Being a business owner, it’s easy to dismiss building a personal brand. But why make this mistake when your company’s growth may rely on it?
Hint hint: don’t underestimate this. Because small to large business owners who put in the time to build personal brand equity are able to cash it in down the road.
Their business profits. Their employees profit. And they personally profit when they have an engaged following who cares about them and what they have to say. It becomes the gift that keeps on giving.
What company doesn’t want another asset that brings new opportunities and money to the business? Sounds like almost all you can ask for right there.
Personally, I appreciate how quick a personal brand can start gaining momentum.
For example, here’s what I’ve accomplished with my personal brand from just 2015 to 2017:
- Written 3 Amazon bestselling books in their category
- Built a top 100 personal development blog (TakeYourSuccess.com)
- Appeared on local FOX television, AOL.com, and WLW radio
- Gained over 59,000 Instagram followers
- Gained over 14,000 Twitter followers
Now do I have the best personal brand out there? Am I famous? Are people stopping me on the street to take a selfie? No (not yet, at least).
But my brand is better than most, especially given the fact I’m not even 25 years old yet. And I’ve used this credibility to drive sales to the various extensions of the Brian Robben brand—books, online courses, coaching, and brand sponsorships.
My personal brand has easily added thousands of dollars to my net worth just over the past two years.
Now we get to my point. You can do the exact same thing for your business. If you really want this, there’s nothing stopping you from leaving work and spending a few hours (or the rest of the night) building your personal brand.
Or if you have the funds, you can hire someone to help you build your brand. There are no rules against it.
Soon this energy you put into your personal brand will transfer into positive momentum where more people are interested in what you have to say and then a portion of them will buy from your business.
Let’s see how to build your personal brand.
How To Build Your Personal Brand
1. Put out consistent content
A personal brand without any content for people to read, listen to, or watch isn’t a successful personal brand, or one at all.
First things first, people need to know you and you need to capture their attention.
In our case, you—the business owner—need to decide two things before publishing content to get attention:
- The platform where you’re going to put your content
- The type of content you’re going to deliver
First, are you best able to communicate your ideas through writing, speaking, or being in front of a camera? If it’s writing then you should blog on a personal website, if it’s speaking you should start a podcast, and if you’re natural on video start a YouTube channel or post videos to Facebook.
Don’t worry about where the audience is since there are enough people in this world and your local community to consume your content no matter how it’s delivered. Make a selfish decision about what you’re best at and then commit to that one platform for now.
Secondly, what’s going to be the theme of your content? For most business owners, the best approach is to educate their audience on the ins and outs of their business and how it can serve a consumer.
In some cases, it may make more sense to entertain your audience depending on your business and target audience. An event planner could easily get away with showing off his or her fun personality in their videos.
However, I personally like the combination of education and entertainment the best.
After deciding on that, building a following just becomes a matter of time if you stick to your platform (eventually you’ll want to expand to others), share your content on social media, and provide enough value to people (i.e., be good enough for people to care).
That’s it! There’s no magic bullet or secret sauce besides putting out content for your following to consume and share. Where it gets tough is being consistent though.
But if you want it enough you’ll stay consistent, trust me. (I’ve written over 300 articles in over 2 ½ years for my personal brand site. If I can do it, you can too.)
2. Collaborate with other personal brands
By this point you’re putting out your own content, great. However, those who collaborate with other influencers (people with a following) are able to crank up their own personal brand to another level.
This is how it’s done.
Business owner Michelle is a guest on business owner Kirk’s podcast. Kirk has 630 people who listen to this particular podcast episode. And 78 of these people really like what Michelle had to say so they visit her website and subscribe to her blog to stay in touch with her—eventually they go on to buy from her online wine store.
If Michelle does this a few times every month, her following is going to soar.
And Kirk benefits because he’s going to ask Michelle to share their podcast episode on her social media channels, which introduces a new audience to Kirk.
That’s why collaborations need to be on your radar as you strive to build a personal brand.
Too many positive results come out of this effort for you to put it on your to-do list’s back burner. Get serious about collaborating and your business will be put in positions where it grows.
That’s a power player’s move.
Here’s a list of ways to collaborate with other personal brands:
- Guest post an article on someone else’s blog
- Allow others to post a guest article on your blog
- Tell podcast hosts your schedule is free if they have an opening to have you on their podcast
- Invite personal brands on your podcast and ask them to share the episode
- Record two videos with a YouTuber (one for your channel, one for theirs)
Collaborating is beautiful for the views and subscribers you can gain. But you’ll find what’s maybe more valuable is the personal relationships you develop from these efforts.
3. Seek traditional media appearances
Although television, radio, and the newspaper don’t hold as much weight as they used to, these are still large media platforms who attract thousands of viewers to their programs. And the baby boomer generation still consumes the most amount of TV media, 15 more hours than Generation X and nearly 21 more hours than millennials.
This is why getting featured on a national, regional, or local television show could supercharge your personal brand (and business growth).
Take for example the exposure of appearing on CNN, FOX, or MSNBC one night to discuss an economic issue. That alone puts you in the face of 250,000 viewers, give or take, across the country.
And going on air with a local radio stations can put your business on the map for a whole new local crowd of people who didn’t know you or recognize how close they are to your business. This can introduce an entire new audience to your brand.
Plus, you can use your first media appearance as leverage to secure future media appearances. Look at it as a leap frog contest where you market your previous appearances to get more prime time ones.
I’ve learned by now that people can’t buy from you if they don’t know you. So besides focusing on the non-traditional platforms to put out content and grow a following, aim to be everywhere by securing traditional media appearances to share your expert knowledge.
4. Speak at events
Going to speak at events in your niche produces all kinds of good results.
For one, you get your name out there more than anyone at the event as the speaker. Then when people have questions or comments about your talk, they’ll meet you after and it’s a seamless networking opportunity.
Two, you’re seen as an expert in the field and this alone can produce new business. For example, check out this article to see how public speaking propels 10 people’s businesses. Not to mention you may get some random referrals just because people heard you speak and your fresh on their mind.
Three, there’s often a lower barrier to entry since you can start out speaking for free until you build a reputation. Then you can demand a speaking fee anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 in a few short years.
Not to mention speaking at events usually makes earning media appearances easy since other people will hear about you and invite you to go on their podcast or interview you, if you do a good job speaking. You can kill two birds with one stone this way.
The speaking gigs are nice. The new income going to your business is better. Both help you win compared to the business owner who isn’t speaking and focused on their personal brand.
5. Network all the time
“Your network is your net worth.” – Tim Sanders
Mr. Sanders wasn’t wrong when he coined that infamous quote. That’s why I’m not kidding when I say “network all the time.”
You should identify the power players in your city and how you can meet them to build a mutually beneficial relationship. What bars do they drink at? What restaurants do they eat at? What events do they go to? What conferences do they attend? Be there as much as you can.
Luck is a part of business, but when you work hard to put yourself in the right situations then it’s easier to be lucky. Your personal brand and business will prosper the more you network.
Plus, get this: you still have an opportunity to make a positive first impression with every person you meet.
This could be the waitress at the restaurant, the stranger at the post office, or the gentleman sitting next to you at the dentist. Introduce yourself and ask what they do for a living. Ask interesting questions. Offer ways to serve them.
The reason you want to genuinely care about them is if they have a pleasant experience with you, they will be more likely to tell others about your business and buy from you when they need what you offer.
Plus, it’s just nice to treat another human with the utmost level of respect.
And think about this. What if the only time you ever meet someone is the day you’re in a bad mood and treat everyone you meet that day like crap?
Sounds like a silly example, but if you think about how first impressions stick then you’ll reconsider how you network with people even when you’re not mentally focused on networking.
Do what you need to do so you’re meeting influential people and regular people all the time. A percentage of those people will be happy to help you make connections or buy locally from your business to support a good man or woman like yourself—as long as you treat them well.
Be The Personal Brand Your Business Needs
In a way, your business may need you to build a personal brand to keep it above water or to rapidly grow as fast as you want it to.
Now if that’s an overwhelming idea, I’ll show you that it doesn’t have to be as stressful as you think.
This quote from the article 1,000 True Fans explains how a small group of people should be your focus.
A thousand customers is a whole lot more feasible to aim for than a million fans. Millions of paying fans is not a realistic goal to shoot for, especially when you are starting out. But a thousand fans is doable. You might even be able to remember a thousand names. If you added one new true fan per day, it’d only take a few years to gain a thousand.
Don’t try to speak to everyone. Speak to your 1,000 true fans by being yourself.
Giving value to people and having patience are the only two main ingredients involved in building a personal brand.
So anyone has the potential to grow a following and monetize it down the road if they put in the work.
I challenge you to unlock your personal brand to lead more paying customers to your business.
If you pull it off, this will become the x-factor advantage that you’ll hold over your competition.
Now go put in the work.