Marie Forloe. Bill Gates. Oprah Winfrey. Elon Musk. Richard Branson. What’s common in these names? They are the personal branding masters who possess the power to influence people.
So, what is personal branding? Marketers McNally and Speak define personal brand as, ‘Your brand is a perception or emotion, maintained by somebody other than you, that describes the total experience of having a relationship with you.’
Customers don’t buy from companies. They buy from the people they trust and relate to. All successful brands have had strong influential leaders to realize the business vision and advance their mission. That’s the power of the human connection!
Personal branding helps you create value for customers, allowing you to meet their subconscious expectations. When you consistently deliver on your brand promise, you win their trust and loyalty. Research from PR and marketing firm Edelman reveals that about half of all buyers make a purchase decision because of their trust in the brand.
Further, having a strong personal brand sets you apart from the competition and builds your online reputation. Thus, effective personal branding is crucial to staying relevant and becoming an industry leader.
In fact, statistics reveal, 77 percent of consumers are more likely to buy from a company when they hear about it from someone they trust. Thus, organizations with strong personal brands are bound to outperform their competitors and earn high conversion rates.
Role of Content Marketing in Building a Powerful Personal Brand
Content is everywhere! It’s what makes up websites, blogs, videos, podcasts, social media posts, infographics, and everything else available on the internet. Content is what speaks to your audience, allowing them to know more about you and your brand.
Simply put, the content you offer is the tangible proof of your expertise and authority in the industry. It also boosts your online visibility and opens up avenues for collaboration with other influencers in your niche. What’s more? Customers who read brand-related educational content are 131 percent more likely to purchase from that brand.
Thus, effective content marketing can help you build your voice, equity, reputation, and network online. So, without further ado, let’s move to how you can use this effective tool to forge a strapping personal brand.
Winning Tips for Using Content Marketing for Personal Branding
The increasing distrust of online advertising is a clear indicator that customers are expecting brands to add value to their daily lives. In such a scenario, having a winning content marketing strategy in place becomes more important than ever in the brand-building process.
Here are a few key tips for building an incredible personal brand using content marketing.
1. Be genuine
The strategy behind content marketing emphasizes building credibility, authority, and trust. That’s exactly why nothing derails the process faster than inauthenticity. Readers can tell when you’re faking it, and this immediately discredits anything you have to say.
So, it’s best to be yourself. Be genuine. Bring a human touch back into business by letting your personality and way of seeing the world shine.
2. Know the difference between personal and private
Using the Internet to build a personal brand does not mean sharing every aspect of your life. You can be honest and ‘real’ self without sharing everything.
Take a look at Mark Cuban’s Instagram profile. The serious face of Shark Tank has fun while engaging his Instagram followers, giving them a peek into his family life and behind-the-scenes of Shark Tank and his own business ventures.
Decide upfront what parts of your life are off-limits for sharing — whether that’s your kids, your spouse, your address, your place of employment, or something else — and set clear boundaries to protect your privacy.
3. Be positive
Avoid posting negative comments, bad-mouthing, using politically incorrect language or content online. You want your potential clients, partners, employers, or connections, to see you as a source of inspiration and optimism.
4. Set clear goals
Crafting a vision for your personal brand is a great way to keep your content marketing tactics on track. Ask yourself, what do you want to accomplish with your personal brand? Are you trying to land with a new job, connect with new clients, or establish your authority in the field? What does your target audience want? What kind of content will help you realize your vision?
The answers to these questions will help you keep your end goal in mind while devising a content strategy for your personal brand.
5. Start a blog and post regularly
When used strategically, a blog can be the lifeline of a good content marketing strategy. A blog offers you a platform to publish high-quality relevant on a regular basis.
According to Business2Community, small businesses with blogs generate 126 percent more leads than businesses without them. Now, that’s a number you cannot afford to ignore. Who doesn’t want more leads for their business?
6. Create quality content
Another way content marketing can backfire is when it’s done poorly. If you’re churning out short, irrelevant posts or slapping together ho-hum articles, you’re telling the world to expect little from you. Good content marketing focuses on value — delivering usefulness and relevance to readers.
Check out this post by SEMrush that offers in-depth anatomy of the top-performing articles. Use the insights shared here to up your content strategy this year.
7. Share your content
Your existing social media accounts are a perfect place to start sharing your content. These platforms are already set up with your real connections — people who know and trust you! Research shows it takes five to seven impressions before someone remembers your brand and what it represents. So, make sure you consistently share valuable and meaningful content with your real-life audience.
8. Encourage others to share
People have various reasons for sharing content online. A study by the New York Times Customer Insight Group found that people sharing content are driven by five motivations.
If you are able to appeal to these motives, people will be more likely to promote your content, bringing you more website traffic and exposure in the process.
Further, you can also encourage readers to share content by asking them to do so, holding contests that require sharing to enter, interviewing influential people who are likely to share it with their audience.
9. Use an app to streamline your content posting
Staying on top of regular content creation and promotion can be pretty overwhelming. One way to streamline your content marketing efforts is to schedule posts using an app. Online tools like Buffer or Hootsuite can make it easier to manage this task effectively.
10. Connect with others
Social networks make interacting with influencers or prospects as easy as pie. Want to improve your blog’s visibility? Connect with other bloggers in your niche and draw them to the content you post.
Looking for leads? Share quality content and keep in touch with the target audience by responding to their comments on your post. Use content marketing to create and build connections and strengthen your online reputation.
The above-mentioned tips will help you create a rock-solid personal brand. However, it’s equally important to be aware of and avoid the common content marketing blunders that could stall your personal branding efforts.
These four common content marketing glitches can harm your personal brand. Steer clear of them at all costs.
A. Not Considering Your Audience
This may sound obvious, but the truth is that it’s one of the biggest mistakes committed by marketers. They promote to an audience without focusing on their needs and issues.
Remember how popular Miley Cyrus (Hannah Montana) was among teens? In order to encash its popularity, Disney quickly introduced merchandise like these branded red cherries without thinking about the relevance of the product to its target audience. It is considered as one of the biggest brand blunders of all time.
You definitely don’t want to be featured on this list! Remember to consider your target audience before working on your content strategy.
Taylor Swift seems to be an expert at this! She understands her young audience well and shares content that she know they will respond to. Remember her iconic “no it’s becky” t-shirt? Her ardent fans get the quirky insider joke. That’s the power of connecting with your audience.
B. Not Being Your Authentic Self
The American legend, Anne Morrow Lindbergh once said, “The most exhausting thing in life is being inauthentic.”
Personal branding is all about being your true self. Take Richard Branson, for instance! Just by being himself and passionately sharing his vision through effective storytelling, the iconic entrepreneur has built the powerful Virgin Group.
All his content reflects authenticity and hence people are able to connect with him. In fact, the business magnate’s personal brand is 100 times more powerful than the brand Virgin.
On the other hand, remember how Lance Armstrong created a brand persona on the basis of a big fat lie? You don’t want your brand to land up in such a mess!
C. Being All Talk, No Substance
A lot of individuals and businesses make the mistake of using social media for personal brand building excessively. They post multiple times in an hour on Facebook or Twitter, share anything they come across, and repost the same content over and over again.
This also happens on blogs. However, customers can see through this and will probably consider it clutter. That’s exactly what you don’t want.
Instead, focus your efforts on sharing high-quality posts and social media updates that add value to your audience and help you realize your vision.
D. Not Aligning Your Personal and Business Brand
Your personal and professional brands have serious bearings on each other. Thus, not aligning them can have crippling effects on both, negatively affecting your credibility.
That’s what happened to Oprah Winfrey when she failed to align her personal and business brands. Her biggest asset was her daily connection with her humongous viewer base, which influenced her viewers with her views and thoughts.
So, when she decided to end her show in May 2011, she lost connection with her loyal followers, her personal brand suffered, and her ranking drop from 6 in 2010 to 50 in Fortune’s Most Powerful Women’s List, 2012.
You are your business! As a result, when working on a content strategy, it’s critical that you align the vision, mission, and values of both your personal and professional brands.
One way of doing this is to publish value-driven content on the company and personal social media accounts, thus positioning you as a thought leader.
Customers want to see consistency. When they see that your personal brand is closely tied to your company brand, they will trust you more. Further, your brand will have a human face they can connect with – you!
Regardless of what your industry or interests are, personal branding should be your priority. Your personal brand is a reflection of what you have to offer to your customers. And to grow the kind of personal brand that fetches results, you have to carefully craft a foolproof content marketing strategy. Use the tips shared above to guide your efforts, and start building the kind of online identity that achieves your business goals.