One reason why certain brands are so top-of-mind is that they seem to be everywhere. It’s hard to walk down the street without seeing Amazon boxes being unloaded from shipping trucks. Or to watch a movie without seeing an Apple product featured. Or to log onto any browser and not feel Google’s presence. It turns out that visibility is part of what makes brands more memorable.
Similarly, part of building a strong personal brand involves driving up your own visibility within your organization, industry, and professional network. So how do you raise your professional visibility without talking about yourself all the time or being too self-aggrandizing? After all, shameless self-promotion rarely serves you well in the long run.
Publish Your Perspectives
Self-publishing is one way to share your points of view and expertise with your professional community. This could involve something as labor intensive as writing a book all the way to something as simple as writing a quick blog post.
If you don’t know which topic to write about, consider which questions others repeatedly ask you. These questions and patterns provide clues about your skills, strengths, and areas in which people are already seeking your guidance. Chances are, others will have similar questions and benefit from hearing your views.
Once you decide on a topic you want to cover, plenty of outlets exist where you can self-publish your article. I’d recommend three. First, consider writing on Medium.com, the online blog publishing platform that quietly launched in 2012, and has since risen to be one of the world’s most highly visited sites. You can set up a free account and publish blog posts available to an eager community of readers there.
Another powerful platform is LinkedIn publishing, available to anyone with a LinkedIn account, where you can write articles that become visible to not only your network but also the over 550 million members on LinkedIn.
Finally, if you’re a bit more ambitious, another great way to build your own personal brand is to create your own blog and website. I publish to all three of these platforms myself, and each has helped me build my own visibility as a business owner.
Speak At Industry Events
When you speak in front of an audience, you have an opportunity to build your reputation as a thought leader and influencer. So if you have useful industry insights, functional expertise, or technical knowledge to share, consider investing some time and effort into speaking on stage about it.
I know how intimidating public speaking can feel. Although I’ve always enjoyed giving presentations, I also consider myself a strong introvert, so getting up in front of a large audience to speak hasn’t always come naturally to me. However, as is the case with any acquired skill, if you do it enough, you will become more and more comfortable with it over time until it becomes second nature.
Opportunities to speak do exist if you’re willing to volunteer your time and seek them out. Start within your organization. For your team, consider hosting a training that showcases your functional skills. At a company-wide meeting, you could share the unique insights you’ve gained from working on a particular project. Every organization’s appetite for this is different though, so if you don’t where you start, check in with your manager to discuss ways for you to present more.
Outside of your organization, nearly every function or industry has regular trade conferences open to professionals. Track down the organizers of these events and find out what it takes to become a speaker. When doing this, it’s often helpful to give people an idea to react to, so be sure to have a few topic pitches ready to go.
Share Your Expertise
Another way to raise your visibility more broadly is to share your expert advice and perspectives with those actively seeking expert input, especially content creators and journalists. You could provide an expert quote for a story, serve as a guest in an interview, or be a “source” for a reporter writing an article that relates to your area of expertise.
Two easy ways to start sharing your expertise are by being guest on a show or expert source for a story. As someone who hosts my own podcast, I can tell you that podcast hosts are always looking for solid guests to feature on their shows. Podcasts also can be somewhat niche. Start with those that relate to your specific industry, sector, area of interest, and/or functional role to maximize your chances of being a good fit for the show.
To get onto the radars of these podcast hosts, I’d suggest reaching out directly to them. You could work with a podcast guest booking agent, where you pay someone to pitch for you. However, I receive pitches all the time from podcast booking agents, and they typically come across as too cookie-cutter and promotional, rarely doing their clients justice.
Alternatively, you could be an expert source for a journalist seeking expert input for a story they’re writing. The best free resource I know for this is Help-A-Reporter-Out (HARO), which according to their site, “provides journalists with a robust database of sources for upcoming stories and opportunities for sources to secure valuable media coverage.” You can register to become a Source, sign up to receive daily email alerts from journalists seeking expert input within the sectors you specify, and weigh in on topics that align with your expertise.
Contribute Your Views
Finally, you can build your visibility by simply contributing your views and weighing in on topics of interest to you that help reinforce the professional reputation and domain expertise you’re trying to build.
Although providing an expert quote can be an efficient way to raise your credibility and visibility, if you’re interested in sharing views that require a lengthier explanation, you could become a contributing writer, either sharing a one-off article or serving as a more regular writer (what I do here for Forbes). If you simply Google the target publication’s title and “contributing writer” or “guest post,” you can often find guidelines on how to submit and pitch your ideas.
If writing full articles feels a bit too time-consuming, you can simply comment on other articles. A great place to do this is the recently revamped LinkedIn Groups. By joining then actively commenting regularly on posts within groups aligned with your interests and skills, you can slowly build up your reputation as a thoughtful contributor within these virtual professional communities.
Another platform where you can comment on topics aligned with your expertise is Quora, a question and answer website that’s been available to the public since 2010. On Quora, rather than the shorter comments you often find on LinkedIn, replies to questions often come in the form of longer, more comprehensive responses that give you a real opportunity to showcase your expertise.
Start With Something That Feels Most Natural To You
These activities definitely take time and effort, so trying to do them all can quickly become overwhelming. Start by selecting those that excite you and that you’ll commit to doing regularly. If you’re willing to consistently invest a little bit of energy into one or two of these things that feel most natural to you, you’ll not only be making a contribution to your industry but also establishing yourself as a thought leader and influencer, which will allow you to truly stand out and develop a more memorable personal brand.
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This article was originally published on Forbes.