How to Take Control of Your Personal Brand, Part Two

This is a modified excerpt from my new book, 
Marketing Simplified, now available on

In Part One of this series, we discussed why it’s so important to invest time and resources into building your personal brand. Here, we talk about how to make it happen. (Click here to access Part One.)

The first step to building your personal brand is to define the brand you’d like to build. How do you want to be perceived? What strengths and abilities do you want to highlight? What story do you want to tell? How much of your background do you want to share, and how will you make it relevant to your target customers? Remember – people prefer to do business with other people that they know, like, and trust. And one of the quickest ways to establish that bond is to highlight shared experiences. What frustrations, fears, hopes, accomplishments, and dreams do you have in common with your target customers and clients? The more that you can make them think “wow, this guy gets me,” the better off you’ll be.

Get an outside perspective on your strengths and unique points of differentiation. It’s hard for any of us to have an objective perspective on ourselves. So, as you’re planning for and developing your personal brand, it’s helpful to get feedback from other people who know you well. Reach out to 5-10 people you trust and who know you well – friends, colleague, trusted clients or customers. Ask them to answer the following two questions:

1 – What skill or ability do you most appreciate about me?
2 – What makes me unique from most other people you know?

The answers you receive may surprise you – in a good way! I’ve done this exercise a few times myself, and it’s always interesting. You may find that you have a skill or ability that you weren’t even aware of. And even if the answers aren’t what you’re expecting or hoping for, it’s always better to have a realistic viewpoint than to delude yourself.

Build your expert status. The key to a personal brand that helps you make money is achieving ACE status… Authoritative, Credible, Expert. When you’re perceived as an expert, you can charge higher rates for your products and services. Think about it – if your child is diagnosed with a serious medical condition, you’re not going to settle for a generic, inexperienced family physician. You’re going to seek out an expert in that particular condition, and you’ll pay more for his or her expert guidance. This concept is true in just about every niche and industry segment.

So the question is, how do you create your expert status? The following is one of the most important concepts in this entire book.

You can manufacture your own authority.

I repeat:

You can manufacture authority.

You don’t have to sit back and wait for the waters to part and an angel to descend upon you and bestow you with the title of ‘expert.’

You don’t have to wait until you’ve built thirty years of experience in your field. (Do you want to wait thirty years?? I sure don’t.)

Simplistically, there are two main ways to manufacture authority. You can write, and you can speak.

Writing can take many forms – write a book, contribute to magazines and online publications, start a blog, start an email newsletter or a print newsletter, contribute articles to your local newspaper. Once you open your eyes, you’ll start seeing opportunities everywhere.

Speaking can take many forms as well. Speak at conferences, industry events, workshops. Start a podcast. Create a video FAQ library. Host webinars.

When you write and speak about the issues and topics that matter to your target customers and clients, you build the perception of expertise and credibility.

Don’t wait for authority to be bestowed upon you… manufacture it!

Finally, find the communication platforms that work for you and create a plan. I just mentioned a bunch of different platforms that you can use to communicate and develop your personal brand. As always, execution is what matters. So identify a few communication channels and commit to using them regularly. For example, for a long time, my monthly routine at Spotlight Branding included:

– Writing a blog entry
– Answering a handful of common client questions on video
– Contributing an article to 3 different industry websites
– Hosting the Law Firm Marketing Minute podcast
– Sending an email newsletter each week
– Sending out a monthly print newsletter
– Hosting a weekly Facebook Live show

Now, you may not have that much time to spend on your branding and communications in this stage of your business, and that’s fine. Start small. Identify 2-3 communication channels and commit to using them consistently.

Personal branding is “optional” – you can build an effective brand for your business without making yourself highly visible. But generally speaking, you’re going to succeed a whole lot faster if you develop and leverage your personal brand.

So make a plan and get after it!  

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Danny Decker

I work with business owners to create real, practical marketing plans – and create systems to make sure the plan actually gets executed. I’ll help you put a strategy in place to create predictably positive cash-flow, to generate new leads consistently, to create more referrals and word-of-mouth marketing, and much more.

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