As the “Silicon Valley Lifestyle” of cheap hoodies, launch parties, and endless funding announcements increases, more and more people are rushing to build new innovative companies. While great for customers, the noise-to-signal ratio is making getting attention for one's business harder than ever. There are plenty of marketing tricks for hitting a crowded marketplace, but one of the most effective ways to break through the noise lately has been building your own personal brand.
Getting your customers to know your name and story is a way to build credibility for your business with your customers. People naturally want to work with those they trust, and personal branding is a way to associate your integrity with the integrity of your business, while also building out your visibility in your industry.
That said, building a personal brand can take years. Luckily, following some of the patterns of those who have done it before, you can jump start your presence in 90 days following the outline below.
Some of these tips will require you to get out of your comfort zone, others will seem to easy to work. The best way to see results is to dive in, test these methods out, track the results, and double down on what works for you.
Write Down your Thoughts Daily - and Share Them
You've seen the huge followings many writers and video bloggers have amassed on YouTube, Tumblr, Instagram, and Twitter. Paul Graham and Chris Gillebeau, who started by documenting their personal and business lives, advocate for and use writing as a way to make their ideas contagious.
Much of their success comes from consistency and authenticity -- writing often and honestly.
How I started doing this in my own life: I simply write down what I learned each day before going to bed. After a while, I realized much of what I was learning were problems other people were going through.
So, I started blogging about them and today that simple ritual has allowed me to write for major outlets like Inc, The Huffington Post, and Startup Grind. The benefit of writing about you learn every night is that it gives you time to reflect. The icing on the cake is that those stories are perfect for your follower.
It doesn’t even matter if you write about your industry in the beginning: the goal is to just get your thoughts on paper. Once you can consistently do this for 2 weeks, approach a writing outlet about contributing. From there, you can begin building a following. After 90 days, you’ll be amazed at how much people will care about your daily lessons.
Use Twitter To Reach The Unreachable
To shortcut your way to the top, use established thought leaders in your industry to pull you up. The greatest challenge in getting these people in your network will be reaching them. Fortunately, there’s a magical tool called Twitter, which I’ve used for years to get in contact with too many experts to count.
To start, do a couple hours of research and look up all the people in your industry who you look up to. Then, check how many followers they have and gauge how strong their voice is in your field. From there, find them on Twitter. Chances are, most of these people blog. The typical thing people do here is tweet at them saying the liked an article. While this is ok, it’s not memorable. Writers get tweets all the time.
Instead, find a topic they wrote about and create your own piece on the subject. When you tweet at them, tell them you liked the article and mention that you’ve wrote a piece they might like. If they like the piece, chances are they’ll talk to you or better yet they’ll post your piece on their website. Keep doing this, and you’ll soon have access to everyone you need.
You’d be amazed how easy it is to get on a panel or to speak at a conference these days. After you start implementing steps 1 and 2, you’ll begin getting opportunities to speak.
Nothing makes me madder then when people tell me they’ve turned down speaking engagements because they’re not “ready”, or they don’t know enough yet. This is where you need to either be brave or take the long road to personal branding.
When people start asking you to speak, accept the offer no matter what -- trust me, you'll get ready with a deadline looming. Even the most established experts were at one-point rookies. We’ve all felt out of place or overwhelmed when it comes to public speaking on something we don’t feel we know very well. Just take a deep breath, practice like crazy, and make it happen. Your next offer might not come for a while if you miss the first one.
Once you nail one presentation, you’ll get plenty more. And when that happens, you’re officially an expert.