Personal brand building with content has never been more effective.
Today, content marketing is outperforming conventional marketing, with personal brands sometimes eliciting more influence than the major, high-budget ones.
Thanks to the Internet for levelling the playfield between such massive brands and the average Joe.
But for starters – what does personal branding even mean?
Long story short – branding implies how others perceive you and your work. It’s the appearance and vibe of your company – the logo, the images, the website etc. Strictly speaking, anything that mirrors the reputation of the company falls under the brand.
Corporate businesses are still squeezing hard at the advertising game. A classic example of such excellent corporate branding is Nike. The tick icon, the punch line “Just Do It”, and the company’s commercials of real athletes build their brand. For Apple, “Think different” and a bitten apple does the job.
Such aggressive advertisement by big brands proves that building a personal brand today is more important than ever. Plus, corporate branding and personal branding are not entirely different.
Building your personal brand online helps you establish credibility and showcase your skills and knowledge. It informs people about you without having to talk to you in real life. Ultimately, increasing your chances of transforming your career and business.
Content marketing is the perfect approach to building a remarkable brand identity. Let’s talk more about it below:
The Power of Personal Branding + Content Marketing
Content marketing means consistently crafting and sharing relevant, valuable content. Although it generally doesn’t promote a brand, it attracts attention to the company behind the curtains for better consumer response.
Content here means blogs, social media posts, eBooks, infographics, podcasts, videos and such pieces that help you represent yourself. As ads turn less effective and buyers’ expectations rise in terms of perceived value, content marketing emerges as more important in the sales and brand building process.
Statistically speaking, about 90% of people trust products or services recommended by someone known, with only 33% trusting messages from a brand.
This implies that when building your personal brand, you’re promoting yourself as a more popular and trusted person, and not a mere brand.
That’s exactly what makes personal branding so effective – just as people’s recommendations are more precious than advertisements, so is content marketing as it boosts consumer trust and brand relation (over the course of time).
Consumers reading a brand’s educational content is 131% more likely to buy from them.
Keeping this data in mind, we can say that content marketing is a logical and effective way to build and maintain your personal brand as it tells your audience who you are, what you do, and your values are, which increases trust, without you sounding promotional or selfish.
Over time, your content forms a loyal, connected community that follows you and is more likely to trust the recommendations of your products and services.
Without any more delay, here are the 3 simple steps you can implement to build your brand with content marketing.
Step 1: Create content for a narrow audience
Just like many content creators, when you start marketing your brand, service, or product, you may be bursting with excitement to jump right in and pursue the attention of everybody who may be interested (even remotely) in what your business is offering.
Yes, I get you when you don’t want to miss out on building a huge audience. Therefore, you go ahead and create content around thousands of different topics.
Although brand promotion is crucial to growing business, aiming too broad of an audience can dilute your message.
Agreed, going broad may land you lots of followers to ‘like’ you and your content. But it won’t give birth to any diehard fans.
Targeting a narrow(er) audience may sound a little counter-intuitive, but, narrowing down your audience offers you better results. Remember, it is impossible to please everyone.
As Paul Graham would state, at first, what matters is “doing things that don’t scale.” It’s about taking feedback from your early followers, serving the consistent value, and keeping them.
Also, isn’t it better to grow a follower base that LOVES you and your content, buys and promotes everything you have to offer?
Author Kevin Kelly points up the importance of building an arsenal of 1,000 true fans for all sorts of creators.
Here’s how Kelly describes a true fan:
A True Fan is defined as someone who will purchase anything and everything you produce. They will drive 200 miles to see you sing. They will buy the super deluxe re-issued hi-res box set of your stuff even though they have the low-res version. They have a Google Alert set for your name. They bookmark the eBay page where your out-of-print editions show up. They come to your openings. They have you sign their copies. They buy the t-shirt, and the mug, and the hat. They can’t wait till you issue your next work. They are true fans.
These diehard fans will attract new readers. Their word of mouth will help grow your brand and shoot up your content exposure. Keep remembering yourself that your aim is not to attract everyone, you need to build a small group of die-hard fans.
So don’t go ahead and start a brand on ‘Copywriters services.’ Instead, peg down and go with topics like “Copywriting services for tech/self-help/health companies”
Tim Ferriss is the prime example of this. He didn’t start writing on business, productivity, digital marketing and Stoicism at once, rather broke into a narrow niche. His first diehard fans served as his brand and gave birth to his casual following.
That being… how many topics should you be covering?
I would aim for 5 or fewer topics that connect all in some way. Although you’ll have a little variety, the majority of your readers would be more likely to love your content. Here are 2 quick practical ways to pinpoint your focus:
Use reader surveys to let themselves tell what they like most
Stick with the categories giving you the most traffic, comments, and socials shares
Step 2: Document your content strategy
Only 38% of B2B and 37% of B2C brands document their strategy, despite knowing it will help them work smarter and more productively. It’s a no-brainer why you should HOP ON IT.
But the question that comes to mind when executing the strategy is — what should your content marketing strategy comprise?
Well, you’ve specified your target audience in the last step. Now, you have to figure out the sort of content you want to create and when you want to publish them.
Depending on where your focus audience is and what their preferences are, you can include blog posts, case studies, videos, social media updates and podcasts in your strategy.
- If your audience wants education to add value to their lives, then blog posts are the best. Because when done right, they have relevance in the long run and keep driving you leads.
- If your audience wants solutions, what works well is case studies showing how your business helped a client/customer succeed.
- If you want to grab your audience’s attention and engage them quickly, then video content is your way to go.
To start, do some keyword research to find out what buyers are typing into the search engines to reach brands like yours. Pick a main keyword alongside some long-tails and LSIs. You can also go with a tool like Buzzsumo to reverse engineer successful content in your industry and niche.
If you’re an entertainment-focused business, then YouTube and Instagram are perfect for you.
In fact, images and videos create a better emotional connection with your audience.
See how visual content has become the priority of top B2B content creators:
Per a 2018 HubSpot survey, 54% of consumers wanted more videos from a brand/business they support.
Gary Vaynerchuk has devised a powerful persona by putting out top-notch, attention-jabbing videos regularly.
Gary has a neat way to extract the most from every episode. He repackages his prime videos into micro pieces. Here’s how the content pyramid looks:
Even if you don’t have a team like Gary to pull this off, you can still rock social media marketing by being consistent and authentic. Remember to publish consistent content, even if it’s a few pieces every week.
Step 3: Build authority through guest posts, interviews and podcasts
Guest posting on high-quality blogs helps ramp up your domain and search engine authority while netting you more traffic. So go ahead and research relevant publications where your “true” fans are and that accept contributors.
By writing quality guest posts, you can get some targeted audience members. Apart from guest posts, text interviews and podcast appearances also do a great job of shooting up your authority.
Getting interviewed also cultivates a good relationship between both the parties and helps you reach new audiences.
Plus, the majority of the podcasts are published alongside relevant links to the guest’s site and social media accounts. They give you SEO benefits of backlinks alongside improving your online influence. Ultimately, landing a lot more opportunities for you.
For example, Ryan Robinson lately interviewed Grant Cardone for his podcast and added links to his websites. It’s a win-win.
That said, how do you score valuable interview and podcasts without a track record of being interviewed?
Make sure you have a hefty digital footprint: When they’re considering to invite you as an expert, the interviewer will first check out who you are online. So make sure your digital footprint (site, social media accounts, etc.) leaves an excellent impression. So go ahead and create an about me page that kicks ass. Also, make sure to extract the most out of your social media profiles.
Always be on the lookout for new opportunities: Perfecting your public profile isn’t going to land you lots of opportunities – you need to actively chase them. However, after some traction, the opportunities will start finding you. But in order to get the ball rolling, use platforms like HARO (Help A Reporter Out) and MyBlogU which are focused on connecting reporters to potential sources and community building.
Pitch your way to success: When you feel like an excellent fit for the expert interview, go ahead and email the blogger. You can use the following template to reach out:
I’d like to nominate myself for your “[Interview series name]” series.
I write on [whatever you write on] all over the web, including my blog: [Your blog URL]
Please let me know,
Since landing an interview starts with letting the right people know that you’re willing to be interviewed, such emails do wonders.
The Wrap Up
Be consistent – content marketing is a long process requiring consistent effort – especially when you’re trying to build trust, influence and recognition. Please don’t expect outcomes without giving it time or money.
Also, don’t forget that an exact definition of your target audience, strategy and goals helps you build a personal brand with content a lot more effective.
Back in the days, your reputation used to disappear just when you left a company, leaving you to start fresh again. Now, the Internet has brought change. Now, you have tools to build your portfolio public and recreate your public persona.
There wasn’t a time when it was easier and more important to create a personal brand.
I hope these 3 steps help you build your personal brand using content marketing.
How has your experience been of creating a personal brand?
Let me know in the comments below and I’d get back to you right away.