Dec 7, 2022 • 40M

Book Chapter - Generating Awareness and Building Your Audience (Issue #15)

Stand out by demonstrating how unique and amazing you are

 
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Larry Cornett, Ph.D.
Advice to help you live the life you deserve! I’m Dr. Larry Cornett, a psychologist who loves to study and understand what inspires and motivates people to live their best lives. I spent decades in the corporate world and thought climbing the career ladder to become an executive would make me happy. Spoiler alert: It did not. I found myself wanting more, so I’ve spent the past 12+ years creating the life I want. In this podcast, I share what I've learned with you. I hope my advice will help you pursue the life of your dreams so you can be happier, healthier, and more fulfilled.
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This is a draft of Chapter 15 from the book I’m writing, Building the Invincible You. I share a framework and strategies for:

  • Reclaiming your power in your work and life.

  • Regaining your freedom to spend more of your time the way you wish you could.

  • Building the future you want for yourself and your loved ones.

Subscribe now to receive future draft chapters in your inbox


Have you ever noticed how some people seem to be approached with great opportunities all the time?

They stand out, and people know their names. It seems like 20% of the people get 80% of the attention.

Sometimes it doesn’t even seem logical or fair. You know you’re more talented and experienced than they are. So, why aren't you the one being asked to:

  • Interview for that great new position?

  • Present at a conference you enjoy attending?

  • Speak on a panel with other experts?

  • Have a conversation with a well-known podcast host?

  • Contribute an article on a topic that’s near and dear to your heart?

Now, it’s never a good idea to compare yourself to someone else. Envy is an unpleasant emotion to experience. So, let’s set that aside and focus on you.

If you ignore other people and what’s going on in their lives, you still want great opportunities to flow your way, right? If you’re ambitious and want to become invincible so you can call the shots in your work and life, it’s not enough to be great at what you do.

When I see someone crushing it with opportunities, I know three things have happened:

  1. They’re usually good at what they do (maybe even great).

  2. They’ve built a strong network and they keep it active.

  3. They’re smart about marketing themselves.

Ewww… marketing? I get it. The idea of marketing and promoting yourself may seem distasteful.

However, making people aware of who you are and what you do isn’t the same as traditional marketing. You don’t have to literally promote yourself and shout, “Look at me! Look at me! Hire me! Buy my stuff!”

But I hope you know the following reality is true:

You can be the most amazing person in the world, but you won't attract great opportunities if no one knows you exist.

Think about it. Would you buy a product you’ve never heard of or seen before? How about a service you don’t even know exists? I highly doubt it.

The same is true for you.

If you want to become confident, successful, and invincible so you can pursue your goals and live the life of your dreams, you need to discover the right opportunities that will help you in your journey. It’s incredibly hard to do it alone. As I discussed in Chapter 14, an amazing network will make your life easier and better.

Even if you don’t think you need anyone else’s help, per se, you do need other people to hire you or pay for your products or services. Unless you’ve inherited a fortune from a long-lost uncle, discovered a hidden goldmine, or captured a leprechaun, you need to make a living. And, if you need to make a living, you need other people to know who you are and what you have to offer.

I know this topic is uncomfortable for many of you. I’ve been working with career clients for many years now, and I’d estimate that 90% of them shudder when I talk about promoting their work and marketing themselves. For them, marketing is a dirty word. It’s ok for businesses selling products, but they don’t want to apply that model to themselves and their careers.

However, as I’ve said before, you’ll become more invincible and successful when you can objectively think of your career as a business and yourself as the product that the business sells. I’m challenging you to set aside your feelings about marketing and view this as a useful set of strategies you can use to generate greater awareness of who you are, why you’re amazing, and what you have to offer.

Like any great product with a strong brand that achieves success in the market, there’s a funnel that takes you from anonymity to a household name. In this case, you want the right people in your industry to know your name and you want your network to think of you when an amazing opportunity arises.

You want to become the first person they think of calling.

Marketing funnel

In a later chapter, I will talk about how to get people more interested in who you are, what you know, and what you do. I’ll also cover how to persuade folks to take action and hire you, buy from you, and generally help you achieve your goals. But now let’s focus on building that awareness, which is where it all begins.


Showcase your expertise

We all have unique and valuable talents, skills, knowledge, and experience. We often leverage all of that to make a living. Some of us have jobs. Some of us run our own businesses.

If you want the best jobs, employers need to be aware of your expertise.

If you want clients to hire you, they need to know what you can do and how you can help them.

The secret to generating the kind of awareness you need to make things happen in life is to not be shy about showcasing your expertise. It’s not about bragging. It’s a calm, rational explanation of what you do best. The focus is on how your expertise solves problems others are experiencing.

It’s not:

  • I’m the smartest engineer on the planet!

  • I’m the best accountant in the world!

  • I’m the most talented designer you’ll ever meet!

  • I’m the greatest real estate agent in the county!

  • I’m the most clever author in the universe!

It’s more about:

  • If you’re experiencing ABC, I can help by providing XYZ.

  • If you’re frustrated by ABC, I know how to solve that problem by doing XYZ.

  • I’ve worked with many people who were struggling with ABC. I provide XYZ so they can break through and achieve their goals.

  • I’ve helped hundreds of people overcome this issue. Would you like to learn how I did it?

Talk about what you’ve achieved, how you do it, and who you help. You don’t need to brag to build awareness. Just showcase your expertise and let it speak for itself. I’ll talk more about case studies later.


Market the “Product of You”

I know it’s hard for most people to think about marketing themselves. Companies market their products. Businesses market their services. But, people? No, people don’t market themselves.

That’s one reason I ask everyone to make a mental shift in how they view their careers and themselves. When you get out of your own head and treat your career like a business and yourself as “the product” that the business sells, it’s easier to be more objective about the process of building awareness and getting attention.

If you want more opportunities in your life, people need to be aware of you. If you want the best opportunities, people need to know you are capable of doing amazing things. So, take a moment to be objective and shed any uncomfortable feelings you might be experiencing. What would you do to market any product?

Some questions to answer:

  • What are you selling?

  • What makes it great?

  • Why is it better than alternatives?

  • Who has problems this product solves?

  • Who needs it?

  • Who wants it?

  • Where can you reach them?

  • What message resonates with them?

  • What do you want them to do if they’re interested?


Use your website

There are two things every modern professional should own to control their destiny:

  1. A mailing list

  2. A website

Why do I say that?

Well, if you leave your connections, friends list, professional network, followers, fans, writing, content, portfolio, etc., in the hands of a corporation and its service, you are vulnerable. You are at its mercy.

What will you do if that service fails and loses all of your information (e.g., your LinkedIn connections)? Sometimes you can download that info to have a backup, but there may be nothing you can do with it without using the original service (e.g., LinkedIn doesn’t provide email addresses for your connections).

Poof! The connections you’ve built over the years are all gone.

What will you do if a service decides to suspend or terminate your account (e.g., Facebook)? What happens if your favorite online profile gets banned and now no one can find you or contact you (e.g., Twitter)?

Bam! You just lost a decade of information and connections you invested in building through that account and profile. You lost all of your content (e.g., a decade of photos, videos, designs, memes, articles, thoughts). You may even have lost any way to contact your online customers, loyal fans, and subscribers (e.g., Patreon).

Do you think I’m being dramatic? Or, perhaps I’m being paranoid?

I’ve been using software and services for decades. I’ve watched hundreds of companies come and go. Sometimes they shut down so quickly that you lose everything. Or, they shut down with no easy way to export your data and no alternative service to replace them.

I’ve also watched people lose everything when they were locked out of their Gmail account inexplicably. It has happened to more people than you might expect with every service over the years. Sometimes with no warning at all.

For example, one day, Facebook suspended my account. There was no warning. They gave no explanation.

I contacted Facebook Support and heard nothing. I messaged my friends who work there to see if they could help. They couldn’t get an answer either.

I had no access to the Facebook groups and communities I had created to run my business. I had to ask someone else to message the group and let people know what was happening.

I was locked out for about a week before Facebook suddenly reactivated my account. Again, they gave no explanation. To this day, I never figured out what happened.

My best guess is that a competitor falsely reported me for some sort of violation, and Facebook suspended my account while they investigated. But I’ll never know for sure, so there’s nothing I can do to prevent it from happening again in the future.

I vowed never to let myself be that vulnerable ever again:

  • I created my Slack community that week and migrated over as quickly as possible.

  • I built other communities on a few other services.

  • I decided to distribute my marketing efforts more equally and frequently across Twitter, LinkedIn, Quora, Medium, Flipboard, etc.

  • I invested in building my mailing list on Substack and created a redundant backup list on another email service.

  • I built more robust websites using open-source software on domains that I own.

My current strategy puts my core website and mailing list entirely under my control. Sure, I still use numerous online services, social media, publishing sites, etc. But, they are simply tools, marketing channels, and ways to grow my audience.

I no longer have a single point of failure or a risky dependency on another company. I will never again make my primary “internet home” on a service that leaves me vulnerable, and neither should you.

Own your domain and control your website.

Owning your website is one way to reduce your professional vulnerability. When you have your own website, people will always be able to find you no matter what happens with any other service (e.g., Facebook goes down, Twitter suspends you).

The first question is; who are the people you most want to find you? The next question is; what do you most want from your website visitors?

Your site can be quite simple or more complex based on how you plan to leverage it. You may already have a website, but is it meeting your needs? Is it in sync with who you are now, your professional brand, and your goals?

Think through some of the following questions.

  • Who is your target audience (e.g., peers, potential employers, customers)?

  • Who are the people you most want to discover your website and spend time exploring and using it?

  • What is your goal with your website (e.g., basic “about me” so people can find you and contact you, your design portfolio to encourage employers to hire you, a writing platform to build an audience for your work, a community to connect with like-minded folks)?

  • What information about you should be on the website?

  • How do you want people to contact you?

  • Do you want to use it as a backup for what you post on other services (e.g., blog posts that duplicate your Medium stories)?

  • Do you need specific functionality (e.g., someone can schedule a call with you, purchase your products, download digital assets)?

  • How will you ensure security?

  • How frequently will you update it?

  • How easy should it be to update information?

  • How much control do you want over the design, customization, branding, etc.?

  • How easy should it be to expand the site (e.g., more landing pages, adding features)?

  • Do you want to use open-source software?

  • Should it be mobile-friendly (the answer should be “yes”)?

  • Should it be SEO-optimized (hint: the answer is always yes)?

  • Do you want to easily embed other media (e.g., video, podcast episodes)?

  • How portable will it be (e.g., easy to migrate to another platform)?

There are more issues you should consider, but this should help you get started thinking through your requirements for a website.

I will always focus on helping you become more invincible in your work and life. Owning your website and making it your primary online home puts you in the driver’s seat. It makes you more invincible and less vulnerable to the whims of tech corporations.

It makes you more resilient and helps you recover quickly from a disaster (e.g., data loss on another platform). Big companies do it. So should you. It would be poor planning for your career to create your entire online presence on only one platform.

Essentially, I don’t want you to lose control of the services, connections, and data you need to build your professional identity. People should always be able to find you, and you should always be able to connect and communicate with them.

When you own and manage your website, you will be in control no matter what happens to the plethora of tech companies and services that may lock you out, fail, or even disappear entirely.

You should have clarity around how you will use your website. What purpose will it serve for you? Who do you want to visit your site? What results are you seeking?

This could include:

  • A place to share your design portfolio.

  • A site for people to learn more about you (e.g., for job interviews).

  • A permanent home online for anyone to find you and contact you.

  • A backup of your professional work history (i.e., instead of hoping that LinkedIn doesn’t lose your data one day).

  • A blog to share your professional expertise, knowledge, point of view, etc.

  • A “hub” that helps people explore all of your online profiles (e.g., Mastodon, Github, Instagram, Soundcloud, LinkedIn, Quora, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, Medium, Twitter, Patreon).

  • A gallery to show off your photography or art.

  • A page to direct visitors to your podcast or music profile.

  • A transactional site where people can hire you for the services you provide as a small business owner (e.g., web design).

  • A way to build a community around a topic you are passionate about.

Designing and building a website takes some time, and it’s tempting to fiddle with it forever. Don’t worry about it! You can keep refining everything and adding more pages and content later. I’ve been tuning my website every month for over 12 years.

Don’t forget to link your website in the bio of all of your online profiles. You might be surprised by how many you have accumulated over the years. Did you forget about that old MySpace page and your Friendster profile? 🤣

You won’t grow you audience if no one knows your website exists. Focus on creating content and SEO.

If you have several accounts tucked away in the dusty corners of the internet, now you know why the exercises this month are so essential. 3rd party services come and go. Their relevance fades away as shiny new sites and apps emerge.

However, your personal website is forever.

You own it. You point everything else at it. You can keep updating it forever. Just make sure you’ve selected a hosting service and software that won’t disappear or become obsolete.

There’s way more that goes into building a website than I can cover here. I give my career community challenges every week that help them with their professional development and career growth. We spend a month talking about finding a domain, choosing a hosting service, designing a website, publishing content on it, and more.


Create case studies and portfolios

You can let your work speak for yourself. I have a solopreneurial friend who despises the idea of marketing himself. But, if people don’t know what he does, they can’t hire him. Right?

So, what I’ve told him is he doesn’t need to literally promote himself. He doesn’t even need to market what he does, per se. He only needs to share the amazing outcomes he delivers. His work is stunning, and it speaks for itself. If he shares it, people always say:

  1. Wow! Did you design that?

  2. Ok, I want something like that. How do I work with you?

Sharing your past work is a great way to build awareness of what you are capable of creating and delivering. No matter what it is that you do, you can find a way to share case studies that describe the following:

  • The problem you were facing.

  • The goals for your project.

  • What you actually did.

  • Your process.

  • The results.

I recommend adding a section to your website to store your case studies. Keep a running history of the work you’ve done. Share new case studies on social media, LinkedIn, etc. so people are aware of them. Let the work speak for itself and people will become aware of you and how amazing you are.

Some people create work that lends itself well to a portfolio, which is slightly different from a case study. But, I’m finding that the two are becoming more blended every year. Portfolios are commonly used by:

  • Designers

  • Artists

  • Photographers

  • Bakers

  • Musicians

  • Engineers

  • Architects

  • Filmmakers

However, I think more people could leverage portfolios than you think. People love seeing the outcome of your work (i.e., your portfolio). But, they also want to hear the story behind it (i.e., the case study).

Your portfolio should be on your website, too. There are services that host portfolios and are specifically designed for that purpose. It can be a useful way to get more attention if the site is good at sending traffic your way. I recommend storing all of your portfolio work on your website because you own it and can make sure it never gets lost. But, it's helpful to put some work on sites such as:

Heck, even GitHub is in some ways a portfolio for engineers. It’s a way to showcase what you’ve created, the problem it solved, and demonstrate how you think.


Microblog your thoughts

Writing articles takes a decent amount of work and time. Podcasting also requires a commitment of time and effort. But, if you want to stay top of mind with your friends and followers, you have to be present in their feeds every day.

When I first started building an audience for my writing on Medium several years ago, I gave myself a challenge. I wrote and published a story every day for a month. It wasn’t easy, and getting into the habit was the hardest part. But, by the end, I was putting out an article every day — sometimes written entirely on my phone while I had my morning coffee.

Unfortunately, I’m a perfectionist. So, it pained me to crank out articles and publish them every day. When I read them again later, I found so many errors that it made my stomach hurt. Ugh.

However, this year I began testing a different strategy. I still write more detailed articles and record a podcast almost every week for my subscribers around career topics, leadership, entrepreneurship, and life. But, I also share very short updates every day on social media, LinkedIn, etc.

I capture my morning thoughts as I journal and drink coffee to start my day. I include space at the top of each page in my paper notebook for a brief statement before I fill the rest of the page with wild and crazy ideas. The statement is usually something that’s been on my mind or a reaction to what’s happening in the world around me. Here are some examples that I’ve shared recently:

  • Unpopular opinion: Your resume won't get you a job. Your portfolio isn't enough to get you a job, either.

  • If you leave and stay away for too long, you can never go back.

  • Diversity makes communities more valuable and interesting.

  • Crisis reveals character.

  • You'll never get unstuck and unblocked if you're stuck in a routine. Shake things up, feed your senses, and challenge your mind. Meet new people, explore new places, and embrace new experiences.

  • Hoping for change is never enough. You have to be willing to take action.

  • If you don't like their rules, don't play their game. If you don't want to leave their game, learn how to suck it up and don't complain. Or… step away and create your own playing field.

  • Everyone has unique talents inside of them. A few recognize what they are and leverage them. Surprisingly, some choose to ignore them. Sadly, most never find a way to unlock them.

I’ll also have ideas that pop into my head during my shower, while I’m eating breakfast, or even while I’m working out. So, I quickly jot them down in Evernote or my Ulysses app.

As you might imagine, writing and posting a thought like this only takes a few seconds every morning. That’s it. But doing this keeps my engagement high on social media.

Every time your posts show up in your follower’s feeds, your profile photo and tagline are a mini billboard advertising you. That’s also why it’s so important to have a great profile photo and headline on LinkedIn, for example (more on that later).

This strategy may feel uncomfortable, but it is pretty easy to execute. I know it’s hard to dump a raw thought into the world and wait for the inevitable criticism that follows. And yes, there will be disagreements and reactions to what you post (by the way, this is a good thing).

But, let me ask you something. Do you see other people sharing their thoughts and opinions online? Why are their ideas any more valid and valuable than yours?

For every critic who argues with you, you’ll probably have a dozen more quiet fans who love what you’re saying and a few that are brave enough to like and comment their praise and agreement. Isn’t it worth connecting with the people who would love to hear what you have to say?

You can use any service that supports and encourages short-form content. For example:


Use social media and other platforms

Love it or hate, social media is where many people generate awareness and build an audience. Some hit it big immediately, like Jenna Ortega, who plays Wednesday Addams in the new Netflix show, Wednesday. She gained 10M Instagram followers in just 10 days!

However, most of us will need to work a lot harder to gain even a few thousand followers. It’s taken me a very, very long time to create a decent audience on various social media services. But, then again, I’m a middle-aged man living a normal life, not an up-and-coming Hollywood star.

I’m not crazy about consuming a lot of social media or spending too much time in the apps. But, it is one channel for you to leverage to make people more aware of you, what you do, and send traffic to your website, newsletter, etc. I’ll always recommend that you pull people to what you own (e.g., your website and email list) vs. letting social media algorithms control who gets to see what you post.

Treat social media like a marketing tool. Use it for your needs instead of letting it use you.

A good strategy for building your social media following is to piggyback on someone else's audience until you have your own followers. In the beginning, it’s pretty difficult to build an audience just by sharing your own content.

When other people read posts from someone with a much larger audience than you have, they’ll see your questions and comments. If they like what they see, they’re more likely to follow you.

The steps I recommend for success with using social media to build awareness and grow your audience:

  • Write a bio for your profile that briefly and clearly explains who you are, what you do, leverages your elevator pitch, and includes a link for people to learn more about you (e.g., your website, newsletter, LinkedIn profile, etc.).

  • Use a profile photo that reflects how you want to be perceived.

  • Consistently post content that aligns with who you are, what you believe in, and demonstrates your talent, knowledge, skills, experience, and expertise.

  • Follow people you admire and would like to learn from, work for, work with, or collaborate with.

  • Frequently engage with the right people in the right way by leaving thoughtful comments and asking smart questions.

  • One of the best ways to get noticed in a good way is to help other people. You can apply your expertise and experience to solve problems for others.

This strategy works on Mastodon, Quora, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and other social media platforms. But, it also works well on LinkedIn, too.


Leverage LinkedIn to show up more often

I didn’t include LinkedIn in the social media section because it is a bit different. Although the service has been borrowing ideas and features from social media, the audience is uniquely focused on professional topics.

Despite what some folks say and do, I still think it’s kind of strange to see someone share a photo of their children or pets on LinkedIn. Yeah, yeah, we get it. You’re a warm human being and you care. Ok.

Your professional headline on LinkedIn is the text that shows up below your name in the introduction card on your profile. It's displayed in search results and can be completely different from the title of your current position.

Your profile photo and headline are more critical than you might realize. It's what people will first see about you when they scroll through LinkedIn search results. Will you catch the eye of a recruiter, hiring manager, or potential client? Or will they scroll right past you because you don't seem like a good match, or you look like everyone else in the list?

Most people make the mistake of only having their job title and current employer as their headline. It’s hard to get noticed when someone searches for a product manager, for example, and receives an endless list of results with:

  • Product Manager at Google

  • Product Manager at Facebook

  • Product Manager at Twitter

  • Product Manager at Oracle

  • Product Manager at SAP

Yawn. Borrrrrrrring!

Stand out!

One of the biggest mistakes people make is that they don’t edit their LinkedIn headline at all. If you don't touch it, LinkedIn will use your most recent job title and company from the Experience section.

But did you know that you can enter up to 220 characters for your headline? Be creative! This is your chance to describe who you are, what you do, and your expertise in a way that stands out.

Also, the more information you put in your headline, the better your chances are of showing up in search results. LinkedIn search, like any search, relies on keyword matches (and I'm sure their algorithmic secret sauce) to return a list of people for queries.

For example, my LinkedIn headline shows what I do, where I used to work, and some personal info about me to be a little more interesting:

LinkedIn headline

The search results pull the text from your headline and display the first few words under your name. When I view the results in a web browser on my laptop, only the first 95 characters are shown.

People search results on LinkedIn

So, choose your words wisely and make sure the first few count. Think about the words, skills, and credentials you want to emphasize to attract attention when people see your name in a list of potential competitors. Make it personal, and have some fun with it, too!

Also, consider what your goal is with Linkedin and target your headline accordingly:

  • Do you want someone to hire you as an employee?

  • What words position you for your next ideal role (i.e., don't constrain your future with a past role)?

  • Are you happily employed, but you’d like to do more public speaking?

  • Are you a hiring manager and trying to attract talent?

  • Do you want to showcase your consulting expertise?

  • Are you trying to promote the services of your company?

  • Are you proud of being a board member?

  • Are you an author and want to promote your latest book?

Feel free to follow me on LinkedIn! I’d love to chat more with you there about the book, topics I post, etc.


Network strategically to boost awareness

I talked about building a more powerful network in Chapter 14. So, I won’t get into the details of how you create, nurture, and grow one.

However, I do want to talk about how you can strategically engage with your network and reconnect with people to boost their awareness of you. Good people like to help other people. But they can’t do that if they don’t know what you’ve been up to and what you’re planning to do next.

I post a lot of content and updates online. I’ve had a few people say, “I’m seeing your stuff everywhere!” I’m happy to hear that, but you know what? I also run into people who still have no idea that I run a coaching business.

Believe it or not, some people don’t use social media. My brother, for example, is a surgeon who has no use for it and barely touches any of the apps. There are also people who only visit LinkedIn when it’s time to look for a new job every few years.

The whole point of generating more awareness is to ensure you become an opportunity magnet for the best things in life. That can’t happen if people aren’t kept up to date with your personal and professional life.

Obviously, you can’t socialize with the hundreds or thousands of people in your extended network. You need to be strategic about who you want to check in with and then spend some time reconnecting with them.

  • Send messages to people to say “Hi!” and update each other about your lives.

  • Schedule some video chats with people to catch up and engage more deeply.

  • Finally, schedule in-person coffee meetups and lunches with the few people who matter the most to you.

The generosity of many folks may surprise you. Once they learn more about what you’re doing and your goals, they’ll be happy to connect you with other people who may help. Invincible lives are built on powerful networks of great people. I wouldn’t be where I am today without my amazing friends, colleagues, and family.


Write stories and articles to get noticed

You know I love writing. I also love encouraging other people to write. Despite the rise of audio and video formats, the written word rules the roost. It still dominates search results, for example.

As I mentioned earlier, Medium is where I got my start as a writer and built a good-sized audience there of over 5,600 followers. I give a great deal of credit to my Medium stories for generating awareness of who I was and the career coaching I provided.

Is this type of awareness worth it? Absolutely.

Many of my early clients found me through a story and reached out to tell me that it resonated with them. They asked me if we could talk more about what was going on with their careers, which led to several consulting engagements.

I still publish on Medium, but I migrated most of my writing activity to Substack. I wanted to create a closer connection with my readers and not have everything mediated through a platform’s algorithm.

Writing is a great way to share who you are, what you believe in, and more about the kind of work you do. It will attract the right people to you, which can then turn into action with the links you share in your articles and bio.

So, that’s an important thing to consider. What do you want people to do when they read something you’ve published, love what you have to say, and want to connect with you? Many options are possible, but you should decide what’s most important for you right now.

For example:

  • Follow you on the publishing platform (e.g., Medium).

  • Subscribe to your writing (e.g., your Substack newsletter).

  • Send you a message.

  • Follow you on social media or LinkedIn.

  • Download more information (e.g., one of your ebooks).

  • Purchase something you’re offering (e.g., schedule a consulting call with you).

Do you already publish your writing online? If so, share a link to your profile or site. I would love to help support your writing!


Build your email list

Speaking of writing, as much as I appreciate how Medium helped me grow an audience there, it’s not portable. If I leave Medium, I leave all of those followers behind. I don’t have their email addresses and I can’t export the list.

Also, Medium throttles the presentation of my stories to my followers. You can have thousands of people following you, but receive only a hundred views on one of your new stories. That’s why I launched my first Substack newsletter years ago. I wanted to own my audience and be able to email my stories to them directly.

Creating an email list is a powerful way to grow your audience and generate more awareness of what you do. You can demonstrate how amazing you are with the people who matter most: those who choose to follow you and your words. This is way more valuable than relying on social media.

  • When you publish your newsletter, it is sent to every single subscriber’s email inbox.

  • Your email list is portable. You can take it with you to any email service provider you want.

Speaking of providers… you know I love Substack for many reasons (e.g., cost, ease of use, podcast hosting, cool features like chat, etc.). But, you do have other choices. Here are some of the top services for managing your email list and publishing a newsletter:

Obviously, there is a lot more to building an email list and publishing a newsletter than I can cover in this section. Every year, I have a series of challenges for my career community that involve setting up a service, choosing a topic, writing content, sending emails to subscribers, and building an audience. You can learn more about it here.


I know this isn’t easy

I know it may not feel comfortable to put yourself out there. If you’re introverted like me, the last thing you want to do is shine a spotlight on yourself. I get it.

However, I’ve learned that being quiet and hoping good things will happen naturally for you isn’t a brilliant strategy. No one cares about creating an amazing life for you as much as you do.

That’s reality.

“Building the Invincible You” requires being proactive and taking matters into your own hands, so great opportunities will come your way.

There is a way to market and promote yourself without feeling gross about it. Consistently and frequently put your thoughts and work out into the world and the right people will find you. They will appreciate who you are, what you stand for, and what you can do.

Slowly but surely, great things will happen!


Key Points

  • You might be the most amazing person in the world, but you won't attract great opportunities if no one knows you exist.

  • Building an audience will help you with many of your professional goals.

  • Generating awareness is not the same as shameless self-promotion.

  • You don’t have to talk about yourself if you don’t want to. Instead, focus on showcasing your expertise and let it speak for itself.

  • Share your work so people will be more aware of you and how talented you are.

  • If you don’t like the idea of marketing, it might help to objectively think of your career as a business and yourself as “the product” that the business sells.

  • You should use multiple channels for sharing online to maximize awareness and build your audiences (e.g., your own website, a portfolio, a mailing list, microblogging, social media, LinkedIn, writing articles and posts, etc.).

  • Strategic networking with good people is still one of the best ways to leverage “word of mouth” so more people know who you are and what you do.


Thank you for reading this chapter. This post is public so feel free to share it.

I’m looking forward to sharing more of my book with you this year! Become a subscriber today to keep reading the draft chapters as I complete them.

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Larry Cornett received his Ph.D. in Psychology from Rice University. He spent decades in the Silicon Valley tech industry as a designer, Design leader, Product executive, and startup founder. He eventually left the corporate world to start a coaching practice and now lives in Northern California near Lake Tahoe with his wife and a gigantic Great Dane. He does his best to share advice to help others create their own invincible lives. He’s also on Mastodon (It’s better than Twitter. Really!).

Larry Cornett