So you want to build your reputation as a thought leader, subject matter expert, influencer, whatever you want to call it. I salute you. That's a noble pursuit to be sure.
If you're effective, you will receive some great benefits from it. Such as:
Invites to speak on your area of expertise
New followers of your social channels
Having clients reach out to you, instead of the other way around
Employees wanting to join your team and learn from you
These are pretty nice outcomes to be sure. But in order to achieve them, you're going to have to do some work. What kind of work? I'm glad I asked.
If you're not sure who you or your business are at your core, it's really hard to radiate the energy that will attract the right people to you. This energy comes from definiteness of purpose, clarity of vision, and the unwavering desire to see your mission fulfilled. It drives performance, informs decisions, and gives you the motivation to keep moving over, under, around, and through the obstacles that are certain to be in your path.
Getting clear on who you are and where you're going is absolutely step 1.
Running through the exercise of who you are should provide some pretty clear guidance as to who you serve. In 2024, it's more important than ever to have a specific niche you're targeting. The days of blasting out a social media post that speaks to anyone and everyone have been done for years. Once you know who they are, you can start to work at meeting them where they are: online groups, national associations, even subgroups inside of local business organizations like networking groups or chambers. Be mindful of how you're spending your time and your energy. Make sure it's where your target audience is.
Unless you know them well enough to know what problems and challenges they need to solve, they won't. Like, they won't care at all. So, you have to understand one of two things:
What causes them pain that they need to fix?
What brings them joy?
When business is really good, people can think about spending money on the latter. If it's bad, they will ONLY spend money on the former. Start with the problems you solve. Knowing your target audience and the opportunities they face helps you position your messaging to target them directly between the eyes...otherwise, your messaging will never be seen.
For starters, you have to be visible.
That means you have to be where they are, whether online or in the real world.
Then you have to say things in a way that makes them think, makes them grow, solves a problem for them, or makes them laugh. And you can't just do each of these once. You have to show up in front of them again and again and again. They used to say it takes 7-10 "touches" with a prospect before they become a client. That number has grown significantly since the advent of social media.
Followers are great...for your ego. But if you want them to do anything for your bank account, it's best if they become customers. How do they become customers? Another good question by me ;-)
You have to tell stories that they want to see themselves in. Share information about you and the work you do that will make them think "This is a person I would enjoy working with". Much like attracting an audience, this approach has to be consistent, although not as frequent.
The right followers can become part of your #mutualadmirationsociety.
A group of people who will support your efforts while you're excited to support theirs. Maybe they're in a similar industry and they're "co-opetition", right Brenda Meller 🥧? Maybe they're people on the same mission as you. Whatever the case, you're going to want people to help you amplify your message, to talk about you in rooms you're not in, and to be there to support you as needed. These folks can absolutely be a difference maker for your business.
I don't know what that looks like for you, but without a plan to get eyeballs on the work you're doing, you're basically cold calling people who have no idea who you are, what you do, and why they should care. GROSS
You've read put yourself out there a couple of times in this post. So do it. But be at least somewhat strategic about it. Whether it's becoming a master of at least one of the social media platforms, building an email list, sharing videos, or joining a local group/association filled with your ideal prospects,
You've Got to Get in Front of Your People.
Sure, you could hire a PR firm to do your promotional work for you, but if you really want them to take you on as a client, you're going to have to prove that you won't mess up the opportunities they get for you. Know your strengths for both you and your company. Position them effectively. Have great messaging. Share it often. And make sure you're putting it in front of people who can amplify it. It helps to be good at graphics. It's important to write well. You're going to need to get on video and share your ideas. Sounds like a lot, doesn't it? It sure can be. And when it feels like too much, remember those strengths and delegate your weaknesses.
If there's one skill we should all further develop it's our ability to present information in a clear, sometimes concise, and always confident manner. Isn't it crazy to think that people rank public speaking as a bigger fear than spiders AND death? WHAT??? It's just talking to people. But I get it. We get nervous. We expect judgement. What if we screw up? All of those things can be issues that hold you back. Don't let them. Practice. Talk about what you know. Practice some more. Present on things you're passionate about. And practice again!
Take that clarity on what you do, and who you do it for and tell the folks who need to know. Find people in your network who know folks on your target lists. Ask for introductions. Leverage the network you have to create the relationships you need!
People can't help you if you don't tell us what kind of help you need!
So that's the 10 steps. I'm hoping it was helpful. If you'd like more help on each of these topics, you're in luck. I have a 10-week course that covers each of these items in great depth and you'll walk away with a crystal clear blueprint to implement. You'll be amazed at how far you can go in a short time with the right plan of action. Want details? Find them HERE.
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