Jamie Shanks – The First Steps I Took to Develop a Personal Digital Brand

Jamie Shanks
Jamie Shanks

You’re a seller, a sales leader, an entrepreneur—and you feel you’re missing the mark on creating a personal brand. You’re not alone. Six years into my committed journey into digital selling best practices and I still have moments of Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube envy. But then I step out of myself and really review what matters: “Are you engaging the right type of customer in a way they want to learn from you?” What doesn’t matter at all is volumes of likes, comments, shares, retweets, and all the fluffy stuff that doesn’t help your customer.


When I reflect back on how I kick-started my personal brand into high gear, I can narrow down the most important activities into two buckets:

    1. Creating consistent content (I chose video as my medium of communication)

    2. Leveraging the networks of influencers in the sales community

Please remember that there can be any number of layers to the branding cake. These just happen to be the foundational flour, butter, and chocolate chips I added six years ago.

Consistent Video Content

I’m of the first generation that found video (video games & YouTube) easier to consume than the written word. I realized back in 2012 that video communication was going to be the future. Even six years later, we’re still just scratching the surface. I made two types of content to share my thoughts, ideas, intellectual property, and contextualize spin on things:

   1. Observations in the Market

This ties into the 2nd major initiative “influencer marketing,” but I would recap tradeshows/conferences and curate my social selling spin on great curated best practices. I would be giving shout-outs to the people and companies that I thought were doing a great job.

   2. Tips, Tricks, and Tactics

This was the most important of the two styles… and reminds me now that I need to be doing more of this. I gave away HOURS of free ideas. Within one year, the sales community really started to take notice.

Influencer Connecting & Sharing

Every industry in the world has rockstars, influencers, and key people to follow. I realized very early on in my entrepreneurial journey that these same people have databases and networks that I could only dream of. But what if I could “drink from their milkshake” (quote from There Will Be Blood). I have a metaphorical straw here from Toronto, Canada, and I am able to be part of its social network and contact database.

I began developing a list of the top sales influencers:

I found people like Trish Bertuzzi, Ken Krogue, Jill Konrath, Greg Alexander, etc. I then wrote content about them, curating their ideas and placing my own perspective on them. I would tag them socially when I shared their ideas and my contextual content on their ideas. People would see my stories and believe I was part of their inner circle (which I would become over time). I was then attracting social connection requests from my ideal buyers (VP Sales, Marketing, Enablement) from all over the world.

Once I had an influencer engaged in a conversation, I offered to add a ton of value to our new relationship. As an example, I offered to co-write an e-book with Ken Krogue on 42 LinkedIn Tips that I’d discovered. This became the #1 downloaded e-book in history!

The Best Time to Start Is Yesterday. The 2nd Best Is TODAY

I was nervous. I was embarrassed by the quality. But I overcame that fear by focusing on a desire to better my life and sales career. Ask yourself what is more important—your ego or your financial success?


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