Once you get past the “Oh crap, something else to worry about” thought, having your own personal brand makes sense; how to do it is another thing.
It’s true that for many career choices, having your own personal brand, beyond words on a resume, not only makes sense but is required and expected.
I’m not talking about your Twitter activities, but that has its place or your LinkedIn profile, and that too has its place. What I’m referring to is the need to have visibility in the marketplace for your ideas, your approach to problem-solving, your leadership and yes, your brand. Who are you, what do you stand for, what do others think of your thinking, and why should someone care?
Yes, branding can start with your own blog, Twitter, eBooks, guest blogging, and speaking. And these things may make you visible enough (your brand is being recognized) for publishers and companies (and maybe employers) to approach you for interviews, both on video and radio with resulting podcasts.
Thought leadership has grown as a need not only for companies but for individuals. In the past thought leadership was driven by publishing a book, speaking, speakers’ bureaus, research reports and a lot of PR effort. Today thought leadership and an individual’s brand can be created through wise use of social media in its broadest definition.
If someone wants to increase their visibility (brand recognition), they can certainly write a book. This is hugely time-consuming if it is beyond the self-published, poorly edited, 50-to-100-page softcover efforts 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.
Speaking at conferences and workshops is often a precursor to book publishing or an effort often easier once the book is published. At one time I spoke before 3,000 to 5,000 people a year, at different conferences, after publishing several books. It was satisfying, time-consuming, and costly. It worked, but it took time addressing audiences of 30 to 200 people for each event.
Speakers’ bureaus are great if you already have a recognized name or company, and you have published enough books. They can get you the gig and you may have a large audience, but it’s still time-consuming. You often get fees and expenses paid, but unless you’ve hit the big time and are getting $5,000 to $60,000 per speech (in which case your personal brand is assured), you might find speaking is your main business.
There is a shortcut to building your brand that doesn’t require travel, two years to write a book, mountains of research and article writing. The answer is to host your own internet-based radio program.
The term radio is used because it’s still a broadcast-based medium that is either terrestrial, sound waves broadcast to your radio receiver, or internet radio-based, sent digitally to your internet-connected device (computer or handheld device). The difference lies in how listeners tune in.
Your radio program/podcast 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.
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 with the host. None are longer than 30 minutes. Listenership for these programs varies with frequency, time and how the programs are promoted. Program startup numbers can be 50-250 listeners (about webinar expectations) to 100-500 listeners. Programs promoted over time can have 750 to several thousand listeners. Popular programs with typical social media exposure can have thousands of listeners.
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 nights and on the weekend.
The “hosts” of these radio/podcast programs have followers, build database lists of people, and create a trove of content often used for books, eBooks, case studies, blogs, articles, and speeches (see the ways to use podcasts here). The programs are normally registered with iTunes, Stitcher, Blubrry and the B2B Podcast Directory so that they can be found by hostname and subject.
Program guests 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 easy and inexpensive. You need recording software, a place to store the podcast so listeners can come to the site or listen to embeddable players the site provides for your own website or blog (or a guest’s website or blog). For $40 a month you can have all of this and be in the business of podcasting and building your personal and your company’s brand.
There are radio/podcast agencies, such as ours, that manage all of this for you except the actual host duties. The agencies offer a range of services including storage, 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 about two-and-a-half years. First, the programs were bi-weekly and weekly after about six months. So far, they have 131 episodes with 32,668 listeners, with a per-episode average of 249 listeners. Some programs have had 800 listeners, which means those programs cost the host company only $0.45 cents per listener. On the lower listener end, the cost is about $2.00 per listener.
The point is, this company CEO and author, and his program, have had 32,638 people hear him speak over 16,319 hours of on-air time (this data is public). He did this from in front of his computer, over the internet, by telephone to the studio. Hundreds of guests, both customers, and non-customers, know his name, what he stands for, his opinion on marketing and sales, and something about his products and services. He has a substantial brand and you can too, should you choose radio podcasting to create your personal brand.
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