Before the internet you could get your name out there in a number of ways.
You could use speaking engagements at targeted events, contribute to well-known publishers and magazines in your industry or even publish a book or resource of your own.
But guess what? The internet came and blew that model apart.
Now, most digitally savvy marketers and salespeople have content creation and curation apps on their phones. We can create imagery and audio or video content within seconds, and write content super quickly for distribution over social media, email marketing, and so many other ways.
The danger? Well, it’s so quick and easy to create content, if you aren’t thinking smartly about it you can do detriment to your personal brand without knowing.
I can add to my personal brand on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, company blog, external blogs, I could create my own blog, Medium, Flipboard, Pinterest, even Snapchat.
With all of these channels to contribute and the time, the effort we put into these channels it’s worth thinking hard about what we do with our messaging on these channels.
I think a lot about why USP’s and niches exist in business and I come back to the fact that every person and business is different to the next.
Even companies who sell very similar services or products are different in slight ways 99% of the time. So when you relate this to personal brand building, a niche is super important to focus on.
If you want to be known as an expert in sales you will have to work very hard because you’re looking at a wide spectrum of topics that are relevant to sales as an overarching topic.
- Cold calling
- Social Selling
- Sales Strategy
- Sales Development
- Account Management
- Account Based Marketing
- Follow Ups
- And so on!
So think about the niche you want to go into because you are far more likely to become a leader in the field when you go into specifics and go deep into one topic than one large topic. Don’t be a handyman, be a specialist in specifics.
Plan out created content
Planning out content you create makes sure you don’t run off on a tangent and create content that adds less value to the community, conversation and your audience than you’d like to.
I personally as a social seller need to think about personal brands, social networks, sales best practices. So it makes sense that I plan out content to cover those bases equally and strategically.
I would create a download for you to create a content calendar for yourself but it’s too easy to create a basic one. Just list the categories you need to talk about, draft titles on them so you have an equal number and plan out the seasonal content you might want to create in date order.
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So for me, I look at what titles I have for each of my topics but near the end of each Quarter, I might add a topical sales best practices piece of content into the mix for seasonality in my content. This all comes from planning in advance.
It’s less important to plan out your curated content for social networks to an extent because the content is published so often you can find enough content for your whole week in one morning.
I plan out my own produced content as I spend more time on this content, and it is where I can personally add value more than just curating content and becoming a news or information source.
It’s also worth thinking about industry influencers and strategic alliances you can form. These people will find mutual benefit in having guest posts on your site and theirs if you can work together. This opens your name up to new audiences and people you haven’t reached yet.
Mix up content formats
I’m a little guilty of not doing this enough but not everybody likes (or has time) to read long-form content. If I write a world-class, groundbreaking white paper it might have zero impact on the world because it’s too long and my audience, community, and peers may not like or want to read long-form content like this. Perhaps in my field, the video is the winner, or audio, maybe even static imagery.
The point is, just writing content will work for you to an extent but if you want to win you need to win across the board. How many of the world’s business leaders can you think of that are superb on LinkedIn, Facebook but have completely rejected Instagram from their plans? How many world-leading business professionals have never appeared in a video or have sound clips of them speaking?
It’s not all bad news.
It’s not actually that hard to recreate content for other formats. If I write this blog post in 90 minutes, I can summarize the key points of it in 60 seconds using my phone and videoing myself talking. It’s not even a case of having a studio set up to do this as well.
I have sent video messages to people filmed from my phone while sat in my office at my desk, and the video looked great. I have seen LinkedIn videos filmed from the driver’s seat in the car while people waited to go into meetings.
And thinking along the same lines, if you’ve made a video you could use the audio from the file. This could go onto SoundCloud, or work on a podcast if you have one. It could even embed into your blog post so that viewers who don’t have time to sit and read can listen to your summary while on the go.
Once you have spent the time to create content you’ll need to distribute it well, otherwise, your work will reach nobody and you’ll not be raising awareness or helping anybody. This is why your social audiences are so important. I don’t mean you need two million Twitter followers and to be the top Facebook page in your industry, but having a targeted following of engaged people is vital.
This is why there are so many audience building tools on the internet for social media, Twitter in particular. Building your social profiles is a part of personal branding and takes time too, but builds a platform for your message to be heard by more people in need of it. Take it seriously. And do it properly, engage people each day to organically grow your profiles. Buying followers will get you nothing and save you no time.
It’s not all about social as well.
Email marketing is a very good way to get eyeballs on your content. If you have a good list, you can use it to drive views onto your content as a way of adding some value to the reader. Use your content for good, not an evil superpower.
In sales, content is a fantastic fuel for conversation. In the exact same way that marketers use content to gain leads and nurture them into sales, sales can use content to follow up and nurture prospects through the buying process.
This is done very much one-to-one and should be planned out and done when appropriate, but it very valuable. This doesn’t drive you a large number of views in volume but builds your credibility with prospects one to one which is a huge part of winning deals.
The huge mistake people make with personal brands is that they think there will be a quick win that comes along within one hour of your first blog post coming out. 99.9% of the time it will not because personal brand building requires long-term consistent work. Rome was not built in a day, and a good personal brand is not either.
You then have to think about a routine that is repeatable and scalable so that you make building your personal brand a habit and do not give up after a short while. I’ve been reading Jill Konrath’s book “More sales, less time” which is nearly all about habits and creating good routines and processes that allow you to win at what you’re doing.
If you follow me on social you’ll know I’m a huge football fan and in football, your brain learns how to execute a skill or trick quicker the more you practice the execution. So make yourself a routine that allows for a consistent time slot each day or week that is not interruptible.
You will soon get used to it and it will become second nature. Personal branding will become like riding a bike.
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There are cases where a personal brand starts to make a difference to you 2 years down the line, so having the consistency to your work allows you to keep that timeline as low as it can be. If you’re not consistent, that 2 years could turn into 3 or more.
I know how many blog posts I need to make per month, so it makes sense for me to plan what days I will write and what topics I will write about on those dates. Work backward from a long-term goal, to create short-term goals.
It feels nice to tick things off from your to-do list because doing this gives you a Serotonin chemical; hit in the brain. So write down today I need to spend 30 minutes, one hour or whatever you need on content and person branding. Tick off the task when it is done, and you’ll find yourself getting the task done time and time again.