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Forget building a personal brand. Build a digital reputation instead.

Generate career-changing opportunities and more $$

Yo! Welcome to the next episode of The Reeder, where you get expert content strategy advice for growing your career and business every Saturday morning.

If you’re new, you can subscribe here and join the crew.

This episode of The Reeder is sponsored by Casted

As a marketing leader, I’m constantly pressured to “do more with less.” 

But instead of consistently churning out new content to beat my goals, meet exec expectations, and deliver on the constant flow of requests, I repurpose content strategically. 

It’s my “secret” for overcoming the demands for More! More! More! 

If you want to get more ROI from your content, Lindsey (CEO) and Adam (Co-founder) at Casted are hosting a live virtual session called The Art of Repurposing: Boost Revenue with Your Existing Content. Join and you’ll discover:

  1. Strategic ways to create content faster while using less resources

  2. How to accelerate deals and establish your unique brand voice using podcast content 

  3. New Casted features that make getting more out of your existing video and podcast library easier than ever before

Register here to see the live show (and get the recording)

This week I returned to John Barrow’s long-standing and very popular podcast, Make it Happen Monday.

He saw my recent post about how I structure influencer marketing deals and asked me to chat through my approach since I’m currently cutting checks for influencers as a B2B leader, and because I made $50k as an influencer last year.

In case you don’t know John, put simply, he’s an OG.

He’s been in the content game since before it was “the game” and long before B2B influencers were a thing. His undeniable expertise, sharp POV on sales, and longevity is why his business is booming, his podcast gets thousands of downloads every week, and he has nearly 400,000 LinkedIn followers. Respect.

I expected the conversation to get tactical, and we definitely did, but we mostly talked about strategy. Specifically, how to build a lasting reputation that generates lots of inbound for various professional opportunities and a large check to go with it.

I’ll share the full episode when it drops in a couple weeks, but until then I felt compelled to share some highlights from our conversation with you this week because your LinkedIn strategy can open career-changing opportunities and put more money in your pocket (if you do it right.)

Ready? Let’s ride.

Here’s how the conversation started:

I’m not really building a “personal brand”

That might be surprising to read. 

Or maybe you disagree and think I’m full of it. 

But it’s the truth. 

When I started posting on LinkedIn in 2019, I wasn’t trying to build my personal brand — I was building my digital reputation

Your personal reputation is what people say about you when you're not around. 

And it’s arguably your most valuable asset because it will follow you for your entire career — and it goes WAY beyond the LinkedIn feed. Your digital reputation can manifest into real world, life-changing opportunities. 

I know folks who got book deals, bigger roles with larger paychecks, tv shows, consulting and advising opps, and more all because of the intentional reputation they built on social media. 

Notice that word: intentional. It rarely (if ever) happens by accident. 

I realized early on that I have the power to influence what people say about me, and almost equally important, what topic motivates them to mention me. 

I call this your true “word of mouth”

You’ve heard of word of mouth marketing. 

This is the “trigger” word or phrase that results in them mentioning you or your company’s name.

For example, imagine you are a product marketing consultant, your niche is SaaS messaging that resonates and converts, and you sell to VPs of Marketing. 

Now imagine a VP of marketing is running her weekly team meeting, and one of her leads brings up that they have a lead conversion issue and they’re certain it’s because they have a messaging gap between sales and marketing teams. 

They want to do something about it, and ideally bring in someone to help. 

Another lead in the meeting chimes in with: Hey, I follow Zach Roberts and he’s legit. He’s done a lot of work with messaging that converts. Let’s give him a call and see if he can help. 

Just like that, Zach has a new opportunity – all because his word of mouth is “messaging gap.”

It’s really that simple. 

I’ve been in these meetings and seen it happen, and landed deals in similar ways. 

As your content begins to earn more mindshare, you own your word of mouth, prompting more opportunities, and thus give you more market share. 

Pro Tip: Don’t get too hung up on picking your word of mouth.

It’s not a lifelong commitment. It’s OK to change your word of mouth. I did.  

During my early years as Gong’s Head of Content, I wanted to be known for “sales research.” 

But after a couple successful years, I had a problem. My brand was becoming a little too intertwined with Gong’s. 

It even got to the point where I would get tagged in someone else’s comment section when a dispute broke out. One person would argue this is the best cold call opening line. The defendant would say, No, THIS is the best opener!

I would get tagged in to settle the dispute with comments like “Devin, do you have any data on this?”

It was great at first. It’s a definitive signal that I’d carved my niche and owned it. 

But then I realized there was a growing issue: I was becoming “the Gong guy.” I knew one day I would inevitably leave Gong and didn’t want my reputation to be so associated with them that I wouldn’t be able to “stand on my own” so to speak. 

Plus I was growing my marketing experience, expertise, and network, and as a result, my audience evolved to include marketers. So sticking to “sales research” became more limiting by the day.

So in 2021 I decided to change my word of mouth to “content strategy.”

It reflected my approach, it’s more niche than “content marketing,” and it’s just different enough to stand out without being confusing at face value. 

But I never would have been able to own that phrase (in B2B SaaS at least) if I was limited to growing my reputation to the real world. Or more specifically without LinkedIn.

Posting on LinkedIn let’s you grow your reputation and business faster than ever before.

Duh, it’s the internet. But I think of it like this: 

I’ll probably meet, what, 100-ish new people face to face or virtual meetings this year?

But thousands will see my LinkedIn profile, and millions will see my picture, name, and ideas via their feeds.

So while I’m publishing content, commenting, and DM-ing folks, my real goal isn’t really to produce content, it’s to build trust at scale. 

I post because I want people to know, like, and trust me. 

Let’s break that down:

Know you: The more you post and engage, the more people see you, are familiar with you, and know you.

Like you: If your content is insightful, relevant, actionable — and ideally, entertaining — people will like you.

Trust you: And if you share your expertise and genuinely create value for your readers, people will trust you. 

Trust is the ultimate currency on social media and the attention economy. 

Because when people trust you, then they want to work with you, buy from you, and ultimately talk about you — which spins the word of mouth flywheel that leads to even more opportunities.

Notice I haven’t mentioned views, likes, or comments.

Forget engagement (for a minute)

I understand why it’s easy to depend on engagement metrics as success metrics. 

It’s all we can see. 

But despite the common bashing, I don’t actually think followers, likes, comments, views, shares, etc. are vanity metrics. 

We rely on them so much because they're the only visible metrics

It’s the only “scoreboard” we all see, and therefore, play by, and typically (even if accidentally) decide is the end game. 

We can’t see if someone is reaching their strategic goals or achieving financial success from their LinkedIn strategy. (Yes, some share that information openly but I know, for a fact, many of them are lying not being completely truthful – so be careful what you believe at face value.)  

So we look at what’s visible. But Engagement metrics tell you if your content is resonating, not if your strategy is working. 

Read. That. Again. 

And personally, I’m interested in both growing my personal reputation and my business (Clari and The Reeder).

Why? I can’t pay my mortgage with views and likes.

Let’s Wrap 

I realize today was a lot of philosophy. It’s intentional. 

It’s important — and incredibly valuable — to be clear on how you think about your strategy. 

Buuut we also like to get real tactical ‘round here, so let’s get down to what you can actually do to launch, re-launch, or refresh your LinkedIn strategy:

  1. Get hyper-clear on your Why. 

    -Why are you investing time and energy to grow your personal reputation?

  2. Decide on your true word of mouth.

    -What specific word or phrase do you want to be known for?

  3. Produce engaging content that aligns to your goals.

If you’re eager to level-up your content production, I published my LinkedIn Growth Guide: 5 Templates for Growing Your Audience Lightning-Fast.

As advertised, it includes 5 LinkedIn templates based on some of my most engaging posts, plus I included line-by-line notes for why it worked. 

Use it to produce highly-engaging LinkedIn posts faster and more confidently than ever before. And it’s completely free. You can download it here.

Holler at you next Saturday,

PS: If you found this post insightful, you can help me grow my newsletter by forwarding it to one person with a quick “You gotta subscribe to this one, it’s legit.”

More ways to scale your content and business…

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  3. Sponsored LinkedIn post. Tap into my audience of 77,000 LinkedIn followers and grow your awareness and pipeline. Next availability is March. Hit reply for updated rates.

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