Have you ever pondered why certain persons in your industry achieve national notoriety seemingly out of nowhere? These professionals receive all the media attention, make keynote speeches at the most prestigious conferences, and attract the most prestigious clientele. Are these individuals simply more intelligent than the rest of us? Or do they have access to a personal branding plan that the rest of us are unaware of?

A few years ago, Hinge undertook a study initiative to learn as much as possible about the personal branding techniques of these industry leaders (whom we refer to as Visible Experts®). Our researchers interviewed over a thousand Visible Experts and purchasers of their services to determine what was going on and precisely how they developed and promoted their own brands. Our findings were presented in the ground-breaking book, The Visible Expert.

Today, I’ll let you in on a little secret: the majority of these Visible Experts are not all that different from the rest of us. In fact, many of them acknowledge that they are not the most intelligent or informed individuals in their industries. They were not authors by birth. They were not orators by birth. And few were born with extraordinary charm.

They instead created their personal branding tactics via trial and error. This indicates that each of them pursued a unique route, testing and discarding a variety of tools and strategies along the way.

At the conclusion of this essay, you will have a significant edge over these experts: a succinct summary of the personal branding tactics proven to boost your reputation and exposure as an expert. So that you will not need to experiment. Even better, I will provide you with a thorough, step-by-step road map to improved exposure and repute.

To take your personal brand and profession to the next level, however, there is one essential quality you must possess: the desire to see it through. There may be difficulties and roadblocks along the way, and you may need to make periodic course modifications to stay on track. But that’s alright. A little difficulty is par for the course, and you must be prepared to endure the inevitable headwinds.

The last thing I wish to do at this point is to discourage you. It is easier than it appears to establish a strong personal brand that drives you to fame in your area.

Recall that the top of a mountain always appears inaccessible from its base. Yet if you focus on the process of getting there — taking one tiny step at a time — you will be amazed by the world you left behind. That is an adventure worth undertaking!


This road map was created for any service professional, expert, or executive who wants to construct a personal brand but has no idea where to begin. It is also for marketing directors at professional services organisations who are entrusted with increasing the visibility of their company and personnel.

Whether you are a sole proprietor or an employee of a Fortune 500 company, the approach I outline is the same. I have one reservation, though. Regardless of your position, there is one basic that I cannot teach you: you must have genuine competence in your industry. There is no way to fake professional knowledge.


The visibility and reputation of an individual among their clients and peers are the two components that go into making up their personal brand. A person’s exposure is increased, and their reputation is enhanced, via the implementation of a series of actions known as personal branding. These people will see an increase in their eminence and earning power as a direct result of their growing notoriety and esteem.


Let me to illustrate this notion of personal branding with a few instances. Personal branding examples for experts in the professional services business are centred on enhancing their visibility and reputation as experts. Choose an experienced architect who specialises in the design of contemporary bridges. They might increase their exposure and reputation by speaking at industry conferences, where they can demonstrate their knowledge and discuss the innovations they’ve adopted in their job.

If this architect collaborated with a public relations expert, they may increase their exposure and reputation by networking with journalists and other industry influencers. A professional in public relations could schedule appearances on a few podcasts and possibly arrange an interview with a famous publication.

An expert might also promote their own brand by regularly contributing thought leadership articles to their company’s blog. They might then distribute this material to their LinkedIn friends. And if they optimise their blog entries for search engines, they may be discovered by an entirely new audience, which will continue to increase over time.

In light of this concept and these examples, what does a personal branding plan entail?


A personal branding strategy is a plan for elevating your reputation and career from relative anonymity to prominence. It represents your current standing and the amount of visibility you hope to attain in the future. Finally, it details the strategies, resources, and abilities you’ll need to achieve your objective, as well as the daily content calendar that will direct your daily trip. A well-planned approach removes ambiguity from your pursuit of Visible Expertise, allowing you to focus on execution.

A contemporary strategy for personal branding is deeply anchored in content marketing. In reality, the majority of the skills and resources outlined in this road map are components of content marketing, but as they pertain to establishing your own brand. If you are new to content marketing or simply need a reminder, I recommend reviewing our free Content Marketing Handbook for Professional Services.


In The Visible Expert book, there are five progressively more visible levels of expertise:

  • LEVEL 1 – RESIDENT EXPERTS: These professionals are highly esteemed inside their businesses and among their clientele, but have limited exposure outside of those circles. Here is where most visible experts begin their journeys.

  • LEVEL 2 – LOCAL HEROES: These professionals are highly esteemed inside their businesses and among their clientele, but have limited exposure outside of those circles. Here is where most visible experts begin their journeys.
  • LEVEL 3 – RISING STARS: These professionals have garnered a regional reputation. They routinely talk and publish on their field of expertise, and are quite well-known among their colleagues. Rising Stars typically attract better-quality clients and demand more rates.
  • LEVEL 4 – INDUSTRY ROCK STARS: These names are highly known across the nation for their specific areas of expertise. They draw exclusive customers and costs. As a consequence, they become tremendous assets to their businesses.
  • LEVEL 5 – GLOBAL SUPERSTARS: Global Superstars, the world’s finest specialists, have broken out of their specializations and gained wider recognition in their respective sectors. They charge the highest fees, and companies from all over the world desire to work with them.

Your first task is to determine which of these levels best reflects your current situation. Finally, you must determine the level of competence you wish to attain.

Before you go directly to Global Superstar, take in mind that each phase demands more time and work than the previous one. On general, it is simpler to transition from Local Expert to Local Hero than from Industry Rock Star to Global Superstar. To become a household brand on a worldwide scale, you will likely need to commit a substantial amount of time. Are you determined and obsessed enough to succeed? Only you can provide an answer.


Apart than boosting your ego, what real benefits can a strong personal brand provide? Initially, Visible Experts earn higher money. Frequently, much more. The following graph illustrates the respective billing rates for each Visible Expert level.

As you can see, customers are ready to spend far more for highly prominent professionals than an average professional. So even Level 1 professionals enjoy a huge edge over their undistinguished compatriots.

Many consumers are ready to pay a premium for experts in whom they have faith, hence Visible Experts is able to charge a premium. Consumers are prepared to shell out extra for the trust that a Visible Expert will bring more expertise and experience to their problem, fixing it more swiftly, and with better precision. Increasing billing rates is not the only advantage. Here are several more:

  • Extremely recognisable specialists garner greater media coverage. When a reporter requires an authoritative quotation, he or she contacts the closest specialists to the topic at hand.

  • Specialists with a strong brand are able to negotiate beneficial relationships with more attractive firms and with greater ease.
  • In addition, as I indicated previously, they attract higher-quality clientele. Frequently, clients will seek out an expert, bypassing the full competitive bid process. When this occurs, you know it’s functioning!

  • Professionals with strong personal brands are advantageous to their companies. Due to the halo effect, an expert’s reputation frequently extends to the organization for which he or she works. This connection can have substantial implications on the brand and business development possibilities of a company. According to our study, about two-thirds of Visible Experts have a great impact on their companies.

What about buyers? What benefits do they get by working with Visible Experts? In the following chart from our research on Visible Experts and their buyers, we learn that there are many ways that businesses benefit from working with Visible Experts.

Benefits received from working with a Visible Expert

As you can see from the data, Visible Experts not only solve problems more quickly, they make their clients better, too. They teach clients new things, bring new ideas to the problem at hand, and increase the credibility of the teams they work with.


Our study taught us which marketing methods had the biggest influence on a person’s personal brand, which was one of the most crucial things we discovered. Without this information, we would have to choose our tools based on inaccurate anecdotal evidence, trial and error, and gut feelings. Nevertheless, you have a better option: concrete data from dozens of actual specialists.

Here are the most effective marketing strategies used by Visible Expert to increase their market presence and reputations:

What can we learn from this data? Here are my takeaways:

  • Public speaking is the most effective marketing strategy that Visible Experts may employ to establish their personal brands. Not only do experts gain from the conferences and speaking engagements they attend, but they can also leverage their speaking history to improve their credibility over time. On their bio page, they can include a list and even video clips of their prior speaking engagements. This document makes it easier to secure future speaking engagements.

  • Since we began researching Visible Experts over a decade ago, we’ve found that writing a book is a great method to demonstrate your knowledge and increase your exposure. And it’s likely that the majority of the most prominent professionals in your industry have published at least one book.

  • Every expert requires a platform on which to post papers, videos, and other resources. That may be a personal website or the website of their company. Important is the existence of a single location where all of this excellent knowledge is collected and easily accessible.

So let’s boil down what we’ve learned. Here are the seven critical tools you will need to include in your personal branding strategy: