You have heard of the term branding. When you think of the term branding, you think about companies running ad campaigns across media channels.
Let's say Apple is running a branding campaign. They would run TV ads, magazine ads, and online ads, and even put up hoardings on the streets. They are trying to improve the brand recall you have about the brand and also reinforce their positioning in the minds of consumers.
However, a similar approach cannot be done for personal brands. People try doing it and fail at it anyway. Politicians and people with ill-gotten wealth think that putting up their (not-so-good-looking) faces all over the place will help them be known and build trust among the masses.
A lot of politicians are known well, but that doesn't translate into trust. Branding campaigns are done to build awareness, but awareness rarely converts into trust by itself.
Whether you have money to spend on stupid ads or not, trust is not built with ads. If you do not have so much money to waste on hoardings (like me), then I have good news for you. There is a cheaper (and much better) way to build your personal brand. That's through content and email marketing.
Successful politicians and cult personalities have built a massive trust and following through writing. Religions are founded on written material. Without the power of the written word, you cannot change people's minds.
If you want to convince someone to convert to your way of thinking, you need to write. And you need to make sure that you have the power of distribution to make sure that people are reading what you write.
50 years back, no one had access to the internet or email. No one had YouTube and a personal community. But today, we have so many tools that will help you amplify your voice to the masses.
If you are reading this right now, it is because you believe that I have something useful to say. That might not have been the case when you read something from me for the first time. I have built the trust with multiple pieces of content and what you "know" about me right now is not a result of a single piece of content but a collection of them.
You probably found me through one of the online ads. You opted-in to receive more content from me, and with time, you "judged" me to figure out if it is worth spending your precious attention and time reading my content. And I have a habit of not keeping it short.
What you "think" and "feel" about me, though we have never met is my "personal brand". It is what you to talk about me behind my back.
Many people think that if they do not build a personal brand, they do not have a personal brand. But everyone has a name and people around them have a perception about who they are and that's their personal brand, whether they like it or not.
If you don't build a personal brand for yourself, the world will build it for you. And what the world perceives about you will affect how people trust you, perceive you, and do business with you. It is better to take control of that perception than to leave it to chance. Someone is going to say something about you and it might not be good.
If you have decided to take control of your personal brand, these are the things you should focus on:
- Write regularly (it clears your mind, helps you remember what you have learned, and makes you a better speaker).
- Start a podcast or be a guest in other's podcasts
- Write a book (or write a lot of books)
- Speak at events and make it easy for people to hire you to speak at their events
- Help people with their goals (even if you don't get paid)
- Build a community of people through teaching (build your own fan base who will support you and use them as a sounding board for your ideas)
- Have a consistent story about who you are and repeat it regularly across multiple channels. Repetition builds recall.
If you don't know where to start, start with your first article. Publish your first article on a blog like this. Sign up for a WordPress account (or use Ghost.org as I do) and just start with your first article.
The best part about using the Ghost platform is that it also sends your blog post as an email newsletter. If you are not reading this right now on my blog, you are probably reading it via email. I don't need to send a separate email campaign to make sure that people get my articles by email. The lack of friction in the process encourages me to write more.
I have 1000s of subscribers for this blog right now, but it started with the first article. And for the first few articles, I hardly had any readers. But if you are reading this right now, you know that my writing works. Why don't you do the same?
Looking forward to your blogs.