No, we’re not talking about your logo…. Think of this less about colour pallets and image filters and more about how you are perceived by others.
By developing your own personal brand, you can not only tell the world how amazing you are but demonstrate your skills and expertise to an audience of millions. So, how can you go about positioning yourself as a must-hire candidate?
Choosing your niche
If you haven’t done so already, it’s important to choose a niche where you’ll become a thought leader.
This niche can be a specific discipline like content marketing, social media, or SEO, or an industry like education, law, or e-commerce. In many cases, being the go-to expert in a field is much better than trying to be a jack of all trades.
Once you’ve identified your niche, you need to know where professionals exist. What blogs do they read? What conferences do they attend? Do they listen to podcasts? Who are the thought leaders? Do they prefer one social media platform over another?
The answers to these questions will greatly help where, when, and how you distribute content and interact with prospective customers.
Remember, social media is for more than dog gifs and baby photos. Used correctly, it can be a great tool for branding and networking.
- Find the social media channels where conversations are happening This may differ from niche to niche. Generally, business and marketing professionals have discussions on LinkedIn and Twitter. But, on the other hand, fashion and fitness professionals are more likely to use Instagram or Facebook.
- Create a professional profile on these channels Remember, this is the social media channel that the professional world will see. Use your personality, but keep it professional.
- Follow thought leaders within your niche, as well as surrounding niches Not only might they follow you back, but they will infinitely help your learning with their insights into the industry.
- Find relevant hashtags and groups to join Don’t just follow individuals, also keep across topics and join relevant groups. This will be important for when you start posting yourself!
Get the bookmark button ready, because it’s not just social media where the conversation will be happening. Make sure to research:
- Niche-specific news sites and publications
- Blogs and websites focused on your niche
- YouTube channels dedicated to your niche
- Podcasts discussing your niche
If you’re completely lost as to where to start, Alltop is blog aggregator which allows you to search by keywords. Here you’ll get links to popular sites in your niche which post regularly.
You know where the conversations are happening; now it’s time to join in! Here are some simple ways you can start positioning yourself as a thought leader.
- Start commenting Yes, we know, the comments section is the worst. But in these circumstances, they can be a good thing! Niche content comments are far more civil than main-stream sites and are a great place to share your opinion or ask questions. But remember! That these are professionals in your field, so make sure you’re informed before throwing in your two cents.
- Answer questions This can be anything from a quick response on Twitter or a lengthy answer on Quora. Everyone loves being helped by someone in the know, and often a link off to a detailed article you’ve read is a perfect response.
- Ask questions Want to know more about something and can’t find the answer? Ask the world! But make sure they are genuine questions, and be sure to research the answer first. There’s nothing more embarrassing than asking a question that can be answered with a simple Google.
- Give an opinion Got a view of something newsworthy? Tell the world! Groups and discussion forums are great for this, as is Twitter. But just like your commenting, remember that your opinion needs to be well researched and informed.
This is where you’ll really start to position yourself as a thought leader. Creating content is simply the best way to demonstrate your expertise and grow your personal brand.
Types of content you can create
- Blog posts on your own website
- Blog posts on LinkedIn
- Guest posts on niche blogs
- YouTube videos
- Slide decks
Content creation quick tips
- Be sure to share
As much as we wish it wasn’t the case, posting something on the internet doesn’t mean it will be found by the world. Make sure you share your content across all channels including social media and your contact list. If it’s relevant, you can also use your content as an answer to questions you find.
- Play to your strengths
Don’t try and be everything to everyone. Like choosing your niche to specialise in, there’s nothing wrong with only creating content on media you’re comfortable with. If you’re a good writer, create blog posts. You love video? Jump on YouTube. The key here is quality delivery as well as presenting great information.
- Research, research, research
I think we’ve mentioned this before….. There’s nothing worse for your reputation than an uninformed opinion or presenting something that is factually incorrect. Make sure you conduct extensive research before you start creating content so what you are presenting is cutting edge and best practice.
- Bring something new to the table
Research will also help you find something new to talk about. Don’t just create content for the sake of it, or regurgitate a topic that has been covered already. Show a new or fresh idea, or bring a new perspective to the topic.
- Bigger is often better
There is no such thing as a perfect length for thought-leadership content. People are busy and will often only read smaller articles and watch short videos, but if you’re bringing quality go as long as you need. Many niche blogs have articles 10,000 words or longer, while it’s not uncommon to see videos 30 minutes or longer.
- People love case studies
It’s one thing to talk about theory, it’s another to show it in practice. If you can, talk about previous work you’ve completed, or even better, do experiments and report on the results. People love to read step-by-step, warts and all case studies. And don’t be afraid to talk about when things go wrong, there are just as many lessons in failure!