Personal brand 101: Seven ways to level up your digital influence

You’ve heard that content is king when building a personal brand, but what do you do when your content doesn’t seem to resonate with your intended audience? Giving up is not an option, but burning through time and precious resources isn’t either. Here are seven ways to further establish the authority of your voice online while positioning your brand to outshine the sea of competitors vying for the attention of your target audience.

Source: @GaryVee | Tips On How To Start And Grow A Personal Brand In 2023 (YouTube)

1. To Nail Personal Branding, You Must Nail Your Niche

“Find one specific niche and master that niche” is the tip we picked up from Lewis Howes, an internet marketing sensation who teaches entrepreneurs and influencers how to build their social followings and amass six-figure incomes from their online businesses. 

2. Listen to Your Community

Jeff Bullas, hailed as a marketing guru by Forbes and Entrepreneur magazines, advises influence seekers to find out the needs of their audience and what they seek to accomplish. You are more likely to become a go-to person of influence when you add value to the lives of those you seek to influence. In Bullas’ estimation, “It’s far easier to follow a person than it is to follow a product, a blog, or a business.” 

3. Personal Brands Require Contributing to Your Community

Blogging and social media coach Sarah Arrow wrote about building influence in a piece for She Owns It. Her hacks for enhancing your personal brand authority and digital presence can be boiled down into three steps: C-A-P (comment, answer, post). 

C – Comment on other social media sites, and other blog posts

A – Answer questions on sites like Quora, in your Facebook stream, in LinkedIn groups, etc.

P – Post relevant facts for your readers and then discuss them

4. Consider Guest Posting

Another key is to begin guest posting on sites in your space, which Maria Dykstra confirms. In her seat as Managing Director of TreDigital, she points out that you can simultaneously build influence and authority in your niché by not only writing for your own site but also for other communities with followings similar to your target audience. 

5. Market Your Persona

Dale Partridge, founder of StartupCamp, focuses on three elements to help you attract those coveted members of your base: your story, your personality, and your expertise. Partridge emphasizes that when you execute marketing yourself with “a heart of authenticity rather than manufactured reality,” the results are infectious. 

6. Be Vulnerable

John Rampton, entrepreneur and contributor to Entrepreneur, writes about popular myths believed about leaders. A common misconception about leaders is that they should stand their ground and always have the right answer. 

On the contrary, “Strong leaders own their mistakes so that they can learn from them,” says Rampton. And I completely agree with him when he states that leaders “show off their humanity by listening and caring.” Take the time to share your highs and lows along the way. This builds further credibility between you and the individuals you seek to influence.  

7. Ditch Your Need To Be Liked

The next step on your level-up action plan comes from our friends at Forbes. Wanting to be liked is a natural reflex as a leader; however, take a step back. Rethink your goal of being liked and settle for being likable. Don’t settle for being liked by everyone you simply pander to what you think people want to hear. Go beneath the surface. Find the truth that’s at the core of what people seek to learn from you. 

For example, on the topic of leadership, you have to be willing to address shortcomings in performance and even character if you want to truly help people reach the heights they hope to achieve.

8. (BONUS) Be Willing To Break The Rules

Mike Kelly, CIO at Red Hat spoke with The Enterprisers Project about throwing out the playbook on some key decisions and trusting your gut. He explains, “When you’re in a leadership role, there are many factors you need to take into consideration when making decisions. Data, experience, and advice from your colleagues all play a critical role.” Despite the analysis, sometimes your gut might lead you in a different direction. In these cases, he recommends, “Follow your gut instinct on topics you feel passionate about, despite what the leadership playbook says.”

Mark Patterson
Mark Patterson

A creator at the intersection of faith and culture