If you want to grow your brand and establish yourself as an icon in your field, you’re going to have to get to work. Look at successful entrepreneurs such as Gary Vaynerchuk, Ali Brown and Pat Flynn. These are just a few examples of ordinary people who have achieved extraordinary results through hard work and bootstrapping.
While money and an ultra-successful product can help catapult you to fame, the truth is you can do it on your own from the ground up. I discusseded keys to establishing yourself as an expert back in 2011 based on the book I co-authored, Small Business, Big Vision: Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right. While these steps are still essential, here are some other new ideas you might want to consider to expand your reach when following these keys to icon status.
1. Start blogging and guest posting. Blogging is a great way to share your knowledge with the world. When you write quality posts with tremendous value, you’ll establish yourself as an expert and have people coming back for more. There are other ways to grow through blogging outside your own space today. With the emergence of shared-content sites such as Medium, Quora and Slideshare, you can take your blogging to a whole other level.
There are some guidelines to follow though. Make sure you write in your own voice. Writing the way you’d speak to a large audience will help you get your conversational tone of voice down, and the way you write can translate toward your overall brand. Don’t worry about making your content amazing and “giving away” your best information. In fact, worry about not giving away your best. If you hold back and don’t add real value to your content, your blog will suffer. Give your best and share your style and great content to build yourself as a entrepreneurial icon.
2. Market yourself. You have to spend some time promoting yourself if you want to become an icon in your field. That’s going to take some wisely invested money to start spreading the word. You’ll need a strategy that markets you as the expert on your business and in your field. Start with the same marketing techniques you might use for your business, including a social-media plan that establishes your credentials. Next you’ll want to spread your organic reach. Try scheduled press releases, pitching yourself for relevant stories and trying to get face time with media outlets as an expert for topical issues.
If PR sounds intimidating to try alone, then consider hiring an agency to represent you. There are new ways to connect yourself with audiences such as the popular site HARO (help a reporter out) where you can register as an expert and have journalists reach out to you for your expertise and opinions. Regardless of your approach, you’ll need to market yourself to become an icon.
3. Create compelling content. Creating great content ties in with blogging, but can go far beyond just the writing basics. A few years ago writing a nice story might have been enough. However, today we live in an economy of value exchange. If you give great value, people pay attention and will seek you out. It doesn’t have to just be great blogging content or media advice like in the past. With the emergence of more technology has come the ability to create more compelling content for less cost.
You should now consider adding videos, audio clips, informational graphics, podcasts and animated videos to your content regiment. The more you share compelling content, the more you will be establishing yourself as the leader in your field. Do it yourself or look into agency help, like that offered by Visual.ly, which will create compelling content (for a cost) for you. Don’t be afraid to get creative and give all mediums of content a go.
4. Create valuable products. Not only are products a great way for you to create supplemental or passive income, they also help to further establish yourself as an expert. One common practice is to offer something of good value for free to readers willing to subscribe to your email list. Industry standards include long-form video content, e-books, workbooks and workshop materials. Creating products from your experience that fall in line with your business is a great way to introduce yourself to these new readers.
It can be an especially valid tactic to offer some kind of low-cost product on your website if your typical products are at a high price point. By having a lower price-point product that’s highly valuable, you can ease clients and customers into your brand and your expertise gradually. If the content is truly great, they’ll be back to invest in bigger offerings and higher price-point items from you while tuning in to see what other advice you have.
5. Up-level your expertise. Once you’re established, try to up-level your experience by leveraging your expertise. There are lots of ways to achieve this. You can start consulting and use your expertise as a service. Or you can create your own mentoring programs on speaking circuits as a keynote and workshops. Another incredibly popular route today is to start your own podcast. If done right you have access to a large audience and can build loyal followers through your own personal experience and by having guests from your personal connections you've built over the years.
Excel at these keys and you could be the next big name in entrepreneurial circles.