Content and content marketing has been growing across sectors for some time now, and it’s only getting bigger. With the implications for their brand identity, site traffic and online presence, more and more businesses are increasing their content teams and output.
But it’s not just big business brands that can benefit from content, it can be great for your personal brand too. It’s a great way to package your brand and increase both your reputation within the marketplace and the scope of your appeal. Importantly, it’s also in the interest of business to encourage the promotion of their employee’s personal brands through content, as it broadens their own appeal as a result of having key influencers within their company.
It’s not only effective, but an incredibly cost effective way of developing your personal brand; with little to no cost involved, the return on investment is likely to be clear.
Think about what you share
A key, low intensity way to begin your content journey is to start taking care in what you share across your personal social media platforms. The first and most important law of content marketing is quality, quality, quality. While sharing high quantities of mediocre content might improve your presence in the short term, it’s likely to be the wrong type of presence in the long run.
Start by finding out where key thought leaders and experienced professionals across your sector go to find quality content and start to share your own finds with them. Whether this be popular hashtags across twitter, or groups on LinkedIn, make sure it’s engaging, relevant content. Once you’ve found out where you key audience hang out, focus on what engages them. Take a look at the kind of content that is ordinarily popular. Talk to your audience and find out what fascinates and frustrates them and you’ll be on to a winner.
Another important thing to focus on with your shared content is to avoid the mainstream articles that everyone posts. You’re not going to gain an interested following if all that you’re sharing is Forbes articles, so consider sourcing new, exciting blogs or personal blogs of key thought leaders. Don’t forget to engage with the content by adding your thoughts and comments when you share it across your platforms wherever possible.
It’s time for an audit
The next step is to turn to Google. One of the most important parts of personal branding and growing great content associated with your personal brand is making sure that people can find it. The flip side of this is that you don’t want people to find outdated or irrelevant content associated with your name
If you need to, contact site owners and disavow content associated with your name that you don’t want to be associated with. Also take a look at your social media profiles and think about a revamp. It’s not about presenting a squeaky clean image necessarily; you want to appear like a real person and not a corporate, jargon-filled robot.
Of course this will vary depending on the sector you want to enter. Essentially, thinking about what you’d like others to see when they look you up is a great place to start, and removing articles that you no longer want to be associated with creates space for new, innovative, and relevant content.
When you decide you’ve grown your platform and successfully audited your online presence, it’s time to start writing. If you want to start out at low intensity, start with LinkedIn Pulse posts, or set up a WordPress account. If you don’t mind putting a bit more time and money in, then setting up your own site will do wonders for your personal brand and will be a much more impressive platform to start hosting your own content on.
Again, the focus has to be on quality. Consider making sure that you:
- Provide original insight
- Include statistics and figures whenever possible
- Establish a strong brand tone of voice – it’s key that all of your posts are recognisable in some way as yours through their tone
- Engage with what your audience cares about
Great content comes from what you’re passionate about, so writing about what makes you tick is a great way to write vibrant, engaging articles. At the same time though, be aware that you need to write to your audience; the content may represent your interests perfectly, but if no-one else cares then it’s unlikely to help your grow your personal brand.
Hopefully by this point you will have grown your own platform sufficiently to know what works and what your audience engages with, and it’s really important to stick to this over and above quantity. If you start off with just one post a week or even posting monthly, the scalability will come. Just make sure you’ve got something to scale from!
Once you’ve started regularly posting quality content and you’re starting to increase your influence in the space, it’s time to start reaching out to quality publications to offer guest posts. Many publications will consider the strength of your following when considering whether to feature your content, as well as its inherent quality and your own reputation.
Make sure you have a stock of quality content to refer to before you approach them and wherever possible try to establish a connection through a warm lead.
Why guest post? Well:
- It will drive traffic to your own site
- It increases the scope of your online presence and opens you up to new readers
- As a result of the high rankings of quality publications, when people search for you, articles and author bio pages on these sites are likely to come up
- It can in turn improve your own Google ranking
- It can provide great proof of your personal brand strength to employees and fellow entrepreneurs
So that pretty much covers it! Don’t be afraid to start off small; starting with a few, more informed quality posts across your social media can go a long way, and scaling up slowly will always be much better for your personal brand long term.
Matt Arnerich works as a content writer over recruitment specialists Inspiring Group. He focuses on writing careers advice for everyone from recent graduates starting in their first graduate jobs & internships, to experienced professionals looking for senior roles.