After working on Gary Vaynerchuk’s brand team for over a year and now working on VaynerTalent, the personal branding arm of VaynerMedia, I’ve received a lot of questions from people on how to grow their personal brands.
While I can always give generic growth strategies, the most important thing I need to know is what the individual is trying to achieve. Growth can be very goal dependent. If you are growing an audience that doesn’t help you map to your end goal, what’s the point?
I’ve had several conversations that go as follows (oversimplified, but not by much):
Person X: I want to grow my personal brand. How can you help me?
Me: My strategy will be dependent on what your objectives are. What are you hoping to achieve?
Person X: Hmm… I actually don’t really know. Let me take some time to think about it.
In this culture of influence, people are caught up in follower counts and the idea of monetization, but often have no clue what their efforts ladder up to. I can’t tell someone what they want. That’s a personal thing. Do you want a book deal? To be known as a thought leader in a certain area? Money for keynote speeches? Brand awareness to eventually release a product? Do you even want a personal brand at all or is it really your company you want to market?
Don’t get me wrong. You don’t have to have some huge goal to achieve several years down the line in order to create an effective strategy. However, you should have at least some short term goals in order to craft content that makes sense for you and your KPIs.
It still amazes me how many people are willing to throw money at something without full understanding of what it means. I should be happy to accept said money, but there’s no way to do great work if there’s no common goal. It sets everyone up for failure.
Personal branding is a long game. No matter what “growth hacks” exist, it takes time, effort, and planning. It’s why people with large personal brands end up having teams around them.
I encourage anyone looking to grow their personal brand to think about what that actually means. Invest the time on the front end for real results on the back end. You’ll be glad you did.