How to Be a Top 100 Online Marketer in 2009 – 8 Lessons in Personal Branding
December 19, 2008 - Written by Gyutae Park
Do you have what it takes to be a top Internet marketer in 2009? Yesterday I discovered a list of the most influential online marketers of 2008 and what I find interesting about the list is that it’s essentially a popularity contest. All of the included marketers have strong personal brands and it really doesn’t matter what industries they’re involved with or how much money they’re making. They’re ranked on the list by how well they’re known by the masses.
I know for a fact that some of the individuals on the list should to be ranked lower than a few others based on actual credentials and earnings – the real factors that matter in determining success. However, they’re ranked higher only because they’re more connected, know how to sell themselves, and give off a higher perceived value. In other words, in reality they are actually less successful at marketing but a strong personal brand gives them a big boost in being known as top experts.
So how can you be a top 100 Internet marketer in 2009? Sure you need to have success selling, building exposure, and making money but the more important part is to build up a strong personal brand for yourself and make people believe that you’re worthy – even more so than you really are.
Image is everything in this business. You just have to be able to back it all up when it comes to it.
So here’s a lesson in personal branding. If your reputation is a large part of your business (e.g. consulting, blogging, or authoritative figure in your industry) then you absolutely need to follow these 8 tips.
1. Get the right credentials first
Before you go on thinking that you can be a top 100 marketer with your new blog of 10 subscribers, I have to burst your bubble a bit and tell you that you first need credentials to back yourself up. If you’ve only been in the game for a couple months or haven’t performed any successful marketing campaigns, there’s no way you’re going to be a top 100 online marketer any time soon.
Think of it this way. Say that there are a bunch of aspiring college students trying to get into Harvard University, one of the most prestigious colleges in the US. Is anyone with a C average going to get in? Probably not. Everyone who applies usually has stellar grades and high qualifications. However, there’s only a limited number of spots available so it takes a little extra something to push prospective students over the top. As a marketer, that little something for you is personal branding. But like the Harvard applicants, you first need to at least put yourself in a position to be considered with the right credentials and qualifications.
2. Find a specialty and stick to it – be known for something
It’s a lot easier to be known for something than to be known for everything. For example, Aaron Wall and Rand Fishkin are associated with SEO, John Chow and Shoemoney have their popular blogs, Michael Arrington is all things tech, and Guy Kawasaki is a venture capitalist / social media geek. Would these guys have been able to attain the same status if they didn’t focus on one smaller niche? Probably not. Instead of being a jack-of-all-trades, be a specialist. It’s a lot easier to be known for it and gain traction in the industry.
To take this point one step further, why not tell your personal story as a selling point? If you have something unique about how you got to the position you’re in, don’t be afraid to share it. People love to relate to others and they’ll remember you for who you really are.
3. Be confident – fake it ’til you make it
I don’t get it. I often see “Internet marketers” label themselves as newbies and beginners and then expect people to follow their advice and tips on blogs. Why would anyone do that? As an aspiring top Internet marketer, it’s important to brand yourself as an expert thought leader and make people consider you as an authoritative figure in the field. Don’t lie or anything like that, but just give off a good impression so that people take you seriously and listen to what you have to say. Rebecca Kelley wrote an excellent article about how you can fake it and make it by being confident. Perception is everything.
4. Associate with successful people
Want to see success as an Internet marketer? Then surround yourself with the right crowd – successful people who can push you and make you better. Neil Patel (#32 on the list) is just 23 years old and yet he has managed to start multiple online businesses and make millions of dollars. How does he do it? He is well networked with hundreds of successful people, many of whom are double his age. Read more on why Neil is successful, and you are not.
5. Help people out – make friends and build relationships
As the saying goes, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. In many cases, this statement proves to be true. By building relationships and friendships in the industry, you instantly gain an advantage because people naturally give preference to those they know and are familiar with. Learn how to build influential relationships and suck up if you have to. The point is that you need other people to help you gain more exposure as a top Internet marketer. Be willing to help others out (it’ll come back around to you) – even the little guys.
6. Think and act like the person you want to be
If you haven’t read Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill (free on the public domain), you need to stop and read it now. Hill teaches that in order for you to see success, you need to change your mindset and start thinking like a rich person. In the same way, you need to start thinking like a top marketer if you’re ever going to reach that status. This in itself will improve your confidence, help you to create valuable relationships, and make good decisions. Eventually your mindset will be manifested to reality as a self-fulfilling prophecy (not to get all voodoo on you or anything). Ironic, ain’t it?
7. Put yourself everywhere
You can be a top marketer based on knowledge and skill set, but if no one knows about you, it won’t matter. Build exposure and put yourself everywhere on the web. Build a Wikipedia page for yourself, be active on social media sites and forums using the same profile name and avatar, speak at conferences, post up your videos on YouTube and pictures on Flickr, write frequently on your blog, and put out a few press releases. Do everything and anything to get your personal brand out in front of your audience. The more people see you, the more likely it is that they’ll remember you and associate you as a top marketer.
8. Be humble
Last but not least, be humble. Once you become a top Internet marketer, there’s more responsibility for you to represent the industry and do it well. Not only that, but you’ll have a lot of people looking up to you for advice and guidance in their own journeys. Don’t be a jerk and blow them off. Remember your own struggle to the top and help them out. Besides, there will always be someone else ahead of you and room to move up. Don’t stop learning and keep reaching.
What do you think? Are you worthy of improving your personal brand and being a top online marketer in 2009? I guess we’ll find out on next year’s list.If you like this post, subscribe to the RSS feed. Get the latest updates delivered straight to your email or news reader.