Mark Schaefer is a marketing strategist and has authored a total of 12 books, such as Marketing Rebellion, Cumulative Advantage and his most recent publication, which is in my current queue of books to read, Belonging to the Brand.
I'm a big fan of Schaefer's marketing insights and have been following him on Twitter for a number of years now. In Known, Schaefer offers a step-by-step process for any professional to build a personal brand in the digital space to help open up new opportunities. This book is a must-read for any professional who wants to create leverage to level up their career.
Known In Summary:
"Today, anybody with an internet connection can create content and seize the opportunity to have a voice, create power, and find an audience."- Mark Schaefer
In Known, Schaefer explains that the new "equity of influence" is not about your job title, salary or career achievements. It's about being known. His definition: "Being known is not the same as being famous. It's not about having millions of fans and red carpet appearances. Being known is about having the proper authority, reputation, and audience to realize your potential and achieve your goals... whatever they might be."
When you are known, you will have an instant advantage in your professional career over others who have not taken advantage of the digital space to build their equity of influence.
So how does one become known?
Simply by exploring these foundational processes:
Finding the right place.
The right place refers to a sustainable interest, something that you love, a topic that you'll have fun with for years to come. It's also the theme you want to be known for that will help you achieve your long-term goal. Your sustainable interest must also be a concept that connects to the well-being of others.
Finding the right space.
The right space means ensuring that your sustainable interest is an uncontested or unoccupied niche with enough people to matter. Do research to ensure that there is an opportunity for you to own your niche. However, it's also okay to want to be known in a crowded niche so long as you are able to develop a unique tone or point of view. Your space also means creating your content in the right platform that suits you and where most of your audience resides.
Producing consistent content.
"Content is the fuel that makes all of this happen."
The key to success is creating consistent "rich content". Rich content can be in the form of a blog, podcast, videos or visual content. Find the right rich content to produce that is right for you.
Building a meaningful audience.
"If content is your fuel, the audience is your fire."
Schaefer explains that the value of your content is zero unless somebody out there is listening to you. Assemble an active audience who are connected to you because they resonate with you and find the content you produce relevant. Build a loyal audience, one person, one connection at a time.
The most special segment of your audience is the Alpha Audience. The Alpha Audience refers to an elite circle of people - most likely less than 2% of your total social media following - who share your content the most.
Becoming known is hard work and requires time and commitment. While consistency is key, don't suffocate the rest of your life to achieve being known. Find a pace that suits you, your time, and your responsibilities.
I love this book because of its practicality.
While a lot of the knowledge in the book is not new, I like Schaefer's approach to how professionals like myself can use the digital space to create leverage. His step-by-step process and the advice provided are grounded. He also sets realistic expectations that, for some of us, it may take years to achieve being known in our chosen sustainable interest because we may have bigger commitments to tend to in life, but what's key is to remain consistent in the pursuit and to pursue it at a pace that you are comfortable with.
I've also gone through the complementary workbook that outlines the process and includes the exercises and templates to find your place, your space and create the content consistently.
Highly recommended reading for anyone looking to take advantage of the opportunities available in the digital space to create leverage.
- "There is no passion to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living." - Nelson Mandela.
- "Think of your personal brand as a start-up, the start-up of YOU."
- "I want to put a ding in the universe." - Steve Jobs.
- "In this tumultuous world, there are only two transferable assets we have: our education and being "known."
- "The key to success isn't necessarily a passion, it's finding a sustainable interest."
- "Your brand isn't exactly about you. It's about how others experience you."
- "Different is better than better." - Sarah Hogshead.
- "Passion ... that's common. Endurance is rare."
- "Your vision will become clear only when you look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes." - Carl Jung.
- "To become more fascinating, you don't have to change who you are. You have to become more of who you are, at your best." - Sally Hogshead.
- "Our potential is one thing. What we do with it is quite another." Angela Ducksworth.
- "Be so good they can't ignore you." - Steve Martin.
- "Audience size does not equal power."
- "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."- Thomas Edison.
- "Fall seven times and stand up eight." - Japanese proverb.
- "My time is no longer entirely mine... but my time will come." - Jayme Soulati.
- "Nobody is born a thought leader. It's something you need to earn in the mind of your audience."
- "Consistency isn't a "step," it's the bedrock for it all."
- "Content yields connections."