Presence Is Something You Could Build Now

I started my blog way back in 1998, when it was called journaling. I had no idea what to do with it. I started the way lots of people did back then: I wrote about whatever was on my mind, however trivial. Every media software I’ve used since then has been some mix of personal presence building plus an attempt to add some level of value to the larger story. Both are important. And there’s no great time to start. But there’s always a chance to be “too late.” Chris Brogan

Build Your Digital Presence Now

Start an account somewhere that lets you tell the story you want to tell, in the way you want to tell it. You like taking pictures and sharing them? I love Instagram for that. You want to make videos that show the behind-the-scenes of your great company? Maybe get a YouTube account. I’ve said this for years, and I’ll repeat it now. If I had to choose ONLY ONE digital online property, it’d be a self-hosted blog. Why? Because we “rent” all those other places, and even though we tend to rent server space, the rules of our hosting provider are usually far more in our favor than any social media software out there. (Related to this, my friend, John Saddington invented a photo sharing app and WordPress combo that lets you publish photos to your very own WordPress, if you didn’t feel like using Instagram or Flickr or the like.

And Then What? What Do You Say?

Part of “presence” is being somewhere that you can have a voice. I share my musings on random whatevers on Twitter. I am a bit more filtered (but only a little bit) in what I share and say on Google+, but in both cases – in all cases – one detail remains a constant: the more I show up, and the more I’m helpful, the more people continue to share their attention with me.

Easiest Presence Builder: Be Helpful

Let me be clear: “helpful” is rarely just retweeting other people’s stuff. But that’s part of it. Sharing the work of others, and pointing out great new items of interest are a powerful way to build your presence. Just glancing at my list of people I follow right now, I see that Aliza Sherman shared a tech tip on how to brand your YouTube videos. Carrie Wilkerson shares her thoughts on whether social media is worth your time. Mack Collier weighs in on Klout. But those are just a few people I follow, and a few sample posts. In general, people are being helpful.

Worst Presence Builder: Me, Me, and RT of what YOU said about Me

Do I really have to write a supporting paragraph here? The more you talk about how awesome you are, the harder I try to stifle a yawn. It’s not interesting. It’s not helpful. It’s kind of silly. Sharing how awesome you are is rarely useful. And no, adding “humbled” to your sharing about how awesome you are doesn’t help.

Help Others. It’s Magic!

What I’ve most come to understand is that if you help other people succeed, you’ll become more influential and your presence will matter. If you promote wonderful and important causes (like Invisible People), and help your friends to be seen, you’ll grow even more than if you share only your own stuff.

I’m not saying never self-promote. Let’s not be silly. But do so with a side of helpful and a huge dessert of helping others. Okay? Listen to Jay Baer tell me about that as it relates to his new book, Youtility. That’s the goal.

Okay. Now, it’s time to build your presence. Why? You don’t need to know what it’s going to do for you eventually. Just know that having a voice, having a way to participate, having a way to be helpful, and all this other stuff, is useful to your future pursuits (most times), good for your future business goals (most times), and might eventually be almost mandatory (really- feels that way in some ways).

Ready? Go!

Oh, and if you want my most favorite presence builder bar none? Make sure you’re getting my free newsletter. I talk about it THIS SUNDAY! runs on the Genesis Framework

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  • Mark Vang


  • Vincent Nguyen

    I hope this inspires waves of people to start something new. :)

  • jon_mitchell_jackson

    Well, your post hit me like a ton of bricks upside the head. First, I apologize for some of the things I’ve been doing wrong—not going to go into details but after reading your post I’m raising the bar (as my daughter would say, I’m such a Phil :-). Second, I will continue trying to improve and help others. Thanks for the good reminder and pointers

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  • shaylynnvacca321

    My Uncle Brayden recently got a stunning white Infiniti G Convertible
    IPL from only workin part-time on a pc at home. you can look here J­a­m­2­0­.­ℂ­o­m

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  • Ryan Biddulph

    Hi Chris,

    This karma thing is always in effect. Expand your presence by helping others to expand your presence. You are a master of this; always highlighting other people’s work, chatting, sharing and sending out helpful newsletters.

    Being present helps you build your presence. Does that make sense? You will naturally help other people when you are in the moment and not thinking of yourself.

    Last night a puppy I took off the street here in India died. We had him for 2 days. Heart-wrenching but amazing experience. I learned, for the first time in my life, at 38, to live with love and help, and serve, with no ulterior motive.

    Going forward I intend to do all I can with love and care, and I know that doing so will expand my presence…..but I am not worried about that much.

    Chris, thank you. Wonderful post and message. Keep your servant’s heart buddy.


  • Raul Colon

    Ever since I started helping others in situations I was frustrated the outcome has been better. Thank you for that advice.

    On the other side when it comes to presence I see so many who might “show” their presence online and then when they are in person they go back into their shells and don’t talk with someone.

    I think we can all work on the many aspects of presence. Those that sit on a table with friends still looking at their phones. They are not either present online or offline. We need to be present by paying attention. By being present our presence will improve.

    Thanks for the mention and linking to my new project buddy. Very grateful!

  • Kate Fuller

    Thanks for the awesome advice! I’m actually just learning about building presence, publishing quality content that benefits others, and putting ourselves out there in my Social Media Marketing class at the University of Georgia, and your post really wrote out exactly why our professor had us start our own blogs! Your post was both helpful and encouraging!

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  • Sue Neal

    Great advice, Chris – I think it’s a bad sign when a blogger spends most of his or her time on social media, just promoting their own posts. I’m far more likely to click through to a post if someone else, whose opinion I value, recommends it. In my view it’s better to focus your energies on building relationships and creating content that other people will be enthusiastic to share.

    I think being yourself, providing genuinely interesting, entertaining, high quality content, and doing our best to help others (our readers and other bloggers) is the key to success. Apart from anything else, a reputation based on the value you offer, and strong relationships with your readers, are assets that are unlikely to get hit by the next Google update.

  • JeremySeoChicago

    I would argue that a ton of bloggers (especially with their corporate brand tied in) are afraid to show personality and wit through their blog posts. Stagnant, unappealing business copy is never the greatest for marketing purposes. I always like to show that there’s a little fire in my belly, especially if I feel strongly about a particular issue.

  • Silviu

    Hello Chris,

    “Help others.It’s magic.” What a nice way to say it. It is really not about me but about others. So wee need to learn how to help others, how to support others and how to promote others.
    Great lesson. Thanks.

    Have a wonderful day

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  • DavidBrentJohnson

    “You don’t need to know what it’s going to do for you eventually.”

    Man, that is definitely where I struggle the most: to just DO.
    A lot of things in my world are so results-oriented. But just showing up and being present…just because it’s the next right thing to do…that’s such an important paradigm shift.

  • John Saddington

    ah, thanks chris for the shoutout for Pressgram!

  • Lee Gellatly

    So true Chris. The ability to help others does wonders for your own business. I have found that edifying them, praising them publicly, is extremely powerful in keeping people plugged in, to continue on through their own journey and struggles. It’s always nice to know that we are never suffering in vain, cause it ain’t all peaches and cream.

    The most effective factor at building an online presence is showing up on a consistent basis, and I feel that this is where most people fail. But it’s so crucial for building relationships. No one would be married and only show up once a week or whenever they felt like it and expect a great relationship, if it even existed. The same goes for taking care of people who enjoy our work online.

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  • Jeff Brown

    You’ve said it before but it never hurts to hear it again. I know I need the reminder consistently. Thanks for that. Thanks for teaching me years ago that altruism online (and in life) is the way to go.

    • ArtemRotan

      my Aunty Sophie got gold Mercedes S-Class Sedan just by some part-time working online with a cheap laptop. her response

    • ArtemRotan


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  • Startup Savant

    Thanks for the post Chris. We often forget that internet karma DOES exist. What goes around comes around!

  • Lucy Chen

    Hi Chris,

    Thank you for sharing your insights, as well as your beginning.

    Since I started my website and blog in July, I’ve found that posts that are helpful, such as videos showing how I paint, and posts on how to find your personal artistic style, are most popular.

    The more interaction I have with people, the more I feel that I have a mission to make art more “understandable” to every one, so more people can enjoy it (especially when I came from a no-art background).

    Of course, I would love to see my originals sell like hot cakes, and a lot of sales of my prints, too. But this is not going to happen, and it is not healthy even if it did, if I do not build trust and relationship with people first.

    Take good care and have a wonderful day!

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  • Matt Hayden

    So important to have the desire to help other people. People will sense this motivation and respond positively to it. It will also keep you going even if you’re not making money from your activities. And that’s really important because nothing happens overnight.

  • Jess

    Hi Chris,

    This is such great advice. I see so many people just self promoting and they do very little to help others. Then they wonder why they don’t have a following or any clients.

    The more you help the more abundance you’ll have in your business and in life. Thank you for the reminder.

    I hope you’re enjoying your Sunday!

  • Spook SEO

    Helping others is also helping yourself. You just have to find the best
    exposures to get the traffic that you want. If this means that you have to take
    one for the team, then, do so. It will surely pay off in time. Also, it is good
    to know that other people owe a lot to you.

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