Is Your Personal Brand Driving Leads?

What’s all the buzz you’re hearing about personal branding?  Doesn’t that only work for the Kardashians and other mega-influencers?

As an executive, you play a crucial role in driving leads for your company. Your personal brand is not just a buzzword — it’s a powerful tool that can significantly impact your company’s success.


Let’s use LinkedIn as an example.  The algorithm is geared toward amplifying personal profiles over business profiles.  If you follow the money, LinkedIn generates revenue primarily from premium subscriptions, job postings, learning, and advertising.  Each of these revenue sources comes from individuals.  It is to LinkedIn’s benefit to help individuals find each other because the more time they spend on the platform, and the more effective they find it to be, the more likely they are to use paid services.  

LinkedIn is the social media equivalent of a business network.  Think of it like the world’s largest networking event.  You need to treat LinkedIn like your professional network.  It is not the world of Instagram, where people are trying to pretend their lives are perfect.  On LinkedIn people share triumphs, perspectives, and lessons, but (ideally) at the level they would at the office and in keeping with their professional reputation.  

On social media, sometimes it’s easy to forget that real people are behind the profiles.  It almost seems like a reality show at times.  However, on LinkedIn, you really need to not only grow your followers but actually connect with them.  You have the amazing opportunity to run searches for the types of professionals you would like to meet, engage with their content to start a conversation, and then ideally take that conversation offline to the real world.

Think of it like belonging to a networking organization.  You’ll typically have weekly or monthly meetings, which are a great opportunity to reconnect, but that’s not where real business happens.  Real business happens when you spend time one-on-one with people you meet at an event.  Only during those meetings do you learn more about one another, find commonalities, learn which types of clients or referral partners they’d like to meet, and commit to making introductions to people in your network.  The more you network, the more referrals you’ll receive.

LinkedIn runs the same way.  Just like in real life, the concept of giving in order to receive simply works.  Known in various circles as “the law of reciprocity” or “givers gain,” there is no better way to connect with someone than to offer them an introduction or truly valuable (and free) information or assistance.  There is nothing more annoying than accepting a connection and having their bot drop a sales pitch into your DMs.  Please don’t do that!  You wouldn’t walk into a real-life networking event, spray a bunch of business cards into the room, and then proceed to hard pitch anyone who happened to pick up your card. It goes over on LinkedIn equally well — just don’t.  And if someone ever pitches you a bot service to “bring you 10x the leads on LinkedIn,” please run as fast as you can in the opposite direction.  It takes years to build a professional reputation and only minutes to destroy.

Driving leads from LinkedIn takes patience because (shocker) it requires building relationships with the actual people behind the profiles.  That said, if you’re offering valuable, interesting content daily or weekly, and if your profile has been optimized, you’ll likely have strangers reach out and want to discuss doing business with you because they find your content to be on point.  In fact, some of our largest clients found our CEO on LinkedIn and reached out to start a conversation.  


Don’t be deterred by our earlier comment about fake lives on Instagram!  With 2 billion monthly active users, Instagram still plays host to many real people who may be interested in your brand.  Whether you should attend the Instagram party depends on your industry and brand.  If your business targets end consumers, then without a doubt, you should be on Instagram.  If you target small to mid-sized businesses, then yes, that is also where they hang out.  If you target corporations, Instagram may be less relevant to your lead generation.

But unlike your personal profile, where you may decide to share videos of you partying on a boat with your private profile friends (pro tip — let’s continue to keep that private!), your public profile does need to reflect that you are a professional, albeit in a much more “real” way than LinkedIn. If LinkedIn is from buttoned-up business suits to Friday business casual, then Instagram is shorts and flip-flops on the weekend.  

One of the great things about Instagram is you can showcase that you’re a real person who loves playing frisbee with your rescue mix with that one floppy ear, going for a run with your best friend, watching your favorite sports team, joking with your coworkers, and showing off the harvest from your garden.  But this is your professional profile, so you should also share thoughts on the latest leadership book you read, your excitement about the latest AI tool you’re using, leadership tips, business lessons, and perspectives on current events.  All of these “content pillars,” as we call them in marketing, will be tailored to your personal brand.  And ideally, well over half of your content should be video.  Why?  Video generates twice the engagement of images or carousels.  Lights, camera, action!


And speaking of video, YouTube?  Yes!  We know what you’re thinking: you really don’t want to be on video because it makes you uncomfortable.  You don’t like the sound of your voice or are concerned that nothing you say will be interesting enough to help your reputation.  The truth is, aside from those natural extreme extroverts who would happily jump on stage without a script at a moment’s notice, most people aren’t comfortable in front of a camera when they first do it.  We’ve seen competent litigators who are fearless in the courtroom, then freeze up and forget the name of their firm when the camera goes on.  So you’re not alone!

Choosing the right person to look across the camera from you will be key to growing your confidence.  Work with a creative director who can make you feel like you’re having a conversation across the camera so it feels more natural.  

YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, and it’s owned by Google, so videos optimized for search tend to perform well in ranking. People often turn to YouTube to ask questions, so if you have videos answering questions, you may be the professional they reach out to.  

However, growing a YouTube channel takes more than recording cool content that answers the most popular questions on Google. It requires really thinking about your target audience, checking out which channels are topping the charts in your niche, and looking for patterns in their high-performing videos.  The goal is to have the YouTube algorithm suggest your video to watch after your target audience has watched something else.  So, when doing your competitor sleuthing, check out their thumbnails, topics, how they’re shooting, and how they’re editing.  Are talking head videos gaining more traction, or does it take fancier editing with lots of B roll and quick jumps between clips?  Do their followers (i.e. your ideal followers) pay more attention to YouTube shorts or long-form videos?  As you test your videos, once you land on what works, build more content around it grouped into playlists.  The idea is that once people find you, you’ll want them to go down rabbit holes consuming your content.

Social media usage grew over 30% since the pandemic.  People have been inundated with content since the world went almost completely digital.  Standing out has become more challenging.  Video is a great way to stand out, and YouTube is the top platform for sharing videos.


Despite the controversy regarding this platform, for as long as we have access to it in the U.S., TikTok is an undeniable force in sharing video content. Their algorithm for figuring out and pushing the type of content you’ll like creates a downright addictive experience.  

Should TikTok be part of your personal brand? As with Instagram, we have to give it an “it depends.” The simple rule is that if your personal brand is on Instagram and you have heeded our advice regarding most of your content being video, then you should use video on TikTok as well.  

But TikTok tends to be catchier.  If Instagram is an iced latte, TikTok is a double shot of espresso.  Your videos need a hook.  That doesn’t mean you must attempt the latest couples’ gymnastics moves or that crazy dance that all the cool kids are doing.  But you do need a few memorable minutes.  You can record videos as short as a few seconds to as long as 30 minutes.  Your story video, though, can only be 15 seconds.  Data shows that 3 minutes is the sweet spot for engagement.  Regardless of length, people go to TikTok to be entertained.  So, if you choose exposure for your personal brand on this platform, your best strategy is to focus on punchy statements, a humorous angle to your profession, and quick, helpful facts.  Bonus points for cool graphic editing!


You absolutely must have a blog as part of your personal brand.  If you’re more of a video or audio person, then use a tool like Descript to grab the transcript and then edit it into an SEO-optimized blog.  If you have a personal website that is a great home base for your personal brand, add the blog there.  If not, then be the guest writer for your company’s website, assuming your topics will fit with your company’s voice.  If you want to set yourself apart as a professional, use LinkedIn as your content’s home base.  You can reference it the way you reference your company website.  If you decide to post your blogs to a website, you should also add them as LinkedIn articles, but be sure they’re first indexed by Google.  Google only gives SEO credit to the first page it indexes and tends to prioritize more popular websites.  So if you post your article on LinkedIn simultaneously as you post on your website, then Google will give LinkedIn the credit and not pay attention to your copied content.  You’ll submit a page to be indexed by signing into your Google Search Console account and submitting the URL.  Once you’re able to search your subject line and see your article come up, you’ll know that you’re free to paste it into LinkedIn as well, further adding credibility to your profile.


Does the thought of public speaking make you cringe even more than being on video?  While certainly not for everyone, speaking events can be a great way to boost your personal brand.  They provide a great content opportunity before, during, and after the event.  Before the event, you may be mentioned by the host on their social media or in their newsletter, and you can certainly do the same with your own social media and your company’s newsletter.  

You’ll ideally have someone there to film you during the event or obtain the video from the organizer.  If the best you can do is a friend with an iPhone, be sure to invest in a very inexpensive wireless lapel mic that will pick up your voice while the video is being recorded.  Take a minute after your talk to shoot a 15-second promo of your pending long-form video.  You’ll use it later.  If the organizer allows it, and you’re confident in your delivery because you’ve practiced, consider streaming your talk live.  You can stream directly onto a single social channel or use a tool like StreamYard to go live on several platforms simultaneously.

Following the event, you can share your live stream as a video, use a tool like Descript to grab the transcript, do some basic cleanup with AI, and then turn it into an article. You can also use photos from the event for your social media and take brief excerpts from the transcript to use as social media posts.

While you were there, you may have met other speakers.  Stay in touch as they may open opportunities for you to collaborate on a panel, refer you for another speaking opportunity, or a podcast interview.


Speaking of podcasts, do you have one?  These days, it’s easier than you may think.  “But what will I talk about?” you may wonder.  If your business does exciting or trendy things, then you likely have a long list of potential topics.  But for most of us, it will take some creativity to come up with a theme.  Some podcasts target general business topics.  Our CEO, for example, has had a podcast about marketing and leadership for several years now.  

Your podcast may cater to a much more focused niche, and that can be a great way to build traction.  And it doesn’t need to be all about you if that makes you uncomfortable.  If you’re a good conversationalist, arrange for some guests to interview.  This can be a great way to connect with people you’d like in your network, or with current and potential clients.

You also don’t need a ton of fancy equipment or to rent a studio.  Plan on recording on video if you can.  If you’ve read this far, you know that we’re sounding like a broken record on the importance of video for your marketing!  But we’re proponents of recording and using one piece of content in multiple ways across different platforms.  Fortunately, your smartphone will do the trick when it comes to recording; just be sure you have a tripod, good front-facing lighting, and a separate podcast mic.  You’ll want to pull the audio track from the podcast microphone for the best sound, then sync it with the video.  If you have the opportunity to host guests locally, then investing in a good backdrop and quiet corner in your office to record you both in the same room will create a better visual experience than a split screen.  However, lots of good podcasts have guests in different locations, so it can still work.

Before you invite your first guest, plan your content calendar for the next several episodes.  Think about a flow of content that will appeal to your target audience.  Check out other podcasts in your industry for inspiration, but you don’t need to copy what everyone else does.  Find a unique spin on things that will make you memorable.

Schedule a prep call with your potential guest.  Be sure that you’ve done your homework on their background so you can plan some thought-provoking questions.  Brainstorm with them about a good flow for the episode so you can guide the conversation in an interesting way while giving them the opportunity to think through insightful answers.  This prep call is also a great way to get to know your guest.   

When you have your actual recording call, a typical flow is first to ask them about their background since this will lend credibility to the information they share.  Follow your questions in a non-robotic way, but allow the conversation to flow naturally.  If another related question makes sense, it’s fine to work it in.  If your guest is on a roll, you may only need to prompt them along.  As they wrap up a thought, find a natural way to summarize what you think you just heard, if there was a lesson or recommendation they just shared.  This will help emphasize it for the listener.  At the end, be sure to ask them to share a little about their business and where they can be reached if people want to connect.  This is proper podcast etiquette since that’s why they want to be your guest in the first place.  After you thank them for joining you and close out the episode, leave a few minutes at the end to chat with your guest.  You may be surprised at the opportunities this may lead to!

Your Action Plan

Are you ready to build your personal brand?  Here are the steps to get started:

  • Optimize your LinkedIn profile.  Whether you network offline or online, your connections are likely to check out your LinkedIn.  Make sure it is complete, reflects all that you do, has a recent professional headshot, and a banner that reinforces what you do.  Check out this article for more on optimizing your profile. 
  • Post at least a couple of times weekly on LinkedIn.  Focus on value added content.  Write articles, and share a mix of long and short form posts.
  • Network On LinkedIn.  Posting and ghosting isn’t enough.  You’ll need to make connections and initiate conversations.  Remember to focus on value, just as you would at a real life networking event.
  • Video!  Get comfortable behind a camera so your prospects can get a feel for what it will be like to work with you.
  • Write Articles.  If you’re recording video, this becomes easier as you can delegate someone to write your transcript into an article for you.  But if writing is your sweet spot, do take the time to write at least one article per month for your blog and LinkedIn.
  • Start a Podcast.  This is a great way to raise awareness of your personal brand and make connections with potential clients and referral partners.
  • Seek Out For Speaking Opportunities.  Reach out to professional organizations you belong to, and respond to their call for speakers when they are preparing for events.  Some organizations will also seek out online written interviews which can be an easy way to gain exposure.
  • Consider launching your personal brand website.  It’s a great way to provide a central launching pad for your personal brand content.  When you’re being interviewed and are asked where people can connect with you, you can mention a a single URL where your audience can find out more about you.

Ready to learn more about launching your personal brand?  Reach out to us today!