You Ask, I Answer: Building a Personal Brand in 2020?

Misha asks, “Do you think it’s easier or harder to build a strong personal brand now than 10 years ago?”

It’s different but the principles are still the same. On social media, mainstream social media now requires ad spend whereas 10 years ago it didn’t, but tons of niche social networks still provide the same opportunity. SEO is somewhat more competitive but actually values domain expertise now. Measurement is much easier.

The big question that has remained consistent is: what value do you offer that others need?

Kevin Kelly from Wired described in 2008 what it takes to be successful – 1000 true fans. That’s a great benchmark for your personal brand. Who can you get to show up?

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Machine-Generated Transcript

What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for watching the video.

In today’s episode, Misha asks, Do you think it’s easier or harder to build a strong personal brand now than 10 years ago? It’s different, it’s different now than it was 10 years ago, 10 years ago, social media is still relatively new, you know, talking 2010, facebook, facebook was even open to the general public and Twitter was still a thing.

YouTube was a thing.

But certainly, Instagram just opened up because they just celebrated the 10 year anniversary.

So it was easier to be seen as an early adopter of what eventually become some of the major platforms.

Whereas today, social media, at least on mainstream networks does require you to spend some money right to request some ad spend.

But today, there are tons of niche social networks that provide the same opportunity, right, you can become well known within a single discord or slack server, you can be on any number of new apps, you know, there’s certainly no shortage of rising Tiktok stars right, but have amassed huge audiences, you can still get a lot of attention for having a really good YouTube channel, it takes time.

And things like SEO, it’s, it’s more competitive, because there’s just more people online.

But the way the algorithms have changed, really does reflect and value domain expertise.

Now more than it did 10 years ago, 10 years ago was, it was mostly a game of SEO tricks.

Whereas today, those tricks work much less well than they used to.

So from a tactical perspective, it’s about the same, it’s about the same to build a strong personal brand.

Measurement of a personal brand is much easier today, much, much easier than it was 10 years ago, 10 years ago, we didn’t even have multi channel attribution models that were generally available.

Today, that’s something that any person can have inside their Google Analytics, your social media analytics are easier.

Your brand analytics are much easier.

The thing that the thing has remained the same.

And the question that everybody who wants to build a personal brand has to answer that is completely the same as what value do you offer the world? What value do you offer that other people’s need other people need? If you are just another talking head talking in the space, you know, talking to the air, ruminating without any point or any focus? And most of all, any value, then yeah, it’s going to be almost impossible to build a personal brand because nobody needs that.

Nobody wants that.

We do live in a more crowded online space than ever before.

Right? Nobody needs another podcast.

With the millions of them.

There are now.

So what do you offer? What is your value? And not? What is your brand’s value to you? We know everybody understands that part.

What do you have to offer the world that the world wants and needs? And that’s the question that was true and and tough 10 years ago, it’s the questions tough and true today, what is your value to the world.

And if you’re not sure, don’t worry about building a personal brand.

Figure that out first, figure out what you have to offer the world first.

That is of value that the world needs the world can’t do without and then building the personal brand.

I don’t want to say it builds itself because it doesn’t but it’s a lot easier to build because you are clear about your message.

You’re clear about your purpose.

You are clear about the reasons why somebody would talk to you in terms of measuring your personal brand.

There was a fantastic essay from 2009 2008 by Kevin Kelly at wired, I think it was at the time who described what it takes to be successful in the new economy and that is you need 1000 true fans now but these are 1000 true fans, these are the people who show up when you say you’re going to do something you’re going to go live you’re going to be doing an Instagram channel takeover, you’re going to be doing this or that.

And if 1000 people keep showing up for you, you have the ability to make a substantial living right because you have 1000 people to give you 100 bucks a year.

That’s that’s 100 grand.

Right That’s that is that’s a living money.

Especially in other parts of the world where cost of living are lower compared to say, you know, the the the most expensive nations to live in.

If you have here making $100,000 a year and you’re living in you know below Lee’s or Croatia, or, you know, parts of Malaysia, you’re living like a king, and you are doing super well.

If you live in Silicon Valley, not so much here in a cardboard box in somebody’s backyard.

So the question for your personal brand is, how many true fans do you have? And again, this is something that you can tell really easily by appointment setting, right? You say you’re going to go live? Fridays at noon? Right? How many people show up? How many people keep showing up? How many returning users do you have to your website? Right? How many people consistently engage with a post you put up on Facebook or Twitter or wherever.

If it’s not 1000, the thousand is what to aim for, to provide so much value of that thousand people reliably show up all the time may not be the same thousand, but 1000 people show up reliably all the time.

And that’s when you know, you’ve you’ve succeeded in building a strong personal brand.

I’m somewhere in the 35 range, right? So I’ve got a lot of work to do, still to make sure that people show up.

Right? If you send out an email newsletter, do 1000 people read it, right, do 1000 people click on stuff in it, I’m doing better on that part.

To give you a sense of what scale that is that you’re talking, you know, you’d probably need like 100,000 audience members to get 1000 people to reliably do something and 1% of that audience.

So your personal brand.

It isn’t harder.

But it requires more forethought.

Now, it requires more systems, I think.

And it requires you to constantly be harvesting from from places that aren’t yours.

So that means getting people on your email newsletter or subscribe to your podcast or the things that you own are under your control.

It does not mean building, you know, a million followers on Tiktok, you can do that.

And you should do that if that’s your thing.

But you don’t own that the same.

As we said 10 years ago, you don’t own your Twitter account, you don’t own your Facebook page.

Other companies own those and you have no control over visibility and things like that, which a lot of people found out the hard way when they spent, you know, years and big buckets of money on Facebook trying to build their Facebook pages and then Facebook in 2015 just turn the knobs and said, Okay, now everyone’s got to pay to be seen, no matter how large your following is.

So 1000 true fans in your in systems you control.

But yeah, it also comes down to what value do you offer that the world needs that people will seek you out for? And it’s an ongoing thing.

It’s a living thing your brand 10 years ago should not be the same person today because the world 10 years ago, isn’t the same world as today.

The World 10 months ago, is not the same world as we live in today.

There was no pandemic.

So you choose what you want to be known for, and work on building to that audience base of 1000 true fans.

That’s how you build a strong personal brand.

It’s a good question.

We could spend a lot of time on this, but start there, start there.

If you have follow up questions, leave them in the comments box below.

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