If you really want to find success in the world of personal branding and turning your expertise into a profitable business, you need to know how to make your business and content work for you 24/7. That’s exactly what I’m going to be showing you in this article today. Not only will I be showing you exactly how I actively grow my personal brand, reach and expertise to new audiences daily, I’ll also be showing you some of my favorite tools as well.
Let’s get started!
1 – Start a Website or Blog
I first started making money online back in the mid-90s, but I didn’t start a blog of my own until 2007. It’s crazy to think about the internet and my online journeys before having a blog, but it really did happen!
I like to think of my entrepreneur journey in two parts — before and after the blog. Before I had the blog, I was really just an affiliate marketer and owner of multiple sites and making good money. Once I launched the blog, I then became a brand and was seen as an authority in this industry, while also helping others get started on their own journey. If you already have a blog or think the concept of blogging is dead, be sure to check out my previous post on how to make blogging great again.
Thanks to the power of WordPress, literally anyone can create a website of their own, without ever needing to touch a line of code or getting too technical. The software is free, a domain name will run around $10 a year and then you have just a few dollars a month for hosting. It’s the cheapest start up costs you will ever find, so take advantage of it!
Not to beat a dead horse… but if you don’t have a website or blog of your own to push your personal brand and expertise, you are missing out big time. If you haven’t already, go register your personal name as a domain, install WordPress and go live with a site of your own in a few minutes. The process is extremely fast and simple, and if you are still lost, follow my how to start a blog guide and I will walk you through the whole process step by step.
2 – Add a Signature to Your Emails
Right now there are probably a few hundred unread emails in your inbox. I know there is in mine… and it really annoys me! I eventually get it down to zero, but then it all builds up again.
Even more important than the number of emails in your inbox, is how many emails you are receiving and sending out on a daily basis. Just 50 emails per day is over 15,000 per year!
Now think about all of the lost branding and advertising you are missing out on if you don’t have a custom signature at the bottom of your email. I set this up a few years ago and the impact has been awesome.
You can see a screenshot of my email signature below, which is based off a simple template and just plugging in my social media urls. It’s actually set up through WiseStamp and connects seamlessly to my Gmail account. The cost is just a few dollars per month and they already have over 650,000 people using the site. It’s definitely one of my favorite tools out there, as it brings a completely new look and feel to every email I send out.
Notice how it also lists my website, social profiles and latest blog post. Very cool indeed!
3 – Contribute and Guest Blog on other Sites
One of the biggest and most common excuses I hear for people not starting an online business or making some money online is that they don’t have money to get started. This in itself is commonly false, as most people are wasting money on things that don’t matter and simply won’t invest their time or money into themselves or something new.
On the flip side, one of the best ways to get massive exposure, rank higher in the search results and also reach potentially millions of people for free is through the use of content writing — specifically contributing to other sites or finding industry sites who are looking for guest bloggers.
The way this works is simple. You (as an expert in your field), reach out to other industry sites and provide them with great content for their sites. The site owner gets free content, and you get free exposure to their audience. This is usually done through the author bio section.
The ultimate goal for content writing and guest blogging is to score an author account on big name sites like HuffingtonPost, Forbes, Inc, TechCrunch and others. To learn more about this thorough and in-depth process, I recommend checking out the many resources on Quora around this topic. The question has been asked several times, and many people have provided their own expertise and resources on how they get author accounts on big sites, while showing you how to do the same.
What I personally recommend you do, is start with smaller sites (within your niche), then continue to scale up in size. Once you build up your portfolio of content on other sites, it will then be easier to secure writing spots on sites like Inc, Entrepreneur, and Forbes. It’s a timely process, but potentially worth millions of dollars in the amount of exposure you could be receiving for free over the years.
There are many ways to find success with guest blogging and getting new writing jobs on other sites. If you need more actionable tips on this process, check out this guest blogging round up with expert tips for 32 different content creators who are currently taking advantage of what guest blogging has to offer.
4 – Automate Social Media and Social Sharing
Social media is a massive beast. Facebook alone has over 1.8 billion users, Twitter has another few hundred million and once you start to add the others in, you are well over 2.5 billion users. With all of that being said… how are you taking advantage of this massive audience?
For the most part, many people aren’t — and if they are, it’s usually only the social network that they like using the most. The good news is that there are plenty of social management and sharing tools out there to help scale and automate the process.
A tool that I use almost daily for this is MeetEdgar, which allows me to manage multiple social media accounts and schedule in all of my blog content while having it randomly sent out to all of my accounts. Two other great solutions for increasing social sharing are JustRetweet and ViralContentBee — both sites essentially offering credits to incentive other members to share your social content.
At the end of the day, social sharing is one of the most important platforms out there for growing your reach and getting content shared. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most tedious and time-consuming tasks as well. There are plenty of social media tools out there, so be sure to find one that fits your needs and saves you time in the process.
5 – Run, Automate, and Scale with Webinars
It’s crazy to think about it, but there are over a billion active websites and blogs on the internet today. When I say ‘active’, I mean that is how many sites are actually creating content on the internet today. That’s a lot of content, and way more than anyone can even think about consuming. At the same time… that’s also a lot of boring text content that will likely never get read as well.
To get inspired and blown away by these numbers, go check out Internet Live Stats and see running numbers on stats like the ones below.
With these massive numbers in mind, it’s important to always try to do better than the competition — especially when it comes to creating content and providing value. This is now more important than ever, as the last thing we all need is more content to consume.
To build and grow a successful brand, you need to provide value. This means going outside of the what the competition is offering and simply doing more.
Webinars are a perfect example of how to do this.
For the most part, ‘gurus’ and ‘online teachers’ are using webinars to create amazing 45-60 minute sales pitches while offering some extreme value in the process. If you’ve never had the opportunity to attend a live webinar, be sure to check a few of them out. They are amazing tools for learning how to better engage with your audience, while also seeing how some of the top experts flow their message into a powerful sales message and call to action.
In the past, I’ve used solutions like GoToMeeting to run webinars, but I feel it’s a bit too corporate and that there are better options out there. One webinar platform that I have been playing around with lately is ClickMeeting, which allows me to chat with my webinar attendees before I go live with the event, allows for surveys to take place during the webinar and also the option to record, automate and track engagement throughout the event.
You can see a screenshot of their interface below, which is much more personal and allows for me to easily engage with my audience during a webinar, versus just giving them a screen to watch and nothing more.
Again, the key takeaway here is to create better value for your audience than your competition. It doesn’t matter what webinar solution you are using to deliver your message, but make sure it provides real value and simply isn’t a sales pitch. The last thing you want is for your audience to spend 45 minutes watching your webinar, then hating you at the end for a sales pitch.
Once you’ve mastered the art of webinars and creating your best content for your audience, then start playing around with automated webinars so you can continue to reach new audiences and share your message 24/7.
6 – Take Advantage of Podcasts and Free PR
Once you’ve created an online platform for yourself and have also established yourself as an extra, the process of free PR and exposure is easy — if you know how to do it.
A perfect example of how to reach millions of new people is through the use of podcasting. Never before has there been such a content medium in place that allows you pick up a phone, get interviewed and then have your content sent out to potentially millions of subscribers through mobile devices, websites and audio platforms like iTunes.
But like I continually say… this is going to take some time, work and effort — but don’t forget, it’s also free!
It’s also about storytelling as well. If you want to get people’s attention, and the attention of PR — you need to be a great storyteller. This is something Jeremy is also a master at. If you’ve ever had the opportunity to hear him speak, the engagement and excitement within his stories are always the best part!
Storytelling is a huge part of successful PR and brand outreach, as you are now the one in control over the content being written, read or even the voice being heard.
There are hundreds (if not thousands) of interview-based podcast shows out there, all in a wide range of niches. All you need to do is visit the main website for each of these podcasts, look for the contact form and see how you can get featured in an upcoming episode. That’s all it took for me to get booked on EOFire, one of the largest and most listened to business podcasts in the world today.
When it comes to PR, podcasting isn’t the only game in town. Look for other websites and blogs in your niche that perform interviews with experts as well. If you really want to see some crazy results (and have more time), browse through top media sites like Inc, Entrepreneur, and Forbes and built out a list of all their authors. The next time you have something groundbreaking to release or an article on the latest industry trends, reach out to all of them and see if they are willing to pick it up or mention it in their next article. Sites like HARO can help with this too, but they are often more saturated and competitive than if you build out your own list.
Bottom line… there are a ton of free PR opportunities out there. You just need to put in the work to make them happen.
7 – Attend and Speak at Industry Conferences
There are now more internet and business conferences than ever before. Even though I only attend a handful of them per year, it’s still extremely beneficial for my business, brand, and networking.
Having that personal and live connection with an audience or individual is key to growing existing partnerships to new levels. A perfect example of this would be negotiating new deals, higher payouts or simply meeting your best client or affiliate manager for the first time. This personal connection can result in a 1000% ROI versus just being a name behind an email. I’ve personally seen this happen time and time again after meeting someone in person that I’ve known online for a while.
This is why I always make an effort to not only attend but also speak at Affiliate Summit East and West. With over 5,000+ attendees, it’s the largest affiliate/internet marketing conference out there, and it can do wonders for your brand and following if you speak, attend or exhibit at the event.
However, don’t think that Affiliate Summit is the only game in town. Like a mentioned… there are hundreds of conferences out there, and many of them are in smaller niche markets as well (email, social, podcasting). If you are an expert or even an up-and-comer in any of these industries, you need to attend a conference and start making immediate in-person connections.
That’s How I Build My Brand… How About You?
Yes, it definitely looks like a lot of work when you start to break it all down… but guess what? It is a lot of work… and 2,500-words later, I hope you are starting to see the value in what I have to offer, and why putting this type of content out there also helps grow my brand and trust in the process.
People need to stop thinking it’s easy to run your own business and make money online. Sure, some will find faster and more immediate success than others, but in the long run, it’s a game that only a few will find success in.
Those who continually put in the time and effort to treat their business like a real business, are much more likely to succeed. At the same time, it’s no longer a requirement to put in 15 to 20 hours days to get started. Now it’s easier and more effective than every to turn your expertise into a real business, thanks to the use of software and automation tools like the ones I’ve listed above.
Now it’s time for you to run through the list above and see which areas you are currently missing out on. Some of these methods are extremely cheap, fast and simple to set up… so don’t waste another day by missing out on them.