Having your own personal brand, beyond words on a resume or your company biography, makes sense, is required and expected. It could be a sales management job, marketing management (of course); even CEOs, CIOs, CFOs and presidents have personal brand considerations. When you consider creating your own personal brand, you’re investing in yourself and your future.
Your basic social media activities have their place, but we’re talking about something beyond table stakes. What I’m referring to is the need to have marketplace visibility for your thoughts, philosophies, problem solving skills, and leadership. A personal brand demonstrates what you stand for and what do others think of you.
The questions are, how can you break away from the crowd and make yourself visible in a sea of talented people? How can you expand your network – the people who know and follow you?
In Albert-László Barabasi’s book, The Formula = The Universal Laws of Success, he says hard research proves that “Your success isn’t about you and your performance. It’s about us and how we perceive your performance.” The larger your visibility the larger the network will be and the network will amplify your success. More about that in a few minutes.
Personal branding is a career necessity for many people. Branding can start with your blog, speaking, tweeting, developing followers, eBooks, and guest blogging. These things make you visible to companies and maybe to employers who approach you, but it isn't enough if your aspirations are high.
What customers and companies seek today is thought leadership from their people, and from consultants and service providers. Thought leadership has grown for individuals. In years past, thought leadership was driven by writing a book, by speaking, and through speakers’ bureaus, research reports and PR effort.
Today, thought leadership and an individual’s brand can be augmented through the wise use of social media in its broadest definition.
If someone wants to increase their visibility, they can write a book. This is, however, hugely time consuming if it’s beyond the self-published, poorly edited, 50-to-100-page softcover effort made by many would-be authors. I’m talking about a 230-page, professionally copy-edited book from a major publisher, which can take several years of effort.
Being a speaker at conferences and workshops is a precursor to book publishing, and often easier once the book is published. Speaker bureaus are great if you already have a recognized name or company, and you’ve published enough books. They can get you the gig, but it’s still time consuming.
Once you embark on this effort, you may find yourself devoted to this type of time-consuming branding instead of to your daily working career.
The Shortcut: Radio Podcasting
There’s an easy method to creating your personal brand that doesn’t require travel, two years of book writing and editing, or mountains of research and article writing. The answer is to host your own internet-based radio program. Radio and podcast replays dramatically expand your reputation and network. As Barabasi says, “Performance drives success, but when performance can’t be measured, networks drive success.”
Nothing builds a network faster, cheaper and broader than having your own radio podcast.
A podcast can be a simple recording you create and place on a service from a storage site. A radio program/podcast, a step up, can be broadcast live at the same time on the same day of the week, or on the same day each month, and then follow-on listeners come from the podcast recording posted on a hosting site. It can be broadcast once a month, bi-weekly or more often.
The key is consistency; the network will want to hear from you. As the network builds, so will your reputation and a perception of performance on your part. You must also promote the program aggressively. These types of consistent programs create followers and listeners.
At the Funnel Media Group’s Funnel Radio Channel, we have 19 hosts for various programs heard once a month, bi-weekly or weekly. We call them the Real Personalities of Funnel Radio. Their programs might have a single speaker and topic, or guests who join the host. None are longer than 30 minutes.
Listeners for these programs vary with frequency, time and how the programs are promoted. Program startup numbers can be 50-250 listeners per program, up to 100-500 listeners. Programs promoted over time can have 750-1,500 listeners. Popular programs with typical social media exposure can have thousands of listeners. The size of the host company's database and current followers make a substantial contribution to the followers and program listener downloads.
These listeners are unique because they are no longer just at-work listeners; they are at home, walking the dog, climbing mountains, bicycling, exercising, or traveling listeners, at night and on the weekend. Listeners are domestic and international.
The “hosts” of these radio/podcast programs have followers, build databases, and create multi-use content for books, eBooks, case studies, blogs, articles, and speeches. They build credibility. Podcast programs are then registered with Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Blubrry and the B2B Podcast Directory so that they can be found by host name and subject.
Program guests, on talk-radio format programs, often provide the host with testimonials for his or her services or products, introduce the host and company to potential buyers, and build name recognition (brand recognition) for the host and their company.
Starting a radio/podcast is quick and inexpensive. You need recording software and a place to store the podcast so listeners can come to the site or listen. The embeddable players the site provides allow you to put the programs on your own website or blog (or a guest’s website or blog).
For $75-$100 per month you can have all of this and be in the business of podcasting and building your personal and your company’s brand. It’s also time consuming, and if it’s not consistently broadcast it has little impact to build a network.
However, there are radio/podcast agencies such as ours (Funnel Media Group LLC), that manage all of this for you except the actual host duties. We encourage hosts to produce a consistent program that listeners can follow.
Agencies offer a range of services including storage, live programming, digital streaming and production, a studio and announcer, editing, music, and a professional touch seldom found in self-produced podcasts.
One of our Funnel Radio Channel programs has been broadcasting for several years. At first its programs were bi-weekly, and then weekly after a few months.
To date, this program has 152 episodes with 42,610 listeners, with a per-episode average of 280 listeners. Some programs have had 875 listeners.
The fact is, this company CEO and author, and his program, have had 42,610 people hear him speak over 21,305 hours of on-air time. These numbers are drawn from public data.
He did this on his computer via the net, and by phone with the studio. Guests, customers and non-customers, know his name, what he stands for, his judgement on marketing and sales, and something about his company services.
He has an extensive personal and company brand recognition. Of course, you can too, should you choose to take the "shortcut" to improving your personal brand by using radio podcasting.
For information about improving your personal brand, extending your network and hosting your own radio/podcast program, either once a month, bi-weekly or more often, contact Jim Obermayer at [email protected] dot com, or call him at (415) 521 4278.