Everybody seems to be talking about building their personal brand these days. It's becoming such an overused term that it's bordering on cringe-worthy when someone mentions it.
Personal brands aren't new. They've been around since humans have.
In pre-hypermarketing times, about 20 years ago, it was known as your reputation.
The only difference is now we can influence, at scale, others' perception of our reputation through a nauseating choice of social media platforms and other chest-thumping forms of communication.
We live in a time of scale and reach unlike any other. The barriers to getting your message out to hundreds and even thousands of people are practically non-existent.
That also creates a ton of noise. Everyone has a voice, and they seem to be using it.
There's a sense of "if you build it, they will come," and we get pretty discouraged pretty quickly when that turns out to be untrue.
But, just as before, reputations aren't built overnight- but they certainly can fall overnight.
It takes time. Most of all, it takes patience.
The more you try to force it, the further you get from displaying your true self and letting you shine through your work is what will attract people.
You don't have to gain 1,000 followers in two weeks on Twitter or your YouTube channel.
You only need ten. Or one. As long as they are engaged and look forward to the next thing you create.
Over time, one person will tell three. Then those three will each tell three more people and so on and so on.
Let that take care of itself. It will.
You should focus on creating useful, quality content that other people find helpful or valuable.
Remember, there are a lot of people who know more than you. You're not for those people. If they show up, don't be afraid to tell them that.
The good news is there are even more people who know less than you and are eager to learn.
Those are the people you're for. Those are the people you're creating and sharing with.
Think about when you first started out doing what you're doing professionally (or as a hobby).
You didn't know what you didn't know.
Go back to that point in time and try to remember how you learned, where you learned, and what you learned.
If you learn something new, share that too.
It's really that easy.
Know your audience. Know who you're truly for. Ignore the others.
But, more than anything else, focus on quality and patience.
Before you know it, you'll have a reputation for being someone who is generous, thoughtful, and wise.
Those are attractive qualities and the things solid personal brands, er reputations, are built upon.
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