Using content marketing to build your personal brand is something that I am frequently asked about by executives, business owners and CEOs.
There are a number of reasons why someone might want to build their personal brand. As ‘influencer’ marketing gains more and more traction, executives, business owners and CEOs are starting to see the benefits of having a strong brand associated with their public identity to help them achieve their goals. While they might be trying to build a large audience for different reasons than your traditional ‘influencer marketers’ (pretty sure the CEO of Apple doesn’t want to #advertise skinny tea) – the methods in which they build their personal brand are surprisingly similar.
Part content creation, part public relations and part branding – content marketing can help top level and c-suite executives build strong, loyal audiences that are attached to their own name, rather than the brand, product or company that they work for.
In this article I’m going to outline some of the different reasons that you might want to consider using content marketing to start building your personal brand.
Reason #1: Establish Yourself as an Industry Thought Leader
Establishing yourself as a thought leader within your industry can help you add legitimacy to the brands, products or companies that you work with/for. Just like “brand equity” adds intangible value to a company, building your own brand equity will make you more appealing (and therefore worth more!) for future employers.
Content marketing can help you establish yourself as a thought leader as you create new and unique articles and content that feature your ideas, knowledge and experience. Creating ‘think pieces’ or articles where you comment on current industry trends or share insights from your years of experience working within the industry will assist in establishing you as a thought leader within your industry. Well-crafted articles and content will turn heads within your industry and people will start to listen to you, acknowledging you as an industry leader who is knowledgeable and informative.
A great example of this is Gary V – he has been investing successfully in tech start-ups for decades, but it wasn’t until he started pushing out a tonne of branded content that he became a household name. Now, having Gary V involved in a project is a priceless drawcard that almost guarantees that project’s success.
The important aspect to remember when creating thought leader content is that you’re adding to (or even better – starting!) the conversation, not simply adding noise. You need to be creating content that has unique points of view – sharing something that no one else is sharing or talking about. If you are comfortable with it, you may even wish to share some more controversial thoughts or industry-relevant ideas (supported by logical arguments, data and case studies of course) to help your personal brand-building campaign gain traction a bit faster.
Reason #2: Secure a New Job
If you’re getting towards that level of your career where you’re looking to move into an executive position, join a board or even secure a CEO role – then content marketing will assist you with your goal.
When the company you are applying for a position with Google’s your name or looks you up on LinkedIn – having some well-written and intelligent articles that express your experience, values and ideas is only going to help you. Having this type of content appear when someone Google’s your professional profile could be the difference between securing an interview or not.
Large brands need executives that align with their brand values – who they know their investors, their employees and their customer base will all be on board with. So creating content pieces that not only establish you as a thought leader but also give insight into ‘how you do business’ or what your underlying business values are – is a great way to let potential employers get to know you a bit better.
Reason #3: Build a Public Speaking Profile
If you’re considering become a professional public speaker then you are going to need a large and engaged audience. Professional speaking can be a lucrative career path as many conferences and industry events pay their speakers thousands of dollars per speaking gig. Professional speakers also get to travel all around the world, get put up in hotels and have all of their expenses paid for.
But becoming an industry speaker doesn’t just happen overnight – it takes a lot of hard work to build a strong enough profile to demand thousands of dollars for your presence. Event organisers need to have confidence of two things:
- That you have a strong enough brand that people will pay to come and see you speak; they are expecting some ROI on their investment in your speaking services and adding your name to the line-up needs to guarantee ticket sales.
- That you are going to have something interesting and relevant to say. They are expecting you to present new ideas, thoughts, theories, case studies, insights and information for their audience.
Content marketing can help you start building your personal brand for a future career as a professional speaker. You can start presenting your original thoughts and ideas in the form of blog articles, guest posts, videos and podcasts, all the while building up a strong and engaged audience.
Your content will assure event organisers of your knowledge and breadth of ideas; they will have confidence of your ability to provide value for their attendees. Your audience will allow them cross-promotional opportunities, with increased ticket sales from people within your audience who will pay to see you live.
Reason #4: For Your Next Venture
If you build a strong personal brand people will know your name wherever you go. This is especially relevant for business owners who are building a business that they plan to sell. Often, the business owner will put all of their time and energy into building the company brand and audience – but what happens after the sale of the business? Often, the contract will have some very specific terms around the way that the founder is allowed to refer to the brand and company name once the sale has been finalised. They will not be able to leverage the brand awareness of the previous brand/company to help build or establish their new venture.
I have personally worked with someone who has experienced this. The business’s brand name was tied in with her first name, and when she sold the business the contract included terms that prevented her from referring to the brand in any marketing materials for new ventures. So when she released a book, she was not allowed to say “Jane Doe from XYZ Brand” in any of the promotional materials. She was not allowed to remind people of who she was, or where she had gained her experience.
This is why it is important to build a personal brand that is separate from the company brand that you are working for or own – you want people to know you name outside of the brand or business you’ve built, the way that people know who Mark Zuckerberg is.
Again, content marketing will help you do this. Content marketing will help you create a story that ties the success of your brand or business to your personal name – before you sell the business or move onto a new position elsewhere. It allows you to build the association between your name and the company name while it is allowed, so that your name becomes synonymous with the brand you’ve invested all of your time, skills and experience into building.
Reason #5: For Public Relations
PR campaigns and content marketing have a lot of cross over. Essentially, they both have the same goal – to establish positive brand awareness in people’s minds and to generate positive stories and discourse about your brand. The main difference between PR and content marketing is that content marketing tends to have a bit more of a thought leadership / professional spin on the content, whereas the PR campaign might be a bit more human-interest.
Also, with content marketing you have complete control over the narrative as you are creating the content – you are the author (even if the content is ghost written for you). PR campaigns often involve interviews with writers or journalists – the content is being created in the publication’s name/voice, not your own.
If you’ve been considering a PR campaign to help you build your personal brand, but it didn’t quite feel right then a content marketing campaign might be more ideal. Instead of asking publications to feature interviews or articles ABOUT you, we would be looking at getting them to publish articles BY you.
Build Your Personal Brand with BeKonstructive Marketing
BeKonstructive Marketing can help you build your personal brand using content marketing services. We start with a strategy that identifies your goals, your target audience and outlines the plan of attack to achieve those goals. We then create content for you – in the form of blogs, guest articles, videos, podcasts, social media posts and more – and use it to build an audience, drive engagement and generate brand awareness for you as an individual.
If you would like to learn more about this service, please get in touch to organise a free consultation.