Opinions expressed by entrepreneur The contributors are themselves.
According to the Pew Research Center, 74 percent of Americans trust someone with an authentic personal brand, and more than half would recommend, do business with, or seek advice from them.
Many businesses and entrepreneurs outsource the task of building a personal brand to a PR agency. I’m convinced that when it comes to personal branding, it’s best when the founders are deeply involved in building it and not just outsourcing it as another social media campaign.
1. The proof is in the people
Founders like Elon Musk, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Sarah Blakely have all successfully built companies entirely around their personal brands.
Gary Vaynerchuk, aka Gary Way, has not only turned his personal brand into a force of nature, he’s parlayed it into an entire company centered around helping others. His belief is that your brand needs to be “relentless, authentic and powerful,” which is something you can’t outsource to an agency.
Sara Blakely, founder of shapewear company SPANX, used her efforts to create a brand that is not only popular, but relatable to people around the world. No public relations agency could have portrayed his thoughts, feelings and beliefs as faithfully as they did. A self-made billionaire, Blakely clearly made the right choice.
Related: 4 Branding Tips from Gary Vaynerchuk and Entrepreneurs Who Built Brands the World Can’t Ignore
2. Your point of view is unique and valuable
Yes, PR firms have a wealth of branding and success stories. However, it’s important to remember that these PR managers are writing and rewriting dozens of columns and similar thoughts for their clients.
The media craves fresh angles, “hot takes” and real, expert knowledge. This gives you an advantage. You should make a list of topics that are in your area of expertise. You can then expand on those topics by offering a unique perspective or even a “hot” controversial opinion that can be shared as a way to generate discussion in the media. You can talk about this with an assistant or friends you trust and ask about the sharpest and most interesting points of your conversation.
Your writing does not have to be perfect. You can hire an editor or work with a copywriter to get the final form just right. The important thing is to put your personality into the pieces and build your brand.
3. Remember that you cannot give away your voice
As an entrepreneur, there are many things you can outsource. However, building your personal brand is simply not one of them. No one else in the world can replicate your voice, so if you let someone else take control of your personal brand, you will always present a poor version of yourself.
For example, Alexis Ohanian, the founder of Reddit, has made sure that his voice is loud, clear, and his own from day one. She’s not afraid to talk about the issues she’s passionate about and makes a point not to take herself too seriously. As a result, top tech companies want to work with him.
When thinking about your online presence, try to take a glimpse of all the important aspects of your life and show the human and relatable side that resonates with people.
4. Journalists appreciate the personal touch
Journalists like founders and entrepreneurs to send them emails and article ideas directly instead of using a PR agency as a middleman. This shows that the founder is serious about his goals and willing to do the work. It also helps build trust and rapport faster. Plus, it’s always great to get ideas and drafts straight from the source.
When speaking to reporters, remember that they receive dozens or hundreds of these emails per week and only respond to about 3% of them on average. Take the time to understand the journalist and the media before submitting a brief and relevant proposal.
Related: 5 Ways to Make Journalists Really Want to Cover Your Brand Stories
5. Research shows that a personal brand can make or break your success
At least 65% of people use the Internet as their main source of information about people. Just as it’s natural to Google a potential date or new acquaintance to learn about their life, clients, employers, media, and peers do the same to learn about the founder before taking the next step. do
Studies have proven that it only takes 50 milliseconds for someone to form a first impression of you, and 94% of the time, that impression is based on design (aka emotion). The more you can showcase what makes you different and prove you’re trustworthy, the more people will resonate with your personal brand and flock to you.
Big PR firms can’t give you the unique and authentic voice you need to succeed, so skip spending on an agency and keep your personal brand personal.
Related content: How to build a personal brand in 5 steps