Lending Leaders
The Importance of Personal Brand with Josh Pitts

We recently had a return visit with the dynamic Josh Pitts, CEO of S.H.R.E.D. (Show up. Hustle. Repeat. Every Day!) The next 30 minutes were, as always, a great combination of high energy and compelling conversation—as is always the case when it comes to Josh! Our own Joe….er, Jim Paolino hosted the podcast.


The show kicked off with discussion of S.H.R.E.D.’s increased presence on Instagram recently, one of Josh’s personal favorite. In fact, Josh ranked his favorites as YouTube, Instagram and Twitch, based upon the way he prefers to consume content and images/videos. He also pointed out Instagram’s better capabilities when it comes to curated content as well.

Getting started with personal branding

Of course, one of the big questions for the marketing-conscious in the mortgage industry right now is “how do I get started on building a personal brand?” Josh started by making the important distinction between the term “brand” (what you or the product actually are and how you interact with others) and “branding.” (the act of making others aware of who you are and what you stand for). In the chaotic, noisy world of social media, it can be a challenge to make your brand heard clearly.

Across the board, can you believe only 18% of borrowers return to their original banker or broker for their next mortgage transaction? It’s true, and it’s something that has bothered Josh for years. He continues to believe that content—such as podcasting—is a fantastic way to create value and build brands. It’s also a great way to build the trust and confidence that comes with a relationship, and subsequently, repeat business.

The ROI of social media and content marketing

Both Jim and Josh agreed that it’s unrealistic to expect immediate and direct business as the result of podcasting or other forms of content. Instead, it’s prudent to expect a slow, steady building of relationships and trust, which can eventually lead to new (and repeat) business. But simply launching a podcast or blog doesn’t quite mean one will never have to ask for business again.

What exactly is a “personal” social media post?

The balance between personal brand and business brand was also discussed and, in fact, deemed the “million-dollar question” by Josh. LinkedIn was discussed as an example. While personal posts can be difficult for many to share on LinkedIn, which also encourages more “professional” posts, Josh questioned that “rule.” If anything, Josh feels that a little personality brings authenticity to a poster, showing he or she isn’t only business-only. He also pointed out that a “personal” post doesn’t have to be a family picture or a Facebook-like update. Even discussing something of interest to the poster can be personal…and compelling.

Is the next big thing already here?

Asked frequently what the “next big thing” will be for marketing, Josh asserted that “it’s already been done.” Instead, he suggested that it’s more about putting your own accent or personal touch on what’s going on now. He and Jim also returned to their conversation on a previous episode in May, where Josh predicted a content explosion in the industry with the WFH/pandemic lockdown. Josh lamented the fact that, if anything, there seems to be less personal engagement. If anything, he sees more “addy,” promotional pitches in places like LinkedIn than ever before. His question for those marketers is “Is that the best you can do?” Both podcasters agreed that there are still too many people in the space who haven’t started content programs, suggesting that the best way to get started is to just jump in and do it.  “Just start,” suggested Josh. Building a following organically, via compelling content, is also not the way to go, argued Josh.  If anything, using paid promotion and advertising to draw content consumers initially can be a “rabbit hole” requiring the producer to maintain the advertising expense to maintain their audience.

Finally, Jim and Josh discussed the value of using a podcast (or other content) to differentiate oneself—especially in what’s becoming a very competitive purchase market.