I recently received this email from Martin:
I’m and SEO consultant from the UK. I currently work with a small range of clients from small ecommerce sites to big international companies.
I have some of my own sites and business which I am trying to grow. The main one of these is Focus Performance (sports nutrition) of which I am the co-founder. I am also looking to start creating an SEO course soon but still need to decide how I can niche this down a bit so it’s not too broad in terms of target market. I have a lot of knowledge to give but don’t want it to blend in with the vast amount of general courses out there, most of which are poor or very basic.
I think because of these different focuses, I’m having trouble finding my identity on social platforms and what/who my personal brand is. Who do I talk to? What do I talk about? Do I talk about a mix of business, marketing and fitness etc like Andy Frisella does, or can he get away with being more broad because he’s already successful and people have an interest in him already?
Most people I see on the FB group seem to have a very specific focus. I feel a bit in limbo at the moment in terms of personal branding. Some people say find people’s pain points and help them with those but I’m struggling to find which pain points to focus on and what sort of people to help. Probably doesn’t help that I have different focuses but some people seem to manage fine with this.
Any thoughts or advice you have would be greatly appreciated.
This email is representative of a question I have been asked many, many times. Here was my response to Martin on how he might approach this conundrum.
Hi Martin, thanks for reading and reaching out!
This question of how to brand yourself when you have two or more strong personal brand options comes up a LOT, so you’re not alone.
My first question is have you looked through my checklist on how to build your personal brand tagline? It won’t solve everything for you, but if you haven’t seen it I believe it will be helpful.
I wish there were an easy answer I could give you on how to handle this, but there isn’t. If there were, you’d already have the answer. But here’s what I’ve seen others do, and it may spark some ideas about what options you have yourself.
1. It’s easier to focus on one thing than two.
2. If you focus on one thing, your success in that one area is likely to add up to more success overall than the combined success in two areas.
3. It’s possible to put your primary focus on one thing, but keep the other in the background, and have the success of your primary focus fuel greater success in your secondary area than if you were focused on the secondary area by itself.
An example that’s very relevant to you, and which you’re probably already familiar with, is Tim Ferriss.
Tim started out selling supplements, and his experience running that business factored heavily into the thoughts that created The Four Hour Workweek.
What’s interesting about Tim’s story is that I’m 100% certain (though I haven’t heard anything about this) that Tim’s supplement business (which he sold in 2010) did TONS better after he became famous for his writing. And I’d be willing to bet that no matter how hard he had focused and worked on his supplement business, it never would have done as well as it did after his book came out, even though the book wasn’t about supplement or health at all.
4. Overlapping interests don’t broaden your scope, they narrow it.
You brought up Andy Frisella and how he talks about business, marketing, and fitness. This doesn’t mean that Andy’s audience is everyone interested in business + everyone interested in marketing + everyone interested in fitness. Sure, he might have a few people who are interested in just business, or just marketing, or just fitness, but his primary audience is those who are interested in all business + marketing + fitness. That’s a smaller group than any one of those areas, but Andy is going to really connect with that smaller audience.
You know a lot about sports nutrition and SEO. What would happen if that were your focus? It’s not a huge market, because you would only focus on those individuals who are passionate about both SEO and sports nutrition, but man, you could own that niche. In my checklist I refer to this as your genius zone, a term I borrowed from Gay Hendricks, author of The Big Leap. Go do a search for “seo sports nutrition” and you’ll see that not much competition is to be had. If you focused on that, putting out some growth studies like Sumo does, you’d own the SERPs in quick order and nobody would be able to touch you, and you’d be focusing on two things you love. You’d be THE guy every sports nutrition conference would want to invite to speak about online marketing. You could focus on serving only clients who are sports nutrition companies and need SEO, and you could charge them whatever you want because where else are they going to go? You’d be the best game in town.
I’m not saying this is what you have to do, I’m only putting it this way because those are two things you brought up. In my own case, I know a bit about skateboarding and that industry, and I know a bit about marketing and that industry, neither of which makes me special, but who knows as much as I do about the marketing industry and skateboarding? Hardly anyone. That could be my genius zone, and I’d love it, but I’ve chosen to go a different direction for the time being. Maybe SEO + sports nutrition is your thing, maybe it isn’t, but I bet whatever your thing is, you’ll find it by overlapping two or more things you’re passionate about.
I hope this is helpful. If you have any other questions or just want to chat more about this, I’m happy to continue the conversation.
There are as many ways to approach this challenge as there are individual people with individual situations. Every set of circumstances is different, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
I’d love to hear what you think about my response to Martin. Agree? Disagree? Got something to add? Let me know in the comments.Liked it? Share it!