One of the biggest reasons people fail with their personal brands is because they don’t priorities it (note how I didn’t say it was a time issue). Content, scheduling, and research become just another thing on your to-do list which eventually slips off until the next panic or motivated moment. Most of us know that we need to be doing it so we’ll often spend a few weeks going hard at it and then give up, it’s kind of like the gym in January. Maybe we take a break and then don’t come back to it, maybe we lose focus because we’re not getting results. Like everything in business and in life, the key to success is persistence and habits so we need to find a way to make your future a priority now.
When it comes to building your personal brand, it’s not going to happen overnight (if you want a quality brand). It’s about the regular, consistent effort that eventually creates results. It’s about lots of little things, rather than one big thing. An hour a day compounds, a blog a week adds up to 52 blogs in a year, do little and often and reap the rewards. I regularly hear ‘I’ve got this to say’ ‘I’ll do it one day’ ‘It’s not a priority but I’ll do it soon’ ‘Once I’ve done this, then I’ll do it’. Sound familiar? The problem with these statements is that no matter what excuse you give, the result is the same, a big load of nothing.
It ends up never happening for them because they never ‘have the time’. That’s the problem with time: we are never going to have enough. So how come some people achieve it? Unless there’s a Bernards Watch in the house, some people seem to be able to manage their time. (Quick side note ‘I don’t have time’ is my worst excuse, please avoid saying it around me.)
Hire a virtual assistant. If you’ve got one, pay some more hours, and add your personal brand to the top of the list. I have a fantastic virtual assistant who really helps me to keep on top of all my personal branding. I’m obviously quite active on my own personal brand for many reasons; firstly, it is, of course, my job. But, secondly, because I know the opportunities that happen when you invest in your personal brand. When people can get what you’re about just by looking at a channel or by looking at a profile, then you’ve got a strong personal brand. I’m not going to tell you HOW to grow your personal brand here, instead I’m going to give you a few tips on how you and your VA can become a dream team so that your 5 year self doesn’t have to look back on your now self and wonder why you never found the time.
The first thing you need is an awesome communication channel aka Slack. Step number one is to get a Slack account, even if it is just you and your VA or PA or whoever’s going to be supporting you with your content. Once you’ve got a slack account you can create multiple channels using #s. Create a channel for blogs, a channel for articles, a channel for Instagram images – create a channel for every task type you have. This means that you get an idea for a social media post, instead of pasting it into a note, then copying it into a list to then send to your VA you just stick it in a Slack channel and your VA picks it up and runs with whatever process you use. Once you’ve set up a process for each task it means you can remove time wasted transferring things. Put the task, the blog or whatever into the channel and allow your VA to finish the job for you. I’ve created a video below to explain this.
Possibly the most well known virtual assistant task when it comes to branding. I create all of my own content – absolutely 100% – everything is my work, my writing. I am so passionate about supporting my audience I’d find it hard to let anyone do it on my behalf. However, because there are so many different channels out there and so many different platforms that we can all use it can be very time consuming to write and schedule. I write all of my content in my slack channel (above) and for photo content, I write it all in Planoly (an Instagram scheduling app). My amazing VA then goes in and takes all of that content and turns it into the right kind of content to be used across Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and also Pinterest. She makes sure all the posts are the right size etc. for the right platform and ensures they get scheduled out, all written by me, for you.
Scheduling regular content is super important. Social media is about being prolific, you need quality and quantity so to do it right, you’ll need some support. Content comes in 2 key themes, created and documented. Created is the content we’ve spoken about here, this blog and the video above are all ‘created content’. The other type you have is documented content, this is the spur of the moment, less shiny content like an Instagram story. If you have got the created content sorted you can spend more time doing documented ensuring your audience has a blend of what you can offer them.
In terms of content rules, I follow 2:
Blog content (created) is really powerful. It enables you to connect and engage with your audience as well as establishes you as a leader in your niche. However, it can be very time consuming and often drop to the bottom of the list. I’ve created a robust process here to speed up my blog content creation. If you’re confused, let me know.
It might sound OTT but quality content is time-consuming and I want to ensure I’m doing a blog a week, every. single. week. Using this process means I can spend around an hour planning and recording 4 blogs, then about 30 minutes editing them. That’s around 1-2 hours in total per month for 4 high-quality blogs. The edit also ensures that the content makes sense and is SEO optimized.
This is actually not an expensive process. The transcribing is around $1USD a minute, the editing is maybe about $20USD and then the uploading, which takes about half an hour for my VA, so that’s $5USD.
This means that for a month of quality content, I’m paying around $100-$150. It’s all 100% my content but it’s just done in a way that optimizes my time. I ensure my blogs have a long life, being regularly shared, posted on a variety of platforms with long blog lives (Pinterest, Medium, LinkedIn) and it’s all be done in 2ish hours and $100 per month. The life of one blog can be huge for your brand, remember, prolific not perfect. Keep creating.
My virtual assistant and I have a OneNote that we use for absolutely everything. If ever I want to send out an email newsletter to my list or something to my messenger bot or I’ve got a quote I want her to turn into something for social media and it’s a bit longer than what would normally go into one of the Slack channels, I’ll put it into OneNote. She then grabs from there and turns it into whatever it needs to be. OneNote is a fantastic tool because you can kind of co-create on it (and you can also use it offline and it syncs up when you go online, as opposed to using Google Docs, which requires you to be online).
The second tool I’m going to mention here is Trello, and my top Trello tip is: Make it super clear on the tasks that need to be completed each week by moving them between ‘this week’s tasks’, ‘backlogged tasks’, ‘in progress’ ‘for review’, and then ‘complete’!
SEO is a bit of a minefield and there’s always more you can do. This is what I’ve realized: there is a literally never-ending list of things you can do to boost your SEO. However, I’ve got four key things I do to boost mine, and I’m finding that they’re really starting to work now. SEO is a mid- to long-term strategy so it’s not an overnight thing however it’s worth it if you’re persistent. There are great tools out there that can enable your VA to support your SEO growth. Platforms such as Medium, Reddit, and Quora are great. Have a google ‘Medium for SEO’ or ‘Quora for SEO’ and you’ll see how these forums can be used to help you plan your SEO. There are some regular actions you can take, for example replying to questions on your niche in Quora, which your VA can keep a check on. These little ‘hacks’ can create massive results if you’re persistent.
You may not know it but the biggest traffic creator is Pinterest. So every time I write a blog, my VA creates 5 pins (that’s 5 different headcovers using Canva), then puts those pins into a place that gets scheduled out onto Pinterest. This enables one blog to have 5 opportunities to be shared.
Remember, $10 an hour might seem like something you don’t want to spend but if you charge yourself out at $100 per hour, then paying $10 per hour for someone else to complete a task for you is saving you $90. Change your mindset to outsourcing and delegating as it’s hard to scale without it. My VA is also far better at a lot of these tasks than me, I don’t even know my login to the scheduling tool we use, she’s the queen at that so she’s far better placed to complete that task than me.
I hope this has been helpful, and you’ve picked something up which may help you remove the ‘I don’t have time’ excuse from investing in your future.