They say good things come to those who wait. But that's not often true. Good things generally only happen when you dedicate time to them.
Take your 'personal brand' as an example. It's a valuable currency to trade when it comes to your professional development, regardless of your industry or niche. And naturally, the more people who recognise your name and your work, the more new opportunities will be available to you.
But building a personal brand takes considerable effort and time. Nontheless, it is achievable, even for introverts like myself!
So, what's the first step?
Your personal brand is only as good as the content you produce. While producing high-quality content sounds simple on paper, you need to take note of what your competition is doing well first in order to lay down the foundation for your personal brand.
Popular brands are using tonnes of types of content, including articles, interviews, video, podcasts and social media posts. These channels are accessible to anyone with an internet connection and mobile device, but posting content isn't enough. The key to growth lies in seasonality and niche relevance.
Seasonality refers to the successful timing of content with an event. Christmas, national holidays, the Olympics. Tying your content to something that is already insanely popular is a good way to get traction. For example, ahead of the premiere of Game of Thrones' fifth season in June 2015, Business Insider released this video on the economics of Westeros in March. While Business Insider is no slouch when it comes to influence, the video saw an impressive spike in views compared to their other videos because it capitalised on the hype surrounding the return of the beloved series.
After all, Game of Thrones is a cultural phenomenon, so it makes sense that hitching their wagon to that horse would gain them so many views (763,394 at the time of posting this). This of course ties into niche relevance. Marrying economics and Game of Thrones brings together two particular niches and as such draws the audience of each respectively. By associating with the show, the Business Insider video is able to be a part of a complex world with an actively engaged fan-base.
"Do what you love" is a good mantra to live by, especially when you're trying to build a personal brand. People can spot disingenuity from a mile away, so creating content that you have an interest in will go a long way in establishing your personal brand. Remember, the key word here is personal.
The rise of the influencer comes from backlash to being spoken down to by advertisers and the like. Which is why you need to build your personal brand with content you believe in.
That economics of Westeros video was made by people who appreciate that world, and it shows in the work they've produced. Passion is inspirational. It's magnetic. So consider the content you've seen work well and plan out what you want to engage with if you were the audience.
Once you have your content, it's time to find a place to publish it.
Where is your favourite content published? If it's your first time creating content, you'll have an easier time putting something together when you're already familiar with a website and the content they like to regularly publish. It might be easier to begin as a collaborator with another creator you respect.
Want to be known as a top interior designer? Find existing blog posts on the subject and offer the author a quote to include in their article, or simply let them know you're keen to be interviewed as their go-to expert source. Of course, the best way to do this is to use SourceBottle, it's a simple way to get in contact with journalists and writers.
Regardless of whether you start creating your own content immediately or begin as a collaborator, it's important that every publishing opportunity you pursue is done with a clear goal in mind. Your ideal personal brand is what you’re building, so make sure each brand you align with assists in building your own.
As you begin to publish content regularly, people should begin to see your name on the content they love all the time.
If you're publishing content on your own site or channel, reach out to other influencers and ask them if they'd like to be featured in your awesome content. Perhaps you can interview them or even let them create content for you as a guest contributor.
As they say, you are the company you keep. So collaborate wisely in order to elevate your personal brand.
Of course, you can't expect others to fawn over your content without showing some love in return.
The niche you choose to market yourself in will be full of other authorities and budding influencers publishing engaging content. If you want to be recognised in the community you need to be a part of it.
It's best to adopt this simple mantra: comment, like and share.
This approach is a simple way to network with your peers. People appreciate getting love for their content, and by engaging with them you'll put yourself on their radar. However, don't fake the love. Comment sections are littered with fake profiles and shameless promoters who only want to bluntly promote their content rather than engage.
Fakers can usually be spotted a mile away, so be genuine.
By sharing the love, leveraging other influencers for your content becomes much easier. Furthermore, audiences will recognise you as a thought leader and influencer in your own right - and better yet, a content curator - when they see you're regularly sharing and engaging with great content.