When Should Students Start Working on Their Personal Branding?

Perhaps more important than when students should start blogging (the answer is NOW), is what they should be talking about.  After all, without sufficient expertise, a student is polluting the system, however well-intentioned.

You don't want to be a social media fraudBut what if you don't have deep expertise in a topic-- what should you write about?

To have truly authoritative content (stuff that's worth sharing), you need to be surrounded by professionals in your chosen area. But why would the people who are at the top of a field want to spend time with you?

And do you have to wait until you have 10,000 hours of experience under your belt?

No. Break this cycle by practicing learn-do-teach as part of your personal branding sequence.



How it works:

  1. You allocate 15 minutes to micro-writing assignments
  2. Based on your chosen area of expertise, you find the top 10 most authoritative people
  3. Follow them on twitter, read their articles, write short summaries of their positions, making sure you're not just regurgitating
  4. They'll start to notice you and even mention you on Twitter, Quora, Facebook, and other networks
  5. And it's that point that you ask them for something-- a one sentence comment on a current issue
  6. Collect 3-4 of these comments from these pros and you have an article

Before you know it, you're learning, doing, and teaching at the same time. Rather than representing yourself as the "expert", you're taking the humble approach of saying you're keeping a diary of your mistakes and sharing what you're learning from the top pros.

Once you have enough of a base, start promoting your content more broadly, as discussed hereYou might start out on your personal blog writing simple things like top 10 lists. Then graduate to a corporate blog writing articles based on what you've done. Again, Learn-Do-Teach.

Eventually, you're guest blogging on high profile sites - the sites that folks in your industry respect the most.

Don't wait until you have 10 years of work experience to do this. Start now, well beforeyou graduate. Your degree isn't tradable one-for-one for a job, and the experience you may have gathered in the last 10 years might not be as relevant anymore.

Make it Grow

  • Take the steps to connect your plumbing (blog, LinkedIn, twitter, etc)
  • start sharing content based on a topic you choose (don't worry, you can change your mind later) 
  • start amplifying it (not just ads, but sharing of other people's content)

Spend 15 minutes a day building your personal branding now-- no matter how busy you think you are. Like exercise or a healthy diet, personal branding is something you do regularly, not in binges once a month.