If you want to be seen as the go-to expert in your industry, then you must have a strong personal brand.
Being seen as an expert in your niche allows you to:
- Become more visible online
- Be seen as highly-valued
- Be more connected
- Attract the best opportunities
- Build status in your industry
- Scale your business without struggling
- Earn more than most other companies
There’s no debate on whether or not you should build your personal brand, the big question is, HOW to do it so you become the go-to leader in your industry?
How can you become your industry’s Key Person of Influence?
Growing your authority won’t happen accidentally, you’ll need to take specific action to build your profile and become a Key Person of Influence.
Luckily for you, there’s actually a pretty simple formula you can follow to ensure you’re following the right steps, and we’ve gone through it just below…
Adding a pinch of S.A.L.T. to your strategy!
S.A.L.T. method: the 4-step system to grow your personal brand
To boost your profile and become a Key Person of Influence, you can’t expect to rely on one channel or tactic alone.
That’s why we teach our clients to focus on four essential pillars:
- Social media
- Awards and accreditations,
- Live events,
- Traditional media and PR
While I’m sure you’re already using some of these, people rarely use them together, consistently and with the right strategy. So, below, I’ll show you how you can harness each of them to grow your personal brand successfully.
Social Media – Use it strategically to grow your personal brand
When you stop “consuming” and start “producing” the right content, social media becomes a powerful tool to elevate your brand and build trust in your market.
That’s why it’s not enough to “be” on social media. You need to use it strategically, too.
1. Choose the right platforms for your personal branding and business:
While it’s a risky game to rely on a single one, you also don’t want to spread yourself too thin. Plus, what’s the point of growing a channel if your audience isn’t on it? So, consider starting with two social media platforms that hit the sweet spot: your audience is on them, and you enjoy using them (trust me: the latter will make the following steps much easier!)
I personally post on LinkedIn or X (formally known as Twitter). This is where my audience is and also where I enjoy creating content. Win/win.
2. Post excellent content consistently
Instead of regurgitating the same cliches as your competitors or sharing impersonal facts, use your own and unique experience.
That’s what will help you stand out from everyone else! For example, you could talk about your fresh perspective on relevant topics, cover some interesting examples from your industry and tell your audience what you’ve learnt during your journey (for instance, what specific advice can you give them? What mistakes of yours can they avoid making?)
Always think about bringing your unique experience when you post on social media, because that’s what will help you stand out.
3. Always aim to create the best and most helpful content
It’s a given that thousands of other social media users have already covered the same topic. Still, your post should be the very best out of all of them – at least in the eyes of your target client. Many business owners shy away from ‘giving away their best stuff for free’ for fear competitors might see it. But if you’re not willing to give away your knowledge for free, your competitors will – and they are the ones who will get the attention and build their brands.
4. Write and talk in your actual voice
Forget about boring 3rd-person posts (you’re not writing a resume) or overly stuffy content full of buzzwords that don’t actually mean anything. Be yourself! When I post from my personal LinkedIn and Twitter accounts, I don’t write in Dent’s tone of voice: I write as I speak. So, when my clients talk to me or meet me in real life, there will be no surprises. In fact, it’ll almost feel as if we’ve already met. That’s the familiar vibe you want to inspire in your audience, too.
5. Include images of you and film videos:
Part of becoming a ‘Key Person of Influence’ is becoming recognisable. People know who you are and what you specialise in, and yes, part of that is people knowing what you look like. Including images or videos of you helps people put a face to your name. It’s not about being famous, it’s about building a connection with your audience far beyond the words you post.
6. Engage with industry influencers and thought leaders
To be seen as a Key Person of Influence in your specific field, you need to share your opinion and experiences. But don’t just do this on the content you post, do this in your comments/replies to others too. This can be a great way of growing your network and starting brilliant conversations. Sometimes, you’ll have more engagement on a comment than you will on a post. And that’s ok!
7. Build a valuable network
Social media is a great place to connect with our peers, BUT, this isn’t all you should be using it for. It’s a place where you should actively find and build relationships with potential clients. So don’t just befriend others in your industry, use it as a tool to find new clients. It’s incredibly easy to search on places like LinkedIn and find your target audience. Once you’ve done that, start interacting with their content and building relationships.
Awards and Accreditations – Find and apply for awards
No, they’re not just decorative pieces. As well as growing your personal brand, these accolades will allow you to build trust with your potential clients right from the start. If you’re just starting out applying for awards, here are some things you can do:
Apply for the right industry awards: This is not the time to be shy or humble! Be proactive and strategic instead
8. Research Extensively
Dedicate time to researching the most prestigious and relevant awards in your industry. This not only includes large, global awards but also regional and niche-specific accolades that can add value to your profile.
Once you’ve done that, dedicate time to your calendar or hire someone to fill in the award applications. No, this isn’t drastic, applying for awards takes a lot of time and energy, so it’s best you (or someone else) dedicate time to it. Remember, the more you put into these awards, the more likely you will win.
9. Start with smaller, focused awards
While big awards are enticing, beginning with smaller, more attainable awards can help build your portfolio and confidence. Each award, no matter the size, adds to your credibility.
So, identify the most relevant awards and accreditations. You want to go after the ones that will grant you industry recognition and actually reflect your focus.
10. Gather Testimonials
Getting good testimonials or case studies from your clients is always going to be a valuable thing to do for your business – but especially when you’re applying for awards.
Award organisers almost always ask for evidence of your success, so you need excellent case studies to back yourself up. A good way to do this is to arrange a video call with your client and ask them specific questions about their experiences working with you. This allows you to delve deeper into the questions rather than relying on your client to develop a good testimonial. Afterwards, you can just write that interview up.
You can always repurpose this content into case studies for your website and social media snippets too.
11. Tailor Each Application
Avoid generic applications. Customise each application to align with the mission and criteria of the specific award.
Each awarding body has unique values, expectations, and areas of emphasis. By personalising your submission, you demonstrate not only a deep understanding and respect for the awarding organisation but you also greatly increase your chances of standing out. A well-tailored application speaks directly to the judges, showing them precisely how and why you or your project fits their criteria perfectly. Always take the time to research past winners, understand the organisation’s ethos, and integrate these insights into your application.
You can also boost your chances by telling your story and winning over the judges with your unique personality and character. In other words, don’t limit yourself to sharing boring business stats: be human!
12. Feedback Loop
If you don’t succeed, seek feedback. Understanding where you fell short can provide valuable insights for future applications. It’s essential to approach this with an open mind and a willingness to learn.
Many awarding organisations appreciate the effort and dedication applicants show by asking for feedback, and their insights can be instrumental in refining your future approaches. Remember, every piece of feedback is an opportunity to improve and enhance the quality of your submissions, moving you closer to your goal with each attempt.
Find out if you’re ready for awards by taking the scorecard below
Live Events build your personal brand
Online and offline events will benefit you in different ways: you’ll be learning and networking – which will get you more referrals – as well as sharing your own knowledge and showing up as an expert.
Here’s how to harness live events successfully to grow your personal brand and become a KPI in your field:
13. Prioritise Impact
Remember, getting involved in events in any way should always lead back to you becoming a Key Person of Influence. So, choose events where you’ll have the most impact in this regard. This means you could:
- Attend the same events your target market attend
- Sponsor relevant events
- Pitch to speak at relevant events
- Organise your own event (either online or offline) aimed at your target market
14. Prepare Elevator Pitch
An elevator pitch is a concise and compelling introduction that can be conveyed in the time it takes for a short elevator ride. It’s a brief summary, often just 30 to 60 seconds long, of who you are, what you do, and what sets you apart. Having this pitch ready and rehearsed can be incredibly beneficial at events where opportunities for networking arise spontaneously.
15. Offer Value
Whether you’re a speaker or an attendee, always think of how you can offer value. Can you introduce someone to a potential business connection? Can you share a resource or insight? Don’t go into events thinking, ‘How can I get more sales?’ Instead, think, ‘How can I help people?’ – because incidentally, the latter will get you more sales!
16. Host your own events
In the early days of Dent, we ran our own events, even though we were not “well known”. Organising events gave us access to other well-respected, key people of influence in their industry. We were able to speak on stage alongside these experts and make connections with famous names we might not ever have had the chance to meet.
17. Collaborate with other experts to increase your visibility
If you’re organising an event, think about joining forces with someone with a similar audience (but not a competing product or service). This way you’ll gain access to their audience, and you’ll split the costs and workload too.
Just make sure you choose the other person wisely and plan in advance how you will split tasks such as event organisation.
Traditional/Third Party Media to PR boost your profile
The last one in the S.A.L.T method!
If anyone has made you feel that traditional media and PR are dead, take it from a personal brand coach: it’s because they haven’t managed to make it work. When used correctly, traditional media is very much alive.
18. Craft a Strong Press Release
The press will not publish content that’s overly promotional and lacking in value for their readers, so you need to think about the angle of your pitch and how you’re going to capture the journalist’s attention. However, you should try to share something that is related to your business and what you do.
Ideas for good story angles could include:
- You’ve done some original research in your industry and published a report. Tell the stories behind it in the press release and share your insights. Hint – Use a scorecard to collect some data and include this in the release
- If you’ve published a book, explain why you wrote it – what was the motivation behind it, and how can you share something valuable
- Take your experiences and ‘go against the grain’ of what’s accepted in your industry that’s already out there
19. Identify Target Media:
Pinpoint which newspapers, magazines, radio shows, or TV programs cater to your industry or target audience. Aim for those with good reach and credibility that your target audience actually reads. Sure, you’ll be thinking of Forbes or Entrepreneur magazine, but don’t be disheartened if you don’t get featured there right away. It’s hugely worthwhile being featured in smaller or more niche press, too, especially if your target audience knows or reads those publications.
20. Create a Standout Pitch
Journalists can receive hundreds of pitches every single day, so you need to make sure your pitch stands out amongst others. Make sure journalists can see clearly the value of publishing your press release and make it as easy as possible for them to understand it. Don’t make them jump through hoops, and always read their guidelines on how they like to be pitched, too.
21. Appear on podcasts and get interviewed
Podcasts are extremely powerful. But rather than launching your own podcast (which is really hard work), why not appear on other podcasts and introduce yourself to someone else’s audience to grow yours?
Someone else has already spent time building and growing an audience you can get in front of for free.
So, make a conscious effort to reach out to podcasters every month and see how much it impacts your business and your personal brand.
Using S.A.L.T. successfully to become a KPI – and getting a head start to grow your personal brand
Maybe you’ve already dipped your toes with some of these tactics, but have you been doing that regularly and for all four of them?
To grow your personal brand successfully and sustainably, you always need to think of these four elements as pillars supporting your professional journey – and all pillars must be equally strong.
Most importantly, be patient and consistent without getting discouraged. Personal branding isn’t about quick wins; it’s a long-term game. It takes time and effort.
Once you become a Key Person of Influence, though? You’ll keep reaping the rewards: more opportunities, professional growth and industry recognition. No wonder 82% of your audience will also see your business as more influential if you have a personal brand they know and follow!
In fact, you can now take the first step towards becoming the go-to expert in your field and gain a huge head start against your competitors: attend our FREE Key Person of Influence WebClass.
It’s run by me, Daniel Priestley – best-selling author of several business and personal branding books. I’ll show you the simple 5-step process to becoming your industry’s most well-known, respected and sought-after person.
Grow your brand. Run a more profitable business.