Personal branding, simplified
3 min read

Personal branding, simplified

Yo! Welcome to the next episode of The Content Strategy Reeder where 3,975 creators get better at content creation and strategy in less than 5 minutes.

This week I did a fireside chat on personal branding.

It was fun because it was led by my good friend, James Kaikis, and it felt like one of our weekend conversations talkin’ shop and sharing ideas to grow our careers.

It was cool to see so many individual contributors and leaders eager to understand how to create a personal brand. It went really well:

The event was private, but there were so many solid takeaways that I want to share here with you.

So here is the cliff note version — including a simple 4 step framework for creating a personal brand that you can use immediately.

What exactly is a personal brand?

Your personal brand is really your digital reputation.

And your reputation is whatever people say about you when you’re not around.

“Hey, are you familiar with Devin Reed?”

Yea he’s _______.

Good, bad, or ugly, whatever fills that blank is your reputation.

When it’s positive — she’s a fantastic leader — we say they have a great personal brand.

But when it’s negative — he's a jerk and really negative — then we say they have a bad reputation.

Why should someone bother creating a personal brand? What are the benefits?

Your personal brand is your reputation at scale because your personal brand is primarily online, so you can reach exponentially more people than if you were limited to in person interactions.

So, at the risk of cliche, the possibilities are endless. But here are a few things a personal brand can do for you:

  • Sell more $$$
  • Recruit top talent
  • Land your dream job
  • Increase your compensation
  • Meet amazing people who change your life and career
  • Get invited to speak on podcasts and events

That totally makes sense. OK, how do you build a personal brand?

The best personal brands are built around being humble and helping other people (much like a reputation in the traditional sense).

You have a wealth of specialized knowledge that can provide tremendous value to others — I call it Niche Knowledge. The key is being specific and sharing your unique experience, guidance, and perspective. Here’s a super simple framework:

  1. Identify your Niche Knowledge
  2. Share it on social media
  3. Get feedback (see what lands and what doesn’t)
  4. Iterate and repeat

When picking a topic, consider what you want to be known for. Or in other words, what do you want to be synonymous with?

What mistakes should folks look out for when getting started?

First, most people think they need to be an “expert” and that they’re not qualified to give advice. That’s completely untrue. You don’t need to have 10,000 hours of experience or a VP title to share what they know.

Second, people undervalue being relatable. Being honest, vulnerable, and humble is way more appealing than being an expert. You can do this by sharing your journey - personal and professional - through stories and learnings. It's also a great way to stand out.

Last, overthinking it. Instead of waiting for the perfect time or over-editing your work — just let it fly! Be intentional, but get your content out there and start building momentum. You'll learn plenty along the way. That's part of the journey.

Any last advice?

Building a personal brand is all about building trust, and that takes time, so commit to the long game. It’s not about being the most popular and getting millions of followers and likes, it’s about helping people and creating an audience (or network) of like-minded people. And the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll see results.

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I hope you found this quick run down helpful, and if you have any one-off questions about your personal brand you want to run by me, give me a shout. I’ll reply ASAP.

Holler at you next Saturday,
Devin

Did you get value from this episode of CSR? If so, you’d make me sing “This Is How We Do It” by Montell Jordan if you shared this link with your friends or on LinkedIn. Here’s an example from Lenora Gan for inspiration.

If you want to build a powerful personal brand…

I created a self-guided video course, Content Strategy for LinkedIn, to teach creators how to build an authentic personal brand on LinkedIn.

Because even though everyone has a profile, most people don’t have a credible LinkedIn presence that they’re proud of, and they struggle to get meaningful traction with their content.

Specifically because:

1. Coming up with content is hard – I don’t know what to say…

2. Being authentic is challenging – I don’t want to accidentally come across as phony…

3. LinkedIn’s algorithm is a mystery – How does it even work?!…

If you want to build an audience, sell more, and unlock-career changing opportunities with a personal brand on LinkedIn, you can access the course here.

And because you’re a subscriber to this newsletter, you can use code “CSR” at check out for 22% off.