Growing your personal brand is a marathon. You’re setting out on a journey to consistently engage your audience and bring them value. You’re setting out on a journey to get famous.
Seth Godin and Chris Brogan, for example, are famous business authors and speakers, and they have massive followings. But neither Seth nor Chris are overnight successes. Both have been growing their platforms and reputations for years. Seth started his blog in 2002, and Chris began blogging in 1998.
Longevity is a fundamental ingredient to growing your personal brand. Approach your personal branding strategy as if it were a marathon. The longer and more consistently you run, the further you’ll go.
Week after week you have to come up with new and interesting things to write about. You have to find new angles, new ideas, and new stories. You have to consistently create content that gets people to say, “That’s interesting. Tell me more.”
The operative word here is “consistently.” Writing one great article or producing one engaging video is not enough. Personal branding demands that you show up month after month, if not day after day.
Set Your Pace
The best marathon running advice you’ll ever get is “start slow, finish fast.” Lots of people don’t heed this advice. They start out with a goal, and run hard.
Starting out fast feels good. In the first mile your legs are fresh, your energy is high, and you’re exhilarated to be working towards a goal. Then the second mile hits, and you begin to struggle to catch your breath. In the third mile your legs feel like Jello, and each step requires willpower to keep moving. All the fun and excitement is gone.
Personal branding is very similar. It’s exciting to get started, but if you take on too much too soon it quickly becomes overwhelming.
Content marketing and personal branding fits hand in glove. Set your content marketing pace right away:
- How often will you publish?
- How long are your posts?
- What is the format of your content?
Setting your pace makes life so much easier. Instead of worrying about form and format, you can focus on ideas, concepts, and insights that you think will resonate with your audience.
Feed Your Personal Brand
You can’t complete a marathon if you don’t maintain your energy. You need food and water to keep going.
The same is true for personal branding. You need to constantly consume other’s content to consistently produce your own content.
I consume content from four primary sources:
- Feedly: I subscribe to a couple hundred blogs and magazines, and read it every morning. It’s like the morning paper, and I get a fresh dose of content and ideas every day.
- Podcasts: I listen to podcasts in the car and when I’m doing chores. I gain a ton of ideas from the interviews with experts.
- Books: There’s no better source of ideas than reading long form content. It gives me time to digest an idea and expand my thinking.
- Mentors: The best way content and ideas is to get it right from the source. Find people who inspire you and connect with them regularly.
Consuming content is part of my routine, and it gives me the fuel to share new content week after week.
How do you fuel your personal brand?
Have a Backup Plan
Inevitably you will hit a bump in the road and something will sideline you: an illness, a major deadline, a family emergency, a vacation or something else.
Have backup plan for these days, and create extra content that you can draw from when you’re unable to write. I like to keep a content vault and draw from these articles when life or business gets in the way.
Keep Creating Content
To run a marathon requires running. You’ve got to put one foot in front of the other and just keep going.
This is true for personal branding — you’ve got to keep producing content and connecting with your audience week after week. Once you commit to a blog, an email newsletter, or some other activity you are going to be doing it for a long time. It’s at least a five year marathon, if not more.
Set your expectations and get creating. There’s a lot of great ideas you have to share, and lot of people you have to help.
Want to hear more about personal branding from Jeremy? Check out his podcast with You University.
And if you weren’t able to get to Advertising Week in NYC, be sure to watch Jeremy weigh in on personal branding on the Shocase panel: “Building Your Brand Online Like an All-Star.”
About the Author:
Jeremy Miller is a brand builder, keynote speaker, and president of Sticky Branding — a brand building agency. Jeremy helps companies stand out, drive sales, and grow Sticky Brands. He is the author of Sticky Branding: 12.5 Principles to Stand Out, Attract Customers & Grow an Incredible Brand, a Globe and Mail Bestseller. For more information or to connect with Jeremy, visit www.StickyBranding.com, follow him on Shocase or connect with him @StickyBranding on Twitter.