You Ask, I Answer: Tips for Starting to Build Your Personal Brand?

Nadia asks, “What are the best tips you would give to someone who has just started building their personal brand?”

Remember the words of Mitch Joel: it’s not who you know, it’s who knows you. What do you want to be known for? Be crystal clear about that first. Once you know that, once you’re clear on that, then avoid the biggest mistake of all: never build on rented land.

Follow the why / what / who framework.

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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, Nadia asks, What are the best tips you would give to someone who has just started building their personal brand? Okay, so in the words of Mitch Joel, it’s not who you know, it’s who knows you? And when somebody thinks of you, what are the triggers that make your name come up in their mind and their minds? What right? What? What do you want to be known for? Right? When somebody has a need of some kind? How does your name become top of mind? Before you start building a personal brand, and before you start doing all the tactical stuff, you got to figure out why somebody would call you.

What is it that you have to offer that is unique and different and, and valuable? that someone would want to follow you to listen to what you have to say, to watch what you produce to read the things that you publish? If you’re not clear on that, building a personal brand is going to be an exercise in frustration.

And because it is literally literally personal, it is something that can be very disheartening, right? It can be very invalidating your identity, if you put yourself out there and people are like, I don’t care.

So you have to be very, very clear about what it is that you want to be known for.

If you don’t know that, don’t build a personal brand.

Right? How do you make that determination? Well, a big part of that is introspection, and self awareness and understanding what are the common threads in your life that keeps showing up over and over and over again, not necessarily in a work context, or professional context, but just as part of who you are as a human being.

You know, when I look back at my life, I’ve been playing with computers of some kind, since I was seven years old, I got my first Apple two plus, a beige monstrosity with the the black and green screen.

And seeing the same story happen over and over and over again in my life, which is taking a piece of technology and making it useful, right, making it useful, doing things with it, you know, winning election and high school to class president and things by using desktop publishing tools to essentially out propagate, gets the glass making friends in college, basically doing tech support with them.

All of these things, this is this is one of the several common threads in my life, that have been there for a long time.

And just keep showing up over and over again.

And even if you’re, you know, just fresh out of college or whatever, it’s, you’ve still got a couple of decades, more or less under your belt, what are the common threads that keep showing up that tell you, this looks like something that is an integral part of me.

Right? Once you know that, building, the brand becomes a list of tactical things to do.

But if you don’t have that understanding of why somebody should care about you, the rest of the stuff is not going to be as effective.

Right? The second major tip, and this is one that almost everybody gets wrong, right out of the gate, do not build on rented land.

We’ve been saying this in social media since what 2005 do not build on rented land, we’re saying this back in the MySpace days for those of you old enough to remember MySpace.

And what this means is that yes, things like Facebook, and Twitter and YouTube and Instagram.

And all these platforms are great.

They’re great for building awareness.

They’re great for communicating with people, but they should not be your home base.

Your Home Base should be something that you own and is under your control.

And you as long as you keep you know, funding it, you have it, it can’t be taken away from you.

So things like your website, your email list, the list of contacts, all these things that are under your control.

That’s where you should be putting your time and energy that’s where you should be putting your growth, your construction.

Your best material should be in those places first, because you own them and they will not go away on you.

There is no algorithm that will just make your stuff vanish.

Now, are there things that can improve its visibility, like SEO and email deliverability rules? Yes.

But they are less punitive.

And less arbitrary than say, Zuckerberg saying this week you’re gonna pay this much to have anything of your seen on Facebook? I’d so do not build on rented land? And finally, I would say in terms of the order of operations for what you should be doing, it should be Why what? Who, a lot of people when they start building out their personal brands make the mistake of going after the who first, who should I follow? Who should I connect with? Who should I network with? Who should know who’s who should I meet at conferences, which is fine? Those are important questions.

But the why and the what needs to come first, why should somebody follow you? or pay attention to you or interact with you? And then what do you have to give them? There’s a rule from business networking, international DNI, called givers gain, you give first, without expectation, not a quid pro quo.

But you give first, you tend to make relationship building easier.

So what do you have to offer and you have to give to somebody, again, no expectation, no reciprocity.

That would convince them that you should be worth paying attention to.

That can be things like a blog, or a podcast, video series, a video show like this an ebook, a real book of some kind.

But what do you have to give? That proves your value? That proves that you’ve got something between your ears that answers that question of, what do you want to be known for? Why, what, then who, and then the who parts are pretty straightforward.

This idea of you know, leveraging an arbitrage, there’s a actually don’t have a book called The red paperclip.

One red paperclip, I believe about bartering up and up and up.

And just minor imbalances in power that you used to ladder up in, in trade to gain advantage.

And the same thing was true for influence.

Can you go and ask, you know, a superstar in your industry to feature you in their newsletter? No, nope, you’re gonna get lost in the crowd? Can you ask somebody who has just slightly more of an audience than you do? to collaborate with them? Yes, you can.

So if you have 50 people on your newsletter list, find somebody got 55 people on your newsletter list, hey, do you want to do a collaboration? Do you want to do a list swap? Do you want to do whatever it is that you have to offer mutual value in doing so, you will lever yourself up to to bigger and better things.

And so that’s sort of the who side of things is, is using that slight bit of arbitrage, to get growth to end provide value to other people as well.

So one of my friends recently saying, Hey, I’m almost at, you know, X number of newsletter subscribers, would you share this with a friend, you should be looking at other lists of similar size and saying, hey, do you want to do a list swap, which is where you run an ad in your own newsletter for somebody else’s newsletter, they do the same for you same amount of space, same, you know, value proposition, things like that.

But in doing so, you create value for both parties, especially if there’s not a whole lot of overlap.

So those would be the starting tips.

understand the why.

Why is somebody care about you at all? Understand the what what do you have to offer value and understand the who who should you be working with to build that brand because it’s something that you you can do it alone, but it’s a lot easier to do if you have a collective of people who are all trying to do the same thing and working together.

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