A 5-Part Framework for Building Your Brand & Becoming a Trusted Expert
The Path to Practical Expert…
When it comes to doing work you love, your personal brand is everything. In order to get paid to help people in a way that’s fun and exciting, people must see you as the expert. They must trust that you can help them.
And the good news is that most of us are experts without even knowing it. I’m not talking about the kind of expert that’s the best in the world at something. I’m talking about the practical expert, who has enough passion, talent and skill to help a group of people in a meaningful way.
This is the only expertise that really matters when it comes to building a career around a passion. It’s genuine, it can allow you to change people’s lives and most of us are closer to being consider one than we realize!
And as it turns out, this expertise is almost completely in our control.
Note: Don’t get me wrong – this is not a prescription for tricking someone into thinking you’re an expert. On the contrary, it’s a process for branding yourself as the the expert you already are.
The process is actually pretty simple – not exactly easy, but quite simple.
In two words it comes down to this: Be Everywhere.
I first heard the “Be Everywhere” term from my friend Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income (the only honest ‘passive’ income blog I’ve seen). In the past few years he’s built a 75k subscriber site and business that brings in well over half a million dollars a year. He credits most of his success to, well, being everywhere.
The reason it works is pretty simple. To be seen as an expert, you must build trust and credibility. And the fastest way to do that is to showcase your brand, skills, passion and experience on as many platforms as possible – in a focused, consistent and classy way. This might mean writing, speaking, teaching, being endorsed, working with various partners or giving interviews – anything that allows you to publish and share unique and valuable ideas and content with the people who need it.
Doing any one of these allows you to offer real value, but when you do them all and people start to see your name and work everywhere (and in the right places), your perceived value begins to go through the roof, as well as the growth of your audience.
Imagine if you read an article by a woman named Jennifer Graham, that helped you lose 15 pounds. You’d probably tell some friends about the article, but odds are you might not even remember her name.
But what if over the next week you see Jennifer’s name on an article published in your favorite nutrition magazine, as well as being mentioned on the Women’s Health blog, on a respected podcast and then you see her interview on The Today Show.
Because she seems to be all over the place, you not only start to remember her, but you start to believe she really knows what she’s talking about. Odds are you’ll even tell your friends about her by name.
We associate higher value with people who seem to be everywhere. Social proof is a powerful thing. Not to mention, when you’re on multiple platforms, you have a much better chance at tapping into new audiences (for instance my mom never listens to podcasts but loves online videos and articles).
So here’s a beginner’s guide to being everywhere, expanding your audience and becoming an expert…
1. Create your primary platform. A well-executed blog is the easiest, cheapest and most effective way to share our ideas and value to the world. Start by publishing five well-researched high-value unique articles. The week I launched the rebranded Live Your Legend, our community nearly doubled, and I became a go-to guy for career change and finding work you love.
2. Get published on other people’s primary platform. Find relevant audiences and blogs where you’re confident your expertise can add massive value. Pitch your idea to as many credible brand name sites as possible. Start small and close to home and work your way up. As you get published, leverage those brands to gain credibility to write for bigger ones. Latter up from there. The first time I landed a big single author blog, our audience size also doubled within a week.
3. Get on video (and on a stage). Nothing influences more than being on stage. Start by publishing a few high-quality expert videos on your site. Hire a video guy if need be. Then go pitch a few places that need speakers and provide links to your videos (local organizations or universities are excellent places to start).
The more people can see your face, hear your voice and feel your emotion and passion, the deeper their connection with your work. Videos are huge for this. And YouTube can spread this like wildfire. To this day the single most powerful 18 minutes of my career was stepping on the TEDx stage. People write to me about the talk every single day and now it’s not that uncommon for people to come up and mention it while I’m walking down the street (a few weeks ago a woman pushed her stroller up to me and told me all about the job she was going to quit!). Our impact at LYL exploded the weeks after that video went live, and at over 500k views, the ripple effect has been something I could have never dreamed. That video also grew the audience by another 50%.
Get high-quality videos up on your site and on YouTube.
4. Host other experts. Interviewing other rock stars not only helps your audience and gives your guests exposure, but it also makes you more of an expert by association. Start a podcast and use the above to get the most talented guests possible. Publish video interviews and then use the audio for the podcast as a way to repurpose content.
Interviews also happen to be a brilliant way to connect with influential people – grow their audience and they become a friend for life. Oh and while you’re at it, pitch some relevant podcasts to have you on as a guest as well. Follow the same above steps for pitching others’ platforms. I’ve yet to start a podcast but subscribers are constantly joining LYL because of the interviews I’ve done on other large sites as well as the people I’ve interviewed here, even a couple years ago.
Start a podcast or interview series and get a few live.
5. Get your work officially published. Amazon is a great place to start. Anyone can self-publish these days and being able to have a tangible product on their platform can be priceless. I’m actually in the process of doing this as we speak. You could even just publish a focused group of previously written blog posts. When I first published and launched Live Off Your Passion, my expert status (and income) went vertical. At least two dozen organizations approached me to partner or work with them. Our audience also grew by thousands.
Getting your work live and official is one of the fastest ways to the spotlight. Being an “author” carries tremendous clout. That title alone will open countless doors for future publishing, speaking and expertise building.
Self-publish something on Amazon.
And the Foundation: Build genuine connections with other peers & experts
You probably saw this one coming. When it comes to brand and audience building, the people in your corner change everything. The right person mentioning your name even once in the right place and context can transform a career. Few pitches and ideas get accepted without a relationship behind the transaction. These don’t happen overnight, especially the genuine ones that actually matter. Lead with helping other people (both successful folks and ones not there yet) in meaningful ways that relate to your own expertise and things will start to come together.
The above steps are almost the exact path that Live Your Legend and I followed to become a trusted source on how to find and do work you love.
Easier said than done, I know. But at least the process is pretty straight forward.
Now the fun part – putting in the work.
Pick one of the above, and each day commit to doing one thing, no matter how small, to build upon the path.
You might find that ‘trusted expert’ isn’t as far off as you’d think.
P.S. Can’t wait to see some of you in Portland in a few days!
image courtesy of Chris from WDS