it’s wicked fun, networking is a super great way to build up your personal brand.
Every person you meet and speak to is another person that’s aware of what you do. If you have an awesome interaction with them they’ll probably remember you. If you follow up, they definitely will.
The more people that like you, the larger your brand will become. You’ll be known for what you do. The most effective way to do that, by far, is to network with people one-on-one.
There’s no real secret here. You use a combination of online and offline networking to meet people. Get introductions from your friends and colleagues. Send cold email. DM people on Twitter.
Be open to making connections, and you’ll be surprised how easy it becomes.
Maintaining your personal brand
So it takes a while. Sometimes a long while. But eventually you’ll have a brand. At least a micro-brand.
The good news is, it’s easy to maintain. The same things you have to do to grow a brand are the things you need to do to maintain it.
So keep blogging. Keep sending our newsletters. Keep tweeting. Keep networking.
That way, you’ll build an awesome brand in no-time.
Wanna read more like this? Subscribe to my weekly email digest.
I’m just a guy from the UK that’s okay at writing, better at startups, awesome at making coffee.
This is day 58 in a 365 day writing experiment. You can check out why I’m writing every day here.