As an entrepreneur, it’s not exactly a secret that you need a strong personal brand that establishes yourself as an expert. But as you build your business, figuring out exactly how to do that can be a challenge...
The reality is that as an entrepreneur, creating a personal brand that shares your story and view on key issues in the market can be an extremely compelling way to set your business apart. Investing time and effort in building your personal brand helps to build your know, like and trust factor with your key stakeholders from Venture Capital firms to customers. And that authority can be the difference between closing a deal or making a sale in the long run.
Positioning yourself as an expert is easier than most people realise and best of all, it can be done on a very limited budget. Much like you use creativity and experience in the early days of building your business, the same applies to building your personal brand.
Here are three ways to start to positioning yourself as an expert in your industry:
1. Taking the stage
In a business world that relies so heavily on online communications, getting in front of an audience and sharing your story or ideas can be extraordinarily compelling. Start by looking for local business events to speak at or tracking ‘calls for speakers’ at your key industry events. Associations, business groups and other organizations are always looking for new and interesting speakers.
Focus on creating a series of signature presentations that speak to a trend or issue relevant to your business with an eye on both educating and entertaining your audience. Remember, this is not a commercial for your business, but an opportunity for you to take a stand or share a story that impacts your audience.
Author and coach Jaime Tardy relies heavily on speaking as a way to extend the reach of her business to new audiences and increase her authority. Tardy sees a direct relationship between her commitment to speaking throughout the year and new business opportunities in the form of clients, partnerships and general awareness about her work.
2. Blogging for business
Many businesses blog, but few businesses do blogging really well. By taking the time to create a consistent and impactful blog that speaks to the questions and challenges faced by your customers, you’ll quickly be able to assert your position as a leader in the industry.
With a blog, consider how you can take a journalistic approach to your business, reporting on the news and information relevant to your industry along with your commentary. The most relevant blogs are smart, insightful and provide a strong viewpoint. Anyone can provide the facts, but what you can offer are your individual thoughts and perspectives which will set you apart quickly.
Ash Ambirge at The Middle Finger Project is a great example of an entrepreneur using a blog as a powerful platform to grow their business. While Ambirge’s tone and manner may not appeal to everyone, she has a strong voice which is based on both storytelling and speaking the truth about what she sees in entrepreneurial circles.
Finally, keep in mind that a blog is about more than simply publishing content. Make sure you have a plan in place to share your content via social networks, email and other channels.
3. Offering expert commentary
Working with media and blogs, you have a unique opportunity to not only showcase your expertise, but to gain third party credibility in the process. There are many ways to get started from guest blogging for business and industry websites, to being an expert commentary on news stories for local or national TV stations or acting as a source for newspaper or magazine articles.
Finance expert Andrea Travillian is a frequent guest blogger and expert commentator on paying off debt, how to get started with investing and other topics. As a self-employed coach, these media appearances have given Travillian credibility with prospective clients and positioned her as a go-to expert on finance issues.
To be successful in working with the media, get clear on what areas you are willing to discuss or are most relevant to your business. For example, if you run a company that offers accounting software, you may choose to write guest posts on creating a business budget and act as an expert source on tax issues.
Once you start on the road to building your personal brand, you’ll start to create a body of work that signals to prospects, partners and investors that you are trustworthy and a true leader in your market. That social proof can go a long way to helping you reach your business goals and ultimately moves you from entrepreneur to expert.