The internet is a great leveler between huge brands and the average joe. Even if you don’t have a hefty marketing budget, you now have the opportunity to build a formidable personal brand.
What does personal branding mean, anyway?
In essence, it’s how people perceive you and your work. Corporate businesses still play the aggressive advertising game. It means building a personal brand has become even more important. You earn the trust and respect of people around you and invite better opportunities in your life.
Content marketing is the perfect strategy to establish an impressive brand identity. You win the attention of your target audience by serving relevant and valuable content with consistency.
Without further ado, here are the three simple steps that you can emulate to build your personal brand through content marketing.
Step 1: Target a Narrow Audience
Many content creators suffer from the fear of missing out. They don’t want to lose out on building a massive audience. Hence, the strategy they resort to is creating content on a zillion different subjects.
Sure, casting a wide net might lend you with many followers that “like” you and your content. However, it won’t earn you any diehard fans.
In the beginning, as Paul Graham would say, it’s about “doing things that don’t scale.” It’s about getting feedback from your early followers, serving them value continuously, and retaining them.
And isn’t it better to build a following that absolutely LOVES you and your brand?
They will buy and promote your every value-offering.
Author Kevin Kelly emphasizes the importance of building a tribe of 1,000 true fans for all kinds of creators.
Image source: kk.org
Here’s how Kelly defines 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 “true” fans will refer new readers. Their word of mouth will act as your unpaid PR to scale your brand and increase your content’s visibility. Your aim is not to appeal to everyone, but building a die-hard audience of a handful of people.
A great example is Tim Ferriss. He didn’t start with writing on business, productivity, internet marketing, and Stoicism together.
As he mentions in his video on creating content that sustains a career, he started in a narrow niche. His initial super fans expanded his personal brand and recruited his casual readers.
Step 2: Document Your Content Marketing Strategy
Merely 37% B2C brands and 38% of B2B brands document their strategy. This is despite knowing that documentation tremendously increases the chances of your success.
What should your content marketing strategy include?
Well, you have already identified your target audience in the first step. Now, you need to specify the kind of content that you plan to create and include dates mentioning when you will publish your articles.
Depending on where your target audience hangs out and their preferences, you can include the following kinds of content in your strategy: blog posts, social media updates, videos, and podcasts.
If your audience seeks education, then blog posts are a great strategy to add value to their lives and stay on the top of their minds. When done right, they have long-term relevance and will keep driving leads for your brand.
To get started, you need to perform some good old keyword research. You can also use a tool like Buzzsumo to reverse engineer the popular content in your niche.
If you’re a creator that specializes in entertainment, then YouTube and Instagram are the ideal platforms for you. In fact, visuals and video produce a higher emotional connection with consumers.
Gary Vaynerchuk has built a powerful personal by publishing high-quality video content. He regularly publishes attention-grabbing videos on his YouTube channel.
Gary has a nifty way to squeeze the most out of every episode. He repurposes his cornerstone piece of content into micro-content. Here is an outside view of his content pyramid.
Even if you don’t have a 16-person team like Gary Vee, you can win the social media game by staying consistent and authentic. Remember to commit to a regular schedule of publishing, even if it’s a few content pieces per week.
Step 3: Snag a Special Appearance Where Your Target Audience Hangs Out
Creating high-quality content and hoping your audience will “discover” you is not a smart strategy. You can do one better.
Research relevant publications where your “true” fans hang out and that accept contributors. By writing a high-quality article for these websites, you can recruit a few relevant audience members.
While guest posts are still effective when done right, my personal experience with interviews is much better. When Writers In Charge interview me, I landed with 30+ subscribers without a lead magnet.
However, my guest posting efforts at 11 decent-sized websites landed me about 10 subscribers.
Text interviews and podcast appearances are a quicker way to scale your authority. Also, most podcasts are published with relevant links to the guest’s website and social media profiles. They offer you SEO benefits of backlinks along with expanding your online influence.
For instance, Ryan Robinson recently interviewed Grant Cardone for his podcast. He included links to his websites (as visible in the screenshot below).
The reputation you build used to vanish as soon as depart from a company. And you had to start afresh at a new job. However, the internet has changed that. Now, you have tools to build your portfolio public and reinvent your public image.
Hopefully, the three steps have uncomplicated building a personal brand through content marketing for you.
What’s your experience of building a personal brand? I would love to hear your experiences in the comments below.
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