If I read them 10 years ago, my journey today would be different.
I embarked on the journey of being a full-time digital creator in 2021.
Since then, I’ve easily made at least 4x of what I used to make in my day job every month. But no, it’s not just about the money.
I’ve travelled to five countries, picked up a new hobby, adopted a dog, and have a more active social life than I ever could have imagined was possible.
All of this happened only because of one thing: finding high-ticket clients that value my skills. The work I’d put in since 2014 served as a footing so I could aim for the stars.
In other words, my personal brand gave me the freedom, time, and confidence to pursue a career where my heart is fulfilled.
And you can do the same.
No, I’m not exaggerating or selling false dreams. I’ve been writing online for about 8 years before I decided to make a career out of my passion.
If I’d known some personal branding secrets at the onset of my online writing career, my journey today would have been vastly different. I read these books over the course of the past year, but they’ve taught me so many skills, I can already see a sea change in my online personal branding efforts.
If you’re looking to establish footing as a digital creator in 2024, you should definitely go through these books to build the necessary mindset and skills for success.
1. Platform by Cynthia Johnson
Irrespective of your career path, a certain level of online presence is necessary to scale in your field. If you’ve decided to build and grow your brand this year, I have a wonderful book recommendation for you to get started.
Platform by Cynthia Johnson is my best pick to get started with personal branding. I’ve learned the importance of having an audience and creating value for them. If I hadn’t taken that leap of faith to grow my LinkedIn and write on Medium, my life wouldn’t have changed this much. This book encourages you to take that first step.
It’s a guidebook to learn about the four elements of a strong personal brand namely,
- Personal proof: shows your qualifications, experience, and achievements.
- Social proof: endorsements, referrals, followers, and content creation.
- Association: collaborations, blogs and publications, connections, and much more.
- Recognition for what you do.
With many real-life examples and branding stories, Platform by Cynthia Johnson tells you how to be known for being yourself and build your unique online presence. I loved that the book had plenty of real-life case studies on branding, brand messaging, and how game theory can be applied to personal branding. It was worth the read.
My favorite quotes from Platform by Cynthia Johnson
“Brands are not products, they are symbols for what the products represent.”
“Your brand is not about you: it is 100% based on others’ opinions of you.”
“Your brand, when it comes to getting more work and recognition, is 30% — 50% dependent on your network, how they perceive you, and what they know about you.”
2. Influencer By Brittany Hennessy
Social media influencers have a unique way of expressing themselves online. Every influencer once started with zero followers and made lots of mistakes to reach where they are.
Influencer by Brittany Hennessy can guide you through the journey of crafting your unique personal brand online. It has some groundbreaking strategies for creating content that converts viewers into followers, like
- using hashtags,
- getting an edge over your competitors, and
- monetizing your account.
Even if you want to become a social media manager or strategist, this book has tons of advice for you. Influencer not only talks about increasing the number of followers but also the quality of content to engage with your audience. It also sheds light on how influencers can charge for the value they bring to the brand and per post charge based on distribution fee and talent rate.
Influencer by Brittany Hennessy is one of the finest books I’ve read about utilizing the four largest social media platforms and becoming a creator instead of a consumer. If you’re serious about your career as a digital creator, this book can help you in building an audience, monetizing your influence, signing contracts, and working with a team.
My favorite quotes from Influencer By Brittany Hennessy
“Chances are your haters are just fans who can’t express themselves in a way that makes any logical sense because there’s a thin line between love and hate.”
“A good influencer, the type you will be after reading this book, would never promote something she wouldn’t organically share even if she’s being paid by a brand.”
3. Branding Pays by Karen Kang
I’ve learned the hard way that simply being good at what you do won’t help you reach where you want to be. You should know how to market yourself to reach the right audience.
If you’re willing to reinvent your brand, then Branding Pays by Karen Kang will teach you personal branding in five steps. It’s one of the best practical guides on branding, offering a complete strategic plan to build your brand.
I liked the book’s logic of comparing branding to baking a cake with icing. The cake represents the rational value of a brand, and the icing represents the influence or emotional value. You don’t want to make mistakes baking this cake. So, start with self-assessment and evaluate your strengths, weaknesses, values, and passion. Then, create a vision for your brand, including goals to achieve and your target audience. Building a strategy and leveraging social media would be the next step. Finally, execute your plan and be consistent to see awesome results. This book can guide you through each step and help you build a powerful online presence.
My favorite quotes from Branding Pays by Karen Kang
“Authenticity is magnetic. The more you reveal your true self, the more others will be drawn to you.”
“A personal brand is not about creating a persona; it’s about revealing who you truly are in the most compelling way possible.”
“Consistency in actions breeds trust; trust is the foundation of a strong personal brand.”
4. Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk
Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk is a game changer for anyone looking to grow a loyal audience base on social media. The title of the book metaphorically means jabbing or softening the audience through your value-driven content, and then using the right hook or a compelling CTA.
Here, “jabs” refer to providing value to the audience first, through your consistent and entertaining content, before asking for something in return. The book also emphasizes the power of storytelling and building a stronger emotional connection with the audience.
The book provides an understanding of different social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter, and talks about their unique dynamics. If your content isn’t tailored for each platform you won’t be able to reach the target audience.
There’s a lot to learn from this book like creating compelling visual content and becoming aware of the current trends. The book also suggests using analytics tools and data to check the effectiveness of social media campaigns and make informed decisions. Overall Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk is a great book to step up your branding game.
My favorite quotes from Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk
“It took thirty-eight years before 50 million people gained access to radios. It took television thirteen years to earn an audience that size. It took Instagram a year and a half.”
“Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at. Make it fun to read.”
“Being cool has nothing to do with age; it has to do with how solid your identity is.”
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