Making a difficult industry sound easy and understandable with Alexis Bertholf

Alexis Bertholf

I see a lot of people working in marketing, sales, business development, or design who started to build their personal brands on platforms like LinkedIn.

But what I see too little of are people who work in engineering, health care, accounting taking a step up for themselves online.

Maybe because they feel like they don’t have time or don’t know how to write.

Too bad they don’t think about the most important asset they have that others may not have: their knowledge.

A writer can learn to write about health care and a doctor can learn to write for an audience, but the doctor’s advantage is talking about personal experience and things he’s been through while a writer can only imagine them.

But let’s get into the depths of this topic.

Build a personal brand no matter your industry

Have you ever considered building a personal brand, but worried it wouldn’t apply to your industry?

Think again!

Building a personal brand is a powerful tool for anyone, regardless of their field.

Just think of Alexis Bertholf who is a solution engineer and built an entire community around network engineering.

Her subscribers follow her for her expertise and for the valuable content that’s built in a variety of formats from videos, images to carousels. 

So start by determining what sets you apart from others in your industry or niche. 

What unique perspective, skills, or experiences do you bring to the table? 

And then focus on providing value to your audience through your content.

Share insightful perspectives, practical tips, valuable resources, and engaging stories that address their needs and interests. 

In time you’ll establish yourself as a trusted authority in your niche and attract followers who appreciate what you have to offer.

But it’s more than just posting valuable content.

You have to interact with others, respond to comments, ask questions yourself, follow others in your field, and so on.

You cannot build a community around your brand if you don’t actively engage with your audience.

So far is just like building a brand in any other field.

The difference may be that it will take a bit longer to grow and your community will be highly niched, but this doesn’t make your personal brand less valuable.

Sometimes more niched communities are more engaged than a vast community.

Who is Alexis Bertholf?

Alex Bertholf is a passionate engineer who started her career at Cisco a few months after finishing university.

If you wonder if she has a diploma in engineering, yes she does, but not in the type of engineering you think about.

She graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with a diploma in Aerospace, Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering.

During her time in university she was an intern in GE Aviation, Naval Air Systems Command, and even worked at Boeing.

But after graduation she realized that she wants to switch careers even though her professors told her she’s going to waste her diploma and potential.

I’m sorry professors but she does an amazing job.

I don’t know what she would have accomplished working in aeronautical engineering, but as a solution engineer at Cisco she seems to have everything at her little finger.

She even created a personal brand on LinkedIn and grew an audience of 26,500 people who are highly engaged with her content.

On TikTok she has 35.672 followers and 595.755 appreciations on her content.

Why is Alexis a B2B in-house creator?

  1. Builds a community of engineers
  2. Connects engineers to Cisco
  3. Makes network engineering sound easy
  4. Creates engaging content
  5. Talks about career journey

A. Build a community of engineers

Alexis started to post consistently on LinkedIn in May 2023 and mostly she talked about Cisco and their offerings.

Slowly in July 2023 she began to post about different tech issues and solutions, and started to evangelize network engineering through social media.

One of the best parts about Alexis is that she realized the importance of connecting with people through videos.

An example is a post about two different types of network connections where she offered a comparison between the two in a short text but also in a video.

What’s interesting to see is that her audience was really interested in the subject because she had 1.295 interactions and 133 reposts to this video.

133! That’s impressive!

A few months ago she wrote that she’s on a mission to make networking engineering cool again among the younger generation, making them understand this subject and lead them into a similar career.

Her audience engaged with her post because she had 1,331 interactions on that post and 245 comments.

What I can tell based on her posts, interactions, comments, and reposts is that she really managed to capture the attention of people interested in network engineering.

Some of the roles some of the audience are AI & SDWan & Cybersecurity Evangelist for business growth, Advancing IT Support Engineer, Solutions Architect, Senior Network Development Engineer, and more.

Her audience is very niched and it seems like the engineers really needed B2B creators in their field.

B. Connects engineers to Cisco

I mentioned before that she started writing about Cisco and she still does it.

She constantly connects her audience with what she does at Cisco, how they manage the company, and talks about Cisco’s top products.

Take this post below as an example where she talks about the new generation of routes from Cisco and talks about their new features.

To make the post more engaging she created a pink visual that matches her brand colors.

Her audience was highly interested in this information as 1.470 reactions and 170 reposts.

She even talks about Cisco’s policies or culture by linking one of her posts about Cisco’s way of encouraging people to come back in the office by offering them a different approach to office life.

Like many of her liked posts, this one also has a video of her going to the new office in New York, showing the rooms while she talks about what makes people come back in an office.

She’s actually really courageous. One time she took on a call with Cisco’s competitor and started to engage and share knowledge with them.

I bet she did not spill the tea on what they do at Cisco, but talked about general information and social media.

Why did she do it?

To share knowledge because she wants to grow and support the network engineering community no matter if they are competition or not.

C. Makes network engineering sound easy

Now, this is my favorite part.

You should have some knowledge about what networking is to understand what she’s talking about but most of the time she tries to explain it in digestive ways.

Of course she has content on more specialized language for people who are in the industry, but she has posts that address beginners or just curious people as well.

She wrote posts for her audience to understand what network engineers do by writing a short list of twenty things they do.

Or she answers questions interesting for people who are non-specialists, such as “where should you fit your 5G in your network?”.

For her audience interested in how she creates the animated network diagrams she took her time to create a video.

She tells what tool she uses and then she takes her audience to a step by step guide to create those animate your network diagrams and how to share it on LinkedIn.

D. Creates engaging content

In her last year on LinkedIn she experimented with different types of content creating everything from text, carousel, images, and video posts.

By trying different types she started to have a clue which works best for her and focused more on that direction.

Since video is her top performance she created 140 videos in the last year.

Besides having different types of formats, she also experiments with different types of content.

She has videos about network engineering, Cisco, but she also has recommendation videos where she talks about the latest tools she tried and found helpful.

She has a video talking about the tool draw.io that she uses to create her animated videos or she talks about tools like the Device Coverage Checker to see if you have support on your device.

Another type of content she makes is testing new products and showing how to properly use them like in the case of highlighting Ekahau Sidekick 2 where she talked about how to make wireless surveys.

Her videos are really short around one minute to not bore her audience and keep them engaged.

Plus she doesn’t just keep the videos on LinkedIn, she uses them on TikTok as well where her videos have views that go as high as 63.000.

E. Talks about career journey

Alexis opens up and talks about why she chose to go into a different domain other than aerospace engineering.

She normalizes the idea that it’s normal to switch careers even though for a long time you believed you were where you wanted to.

She talks in several posts about her decision of joining Cisco because she enjoys working with people and helping them find solutions.

In another post she starts by talking about the layoffs announced for 2024. 

There were 46 tech companies which announced layoffs at the beginning of the year.

But that was not actually the center topic.

It was actually about the importance of creating a personal brand for yourself in these times.

She considers creating a personal brand “the best investment you can make for yourself”.

It’s important to create one because you can talk freely about your achievements, opinions, and experiences.

You build trust and slowly create an audience around you who could support you at your worst.

I want youtube to guess who’s Alexis’ friend that inspired her to post for 100 days straight and continue to build up her personal brand.

It’s Zoë Hartsfield.

We know Zoë is not only a Brand Evangelist for Apollo, but an evangelist of having personal brands that can lift you up and open up new possibilities.

What can B2B creators learn from Alexis?

1. Build a personal brand no matter your field

You might say you are in a specialized field that too little people know about and it’s not worth spending time creating a personal brand for you on different platforms.

Alexis begs to differ. She created her brand around network engineers which is a niche audience and still found out more than 26.000 people interested in this topic.

What makes you think people won’t be interested in what you have to say?

I think it’s all a matter of how you balance your content. Make your content engaging by creating different formats and creating content for beginners and for advanced people as well.

Plus, add a few other topics you’re interested in that are more accessible.

Take example from Alexis who besides creating content about engineering she talks about careers and about the company she works for.

And I know you don’t find creating a personal brand easy, no one does.

2. Make complex topics accessible

Alexis makes network engineering sound easy and understandable, even for non-specialists.

She’s doing the content balance we talked about earlier.

She simplifies complex concepts and provides valuable insights in a way that appeals to both beginners and experts in the field.

So, I repeat it’s important to communicate technical information clearly and concisely, making it accessible to a broader audience.

3. Be a brand advocate

This may be contradictory for Alexis because in one of her posts about the layoffs she says she was asked why she posts so much content about Cisco.

And she said that she doesn’t post it for Cisco but for herself.

I say it’s nothing wrong to promote the company you are working for because you can bring top talent to the company, attract new partnerships, and your company can see you as an in-house creator.

Plus, you also have a lot to gain by talking about companies’ products and services because you show your audience that you really know what you are doing and that you understand the market.

Final Thoughts

Alexis Bertholf shows us that through genuine connection, sharing expertise, and a willingness to make network engineering cool again she created meaningful engagement and an entire community around a topic you did not expect.

I hope more people would take Alexis’ example and build their personal brands around new subjects.

Why? Because some people are hungry to learn more while others are looking for a community to be part of.