Since 2007 I’ve been building my personal brand online. Sometimes on purpose, sometimes by accident, and sometimes without realizing it until afterwards.
I started my career working at Procter & Gamble. When I was at P&G, it didn’t really matter what my personal online brand looked like. It mattered that I built a strong impression when I was in the workplace, but that was it.
Then I started to get involved with an internet startup as the VP of marketing. At the time the only social network that I was active on was Myspace. I used it as a way to connect with my friends, and didn’t really think much else about it. I started to notice that business contacts were friending me on Myspace.
While I didn’t mind that my Myspace profile was accessible, I became concerned that it was the only asset that was creating an online brand impression of me. The fun and social side of me is a dimension that I am comfortable with, and I’m comfortable sharing, but I was concerned that it wasn’t balanced by my professional accomplishments.
So I created a blog. My first blog was on wordpress.com, and I started sharing some of the testing and results that we were generating from our experiments with social media marketing. I didn’t set out to “be the expert” or really even brand myself, I just wanted to offset my Myspace, so I started sharing my knowledge.
I also started to get active on Twitter and a few other social networks, and I realized that as I shared my thoughts, ideas and opinions on social media marketing, people were beginning to listen. Not only were they listening but they were beginning to view me as an expert.
Eventually, the startup I worked for sold, and while I was figuring out what to do next I landed my first client. At the time I hadn’t even thought of consulting. Someone who I had no connection to at P&G was following me on Twitter and reading my blog, and he liked my thoughts on social media. He asked if P&G could hire me as a consultant. I said yes.
From there I became more deliberate about building my brand and over the last 5 years I have become an international speaker and bestselling author. Most of this can be attributed to the online brand that I built for myself.
Now, I have a brand where people say “WOW” when they look me up online and they are interested and excited to meet me.
Because of my personal brand, I’ve generated:
- International speaking opportunities
- Some of the biggest clients (P&G, Google, The United States Senate)
- The opportunity to coauthor a textbook
- Countless PAID speaking engagements
- I just signed a deal to write a for Dummies book with Wiley
- I get job offers probably every week
My point isn’t to brag, it is to say that if you share what you are passionate about online, people will find it and pick up on it and opportunities that you never thought you’d have will come streaming in.
I am very blessed for everything that had come my way and what blows my mind is that if I had wanted these things – if I had wanted to write a textbook or get a Wiley book deal I wouldn’t have really known where to start. Instead, by building my brand, these things have come to me very organically and naturally.
You can do it too. The starting point is to define your brand and what you are passionate about. Then, start growing your authority online by sharing your knowledge, passion and expertise. As you do this consistently over time you’ll be amazed at the opportunities that come your way.