How to Become Known in 30 Months or Less
As you start your online business, getting known and becoming an expert in your niche can be scary. However, it’s necessary to help you stand out in the noisy digital world. But how do you get known?
Mark Schaefer is a speaker and social media marketing consultant and author of the books “Known” and “Content Code”. Mark considers himself a teacher, gives speeches at events around the world and teaches at Rutgers University in New York City. He has his own blog and podcast. In his latest book, he’s interviewed dozens of successful people and discovered a path to how they made themselves known.
Mark spent most of his career in different corporate marketing positions. “I had a very big job working as global director for a Fortune 100 company. I was at a good point in my life and decided I could start something on my own.” Mark went ahead, and realized very quickly that everything he had built in his career didn’t matter anymore. “Nobody knew me. Nobody knew who I was. I was starting my own company, and my first client was a 22-year old kid who just got out of culinary school and wanted to start a catering business. I was starting at the bottom.” Even though this was 10 years ago, it planted the seed for Mark’s newest book “Known”. “Back then, started asking myself: What does it mean to become known? How can you do that and can anybody do it?”
Big questions like these have always driven Mark. “The book I wrote before was called ‘The Content Code’ and I answered the question how someone can stand out in this world of incredible exploding content.” When his friends started telling him they wanted to become speakers someday, or write a book, but they didn’t know how to get into that position, he kept giving them the same advice: You have to be known. “Then I became obsessed with the question. How do people do it?”
Mark started researching and found that there was a lot of bad advice out there. “I was looking for a path or a process people could follow. I had some ideas but no fixed vision. When I write a book, I let the research write it. I interviewed dozens of people that have become successful all around the world in all kinds of different fields. It turned out they all did the same four things. Without exception, every single time.”
The 4 Step Path to Getting Known
The first step is about being really clear what you want to be known for. “This isn’t necessarily your passion. I found that most people who are successful today didn’t necessarily follow a dream. Always remember that a dream without a plan is a hobby. You need to have a plan. That’s what my book is about. I beg people that if they’re gonna devote years of their life to doing something, they should really think it through.”
Once you know what you want to be known for, you need to figure out where to tell your story. “Can you find a place to tell your story where it’s not already overcrowded by other people telling the same story? If you can find that, you have a much, much greater chance for success.”
The third step addresses how to tell your story. ”This is where a lot of people get overwhelmed. I always say that it doesn’t have to be that overwhelming. Generally, to have the opportunity for vast reach and vast connection, you have to produce content using either writing, audio or video. You have to pick one of those three and then you have to do that consistently for a pretty long period of time.” On average, it took the people Mark interviewed in his book two and a half years to become known. “Consistency almost became the fifth part of this path, but then I thought consistency really is the underlying foundation for everything.”
The fourth step is to pursue an audience that matters. “It’s different than just growing your followers on social media. Social media connections are weak relational links. It’s like shaking their hand. In the book, I talk about how to build an audience that really matters.”
Antonio Centeno’s Success Story
Antonio Centeno is the first person Mark interviewed for his book. “He set the tone for the rest of the book for me. Antonio grew up in a dusty trailer park in a poor part of the US. He didn’t really have much, and wasn’t an expert in anything. Eventually he joined the military and became an officer. When he put on his uniform for the first time, he felt something he had never felt before. He felt proud. He felt respected. He started to make this connection that how you appear can affect your attitude and maybe your success in life. Long story short, he started an online business selling suits. It didn’t work out great, but he started creating content to support his business and people loved his ideas. He realized that there wasn’t anybody creating short videos to explain fashion tips for men and went for it.”
To apply Mark’s path to Antonio’s story: First he identified fashion tips for men as his sustainable interest. He established his space, telling his story through videos “Antonio didn’t like videos. He was nervous about doing them. But he told me that he was determined to learn how to do them.” Antonio created 200 videos in 200 days and kept being consistent. Then he built an emotional connection with his audience. “They were kind of cheering him on. He told me he never had a viral video, but that he didn’t need it, because all he had to do was build an audience of enough people who would pay him for what he does.” Today, he’s a millionaire. “He really hit on all these key ideas and he did it with energy and with determination and with a certain amount of grit to keep going.”
While interviewing people for his book, every person at some point told Mark that what keeps them going is the knowledge that they’re making a difference. “Antonio grew up as a very poor person. He wanted to be able to have a career that could provide opportunities for his children because he never had those options as a child. It really is this idea of purpose that keeps you going.”
Having a Plan
Mark says that everybody has the opportunity to be known. “I interviewed people who at one point had been homeless, bankrupt, desperate. Then they’ve grabbed this amazing opportunity. 30 years ago, I’d have to be on television or in the newspaper to get known. Someone else would decide whether I would be known or not. Today, I don’t have to be picked by someone. I can pick myself. I can choose to write a blog or create a podcast or create a video series. I can make that choice. I can find my own audience in the world. Everybody can do that.”
The biggest problem is that people quit too soon, Mark says. “Not everyone can have the grit to keep on going even when it’s difficult. That’s the biggest challenge.” Mark himself has stumbled around for a while before he found his way. “If I would start over today, the first thing I would do is have a plan. It may not be perfect, but you’ll learn and you’ll adjust and you’ll adapt, but just have that plan. Be consistent, be persistent, be resilient and you’ve got as good a chance as anybody.”
Mark’s 4 Strategies for Becoming Known in Your Industry:
- Be clear on what you want to be known for.
- Find a place to share your story.
- Learn how to tell your story.
- Pursue an audience that matters.
Connect with Mark Schaefer:
- Businesses Grow website
- The Marketing Companion Podcast
- Known: The Handbook for Building and Unleashing Your Personal Brand in the Digital Age
- The Content Code: Six Essential Strategies to Ignite Your Content, Your Marketing, and Your Business
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