Personal Branding—an Exercise in Content Marketing
Having a personal brand is not optional. Perhaps you think you don’t have a personal brand, but you do. And if you don’t know what your brand is, your brand is neither strong nor polished. Having a strong personal brand is critical to managing your career, and you want to be sure that you are in control of what your brand is. If you are passive about your brand, others will craft it for you. In order to create and to build a strong personal brand, you should employ proven marketing techniques. One of the best ways to develop and promote your brand is through aggressive content marketing.
Content marketing is the creation and sharing of useful content with followers who relate to your brand. Consider a consumer products company, and how it uses content marketing to promote its brands. Take Coca-Cola, which is the most widely consumed packaged beverage in the world. You like Coke, so you follow Coke on social media. Coke posts videos which are cute and feature its product, photos of the product in faraway locations, and then followers comment. What Coke is doing is part of a deliberate strategy to promote its brand, which is not only that their product is the global leader in packaged beverages, but also that Coke is a “slice of life” piece of Americana.
Content is the number one digital marketing strategy for branding. The Coca-Cola Company knows it, and now you know it, too. So, how do you apply this concept to personal branding? First, you need to define the various types of content and decide which one to focus on as a starting point. You could produce a podcast, create a website, establish a blog, or create video content. Once you have decided on a content type, consider the following:
Have a strategy. The word “strategy” gets tossed around all the time, but few people understand what it actually means. “Strategy” is a plan or method that moves you forward toward a result. So, to have a strategy, you need to define what results you’re looking to achieve. Think about the result you want within the context of the content you’re creating. Will this help move me closer to my goal?
Produce meaningful content. Your content must resonate with your followers and your target audience. Think about where your expertise lies, and determine how best to convey your unique knowledge. Don’t be boring! That is the death knell of content marketing. If you bore your audience, they will move on.
Engage with influencers. Ask questions, engage in Twitter chats, offer to contribute content to them, or offer to host theirs. Influencers can take many forms—social media influencers, industry influencers, thought leadership influencers. Expand your definition of who an influencer might be.
Share your content across social media. When you’re just starting out with your personal content marketing, it’s best to select one social media outlet to tackle. Focus on that one, and do it really well. When you gain a following, you can start using other channels.
Your brand is going to be recognized, evaluated, and judged, so it’s in your best interest to ensure it’s communicating your desired message. Clients, employers, and vendors will all research you, and your brand is a component of your market’s decision-making process. Be sure that you’re driving it.
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