My Personal Brand Marketing Dream Team
If money weren’t an object, these are the people I’d have working with me to build my personal brand
Approximately two years ago, I set out on the process of attempting to build a coherent personal brand to support my work as a marketing communications consultant.
I believed — and I still do — that inbound marketing is “where it’s at” in terms of forging a career in the modern world. A common and longstanding aphorism goes that it’s not what you know but who you know. I believe that that’s still true. And that inbound marketing has the ability to extend that circle of people who know about you from the physical confines of your network and onto the online realm. That’s why it can be so powerful.
Ultimately, however, I’m one person who does everything from balancing my books to turning in projects. My workweeks are currently scrappy, long, and full of pivots between the work that clients pay me to do and the work I do that attempts to bring me work down the road.
I try, wherever possible, to do both. Because if there’s anything I’ve learned from three years of full-time self-employment, it’s that you never want to rest on the laurels of the pipeline you think you have developed. Ultimately I guess most people get to that point and can put their feet up in the afternoons. But it’s a long and arduous journey to reach that level. Until then, you have to make sure that enough people know about you to continue to bring in leads.
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To continue scaling in this direction, my plan is ultimately to go from a team of one to a team of a few. If money were not an object and I were ready to put all these players in place tomorrow, this is the hiring spree I would go on.
A Freelance Proofreader
If there’s one thing I learned from my first summer in Israel, which I spent working as a copyeditor at the Jerusalem Post it’s this: never proofread your own work.
Text-based content marketing is one of the easiest places to start if you’re interested in getting your ideas out into the world and attracting interest back in return.
If you’re brimming full of ideas and enthusiasm to get them down onto paper, some typos may end up slipping into the output in the process.
Sadly, this has happened to me. I now have a backlog of writing that I’m slowly sending out for editing. But it’s a slow process.
That process could have been avoided from the get-go. If you have some money to invest in your content marketing, then consider finding a freelance proofreader and utilizing their services from the get-go. A quick proofread of every blog you’re thinking about publishing could save you a lot of embarrassment down the road.
A Freelance Graphics Designer
Hire two, for me, would be a freelance graphics designer.
Because while I may enjoy writing, I know that I have a terrible eye for design.
Graphics designers are great additions to a content marketing team — even a content marketing team that’s supporting a personal branding campaign rather than a more far-reaching effort on behalf of a business.
Assets that I would probably be sending out for design already if I had this resource in place:
- Thumbnails for my YouTube videos (until then, I clumsily try to get a few decent designs created using Canva)
- Headers to make these Medium articles more engaging to read
- Social media images to make these articles look more attracted when clicked into through those channels
A Freelance Publicist
About a year ago, I signed up to PodcastGuests.com in order to help myself get over my phobia of talking about myself publicly.
I answered a few show requests and conducted a few interviews. And after doing a couple, I received a couple of invitations in return.
Podcasts can be really valuable ways to build up a personal brand, although you have to triage the opportunities carefully (some podcasts, particularly those starting out, have very small listenerships).
Likewise, answering HARO requests is a great way to get your name in print and beginning establishing credibility as a go-to source when the media wants commentary on a certain topic. There are other platforms too for connecting journalists and expert sources but these two (Podcasts Guests and HARO) would be a great start for many personal brand-builders.
The problem is that this kind of PR is … very time consuming to do well. Monitoring pitch request sources every day becomes almost like a full-time job. Ultimately I decided that I didn’t have time to devote to the energy. And thus my folder full of podcast pitches has remained unopened for over a year now.
However, if I had a freelance publicist on hand (the dream!), this could be a weekly activity. Like content marketing and brand building, public relations is really a long-term gambit. You’re likely to see best results if you pitch consistently rather than all at once.
A Virtual Assistant (VA)
Another great hand to have on deck would be a virtual assistant (VA).
Even at the lower levels of content marketing scale, things can start to get surprisingly busy.
Having somebody on hand to set up interviews, meetings, and everything else that goes into producing a steady stream of content would be an immense time-saver.
Freelance Audio and Video Editors
This summer, I picked up a supply of video accessories. This winter — and beyond — I want to really get into producing video.
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While my videos are initially going to be focused on documenting the world around me and my hobbies, ultimately I’d like to angle the project more professionally.
There are things that I know I can do reasonably well — like writing — and things that I know I do only because I currently don’t have budget to outsource these activities. In the latter category would be things like graphic design and video editing.
While shooting video is enormously fun, I believe that editing video to professional standards is really best left to .. the professionals. Or at least those who have an eye for this kind of thing. For the most part, I don’t.
Other Team Members You May Want To Have On Hand
An SEO manager: Likely more useful for businesses than individual contributors, but many personal brand builders could benefit from the input of a digital marketing specialist to ensure that they’re hitting on the right keywords for their content to get discovered.
A social media manager: Managing engagement across social platforms can become time-consuming and missing out on engagement opportunities with the audience you are building could backfire. It’s unlikely that any but the largest personal brands would require a dedicated social media manager, but this is definitely a role that could yield substantial value.
Editor: As well as hiring a proofread, you could hire an editor to lend polish and brevity to your written output.
Business manager: If and when you choose to monetize your personal brand related content, a business manager could be brought in to handle monetization and the day to day operation of the business.
Building up a personal brand through blogging, podcasting, and producing videos is a very time-consuming endeavor. If you’ve wondered why it feels that way, try breaking down what you do into its constituent parts — you may realize that you’re touching upon the work of 8 or 9 different contributors!
For many — like me — it’s something we try to fit around the margins of our work life. Attempting to add long term value while simultaneously paying our bills through the work on our plate right now.
I reiterate one of my go-to phrases: inbound marketing, and developing a personal brand built around cogent content marketing, is investing. If you can afford to do so, there’s nothing wrong with giving the investment a decent initial float by hiring out a few assistants.
When I’m ready and able to make that investment, my hiring strategy will look very like what I’ve laid out above.