This month’s #ContentWritingChat was actually inspired by a tweet.

Well, a thread of tweets. All written by a previous guest on our chat, Liz Willits.

In 2020, Liz made the decision to leave her job and build her own marketing business. She wound up sharing 20 takeaways she learned since taking that leap and provided some amazing nuggets of wisdom in the process.

And we thought it would make the perfect Twitter chat on building a successful online brand, something many people are striving to do today. So, let’s dive into the recap!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Marketing Yourself to Build a Successful Online Brand with Liz Willits

As mentioned, our guest host for this month’s chat was Liz Willits. She’s a marketer for SaaS startups, conversion copywriter, and and instructor at UVM.

Q1: Marketing yourself can be tricky, especially when your niche is saturated. How can you ensure you’re standing out from the rest?

Liz’s advice is to become the expert for the industry you’re in or the service you provide. When you’re a master at what you do, it helps you to stand out and attract all the right people to your brand. People want to know you know your stuff and showing up, adding value, and stepping into the role of an expert will help do that.

As Kushlani pointed out, it’s important to add value. If you aren’t adding value, why would anyone bother following you or engaging with you? Know what you have to offer your audience and deliver it consistently through your chosen channels (blog, podcast, social media, etc.).

To stand out, you have to use your voice. Be willing to speak up and share your thoughts and opinions. Teach people things they’re interested in learning. You can’t build a brand if you aren’t putting yourself out there and providing value.

Having a clear brand message will allow you to attract the right people to your corner of the internet. Make it obvious what you do and who you serve so people who are looking for what you have to offer will find you and connect with you.

Q2: Social media is a great way to market yourself and build a brand. When you’re just getting started, how do you choose which platforms to use? Should you focus on only one in the beginning before expanding to others?

Liz suggests focusing on just one platform when you’re just starting out. Sometimes it can be overwhelming to do too much at once. That means you want to be smart about which platform you invest your time and energy into. She suggests first determining where your audience is before going any further.

Masooma feels the same way. The social media platforms you want to be on are the ones where your audience is frequently hanging out. If you’re on the wrong platforms, they won’t stand a chance at finding you.

As Shawn said, you don’t have to jump on a new platform just because it’s what everyone else is doing. If your audience isn’t on TikTok, it won’t be worthwhile for you to invest energy into creating content there. Focus on being where your audience spends the most time.

Kathryn offered a great tip to implement whenever new social media platforms come along. Even if you aren’t sure it’s a platform you’ll use right away, it’s still worthwhile to create an account and secure your username. This way, it’ll be there for you should you decide to sign up for and use the platform.

Q3: Is it worthwhile to land speaking opportunities on podcasts and at conferences? If so, how can you pitch yourself as a credible guest speaker?

Liz thinks speaking opportunities are definitely worth it. However, if you’re serious about building a successful online brand, you want to be smart about which opportunities you say yes to.

As Sarah mentioned, speaking on podcasts or on the big stage at conferences will help you establish yourself as an expert in your field. Then, you can list those accomplishments on your website to boost credibility.

If you’re going to pitch yourself for an opportunities of this nature, find a unique perspective to focus on. This will help you stand out from the other pitches.

This is a great piece of advice from Masooma. When pitching, make sure you’re focused on reaching out to platforms that will help you reach more people within your target audience. Then, make it a point to connect with the host on social media and establish a relationship.

Carla agrees that you want these speaking opportunities to be relevant to your target audience. Your content will appeal to them and it’ll be easier to generate conversions if that’s your end goal.

Just make sure you keep track of all these speaking engagements so you can utilize them as a portfolio in the future. They’ll come in handy when pitching yourself for future opportunities.

Q4: As you build your brand, is it better to have a bunch of offerings or a few key services/products that you provide to your audience? Why?

Liz’s advice is to keep it simple. It’s easier to handle when you only have a few key services that provide a solution your target audience is looking for.

It’s always better to be an expert at a few things, rather than “just okay” at a bunch of things. Don’t allow yourself to get distracted by what everyone else is doing.

Julia suggests creating and growing one service first. Stay focused and put in the work to grow and build your community. She even shared a helpful workshop that you may find beneficial if you’re wanting to build a team to help. Check it out in the link above.

By sticking with just a few services, you can experiment and see what works best for you and your audience. Then, it’ll be easier to make changes along the way. Should you want to add more products or services later on, you can do that.

You can always expand your offerings down the line based on what your audience needs. Dana knows it’s important to listen to what’s resonating with your customers, so don’t be afraid to adapt if necessary.

Q5: Should new brands invest in email marketing? What benefits does it provide?

As Liz said, the great thing about an email list is that you control it. Those who have subscribed to your list have chosen to be there, are awaiting content from you, and are often ready to engage with what you have to say.

Kushlani said that email is a great way to educate and nurture your audience over time. You just need to make sure you stick with it and keep your list “warm” by sending out new content on a regular basis.

Carla brings up a great point about how we don’t own the social media platforms we invest so much time and energy into. However, you do own your email list. It’s important to focus your efforts on something you own and are in control of.

And as Masooma said, you don’t have to worry about algorithms with your email list. Instead of being at the mercy of ever-changing social media algorithms that control how your content is ranked, you can simply write and email and hit send, knowing it’ll lend in subscribers’ inboxes.

Offering freebies is a great way to start building your list. Then, it’s up to you to send great emails that keep your list engaged. Check out Julia’s freebie (linked above) for tips.

Once you have built that list, take Shawn’s advice. Don’t spam your subscribers.

And let’s face it, the sooner you get started, the better. Don’t wait to begin building that list!

Q6: What’s the best advice you have for someone looking to start their own brand?

If you want to start your own brand, never let fear stand in your way. There’s always going to be something scary that pops up, but you can’t let it stop you. If you do, you’ll always regret that you didn’t go for it.

Julia’s advice is to build a brand around something you’ll actually enjoy doing. It’s going to be hard work and if you don’t love it, you’ll get discouraged quickly.

This is an amazing quote that Shawn shared. Remember it.

Carla offered some helpful tips, such as getting clear on your offer and who your audience is, building an email list, etc. There’s so much to do, but really you just need to get started.

The right investments can go a long way in growing your brand. Joana suggests investing in website visuals because that can help you stand out and will leave a good first impression.

So many great tidbits in this tweet! Focus on adding value, experiment with new things, and be consistent. Definitely take this advice to heart.

Q7: How do you know when it’s the right time to leave your day job and go full-time with your own brand?

For Liz, she knew it was right to go full-time once she had built a substantial LinkedIn following, had 7+ months of a financial safety net, and she knew there was a demand for the work she was doing. Consider these same things when making this decision for yourself.

Carla suggests using your current job to fund your dream. Once your brand can sustain you financially, you may want to consider stepping down from your day job.

And sometimes there’s just this inner knowing that it’s the right time to focus on your brand full-time.

Want to join us for the next #ContentWritingChat? It happens on the first Tuesday of every month at 10 AM Central. Follow @ExpWriters and @writingchat to stay updated.

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