Your personal brand is how your audience perceives you. Specifically, it's how they feel when they encounter your content, products and services, and how they interact with and talk about you.
Personal branding done well is a positive cycle that keeps building momentum. Done wrong, and it's going to be challenging to get your business off the ground.
The good news is that you can build a strong personal brand through content marketing.
How Does 'Content' Fit Into Your Personal Brand
The content you create is a showcase of your knowledge, authority and expertise.
It gives your audience and potential customers a taste of what's to come when they purchase from you, and it keeps your existing customers connected to you.
You can use your content to highlight your brand message, demonstrate authority, and show your audience how you can help them. You can even use content to bridge the gap between where your audience is in their buying cycle and where they need to be to consider and purchase your services.
Through your content, you deliver these messages by helping your audience with every step of their journey. This in turn invokes trust, authority and consumer confidence in you, making you the 'go-to' service when your audience is ready to push the 'buy' button.
Well executed content marketing is a fantastic way to build your reputation online. It helps build your brand, bring you customers and connections that you may not have otherwise had.
Here are six ways to use your content to build your personal brand.
(1) Be authentic
Credibility is key for personal branding. It builds trust and authority.
The best way to build credibility is to be authentic in everything you do, and with every piece of content you create.
Don't try to copy well-known competitors in your niche. What works for them may not work for you. What's more, your audience can sense it from miles away. Instead, just be your best self.
Share your values and worldviews, what you stand for and you can't tolerate. These are what draw people to you and bring like-minded people together.
Sure, not everyone will like you and will be turned off by your brand. But that's okay. Repeat after me: "Not everyone will like me, but that's okay."
(2) Stay professional
Authenticity is essential, but it doesn't mean pouring your heart, soul and emotions out onto your audience.
You need to be authentic and aligned with your personal brand. To do that, keep firm boundaries around what you will share through your content marketing and what you will keep private.
For example, I regularly share stories of our dog with my email subscribers, but rarely share personal details about my partner and son. What you choose to share is entirely up to you.
Remember, it's ok to be authentic and keep some of your personality back. Keeping a touch of professionalism will do wonders for how others perceive your brand.
(3) Avoid negativity
Stay away from bad-mouthing, sarcastic or angry comments. The one exception to this is when that's part of your brand.
Try to use respectful language, comments and actions - the kind that won't pop back up in five years to take you and your business down.
Negativity breeds and before long it will leak out into your business and onto your audience, business partners and yourself. It's not a good look.
Make it part of your personal branding to always be optimistic and be a source of inspiration for your audience.
(4) Be consistent
Consistency goes hand-in-hand with authenticity in your content marketing, especially if you publish blogs or videos on platforms like YouTube.
When you deliver quality content consistently, and your audience starts to expect and even rely on you to deliver regular content, your authority grows.
Make sure you're consistent with how you present your content too, so that your audience will instantly recognise content from you.
Check out successful blogs, brands and YouTubers and you'll see how consistency enhances personal branding. Things like how blog posts are formatted, the initial intro sequence on YouTube videos, etc, all serve to reinforce consistent personal brands.
Here are some of the ways you can bring consistency into your brand:
- Use quality images and visuals.
- Never include clickbaits.
- Link to other people's quality content.
- Always provide value in your content. Aim to educate, inspire or entertain.
- Use the same intro and outro for audio and video content.
- Develop a brand 'style'.
(5) Set clear goals for your brand
Creating a personal brand requires you to be intentional about how you want your audience to perceive you. You need to craft a vision of what your personal brand should be - so you can stay within those parameters.
Make a list or mood board of how you want your brand to be perceived. Then make sure that every single piece of your content meets these goals.
For example, if you want your brand to exude a sense of optimism and fun, then this will guide you to stay away from negative or doom-and-gloom type of content.
Don't forget to give your goals an authenticity check regularly to be sure they align with who you are. If they don't, it's time to change the goals.
(6) Create quality content
Apart from poor customer service, nothing damages a personal brand more than poor quality content.
Don't put out content just for the sake of it. It's a waste of time for you and your audience, and it devalues your brand.
High-quality content has the reverse effect - it promotes your brand in a positive light.
Remember, quality content doesn't need to be perfect, nor does it need to be flawlessly executed. But it does need to provide value to your audience. So, before your release a piece of content, make sure it either educates, inspires or entertains.
Your personal brand is a reflection of who you are and what you have to offer to your customers. Using content to create and maintain a personal brand is the perfect way to show up online, and there's never been a better time to do so than now.