Let’s say that, about a year ago, you started your own little company. Let’s say that company quickly started to bring in some money, and you’re now standing on the verge of making some real revenue.
But there’s a problem.
You don’t ‘do’ personal branding. You hear a lot about personal branding, and the fact it demands all of that self-marketing stuff like networking and public speaking and it makes your flesh crawl. There is nothing wrong with networking and public speaking, but you just can’t bring yourself to do it.
It’s just not you.
If that’s what personal branding means, they can keep it. It’s for the birds.
But what if there is more to personal branding?
What if there is other stuff you can do, stuff that builds your personal brand without dragging you kicking and screaming out of your nice, cuddly comfort zone?
There are other things you can do, other techniques, actions and strategies that you can employ, all of which can help you build a brand that people engage with. And for the majority of these (those we will focus on in this post) you don’t even have to leave the house.
But first, I need to offer you a big and ugly caveat.
You can’t run away from personal branding
It needs to happen if you are a small to medium-sized company. You don’t have millions to spend on advertising and PR, so you have to develop your own brand, one that is about you, and one that is so damn exciting people want to talk to you and buy from you.
Unfortunately, that means that somewhere in the near future, you will have to exit that little comfort zone of yours. And that’s a by-product of success.
The more you use the following methods to build up a personal brand, the more urgent it will become that you have to start getting out there and talking to people. By all means, be introverted, but don’t expect to really hit the big time unless you have a face behind the following tried and tested ‘introverted’ personal branding techniques.
Got that? Good. Now, let’s get on with the personal branding techniques you can use if you don’t want to turn up to the party (yet).
This is more important than ever. Blogging allows you to express yourself. That’s why the blog was invented. And there is still no better way to build up a body of work that builds up a brand. You can do it behind closed doors too, so you don’t have to show up to the party. Instead, you can brand yourself from your room or office, without having to get out there and meet people. That is a real possibility, and it is what a lot of people do.
Some graduate from this approach. Take Chris Brogan. The guy was writing blogs for years and then he started to be read, and people began to respect what he was writing about. He now shows up to the party every week, with public speaking and other appearances, including quite a few expert panels.
So blogging is perfect for that kind of personal branding that keeps the party from your door. Just be ready to show up to that party if you get to be any good at blogging.
This is another way in which you can legitimise yourself and build that brand. You can create an entire business empire on social media (many have) and that is because it’s like bringing the party to your computer. Every minute of the day if you like.
Create value, communicate with others (in a grown-up away) and you’ll soon see social paying off for you. Beware though; it also carries the Chris Brogan effect.
One of the best ways to build a brand quietly and without your party dress on is through learning. The more you learn about your industry and the more you can pass that learning on to the people who read you and follow you, the better and bigger your brand will become.
So spend some of that alone time learning. Read other blogs, join forums (you can post on forums in your pyjamas, don’t worry) and generally become that expert that a good brand is built upon.
When it comes to personal branding, you don’t have to be at the party all day, every day. You don’t even have to leave the house. But remember that doing it alone is only the start of things, and sooner or later you will need to get your dancing shoes on, grab a cocktail, and network baby, network.