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PODCAST: Personal Branding Masterclass with Rajen Mistry
I’ll bet good money you’ve heard the term personal branding a lot in the last couple of years.
And for good reason. Every man and his dog has seen the potential of building a personal brand, from leading CEOs to start-up founders, copywriters and agency bosses. It’s most evident on LinkedIn, where you see the same personalities showing up regularly, posting updates on their work, life and everything in between. But not everyone has got it mastered. Not yet, anyway.
I invited Rajen Mistry from specialist consultancy Founder Story to take me through what it takes to build a personal brand and why you should. Rajen shares generously, and there are lots of takeaways, tips and ideas about what to do and how to measure results.
If you want a leg up on the journey to building an authentic personal brand that positions you as an expert and gets you noticed, you know what to do.
I hope you enjoy the show:
Connect with Rajen here:
Other Episodes of Through the Line you might enjoy:
Here are some shortcuts to the highlights of our conversation:
Creating a Personal Brand [00:00:00] The importance of personal branding, challenges of creating a personal brand, and benefits of having a personal brand.
Helping Aspiring Founders [00:03:39] The challenges of telling your story, helping aspiring founders who are modest or shy, and the importance of getting your story out.
Authenticity in Personal Branding [00:05:47] The importance of authenticity in personal branding, being confident and happy with yourself, and the process of excavating traits about yourself.
Finding Sustainable Interest [00:08:59] Rajen discusses the importance of finding a sustainable interest that relates to your business or career when creating a personal brand.
Four Key Areas of Brand Strategy [00:10:59] Rajen breaks down the four key areas of brand strategy for personal branding: why you exist, who you are, how you behave, and how you look, feel, and sound.
Importance of Content and Platforms [00:16:22] Rajen emphasizes the importance of showcasing content through thought leadership and choosing the right platforms to reach your audience, with LinkedIn being a good starting point for personal branding.
The Challenge of Posting on LinkedIn [00:17:42] Rajen and Andy discuss the low percentage of people who post on LinkedIn and the challenge of being seen in a crowded feed.
The Importance of Content Pillars [00:23:27] Rajen recommends having three main content pillars with subtopics to keep content focused but not boring.
Frequency of Posting [00:25:03] Rajen suggests starting with a few posts a week and focusing on trial and error rather than getting stuck on creating one perfect post.
Consistency and Quality [00:25:51] Rajen discusses the importance of consistency and quality in creating a personal brand, and how to balance the two over time.
Measuring Engagement [00:26:46] Rajen emphasizes the importance of measuring engagement, particularly through direct messages and inquiries, and suggests commenting on other people’s posts as a way to be seen.
Examples of Successful Personal Brands [00:30:30] Rajen shares examples of individuals who have successfully built their personal brands, including Ash Rathford and Ben Miir, and highlights the importance of authenticity, showcasing talents, and providing valuable content.
Creating Authentic Personal Brand [00:33:57] The importance of finding a balance between personal and professional content, and the value of showing vulnerability and personality in posts.
Lessons from Personal Story [00:35:45] The power of sharing personal stories that provide value and lessons, and how they can be an evergreen salesperson for your personal brand.
Contacting Rajen [00:37:26] How to contact Rajen for personal branding help, including his LinkedIn and website.
Prefer to Read? We Got You. Here’s the Full Transcript
And here’s the full transcript for those of you who like to read:
Andy (00:00:00) – If you haven’t heard the term personal branding, at some point over the last couple of years, you must have been living under a rock.
Welcome to Through the Line, the Agency Squared podcast with me, Andy Bargery. In today’s show, I am talking with Rajen Mystery from Founders Story all about the who, what, where, why, and how of creating a personal brand. Why should we go to the extent of regularly publishing, putting ourselves out there on LinkedIn and other platforms, just to build a following to show off who we are. And if we do, how do we measure the success? How do we determine whether the results are worth all of the effort?
Have a listen to this show. If you’ve been thinking about exploring personal branding for yourself or for a colleague or a boss or a client, I promise you Rajen shares a lot of value, loads of action, tips, tricks, and insights. Enjoy the show.
Rajen; Good morning. How are you doing today?
Rajen (00:01:00) – Uh, not too bad, Andy. Very well, it’s Tuesday and it’s, the sun is shining and I’m all good.
Andy (00:01:07) – The sun is shining. And you’re in Cambridge in the UK, aren’t you?
Rajen (00:01:11) – I am, absolutely. It’s the place to be at the moment. Love it. .
Andy (00:01:16) – Yeah, I must admit, I do like Cambridge. I don’t live a million miles away from there, and it’s such a nice place to visit, uh, as well as I guess to work. Um, so yeah, definitely.
Andy (00:01:26) – Thank you for coming on the show. I’m really pleased to hear because I’m, I’m, I’m hoping that you can explain to me personal branding because I think that it’s one of those subjects that has become very popular, increasingly important and probably quite prominent over the last, I don’t know what, 2, 3, 4 years where people have really started to understand the value of personal brand. But I think people haven’t really understood how to create a personal brand. And I think at Founder’s story, which is the consultancy that you run, that’s what your expertise is, right? In helping people to tell their story. Am I, am I right?
Rajen (00:02:07) – Yeah, absolutely. That’s exactly what I do. Um, it’s something I’ve been kind of working on recently, specifically, obviously my background’s in branding for over 20 years, but recently been really excited to kind of work with founders, CEOs, executives. And what it is, is ultimately parcel branding is about, you know, creating a set of associations about yourself. It’s about your reputation and it’s nothing kind of new in that sense. You know, we’ve all been used to this in terms of the kind of PR world and um, you know, people kind of creating their brands as it were. But I think it’s kind of democratized in that way where people have understood what it is now and, you know, there’s the ability to kind of take charge of that yourself. And that’s really what I help people do because nowadays we all know that people buy from people. And the more
Andy (00:03:02) – Is that, is that the main why here arjen is just because as you say, people buy from people, so the better your target audience gets to know you through the communications you put out, yeah. The more likely they are to pick up the phone and say hello.
Rajen (00:03:15) – Yeah, that’s it. Exactly that. And I think, um, the more you can differentiate yourself, more that you can get out there. And I think the, the term getting out there is also quite a tricky one for some people to get their head around, you know? Cause oh I, you know, we’ve been British. Oh, we don’t wanna be out there. I don’t wanna be talking about myself too much.
Andy (00:03:33) – I can’t be seen as the expert. I’m a little bit uncomfortable with hearing my own voice or seeing my own picture.
Rajen (00:03:39) – Exactly. And I think that’s part of the challenge, I think, speaking to the founders I do speak to is that they have, you know, and one of the things I’m, um, passionate about is helping those aspiring founders who are probably a bit hidden, a little bit modest, a bit shy, perhaps not, you know, uh, confident about telling their story. Uh, and they’re the people I really wanna work with. I think being in Cambridge, I’ve been quite spoiled to have so many great founders around me, so not very entrepreneurial space. And where I particularly work here in the Bradfield Center on the science park, there’s a ton of founders and entrepreneurs all around me doing amazing things.
Andy (00:04:20) – It’s quite, quite rich picking.
Rajen (00:04:22) – It’s, yeah, it’s, it’s, I mean, uh, you know, I’ve been here about two years now and you know, every time you go to the, to grab a coffee bump into somebody and you go, oh, I’ve not seen you before, have a little chat, you know, and if they’re confident, they’ll probably mention a few things about what they’re doing. And, you know, that’s how I kind of bump into these founders. Um, but the amazing thing is that there’s so many founders doing amazing things, and I think that’s the, the passion I have is to get those stories out and enable them to kind of get their idea out and to sell their idea. Cuz ultimately, you know, it’s the story and the personality of yourself is that’s what’s gonna get you in the room with a potential investor. Um, your story’s gonna help you sell that work, that idea. And really the more ideas we can actually move from an idea to an executionable thing or a business, you know, the world goes around a bit more quicker, you have more people being employed, there’s more interesting things happening. And so, you know, it’s a bit of a stretched goal, but that’s how I’d like to play my part in the ecosystem.
Andy (00:05:30) – Yeah, I can see that. I think that your, your empowering startups or early stage companies to grow and, and that obviously adds to the value of an economy and, and so on and so forth. So I totally get that. So what makes a good personal brand then?
Rajen (00:05:47) – I think a good personal brand is something that is very authentic. I think, I know it’s a bit of a cringey word sometimes I think people think authentic, but re the reality is the more you can be yourself and really it’s a kind of inside job really like the fact that you need to kind of be confident and happy with yourself and you begin there, listen to yourself, listen to um, you know, your values, your passions, your strengths. And this is something I do with, with my founders where we have a, an interview session to kind of extract and excavate that kind of, those kind of traits about themselves. Because that’s probably the hardest thing to do, right? If you had a piece, piece of paper and I said to you, can you just write all these things down for me? Probably scratch your head for quite a while, but having a conversation with somebody, it’s easier to kind of extract that information. And that’s where I’d say people really need to start.
Andy (00:06:43) – Yeah. And I’d say, I suppose you can guide them through what might be interesting to an audience, whereas if you are, if you’re just looking at yourself, you might not be too sure is, you know, what do people care about? Why, why would someone to hear about me and my background and my story? And I think you can grind them through that process. It perhaps gives them confidence that, you know, you know, what is likely to be of interest to their target audience.
Rajen (00:07:08) – Yeah. And I think that process is a absolutely that, because a, it’s kind of a way for them to open up a little bit. Uh, you’ve got someone else in the room helping you kind of notice those things about you. And maybe commenting on the fact that, oh, that’s a, that’s really interesting what you’re saying there about your values or I didn’t realize that about your strengths or Yeah, or your passions. And I think when you hear something back, you kind of, you know, take that on board, you kind of feel a bit more confident. Um, so it’s really a kind of a learning process and, and a kind of confidence process. And yeah, I love it. It’s really interesting. And I think building that side of you up first is the kind of premise and really from there, what you’re trying to do with your personal brand is position yourself in a certain way that enables you to kind of either stand out, uh, have a point of view, have a perspective that allows you to be noticed, um, but also at the same time it’s authentic. It’s something that you can naturally talk about that you can sustain over a period of period of time and continue to kind of, you know, build your authority in that area. And cuz once you have that, you can move on to your story.
Andy (00:08:20) – Yeah. That, I think that that term sustain there is quite important. Uh, and you know, if you, if I look at the people I’ve seen who clearly have their house in order with a personal brand, they are very consistent over the long term sharing what they’re up to. And, you know, sometimes I might think oversharing a little bit, but that’s my perspective. And being a probably a slightly reserved Brit, that’s probably my comfort zone. And, and others are more, are happier to be regularly posting personal stories and sharing what they’re up to. But I, I think that that sustaining that over a a, a decent period of time is really important, isn’t it?
Rajen (00:08:59) – Yeah, definitely. And that, I think that’s part of the process of finding, you know, when you talk about your passions, it it’s not, we don’t wanna just be talking about your passions. Cause if it’s just like, you know, you love football or whatever it is, that’s great, but it, it has to be the
Andy (00:09:15) – City. Roger, that’s what we could talk about. ,
Rajen (00:09:20) – Ultimately has to be related to what you are gonna be doing in terms of, you know, I guess your business, your career. So finding that kind of sustainable interest, that kind of thing that you can kind of build onto. But how so other, other strands to it as well. Like for me, you know, branding is the overall thing. You know, I’m a creative person. Branding is the kind of main theme and then there’s kind of subthemes within that like, you know, personal development or, um, storytelling, uh, creativity. And then there’s probably subthemes below that as well. And once you kind of have that kind of matrix, the good thing is that you’ve got that to reference, but also, you know, then you can add your personal stories into that as well. So Oh yeah, that’s definitely one thing to kind of bear in mind. And, and if you can sustain that, and you’re right, you know, branding, like anything for companies, for example, and my background’s obviously been, uh, branding four companies over a long period of time, bringing that sort of stuff across is really important. And consistency is, is is super important. Like, like anything, you know, you practice it, you get better at it. And even myself, you know, I’m still learning, yeah, I’m building my brand, but over time it’s really helped me, you know, in, in the kind of periods, uh, in between work or, or when I needed to grow my agency. I think I, I just built my agency off the back of my network, you know, the, the kind of reputation I’d built over, over that long period of time. Um, so yeah, it’s quite important.
Andy (00:10:48) – So are there quite a lot of other lessons that we can take from, I suppose, product brand management and apply those to people, brand management or personal branding?
Rajen (00:10:59) – Yeah, definitely. Um, so one of the people I follow, and I’ll mention that again later, is, is Sarah Rob. Um, she’s a brand strategist. And my background, again being brand strategy, brand expression and activation, there’s lots of terms around purpose and, and, and things like that. And how to kind of put a brand strategy together and what, what really it it is. And she’s great at breaking this down, uh, into very into four key areas. Um, you know, learn about why you exist. So in the case of the person brand, you know, why you do what you do. The other piece is who are you, so what are your values? How can you kind of describe those three, four values? Can you do that for a company? You can do that for yourself. And then really how then do you behave? How do you kind of act upon your values is the kind of other piece to that.
Rajen (00:11:50) – And writing those things around, you know, your principles, shall we say that? Back up your, your values. Um, and then the third bit is, you know, what is it that you actually do? Can you describe it very succinctly and clearly? Uh, and that again applies to both, you know, the company and yourself. And then the final piece is how, how do you look, feel, and sound. That’s the kind of the final piece really. So again, that’s more the descriptors around how you show up. Um, and again, that kind of applies in the past brand again, the things I do around, you know, your stories part of that, your kind of, how do you show up in your, in your photography, um, maybe on a podcast, you know, things like that, your style tho those sorts of elements can cannot come into that. Um, so that’s a great example of taking something which can sound very complex and verbose and and and complicated and bringing that down to a very simple four step, uh, kind of clear process and a brand strategy that can apply to yourself and to your company. Yeah,
Andy (00:12:54) – That, I mean, that really reminds me of the, uh, Interbrand’s brand onion, those kind of different layers that go into making up a brand. And you’ve just walked me through that in a really straightforward, simple and easy to understand process really quickly. So that was great and I like that where you can apply, I suppose management thinking to personal branding and you know, the way you present yourself. Yeah. So you talked in there about imagery as well and some of the tools you might use and, and I think photography is quite a core part of, of personal brand and I’ve seen that actually on your website’s, some lovely imagery as well, Roger, pay a little nice compliment. There you go with the camera, aren’t you, , thank you. So how important is it to have kind of multiple different, um, formats of media, shall we say, content going out through your personal brand?
Rajen (00:13:40) – Yeah, I think, um, again, this is coming back to your personal brand strategy. So when we go through this, you want to kind of look at yourself and your personality and see what you, na again, what you naturally feel comfortable with. So number one, yes, photography is quite ubiquitous, we all use it, but you know, there’s a, there’s different ways of utilizing that. So I’d say photography, you know, I’m a proponent obviously of trying to take, when I say professional photos, you know, I don’t mean kind of corporate sort of boring photos, obviously they’re quite useful for certain scenarios, but I think my, my approach is really visual storytelling, try and get the kind of person in their setting comfortable in their environment. That’s really, really important. And if you can get a whole range of shots now there’s this portrait photography that you can have, which could just be obviously yourself in the different settings and things like that.
Rajen (00:14:33) – But also beyond that, some brand photography could be a kind of wider piece where you are kind of showcasing either your product, your service, your team, your co-founders, your where you are, your location, maybe interactions with your clients, how you go about doing things. So there’s a huge kind of story you can tell there. And again, it doesn’t need to take a lot of time, you know, you could do that in a probably half a day session to a day session and get a lot of content there, which you can then kind of showcase, uh, your posts and things. Now the other side of it is, for example, depending on your personality, if you are an introvert or you’re an extrovert, that’s quite a big thing that plays into a lot of the founders I speak to. And there’s probably different ways you can go about doing that.
Rajen (00:15:18) – So for example, what we’re doing right now here on this kind of podcast is a great way for in introverts to probably kind of get out some content because you know, you don’t have to do it live. You can speak to one person, you don’t even have to have your camera on. And so that’s a great example of, uh, a piece of content that you can get out which suits your personality, right? Others could be on stage and do a talk. Um, I was invited to a panel talk a couple of weeks ago and I was like, okay, I’ll give this a go. Cuz that was kind of doing public speaking, but in a kind of structured format, uh, and and alongside other people. So that kind of suited me quite well. And today I’m on a podcast with you. So I think there’s different, I think you should think about your own strengths, think about what you’re comfortable with, and then start there and then kind of build out from there basically. But yeah, content is, is key really. Like if you can showcase your content through this thought leadership that you need to kind of start to get out there to kind of build a, build a little bit of authority, um, that’s really important.
Andy (00:16:22) – And, and I guess when we are talking about getting our content out there, I think most people that, at least I see anyway, you see a lot of this executed through LinkedIn and you see an awful lot of content going on through LinkedIn and that kind of, to me feels like the first step on the ladder is to start telling more stories through LinkedIn and it ing to explore, you know, what are interesting stories, how do you compose an interesting story that might be relevant, but, but that feels like it’s just the tip of the iceberg, I suppose. There’s much more than that, isn’t there that, that we can build up to much bigger opportunities and, but that’s a good starting point.
Rajen (00:17:00) – Yeah, absolutely. Um, yeah, so working with the founders, I do, I think after we’ve done the brand strategy work, the story work, the photography, essentially you’ve built all these assets and really then the next stage is, okay, so what platforms are you gonna be on? Where do you wanna start? Mm-hmm. And again, this is to do with your own maybe your niche, um, maybe considering where you, your audience is, which is obviously a key thing, um, to think about. Like for myself, um, you know, founder CEOs are predominantly on LinkedIn. Not all are there because they’re very busy, you know, working on their product, et cetera. So, so LinkedIn is definitely a good place, you know, with whatever 900 million people. Is
Andy (00:17:39) – That where it is now? A 900 million? It’s a pretty big audience, isn’t it?
Rajen (00:17:42) – Yeah, I think so. Around there, yeah. But only three to 5% of people actually are creators or post anything. So there’s an opportunity there. So only three to 5% of people actually post anything on LinkedIn.
Andy (00:17:57) – Janette, it doesn’t feel that way. , you know, sometimes when you look at your LinkedIn feed, it’s just, it feels to me like, and this is the algorithm, obviously the same people are just posting, posting, posting. And, and I know this is the algorithm, but it can be a bit frustrating enough. I want to hear from people I haven’t heard from for a while, but I just don’t, this doesn’t happen. I don’t see it. So I guess that talks about the value of frequency showing up often.
Rajen (00:18:23) – Absolutely. It’s basically ex your feed is full of the people who are actually taking the time to post. Um, you might want to hear about something from a friend or a colleague, but they’re just not, they’re not posting, so they’re not gonna turn up in your feed. So that is the challenge I think. Um, and there’s a fear isn’t there, around posting what to post, when to post, you know, what’s gonna work, all of those kind of things. And it is tricky. Like, you know, I even myself, I I’m constantly kind of researching what, what works, what doesn’t and things like that. And you could easily get into a bit of a rabbit hole of, oh gosh, you gotta post this at nine o’clock in the morning, I’ve gotta do this, I’ve gotta do that. Um, but what you gotta do is go back to the strategy, you know, what are you about all those things that we talked about earlier.
Rajen (00:19:10) – You’ll have that framework on a page, you’ll have your pillars of messaging that you want to kind of talk about and what you wanna be known for. And then once you go back to that framework, it’s, it’s okay. So you can go, okay, well I love to talk about photography or I love to talk about branding or whatever it is that you are passionate about. You would have that, that framework to enable you to do that. That’s step one. Step two is then, okay, so you know, what, how do I tell these stories? And there are frameworks out there, obviously there’s the, there’s the people who are peddling all the, the crazy frameworks out there and the hooks and the, and the CTAs and the body content and how to do this. And it can be a bit overwhelming because you’re like, gosh, they’re getting hundreds and thousands of likes and all they’re doing is posting some, you know, basic content, but that’s what they’re known for cuz it’s about copywriting or something like that.
Rajen (00:19:59) – So it’s hard, easy to kind of get into this, um, comparison view where you are talking about, you know, something like biotech and over here somebody’s talking about copywriting. It’s very different, two different worlds of what, in terms of content that you can put out that the general public can engage with. And it’s interesting, what people do is those who get loads of likes and engagement are tend to be talking about content which is broadly applicable to the, the main market. So copywriting, for example, is applicable to all of us. So it’s not just their niche that will be looking at this like marketers or something like that. It’ll be any of us. Oh yeah, I’d love to write properly or better. And then, you know, you like it and you engage with it. Now if somebody, a founder talking about biotech, it’s gonna be super niche and they’re not gonna get the engagement, but there’s gonna be people in their audience that is gonna be looking at that content, potential investors. So actually people who may want to convert on that content. I e sell , so there’s engagement and then there’s selling. Um, yeah. And that’s what to think about. So,
Andy (00:21:08) – So don’t measure ourselves necessarily in terms of engagement and no, you know, follow a growth or whatever that is, as as nice as that they are, you know, that kind of goes back to the vanity metric stuff, doesn’t it? You know, measurement should be in terms of conversations that move the business forward as a result of what I’ve been doing.
Rajen (00:21:25) – Absolutely, yes. And I think you can tell,
Andy (00:21:27) – And you’re right there, there are some fantastic creators on, on LinkedIn. I I I like to read Dave Harlan’s work, he’s a copywriter. They’ve come across Dave, he’s so funny. And his, his uncle Tony, that guy cracks me up. And I really like Rob Mayhew. We’ve seen Rob’s TikTok stuff about life in an agency or life in marketing, which I think is really entertaining, but they’ve just perfectly positioned themselves. But as you say, that’s not gonna be right for everybody.
Rajen (00:21:56) – No, but that’s great because they’re doing two things again, you know, uh, Dave’s got his kind of humor and his style, his northern style is brilliant, you know, um, and I love that. And I got his, you know, I had to get his copy, uh, his, uh, his, sorry, his newsletter, uh, and all that sort of stuff as well. So they’ve kind of made a name for themselves, but what they’re showcasing is also their talents through actually showcasing that. So, you know, whilst he gets noticed because of his personality, his work is just as good, right? So it’s not like he’s kind of covering that up with his humor. It’s actually very good. So he’s gonna be kind of pulled up on that and no doubt his dms or his, you know, his direct messages, that’s where the, the business is happening, where people are kind of reaching out those who really want to reach out for, for, you know, hiring his talent.
Rajen (00:22:42) – So then that’s what happens with other people who may not be getting the actual, uh, life engagements, but it’s the kind of, you know, you are resonating with a san audience and they’re the ones who are gonna be reaching out. Even with my work, like, you know, since I kind of swapped over to found a story, you know, I started getting a lot of dms, you know, hey, this is really interesting. And these are people who aren’t actually active on LinkedIn. So there’s the lurkers who are in the background constantly viewing all this content but not actually engaging or interacting, but they notice you, they notice you. Yeah.
Andy (00:23:16) – That’s interesting. And one of those dms is probably mine, wasn’t it Roger, to say . Well that looks interesting. Let’s have a chat.
Rajen (00:23:23) – Absolutely. It was evidence right there. What would say then is
Andy (00:23:27) – That , what would you say is the right number of content pillars, I think is the term we’ve used a couple of times? You know, is it one or two, two or three, or can, can we be a bit broader with what we’re talking about? Or does that dilute our positioning too much?
Rajen (00:23:44) – Yeah, I think, um, I would say like you probably wanted like three, you know, main topics that you might wanna talk to. Um, you know, for mine is like branding, personal development and photography, for example. Sorry, not photography. I think I’ve kept it storytelling. So branding, storytelling and personal development. They’re my three big topics. And then within that I’ve got like, you know, sort of three or four smaller topics within each pillar. Uh, and that allows me to kind of break it down a little bit more. So it keeps me kind of focused, but I don’t get bored because I’ve got these kind of, this kind of range. And it’s a bit different for me cuz I guess, uh, branding is quite broad. So I, I’ve tried to kind of focus it down where I can, but, you know, photography’s, it’s a whole topic in its own right next to branding, next to personal development, but they’re all interlinked in terms of the way I, you know, go to, uh, go about my business. So, um, that’s why I’d say three kind of key topics and then sort of nine subtopics would be a good start.
Andy (00:24:45) – So three by three. And, and, and in terms of, I guess frequency of putting something out there, how do you break that down and what would you recommend to your clients? Is it a daily thing or is it one big thing a week or what, what’s the kind of schedule for you, I suppose?
Rajen (00:25:03) – Yeah, I, i, I kind of debate this all the time. I think for me, you know, if you can, quality over quantity is ideal, but I suspect there’s a, there’s a thing when you start off, it’s about practice. So if you’re gonna get stuck on quality because you’re just gonna procrastinate over this one amazing post you’re gonna be doing, you’re gonna end up doing one post a month. So that’s not gonna help you even, it doesn’t matter how good it is because the way LinkedIn works, for example. So what I would say is your early days, it’s about trial and error. Get a few templates, get a few things that you like that you’ve seen from other creators, just use that as a starting point. Go back to your pillars, maybe one, maybe twice a week, three times a week, something like that would be a good start.
Rajen (00:25:51) – Or maybe just twice a week, just just get into the flow, uh, build it up, see how you feel, uh, see what kind of reactions you’re getting. Um, but whatever you do is back to the consistency. So if you’re gonna do twice a week, just do twice a week. If you’re gonna do once a week, just do once a week. If you can do one text post or one carousel post, just do that for a little while and maybe test that for about three months or so and then see how you’re feeling about things, uh, how you wanna change the cadence up. So that’s that kind of, I guess the di uh, the, the, the kind of balance between quality and quantity over time, you’ll probably move towards quality posts, uh, which get more engagement, get, get the kind of right eyes on it in terms of your audience, uh, and, but yeah, reduce the frequency potentially.
Andy (00:26:34) – And, and are you kind of going back to that measurement subject? Oh, you’re measuring engagement, but also more importantly you’re measuring, you know, dms and, and people actually getting in touch and making a proper inquiry with you?
Rajen (00:26:46) – Yeah, I think that’s where it’s at really. Like, I think, like I said, like it’s the same thing. So at the start you are gonna just be building up the, the kind of engagement you want people just to be seeing things interacting with you, you know, uh, your, and then obviously you, the other side of all of this is the co commenting strategy. So in some cases, even if you’re commenting quite frequently, maybe five to 10 times a day, I mean some people do 50 a day, but commenting on other people’s posts if you are not posting yourself is a great way to kind of be seen too, because you can, cuz often people are great at responding to something, right? So let’s say you’ve seen a, a creator’s post and there’s a bunch of, uh, comments and somebody’s asking a question and that creator’s too busy to answer that question.
Rajen (00:27:35) – You’ve got the ability to go and kind of go in there and, and write a really thought provoking or useful comment for that person, which other people will see as well. It’s effective, you are posting, but you’re just posting in the comments where you feel a little bit more comfortable because you are responding to something rather than having to kind of come up with it. So that’s a good place to, to start as well, like commenting, like if you’re posting once a week but you’re commenting, you know, say 25, 30 times a week, you know, cuz you’re just doing little comments here and there. That’s another great way to be seen in, in your network. Yeah,
Andy (00:28:08) – That makes sense. And you are kind of riding on the back of somebody else’s, uh, creativity as well to some extent, aren’t you? Yeah. Uh, 50 comments a day sounds like an incredible amount of work, . It does. I know you’ve got time for
Rajen (00:28:20) – That. I guess the way to look at it is as part of your marketing mix, if you are spending, what are you spending time on where you’re getting the roi? So yeah, if you know commenting 20, 30 times a day takes you, you know, half an hour, 45 minutes, then do you get that back because you’re gonna be getting warm leads coming into your dms. Mm-hmm. So I think whilst in the con well out of context, God, that’s just like, we’re just on social media all day long. But actually if you just see it as a market, if you’re spending one hour and that costs you, you know, th you know, if it’s whatever you are, right? 3, 4, 500 pound an hour, then that time is then spent going, okay, well I’ve just got five leads in this week. What’s the kind of cost per acquisition of those leads based on the, the time you spent?
Andy (00:29:12) – Yeah,
Rajen (00:29:13) – That’s the way to look at it.
Andy (00:29:15) – I think that is exactly the right way to look at it. Cuz then you can start to justify the time you spend versus other marketing mix, other marketing tactics. I hadn’t thought of it that way Raja. So that’s good. .
Rajen (00:29:25) – Yeah, exactly. That’s what it, the
Andy (00:29:27) – Time I spend on LinkedIn. Now ,
Rajen (00:29:30) – And this is what I say to my founders as well, like when they say why should I do my personal brand? It’s the same thing. It’s literally, I say it’s just another marketing channel. Like as a founder, early stage founder, founder, you haven’t got any money to spend on ads or, or a marketing manager or, uh, events or whatever it is. You go to the event, you are the event, you know, you, you, you post, you are the content soc you know, the content creator. So all of those things, you can do that. Uh, whilst obviously you are busy, um, it’s kind of free organic traffic really at the end of the day. So that’s the way to look at it. You are just part of the marketing mix.
Andy (00:30:07) – I think that’s the only way to look at it. Now you’ve explained it, it it’s, it, it just makes so much more sense thinking of it that way. It’s an investment in marketing. Yeah, sure. I’m not gonna run some ads through LinkedIn at the moment, but, you know, spending time on my brand and putting out content and engaging is, is just as important. So, so who’s doing this really well? Who do you look at and go, wow, that person’s really nailed this process?
Rajen (00:30:30) – Yeah, there’s quite a few people doing that. Um, one person I kind of follow is Ash Rathford. He’s great. He’s a storyteller. He is a brand strategy storyteller, similar to me in the sense that he’s, he’s got a brand background, but he’s kind of, kind of made a name for himself in terms of the storytelling side. He’s got like, you know, I think probably 50,000 plus followers and he, he kind of u utilizes, you know, storytelling and I think he told a story about his vitiligo a few, uh, year or so ago. And um, that kind of blew up on LinkedIn. He was very kind of, uh, straight up and honest about it and what was happening with himself and how he’s seen and, and how he felt. So this kind of from the inside as it were a story. Um, and apparently he kind of posted it, went to sleep, and in the morning there were thousands of comments and likes and things like that.
Rajen (00:31:21) – But anyway, he’s just a great example of someone who’s kind of utilized storytelling in, in a really powerful way. And obviously his training in brand helps him do that. And I think he’s got a training in, um, script writing and things like that. So he’s utilizing that superpower of his to kind of make things really interesting on, on LinkedIn. And he kind of showcases that through obviously his writing, but also, you know, he kind of does selfies and and and things like that as well. And so, you know, he’s just a great character to follow overall because of all of those reasons a’s being authentic. B he’s kind of showcasing his talents and C’s obviously, you know, showcasing his expertise and bringing in the clients that he needs to kind of continue that cycle. So, you know, he’s a good example. There’s someone called Ben MiiR I kind of follow.
Rajen (00:32:07) – He’s um, okay, he’s a, he’s actually, he works for ey. He, he’s got a full-time job, but on the side he started building his personal brand. And what I mean by that is he was posting content and, and expertise around productivity and systems and you know, there’s a whole thing around, you know, that, you know, being more efficient as humans and in the world of work where things just kind of overwhelm us, he, he kind of posts content about systems and he’s got this thing called System Sunday and he has a newsletter which comes out on Sundays and it’s just really simple tips. But he’s grown from like north to 180,000 followers in like six to eight months because of the validity of his content. Yeah. And yeah, and off the back of, so this is of someone who has a person has a full-time job. So that’s, that’s incredible.
Andy (00:32:58) – The opportunities that are gonna open up for him are gonna be enormous, aren’t they? Yeah. And that was in six to eight months he did that? I
Rajen (00:33:04) – Think so, yeah. We’ll have to
Andy (00:33:04) – Have a look at them.
Rajen (00:33:05) – Yeah. Yeah. And me, so he, he’s really cool. I mean, there’s tons of people and most of the people on there, there’s a whole select crew of, you know, 50 odd people on LinkedIn who are, uh, on tap Leo’s like, you know, top 100 creators and they’re all doing interesting things in their own ways. So, but sometimes it’s hard to kind of always see too many of those people because you are, they kind of have the kind of copywriting approach and, uh, very familiar or similar kind of topics they talk about, but there’s always lessons in terms of, uh, they give really great nuggets in terms of these things I’ve been mentioning around the commenting or the little tips and hacks around utilizing, uh, LinkedIn, which is really useful. But it’s just that balance between inspirational and then you, you compare yourself and you start to kind of go, oh gosh, you know, how am I gonna get there? So it just ha have a balance view when you see all these kind of creators
Andy (00:33:57) – Yeah. It’s easy to look at them and go, I could never do that. They’re doing too much or they’re sharing too much and, you know, you’ve gotta get I suppose that balance right. You know, what are you comfortable with? Yeah. What do you want to share? Uh, it’s interesting. I mean I, I’ve shared a couple of posts. I’m not great at this, but I recognize the value of it and, and I’ve shared a few posts and, and I think sometimes you have, you tell the, you show a side of you that you don’t normally show and that generates quite a lot of response and, and an engagement. And that, that’s quite, I found that quite a revealing, I suppose, is that you always have to talk about business and work stuff. You can show some personal stuff and some personality in there as well.
Rajen (00:34:36) – Yeah, vulnerability is the big one at the moment. You know, the, you know, Brenna Brown, if you, you know her, like she talks about this quite a lot and she teaches C-suite people around, you know, big businesses around vulnerability and you know, kind of embracing that in your, in the way you go about your business and how you are. So that’s quite a big one. And I think some people again find that hard, right? Like to kind of talk about that and, but I think whenever you talk about things, I think what they’re saying and what we should kind of think about is when you tell your story, it’s not just for the sake of it. I think when you tell your story, bring it back to some sort of lessons or some outputs or, oh well this is my story, but this is what I learned. Maybe you can learn this from this. And I think that’s when the post is, is at at its best because you are showcasing your authentic self, but you are also providing value. Because I think if it’s just the kind of tooting your horn, then people tend to not being as much as engaged or, or just be your mates going, well done. Great. And then that’s it. Um, so I think you teach some sort of lessons, some sort of tips to some sort of, um, moral of the story. I think that’s quite powerful.
Andy (00:35:45) – Yeah. That I can relate to that. A few years ago, maybe three or four years ago, I wrote a post, I think I called it 50 and a Half Mistakes I’ve made running agencies. And it was a, a bullet point list of all the things looking back over my agency career that I thought, wow, I made a mistake there. And the engagement I got on that post was great. And I just said to you at the start of this call before we hit record, that I was in Edinburgh at the weekend with some friends. One of my friends had spent a bit of time running a furniture business, said, oh, I read your post 15 and a half Mistakes You Made running agencies. And that applied to most of the things I’ve done in my business as well, so it can relate. And I thought, wow, you save that up to tell me that for three or four years and you know, you still remember what I’d poured out on that kind of emotional out pouring I suppose. And uh, it’s interesting how that stuck with him Yeah. Over all that time.
Rajen (00:36:38) – Because I think that’s the other thing you think of content, you know, it’s your kind of evergreen salesperson.
Andy (00:36:45) – Yeah.
Rajen (00:36:46) – You know, like once the content’s out there, it’s saw is out there, isn’t it? And I think, you know, people come across that, they’ll come to your profile, they’ll, they may see a post from a while back or remember it. So in that way, you know, producing content is having a kind of always on salesperson out there for you doing the work while you sleep sort of thing. So Absolutely. It’s an interesting way to look at it as well.
Andy (00:37:08) – Yeah. And and I, I see that in the, in the stats for this show actually is people listening to podcasts I recorded ages ago and they’re still listening to it. And I actually really like that because you know, quite a lot of effort goes into producing a podcast. So it’s nice that there’s still some value for someone, you know, a couple of years down the track. Yeah, yeah. Um,
Rajen (00:37:26) – So
Andy (00:37:26) – That’s great. Definitely Roger, thanks so much for coming on and exploring personal branding. That’s been really interesting and really useful. If, um, people wanted to find out some more about you or get in touch and say help with my brand, um, how should they best reach out? And I hate that term, reach out. How should they best contact you, ?
Rajen (00:37:45) – Absolutely. Um, so yeah, you can get me on obviously on LinkedIn around and mystery, my website found a story.co uk. Um, they’re the two best places to catch me. Love to have a coffee. Um, as, as mentioned, I’m in Cambridge, I’m at the Bradfield Center, so that’s a great place to come and see me as well if you want to, to catch up. So yeah, it’s been a pleasure, really appreciate it. Thank you.
Andy (00:38:09) – Yeah, good. And I’ll definitely come and join you for a car cuz you’re not that too far away. So at some point we’ll we’ll get out of, uh, from behind the screen and say hello in real life as well.
Rajen (00:38:18) – Absolutely. No worries.
Andy (00:38:19) – Super. Thanks Raj. Speak to you again soon. Thanks.