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Can you create a personal brand simply from creating daily videos?
As I have discovered – the answer is a resounding, “YES!” and is mirrored in video creatives from YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and more. You can now leverage a video channel into a multi-million dollar empire with book deals, cosmetic or fragrance lines and television, movie or Netflix deals. As industries focus on influencers over celebrities, these creators with nearly guaranteed views and engagement become more vital to getting branded products seen and promoted.
When I began my journey creating videos on LinkedIn, I never thought it would lead me down a fascinating path of creating a personal brand from scratch or leave me with the longest running daily channel on the platform – #DailyGoldie – with the moniker, the “Oprah of LinkedIn.”
My channel has inspired Halloween costumes, tribute videos, case studies, fan drawings and more. With 500 daily consecutive videos under my belt, a global audience and over 4 million views, here are the ten lessons I learned about building a brand (and being a better business person and entrepreneur) along the way.
1) Build One Brick At A Time.
“Been building one brick at a time since 2000 because I never wanted to just play in the game, but rather change the way the game is played.” – The Rock, one of the most highest-paid actors in the world. If you’re not building every single day (or week), you’re missing out on a great deal of opportunity. By showing up and creating a video (good or bad) every single day, I was able to learn editing, network with other creators and build an audience that grew over 1900%.
Pro-tip: Create one piece of content for your audience daily for 10 days. See how your audience reacts and what helpful feedback they can provide.
2) Love Thy Haters.
In the early stages of building my channel, I started to get “haters” or internet trolls. These community members went out of their way to post negative comments or private messages. While at first I was saddened by the backlash, I realized that I was getting the negative attention because there was so much positive attention. In fact, Jonathan Foltz, Founder of Pitch Investors Live puts it best, “If you don’t have enough people talking about you, both good and bad, you have yet to make a big enough splash.”
If no one is talking about your personal brand (good or bad) you’re essentially dead in the water.
Pro-tip: When I get negative comments, I will acknowledge the criticism if it’s valid and ask the poster for more information – thus turning a “bad experience” into a “learning experience.”
3) Create Your Community.
Community building comes very naturally to me, and I love connecting people with other people. The best way to create a community around your brand is to get in the “dirt” with your target demographic and engage with them directly. “Participation in community is the currency of leadership.” – Logan Johnston, Community Manager, Leadership Programs at Facebook. While Johnston is helping build new programs around community at one of the most popular social networks on the world, he is also actively diving into the ones on the platform to see what they are discussing and how they are internally building and encouraging each other.
My community (known as #LinkedInCreators) encompass the entire creative community on the LinkedIn platform and are the reason why my channel gets repeated views and high engagement – they know that I will go and personally like and respond to comments.
Pro-tip: A community is more than one – start by setting up a group or chat thread and invite at least 5 people into the group. A good rule of thumb is to ask for permission before adding anyone – I have been added to quite a few groups that I have left immediately because I was asked beforehand.
4) Be Comfortable In Your Own Skin.
Being known as the green-haired Oprah of LinkedIn has great branding perks. But, I have also gotten very negative comments about my hair color, my skin color, and even my voice tone. As Kat Eves, ethical & inclusive wardrobe stylist, says “The fashion world will try to sell you trends to build confidence and edge, but the truth is, finding comfort in your own skin comes from carving out and truly owning your own space. The people who truly make an impression are the ones who follow their guts and chase their own truths.”
Eves works in the entertainment industry helping to break stereotypes of what is traditional “beauty.” And while I am not working directly in that industry, I have long since felt comfortable with having alien green hair and often encourage others to express themselves this creatively.
Pro-tip: How are you different? Do you wear great glasses, are sized outside the normal “model” sizes or have shockingly green/pink/etc hair? Use this to your advantage when you are branding yourself. Be comfortable in your differences.
5) Relationships Matter.
When I was first asked to speak to LinkedIn directly, I was incredibly nervous. Was I in trouble for creating the wrong kind of videos? Instead of dwelling on these thoughts, I went in with a positive attitude and the idea that everyone was for building relationships, and not necessarily a business transaction right away. The result was that I slowly grew a very positive and healthy relationship with the platform that I create content and build a personal brand on and neither side feels pushed. This naturally led to me teaching the official LinkedIn Learning course on LinkedIn video, which was a wonderful piece of content to share with my community.
“Relationships are key when working in politics, so get to know the activists working in your community by going to events and volunteering with causes/campaigns that you believe in.” – Candice Dayoan, Creative Director at 50+1 Strategies and Obama alumni. Dayoan has had an impressive and deep career in politics and her advice rings true for personal brands as well – get to know the power players in your ideal space.
Pro-tip: Who are the thought leaders in your industry of choice? Where can you follow and begin to meaningfully engage with these leaders to build relationships that matter?
6) Consistency, Discipline And Imperfection Are Your New Best Friends.
“The most successful personal brands stick to two fundamental concepts: consistency and discipline. Consistency means you maintain your “voice” and look and feel in all your communications. Discipline means that you stick with those few areas where you have expertise. It means saying no to the things that do not align with your brand and it’s offerings.” – Amy Blaschka, co-founder Park City Think Tank
Had I not focused on releasing daily consecutive videos, creating bigger and more highly-edited videos would have been a possibility. Being consistent means that releasing an imperfect product is better than not releasing a product at all. Discipline means that you have made a commitment to a content or strategy schedule and you will follow it even on “I don’t feel like it” days.
Pro-tip: Have an accountability partner that cheers you on especially on the days when you do not want to work on your brand or content.
7) Lead Your Pursuits With Passion.
I run a marketing agency where I focus on personal branding and social media strategy for clients – this coupled with a daily video channel has not always been easy. It often requires rising extra hours or giving up sleep to upload and edit a video before beginning the client work for the day. “Leading a nascent company while building up a personal brand hasn’t been easy, but having discipline and a genuine passion to help others makes it possible! I make sure to visualize the people I’m providing value to – that is what keeps the fire in my belly.” – Dee Deng, CEO at Right Hook Digital
Having care for both sides of what I am creating helps keep me focused and fulfilled. Deng’s idea of focusing on the people he is helping works well if you feel disconnected from your audience.
Pro-tip: Save all your compliments – from clients, co-workers and your community. These are important reminders that what you create and do, matters.
8) Never Forget Your Target Demographic.
My target demographic has grown from fellow marketers and entrepreneurs to a global audience of creatives and video consumers. Nonetheless, I never lose sight of that original audience – especially when I am recruited to speak at marketing conferences. Knowing your target audience is an intelligent way to focus. Natalie Riso, 3x LinkedIn Top Voice and Content Marketing Strategist at Studio71, explains ”In order to build a personal brand that converts, you have to be consistent and stay top of mind for your target audience.”
Pro-tip: Who is your target demographic? Where do they live online and offline? What are their likes, dislikes, loves and hates?
9) Working With Brands Ain’t Easy But It’s Worth It.
“It may be difficult to strike a balance with your voice and the brand’s voice, but figuring it out is definitely worth it!” – Ashley Baccam, Creative Services Director at Buzzfeed. Baccam regular works with brands in her role at Buzzfeed to create branded content that works. My experience with working with brands has taught me that patience and clear communication is incredibly crucial. Working with the right brands will help elevate and grow your brand – both in follower numbers and general brand awareness. As a Global Ambassador for WeWork, I am able to leverage both their space and brand name to create community-building experiences. For my work with London & Partners, I was able to visit 10 Downing Street and learn about the entrepreneurship ecosystem directly from the top-ranking founders in London.
Pro-tip: For branded campaigns, everything from timelines to colors to approved hashtags and words should be carefully discussed prior to launching any campaigns.
10) Say No, More.
“When you say “yes” to others, make sure you are not saying “no” to yourself.” – Paulo Coelho, author of The Alchemist.
When I began my channel and was starting to grow my brand, I said yes to everything – every phone call, every podcast, every collaboration and nearly every meetup or speaking engagement (my frequent flier miles are the proof). Saying yes feels positive and builds your community in the short-term. However, when your brand becomes more mature, saying no and choosing the right opportunities carefully becomes more necessary. I have had to say no to branded content that did not align with my brand (or demographics) and no to collaborations where I simply did not have the time.
Pro-tip: Saying no is another weapon in your personal brand arsenal. Use it wisely and weigh benefits of collaboration or your time (if it is unpaid or for a brand that is not aligned with your brand).
There are many ways to grow a brand from a seed to a plant. Creating a personal brand from 500 daily consecutive videos alone is one of those possibilities that worked very well for me. My best piece of advice for building a personal brand by creating content is to keep going. For every day that you create, you are one piece of content and likely one follower closer to have the personal brand of your dreams.
December 27, 2018 at 09:12AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs