In 2012, nobody knew who I was. But today, if you search "Dale Partridge" (using quotes) on Google, over 333,000 results come up in less than one half of a second.
Jefferson Bethke pulls up 433,000, Michael Hyatt 421,000, Lewis Howes 321,000, Gary Vaynerchuk 506,000, Amy Porterfield 182,000, and Jeremy Cowart at 297,000. Now this measurement methodology only works well with unique names, but my point is the same. Understanding the art of online influence can catapult your personal brand almost overnight.
What I'm about to discuss with you is an art. An art I've coined as "persona-marketing". And when executed with a heart of authenticity rather than manufactured reality, it can become a contagious act in the arena of social media. I have defined persona-marketing as the act of building compounding influence around three things:
- Your story
- Your personality
- Your expertise
In my experience, it's far easier to follow a person than it is to follow a product, a blog, or a business.
The human mind always takes the easiest path of resistance, and when it has a choice between a product or a persona, it almost always chooses the latter.
Because the foundation of influence is built on trust, and the fact that our minds find it difficult to put our confidence into a faceless business, the persona often wins the race when fighting for a consumer's attention.
While persona-marketing has been around for many years, it wasn't until leaders like Tony Robbins, Dave Ramsey, Beth Moore, and John C. Maxwell had solidified the footing in which individual persona brands are now thriving.
The next generation of thought leaders, change agents, consultants, and coaches are rising among us at rapid pace. And while few ascend to the top, I find it only because they lack the understanding of this art. And of all the essential ingredients required for the persona-brand recipe, I have chosen to share what I believe are the 4 most important.
But first, I would like to preface my thoughts with this proclamation:
The world doesn't need another voice leading people down a life of hollow aspirations. We don't need more family-less men and women living for themselves, hoping to mask their selfishness and addiction to materialism and fame with a poor attempt at authenticity.
Rather, we need men and women of firm conviction who stand for more than their ability to buy mansions and Lamborghinis. We need people with purpose, significance and a total and absolute dedication to honor, respect, and the growth of future generations.
1. Incredibly clear. Incredibly different.
If anything has become evident in my success, it is that people don't refer confusing. Our pride often leaves us believing we have mastered our message. We may believe our website and video and brand are compelling and complete. Wrong. On the contrary, we should have a constant heart of investment into education and counsel to help bring even more sharpness to our brand's message.
Clarity is not a destination, it is a habit.
I tell my students here at StartupCamp, the best businesses understand they sell only one thing. And that thing will vary from company to company and brand to brand. But the key to a consumer's loyalty and followership is not variety or choice, it is clarity and focus.
Lastly, we must not forget differentiation. While we fight confusion on one end, we must obliterate similarity on the other. The human mind was designed to only notice what is different. Those who expect to do the same as others and receive increased attention, are poorly misinformed.
2. You can't hide emptiness.
As I scroll through the feeds of social media I can't help but feel a notorious sense of insincere, disingenuous, and counterfeit individuals hoping the strategy of "fake it until you make it" will somehow lead them toward success.
Credibility demands results.
Building a powerful personal brand requires offering something that others desire. And while much of the uneducated public define happiness with the size of their bank accounts, you'll soon learn that wooing this type of shallow consumer offers a weak return.
People need substance. People need direction. At some point, you will be required to mature your thinking, your writing, and your leading. At some point, you'll need to live your message. To grow up. To chase what great minds chased. To become someone who is full. Who is not alone. Who is joyful. Who is prioritized. Who is selfless. And who is balanced. This is not empty... and this is what is worth following.
3. Content isn't king, usefulness is.
Influence and a powerful personal brand are derived from one thing. Content. Now every soul on this planet has been given the gift of a mouth and the ability to wield a pen, but this offers no merit to one's ability to produce words, ideas, and experiences that move people.
Because content isn't king, usefulness is. A great influencer understands that he or she must produce substance of value and of meaning. Words that grow people. Lessons that are of such worth it is a shock to receive them at no cost.
For me, I have have produced an internal promise that every word which leaves my body will educate, elevate, or enhance those who receive it. And even further, I have vowed to the dedication of consistency in my voice.
Because true leaders are reliable. They are without irregular pause.
They know that the building of influence is not about the frequency of the wisdom they share, but the consistency of it that builds compounding authority in their area of expertise.
4. People don't refer ugly.
There is a reason this website isn't littered with ads. There is a cause for your ease of reading these words. As an influencer, it is my duty to produce an experience so appealing to you (both in content and design), that you can't help but to suggest it to others.
The fastest way to growth is through the organic referral of something so great, it cannot be hidden.
In my experience, design is more important than you think. It plays a vital role in not only the credibility, but in the consumption of your content. I have seen far too many leaders with sheer brilliance fall by the wayside simply because of their ignorance to aesthetics.
If your desire is to build a platform of influence on a passionate topic, you will be hard-pressed to ignore the role of visual elements. From photography and logos to color choices and font spacing, every element works in concert to produce an echo chamber of emotion. All pulling you in. All driving the heart's of hearers closer to their destination. A place of beautiful growth and achievement. A place where you become their leader.
Start Building Your Brand Now
From my vantage point, there is no difference in the art of building a persona brand than there is to starting a business. Persona-marketing is entrepreneurship. It is the art of building a business around one idea led by one person. So if you're ready to build a business. To build a brand that provides not only an income, but a deep sense of purpose for your life, consider my video below.
Have you built a personal brand? Have you noticed something I may have forgotten? Let me know in the comments below.