[SoG] 10,000 words is all you need to build your personal brand!

10,000 Words. For Personal Brand.

Today's idea is probably the simplest ever. And among the MOST difficult ever.

In one line, it is, "if you would write and publish a 10,000 words essay on any topic, you would start getting recognized as an expert on that."

No this is not mine.

I picked it from the Internet writing sensation, David Perrell. He is in his early 20s and has stumbled on this idea that he wants to be known as a guy that helps others write. And he wants to create content that establishes him as a writer. And then use that brand as a writer (and a writing guy), he wants to make money by creating online courses for people to learn from.

And it's amazing! In the sense, you do what you love (writing), you work hard to get good at it, you decide to share what you have learned and you make money by teaching that to others and you make a difference. Ikigai anyone?

So, David, even though he's not even 25 is so good that I look up to his content when I want to brush up my writing. Or when I seek inspiration. You MUST check out what he writes. Really. He has some of the best advice on writing that I have ever seen. Like really (he would probably scoff at how I used the "really" word twice in two lines). If I were to make a list of things that I've picked from him, I would run out of pages. But then, I don't want to. Right? And thus, I will pick that one idea that I thought was the most powerful of all his ideas.

10000 words.

After I read work from David, I realized that these days, people write either very short pieces (<100 words; tweets, texts, etc) or long pieces (>50000 words; books). Blogs have long died, thanks to the limited attention spans that people have. But some of the most "visited" pages on the internet are of people that write about 10000 words on various subjects.

Some of my favorites writers are in this category. Tim Urban of Wait But Why, Julian Shapiro of Julian.com are cases in point. Add David to that list. In fact, we, the netizens for reason have this fascination for long-form essays. No, there is no scientific evidence to share here. But I do know that some of the most engaging pieces I've read on the Internet tend to be long reads from the likes of Wierd, Wisden, Atlantic, 1843, Qz, and others. You know, like this recent piece about a hacker!

Anyhow. Coming back.

So 10000 words piece is big enough to qualify as a serious one. It is not frivolous and effervescent as a tweet. It is not as serious as a book. It's just right!

You may or may not have an original thought for the piece and you may be merely rehashing what has been said earlier. But once you get a 10000-word piece to your name, you will start getting attention from people that are intelligent. Could be criticism, could be praise. But you will not be ignored. And once those intelligent people know about you (and if they take note), they would spread the word. And then others would see you. You know, how movements spread?

The good part is, it sounds simple.
The bad part is, it is tough.

To be able to write a 10,000 words piece, you will have to work hard. You will have to read all the literature written about that topic. You will have to talk to all the other experts. You will have to ensure that you do not make blunders, the kinds that such brevity of complex pieces often creates. You will have to live with the idea that you are merely recycling content that is already there and you are not creating anything new (but then this retelling of the old will open up doors and opportunities to do more).

Once you have this 10000-word piece, you can then pimp it at various places and let the search engines do their magic. You can let this piece become your visiting card. You can let this piece introduce you. You can talk about it at parties, there are parties in our lives anymore. You could become a speaker that talks about this piece.

Think about this 10000-word piece as a Ph.D. in something.

For example, there is this guy I know who's done a "research" on Dabbawalas of Mumbai and has now before a "motivational speaker" and travels the world giving speeches about how Dabbawalas are cool. Some may call him a fraud. Some may call him a hustler. Some may even call him a person that is taking the untold story of the Dabbawalas places.

But the point remains, he is using that to further his personal brand.

Ah, personal brand.
That's where we started. Lemme come back to it.

Say you are a real-estate mogul and you are looking at a scary situation with RERA and COVID and all. You are idle. And to use that time, what if you write a 10000-word piece on the impact of COVID on the real estate market and send it to various publications? I can bet my backside that you would be on every talk show after that.

Say you are an advertising executive. How about you write a 10000-word piece on how advertising will change in the post-COVID world. And for that, you speak to every executive that you know of. Send cold emails to the ones you don't know of. And then publish it. And then share the report with everyone. Most people will skim through the report. But they would come back to you for advice when they need is. Why? Because you are an "expert". You are the one that wrote a 10000-word piece on the future of advertising.

It is incredibly simple. Especially in this internet age. It's like winning an award, in a category that you create for yourself.


David did it. Julian did it.

And you know what? I did it as well. Along with a friend, I wrote a 3000-word piece on podcasting in India and that made me a pseudo expert on podcasting and gave me enough fodder to actually launch a podcasting network! So, the "trick" works. For sure. I have tried. In fact, I am so long on this idea of 10000 words that I want to write a 10000-word tome on Hero's Journey, you know the universal shape of a story that every myth seems to follow. And I want to do this because it could help me establish myself as a writer for films and TV, something that I think the time is ripe for. Thanks to COVID-19, I am sort of out of work, you know! Let's see what I do about it. Do check-in on me, in case ;)

Coming to you, 10000 words.
Take a shot at it.
I am happy to help, if you want. It is incredibly simple once you get down to it. And anyway what else do you have to do apart from the dishes in this lockdown?



Should you want to, unsubscribe here.
Give me anonymous feedback by using this form.

Enjoyed reading this letter? Forward to a friend and help them become a better version of themselves.

Got this from a friend? Subscribe to these letters at http://bit.ly/SoG2019.
The index of previous letters is here.