Scaling UP your Certification Brand

Planning the future of your business can sometimes be a ‘can’t see the wood for the trees’ moment. So caught up are you with the day-to-day organisation and running of training courses that you don’t have time to develop a scaling plan.

One thing is perfectly clear. Successful scaling encompasses a mixture of vertical and horizontal initiatives. Scaling upwards and outwards builds a more robust brand.

In our previous article we touched on options for scaling your knowledge brand. Now let’s take a look in more detail at vertical scaling, or developing your personal brand. What opportunities exist, when should you be introducing them into your business, and the pros and cons of vertical scaling.

Scale-up your personal brand

Having a strong personal brand opens up a myriad of opportunities for your knowledge business. Many entrepreneurs question how successful they might be scaling vertically and relying on their personal brand to pave the way for horizontal scaling.

In the same way that you are unique and the way you do business is unique (if you copy the competition, then forget a personal brand), so are your clients. They will resonate to your personal brand based on how you deliver your message and how they connect with your style of teaching.

Vertical scaling and launching your personal brand is key to delivering opportunities that allow you to grow out, as well as up: collaborating with peers, building communities and gamifying your knowledge brand.

Keynote speaking

Keynote speaking is one of the most rewarding ways to develop your personal brand. It’s also one of the most terrifying when you start out! But leaving your comfort zone to embark on a keynote speaking agenda will impart you with a level of unsurpassed confidence, and help to get you known as the expert in your field. Seize the day!

When to start keynote speaking? Start reaching out to conference organisers for speaker opportunities, when you have a clearly identified purpose and are confident about your brand strategy.

Successful leadership speaker, Jurgen Appelo, wrote a great article, How To Start Out as a Guest Speaker, in which he discusses the Learn, Pay, Repeat process; being prepared to speak for free and pay for your own travel and accommodation.

“What you should not do is expect event organizers to pay you for your performance, when you don’t have any track record. This means, in the beginning, you have to pay in order to speak.”

Pros of Keynote Speaking;

  • Builds confidence
  • Positions your personal brand
  • Challenges you and takes you out of your comfort zone
  • Interaction with attendees

Cons of Keynote Speaking:

  • Developing a compelling presentation that won’t bore the audience
  • It can be nerve-wracking! But no matter how much you suck the first time, don’t give up!
  • Coming up with new content when you are on the circuit
  • You’ll start off unpaid, and you’ll be paying your own expenses

Write a book

There are three key elements to vertical scaling, or building your personal brand:

Writing a personal blog: or guest authoring for reputable on and offline media — basically getting as much meaningful content as possible to your audience

Keynote speaking: yep I know, scary right.

Writing a book: double gulp

Writing a book isn’t like writing a bunch of blog posts. It needs careful planning and organisation, and depending on how structured and persistent you are; can take months or even years! But it’s worth it.

We discussed in the first article how writing a book can develop your reputation as an expert. It’s also a sound way to develop you. To delve further into your core purpose and dig out the essence of your brand. And it won’t stop once you’ve written it. A book will continue to promote and reinforce your brand purpose, until you sit down to write the next one.

When to write a book? There’s no time like the present! It’s not just about delivering a unique, digestible and engaging bestseller, there’s lots of preparation involved. Will you self-publish, or look for a publisher? Only create in electronic format, or also in paper format? Get that content out now, before someone else does.

Start off with writing shorter ebooks on your subject, which you can use to build your email database, until you feel confident to embark on the real thing!

Pros of writing a book:

  • Personal brand visibility
  • Lends credibility
  • Builds trust
  • Secure fans — both end users and collaborators

Cons of writing a book:

  • Finding a slot every day to write
  • Costs of self-publishing, editor etc.
  • Or finding a publisher that believes in you
  • Marketing the book

Launching a Podcast

Launching a podcast is a super way to develop your personal brand and boost your vertical scaling strategy. And using all three elements together: keynote speaking, writing a book, launching a podcast, will rocket launch the reputation of your knowledge brand!

Have you noticed, it’s all about the content? And podcasting is just one more channel to deliver your content to the world. It will also open-up opportunities to collaborate with other thought leaders in your industry and create connections for future horizontal scaling.

When to start with podcasts? Start with podcasts when you are confident you have the content to tackle the subjects you want to discuss. As with writing a book, it takes a lot of preparation and planning, and it has to be regular. Don’t launch a podcast if you aren’t prepared to commit to regular showtimes. To get professional podcasting right, you’ll also need to budget for good equipment and editing resources.

Pros of launching a podcast:

  • Broadcast your knowledge expertise
  • Collaborate with industry peers
  • Build a loyal subscriber base

Cons of launching a podcast?

  • Keeping it fresh
  • Editing and setup costs
  • Keeping to a schedule

Catch up with us in the next article as we cover how to sustain the growth of your knowledge brand through horizontal scaling.