How important is personal branding? According to US PR firm Edelman, 65 per cent of Internet users regard online search as the most trusted source of information about people and companies.
People go straight to Google, Facebook or LinkedIn to help them decide whether or not to do business with a person or organization.
“By building up your personal brand, you’ll be able to put your best foot forward online — which will also influence your success in the real world as well,” notes SmartInsights.
We research online before we decide whether to do business with a person or organization. Here’s how content marketing can help build your personal brand.
Brand strategy and content marketing
Virgin Group founder Richard Branson is not your typical snobbish businessman who bores you with business models, graphs and motherhood statements.
He built a cool dude persona as summed up in his Twitter profile: “Tie-loathing adventurer, philanthropist & troublemaker, who believes in turning ideas into reality. Otherwise known as Dr Yes at @virgin!”
Mr. Branson mastered the art of promoting a personal brand through content. He posts interesting, and sometimes hilarious, professional and personal content on social media. People want faces behind the businesses they deal with. The Virgin Group is the perfect model.
There is no one-model-fits-all content marketing strategy. It must be customized based on a client’s attributes and aligned with branding goals.
Do you want to be regarded as someone with a wide range of interests, or a dedicated expert in your field? Amy Cuddy, social psychologist and associate professor at Harvard Business School, has made a name for herself in her popular Ted Talk, “Your body language shapes who you are.”
Professor Cuddy’s videos, articles, and social media posts helped her break into the mainstream and put social psychology in the limelight. These content forged her online identity and enables her to reach out to people across the globe.
With consumer habits changing, it is essential to look into data and trends to help you create an appealing social brand. According to a study by HubSpot, Inc., the top marketing challenge for a company is generating traffic and leads.
With trillions of webpages in the Internet, it is a content marketer’s daily mission to produce quality materials that will bring in traffic. Sarah Titus‘ weapon is blogging.
Ms. Titus has a heartbreaking backstory: a single mom who once sought refuge in a homeless shelter. Thanks to the power of the web, she got back on her feet and established a career as a lifestyle blogger.
Read a few posts by Ms. Titus and you will know where her passion lies: homemaking, parenting, and entrepreneurship. Her blog posts are unique and not some spun article with a cheesy stock photo.
Ms. Titus produces engaging and shareable content that can bring and sustain traffic to her website.
Write with a personal touch
To have a successful social brand, your content must be personal. “If your posts sound robotic, formulaic or overly wordy, it’s going to be clear to your user base that you’re phoning it in,” advises Forbes.
Darren Rowse of Problogger.net is one of the go-to guys when it comes to blogging. Like many popular bloggers, he started his career as a hobby. Most of his earlier posts were about sports and photography. His engaging content made a dedicated following and eventually, serious money.
What makes Mr. Rowse stand out from the rest? He skips the jargon and offers truly helpful tips for fellow bloggers in a light discussion, more like listening to a friend/mentor over a cup of coffee.
Humanize your brand. Write from your own mind.
Appealing and unique images
People are visual creatures. According to a study, visual recognition is more powerful than auditory in terms of memory recognition. A message is likely to remain in memory if accompanied by an appealing image.
Your choice of photos should be aligned with your personal branding. What type of images exude the attributes of your online identity? This is one compelling reason why you should think twice about using impersonal stock photos.
Peg Fitzpatrick is known for creating unique images for the web. She promotes graphic designs that attract traffic, retain visitors and deliver messages effectively.
Ms. Fitzpatrick co-wrote a book, “The Art of Social Media” with marketing specialist and venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki, where she expounded on visual marketing and social media success.
The power of video content
Among the types of content you should invest in, video should be on top of your list. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has proclaimed that video will be a game changer, a “megatrend,” similar to mobile.
Videos are attention-grabbers that make messages easily digestible. Today, social media is exploding with less-than-a-minute lifestyle videos on a wide range of subjects from feather eyebrows to Japanese ramen.
When it comes to video content success, no name comes close to Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, otherwise known as PewDiePie. The Swedish YouTuber has generated more than 15 billion views since he opened an account in 2010.
The video content that brought PewDiePie celebrity status involved video game commentary characterized by “goofy jokes, profanity and loud outbursts.” His materials have raised brows, even led to cancelled deals, but he created a personal brand that remains influential to this date.
While it is true that there are different paths to build a personal brand via content, there are fundamental tasks to get you started.
Get a pen and paper and write down your goals. What milestones do you intend to achieve? Next, brainstorm on how to align the type of content with each goal.
If you want to be known as a blogger/mentor well-experienced in household management, your content must present practical how-tos from real-life experiences.
Your choice of medium and platform will also spell the success or failure of your personal branding. Will you blog, create videos or produce podcasts? Is your target audience on Facebook, YouTube or respected news outlets?
Finally, pack in a lot of fearlessness. The Internet is an arena of well-equipped gladiators skilled to give what the roaring audience wants. You need to stand out or the competition will eat you alive.
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Aby is a qualitative researcher and a passionate writer. She writes mostly about health, psychology, technology, and marketing. You can follow her at @abyleague