Starting a thought leadership journey is exciting. But let’s face it, it can be daunting. Throughout the years, I’ve learned that building a personal brand is much more than creating content. It would be best if you became a student of the craft, including understanding how to create, publish, and amplify your message.
Creating a personal brand. My story, step-by-step
You can watch the full video of my recent webinar with Ceresa. I go behind the scenes on how I created and nurtured my personal brand throughout the years. In this video, I share my secret sauce step-by-step. =)
Video: Elevating Your Personal Brand with Ceresa Mentor Daniel Elizalde
Below are some of the resources I’ve found useful throughout the years. This might seem like a lot, but remember, building your brand is a marathon, not a sprint.
Diving deeper into the mechanics of thought leadership
Here are some books that have inspired me and given me many actionable insights into what it takes to build a personal brand.
- The Thought Leaders Practice: Do work you love with people you like the way you want
- Ready to be a thought leader?
- Forever employable
- Any book by Dorie Clark
Setting up your thought leadership platform
The key to building your brand is to distill your message in the form of content. But your content alone is not enough. You need to create your digital platform anchored on your own site to publish your content (blog, podcast, vlog, etc.) to attract and engage your audience.
These resources give you all the info you’ll ever need.
- Anything from Ramit Sethi
- Smart Blogger: everything you need to launch and run a blog (run by my mentor Jon Morrow)
- Smart passive income: everything you need to launch and run a podcast (and a digital business)
- Copy Chief: everything you need to know about copywriting, including hiring writers & editors
- Any (and all) book by Russell Brunson
- Book: The Invisible Selling Machine by Ryan Deiss
- Book: The Authority Code by Rochelle Moulton
Thought Leadership – tools of the trade
As you gain traction, you’ll need the right tools to support your journey. There are many tools out there, and people usually spend a lot of time researching what to use and how to use them. Below are the tools I use (I have no affiliation with them).
I recommend not wasting too much time researching tools. Your time is better spent creating content and engaging with your audience. When you are just getting started, you don’t need much, but as you grow, you can come back to this list to get ideas on tools that help you at the stage you are in.
Most of these tools have free plans. But as you grow, you will need to spend some money. Keep that in mind. For reference, I spend about $500 per month on all the services & tools I use.
Setting up your site & blog:
- WordPress: site and blog platform
- WP Engine: web hosting platform
- Gmail (via Gsuite): email hosting with my custom domain (email@example.com)
- Google analytics: track your site’s traffic
- Stock images: Shutterstock (paid), Unsplash (free)
Teaching online courses and webinars:
- Teachable: a platform for hosting self-paced online courses and coaching services
- Zoom: video conferences, podcast recording, and webinars
- Eventbrite: a platform to sell tickets for live workshops or masterclasses
Engagement: email marketing & social media
- Optinmonster: email capture tool for WordPress
- ConvertKit: email marketing tool
- Buffer: social media manager
- Google forms: free surveys
- Slack: private community
Running a podcast:
- Libsyn: a platform to host your podcast
- FuseBox: plug-in to play podcasts directly on your site
- We Edit Podcasts: service to edit and publish your podcast episodes
- Jenny Hamson Design: high-quality and affordable podcast artwork design (including logos)
Writing a book:
- Write Useful Books by Rob Fitzpatrick
- Scribe: all the help you’ll need for self-publishing your book
In the future, you might need to start fine-tuning your engagement funnel or treating your thought leadership as a business. Here are some great tools for that. You don’t need to worry about this for a while, but just to be thorough, I wanted to include them here =)
- Ahref: SEO optimization tool
- Deadline funnel: create urgency timers in your email funnel
- BuzzSumo: Social media analyzer
- Belay: agency to hire a virtual assistant, social media manager, or bookkeeper
- 99 Designs: custom artwork, including logo and branding elements
- Mastering ConvertKit: an advanced course about marketing segmentation by Brennan Dutt
I hope you find these resources helpful. I look forward to hearing about your success in your thought leadership journey!