Everywhere I go, whatever I read or hear, when it comes to marketing, it seems that everyone talks about it. However, this is more than just a cool topic to discuss with friends or colleagues over a cup of coffee in the morning.
Personal branding is a real thing, and it can help you get more influence over the internet or, if you are a vendor, to get more customers.
Out of all business decision makers, 84 percent start their buying process with a referral. And Google is the very first place people look after getting a referral.
There are many ways in which to build and develop your personal brand.
This time, I will talk about the content marketing strategy, about how and why you can use it in order to achieve personal success.
Let’s start with the basics.
1. Create success through content marketing
We are undoubtedly living in an information era. Virtually every individual has access to the Internet and as such, to every piece of information they need in order to survive or thrive.
Your online persona is nothing less than a public résumé which can be of benefit when looking for a job or a business associate, but it can also create havoc in your life if your brand is poorly developed, or even worse, if it will be perceived negatively.
If you were careless about your personal brand until now, imagine what your life would have been like if you were a person of influence in your area of expertise with thousands of followers and fruitful business connections.
Sounds good, right?
You think about yourself as a professional individual, with skills that should be for the benefit of others, if put to work. This is what you know about you.
What about everybody else?
What do they know?
How visible are you in your specific market or business area?
It is not enough to be a skilled professional.
At the same time, it is important that your targeted audience also knows about your skills, and knows where to find you and who you are.
Therefore, if you didn’t develop a personal brand until now, it is time to start right away, and the best way to get where you want to be is through content marketing.
2. Start with a plan!
Personal branding development is not different than any other project you’ve dealt with in the past: you need a plan before actually working to your benefit and build your online persona.
First, you should try to envision your future self, and start behaving accordingly. This step is very important because nothing ever dies on the Internet. As a consequence, everything you do, say or write can be traced back to you and it will affect your personal brand, good or bad, depending on your online and offline behavior.
But try to be close to your reality. I get it if you want to be a rich business man, but if you don’t have enough money to buy an island or a very expensive watch, then don’t do it.
Dress for the job you want, not for the job you have!
“To whom am I addressing?” is the next question you should ask yourself. The content you will write and post online depends on what your audience is. Find out what they want, what do they search online, how to address them and when.
For example, Neil Patel understand that his audience is combined by marketers, small business owners and future entrepreneurs. So every post on his blog is related to the topics his audience is interested it.
Another example is Chase Jarvis, a photographer and founder of Creative Live. He is creating content for every creative out there who wants to earn more money, grow a business or just pursue their passion.
Finally, make a list of your target goals and start planning ahead the content you will be writing for each goal set in this stage.
Once you’ve already established to whom you are addressing to, why are you producing content and what is the end result of your endeavor, you may start planning the content and make some preliminary sketches.
Note your ideas, set up schedules for online posting, try not to skip steps that are harder to make.
Focus on completing each task and only after that move on to the next step.
2. Content marketing strategies
Building your personal brand with content is similar to building a corporate strategy.
However, you will immediately find out that this task is rather personal and therefore, more exciting. If you do it properly, you’ll get more benefits and fewer problems in finding a job, a customer or a business partner. Here are the basic steps for developing your content marketing strategy:
a. Review your existing channels of communication.
Most of us already have social media accounts on various platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn or all of the above.
Before starting to effectively building your personal brand, review these channels and make a simple audit of everything you’ve been posting under your personal name.
Keep the posts that are relevant and delete everything that has nothing to do with your personal brand. If you are just starting on a social platform, things will be easier, as you don’t have to audit the past.
However, you will still need to plan for the future and brainstorm for ideas that will help you get started with your strategy.
b. Set-up more channels
(or, you can start fresh if you need to do so).
For personal branding for instance, you need LinkedIn.
This is a social platform dedicated to skilled professionals, on which you can start building your online persona and also link with other professionals from your area of expertise, especially the influencers and highly skilled individuals that can add points to your overall ranking within your professional community and your targeted audience.
If you already have such an account, make it better. Also, depending on what your goals are, make sure you are also on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. You can also choose to post on all of these social platforms but you will need more time to do so. Therefore, take into account the amount of time it will take to maintain an online presence on these platforms and set up your accounts accordingly.
c. Research the best ways to post and reach your audiences through each channel in particular.
Think about your targeted audience and their time zone. If you are trying to get attention from New Yorkers, don’t post from London at times they are already asleep. Also, there are certain periods of the day you should post on Facebook or Twitter, depending on various factors.
Research these moments thoroughly and adapt your style to best suit your goals.
d. Find new ways to create and develop awareness.
An important step is to set up your personal website.
There are numerous platforms and CMS’s to choose on, nevertheless, I would recommend WordPress, as it is the most popular and easy to use content management system available for free. All you need is a web hosting provider, a domain name and a few hours to choose a theme, simple plugins and create your first posts.
There are thousands of great themes and plugins to choose from but there are also feature products which can enhance your website in seconds at minimum costs. Conduct a thorough research on web hosting services and choose the best one for your web page.
Also, try to find a good and relevant domain name.
Put your skills to work and set up some online courses.
You can try Kajabi, the leading platform for people to sell their knowledge online by creating and selling online courses.
If you have ideas, you want to share them and also teach others about your skills, this is the best way to get some exposure and contribute to your personal brand efficiently and in a quick manner. An online course will add significant points to your already developed online persona because it will establish you not only as a skilled professional but also as a teacher, an expert in your domain.
We all know that experts are highly regarded, so if you have the means to put your skills at work in this manner, do it without hesitation.
Engage with influencers about your topics of interest.
Every industry has its influencers. What you need to do is find the most important people in your area of expertise and engage with them on various topics. The easiest way to do it is through social media, especially Twitter. There are several online tools that can help you select who and why to follow, I’ve used many of them only to finally settle for Narrow.
Why use this tool? Narrow is a simple Twitter automation tool that you can use to expand your brand. It works by interacting with other Twitter users that are discussing subjects that are relevant to you and your audience and helps you build your own network.
You will understand your audience better, identify people who share the same interests with you and track your performances through thorough analytics.
3. Create relevant content to develop your personal brand
The next step is the most difficult one, as it will never end as long as you need a personal brand. You have to create content and deliver information through the aforementioned channels in order to reach your targeted audience and this will be an ongoing work.
What types of content are suitable for such a task?
Original, high quality content is the key to success
If you want to build a personal brand through content management, then you should start writing and posting only about the things that are relevant to you, your brand and your targeted audience.
a. Add a personal touch
Many people fail by posting headlines and quotes, information that although might be relevant to the readers, does not add anything personal and therefore, it fails to trigger responses and reactions. However, if you need to be successful, you need reactions to your posts. You need engagement and discussions.
Therefore, even when you feel like you should post about a topic that is currently featured in the headlines, try to always add a personal idea, a unique perspective, something original to it.
Include ideas and resources that were never been shared previously and engage your audience by sharing with them your personal thoughts on the subject.
Moreover, even if your goal is to share thoughts about some of your daily routine tasks, news and advices related to your skills, add some other personal thoughts from time to time, things that can be correlated with your work but at the same time, of personal concern. For instance, you can write about your business relationships, personal experience with specific tools and software, some of the mistakes you’ve done and how you managed to overcome them and learn from them and so on.
b. Balance facts with humor.
Think about humor as a barrier breaker in communication. A good sense of humor is attractive and may help you establish a dialogue with your audience. You can add ironic thoughts as well, but tread carefully, because you don’t want to over-criticize, neither to create tabloid-specific scandals.
Dollar Shave Club behind the scene
For example, look at how Dollar Shave Club used humor to release their video.
“Not every entrepreneur has the ability to think comedically and think about their business in the way that we did.” said Lucia Aniello who directed the launch video for Dollar Shave Club.
You need to attract, not to repel.
c. Exercise your writing skills.
Whatever you are writing about, it is important to do it well. This means that you should draft your writings, consult with different sources and brainstorm for new ideas. For instance, when you start writing about a specific subject, the first one or two ideas that will come to you will be almost every time ideas that were already posted online.
Do not settle for less when you want more.
Note down everything you know about the topic from the sources and then, try to think about personal thoughts and ideas. On the other hand, write more than you actually post online. Write down everything that crosses your mind whether or not relevant to your online persona. It is important to exercise and improve your skills and also your abilities for proofreading.
Poor written texts full of grammatical and phrasing errors will have a negative impact on your personal brand.
Professionals who are successful and relevant in their areas of expertise have powerful personal brands that they are constantly developing and work on. You can merge a LinkedIn account with a Facebook page and start building from there, but if you want to be a person of influence, you need more than that.
Everything you need, nonetheless, can be easily done online through continuous research and content marketing.
It’s a lifetime work but a powerful personal brand will help you attract audience, find jobs, business partners and climb up the ladder of success.