In Expert to Influencer: How to Position Yourself for Meaningful Impact, Divya Parekh provides a framework with practical strategies, insights and templates for entrepreneurs and professionals who are looking to build a felicitous personal brand that aligns with their values and resonates with their audience or target market. The book was published in September 2019 by The DP Group, LLC.
The book is a treasure trove of practical ideas that cut across personal branding, sales, marketing and business development. Starting with why one should even desire to be an influencer in the first place, the author goes on to lay out a systematic process divided into three phases which she describes as:
- Design it!
- Build it!
- Live it!
Key ideas and learning points
The Design It phase covers the ideological aspects and initial planning activities. This is where you wear the hat of an architect, clarifying exactly what you want your brand to be and how you want to show up. The book provides questions and templates to help readers think through the entire process, develop a picture of their desired outcome and paint that picture in words.
The Build It phase is where you start giving tangibility to the desired outcome that you have conceptualised in the design phase. The author offers insights and ideas for creating your brand promise, crafting your tag line, content development, use of social media, community building and partnerships and choosing a suitable platform.
In the third phase, Live it, the author emphasizes the need to truly personify the values professed in the preceding phases, embody the desired brand and show up with authenticity every time. She discusses themes like building trust through transparency, connecting with the community through giving, facing objections and making course corrections when things go wrong.
Reading the book feels like attending a comprehensive class on personal branding or sitting through coaching sessions with an experienced influencer who is looking to help others replicate her success.
The author provides practical guidance in the area of strategy while advising readers to outsource the technical details or subscribe to programs from other proven experts where necessary. She however points out the need to be fully engaged with the process instead of abdicating responsibility in the name of delegation.
I believe that this approach will make the book relevant and useful over the long term since tactics are changing very fast. What works today may not work tomorrow. But with a solid foundation provided by deep understanding of what is required, one can successfully adapt available means to achieve one’s desired end.
Ten tweetable quotes from the book
Once we are honest with ourselves about our strengths, our weaknesses, and what we want in life, we can be unstoppable in fulfilling our dreams and goals. [Click to tweet]
As you confidently share your expertise with others, and as others begin to respond and follow you, you step into a position of authority. [Tweet that]
Opportunities seek out the influencers, or they create them with ease and success. [Tweet that]
As with any craft, processes and systems help elevate and accelerate the path to becoming an influencer. [Click to tweet]
Influencers know how to brand themselves, they know how to position that brand, and they know more about their target audience than the audience knows about themselves. [Click to tweet]
Influence is the way a person impacts others without force. It’s messaging, heart to heart, and it is a widespread net. It changes others for the better, and in doing so, changes the world. [Click to tweet]
Branding is the assurance you provide to the person you want to influence. It is the guarantee that you will continually deliver what you promise. [Tweet that]
The first step in creating your branding message is to generate your persona. Who do you want your market to see, and how do you want them to perceive this persona? [Tweet that]
You are the creator of your brand. You do not have to be a slave to it, especially to the parts of maintaining it that don’t bring you joy. [Click to tweet]
Your personal life intersects with your professional life, and your actions from each area of your life need to reflect each other, in full authenticity. [Click to tweet]
Practical application and action points
The book provides in-depth understanding of foundational issues in growing one’s personal brand and making the transition from expert to influencer.
I like how the author weaves in anecdotes together with tools and templates to concretise the learning points.
The book felt a bit overwhelming, perhaps because I wasn’t prepared to work through the exercises. I intend to read it again more patiently, deliberately devoting time to think through the activities to design and build my brand assets.
The book reinforced some of the things I have been learning as regards sharing my story to help and inspire others.
It reminded me of how growing my personal brand can make a huge difference in my business especially for my team members, clients and other people within my personal and professional networks.
I saw afresh that the desire to build a felicitous personal brand and become an influencer is not really about drawing attention to myself, which I have always been very reluctant to do. Rather, it is about putting myself in a position where a lot more people can benefit from what I have instead of limiting my impact to just a few people that know me personally or work closely with me.
The learning points have already proven useful in spurring me to become more deliberate with my blog posts and email newsletters. I have also restarted a weekly training session in Business Mastery Club, an online community of entrepreneurs and professionals.
I will engage more strategically with other relevant communities, accept more speaking engagements and make materials from my teaching sessions readily available for wide dissemination.
I bought Expert to Influencer on the recommendation of a friend who has some experience with the author. So I had high expectations and I am happy to say that I was not disappointed. If you’re looking to build social capital, ethically and with integrity, you will find the book useful as long as you’re ready to do the work.