We’re getting into the fun stuff now in our series on personal branding, as we’re going to start creating and sharing content. (If you’ve missed the previous weeks on personal branding, then check out: Why it’s important when you’re running your own business, How to find your story, Getting comfortable with selling yourself, and How to assess your brand as it stands today).
But what is this talk of ‘content’? Isn’t it just about putting up a website that describes what your business does and then posting about your products and services across different social media channels?
Why create content anyway?
The old marketing model – think Mad Men, radio jingles and massive billboards – was all around broadcasting to the world how great your product was. “Look at my amazing thingymajig!” “My thingymajig is the best!” “Buy my thingymajig now!”
But can you imagine doing that today and, in particular, doing that when it comes to you and your own services?
“Look at me!” “I’m the best coach/consultant/copywriter/etc. there is!” “Hire me/buy my services now!”
Yes, some people do this. But it’s generally inefficient and, let’s face it, pretty obnoxious.
In today’s cluttered market, a more savvy consumer is looking for businesses they trust, where they feel that they share core values and they know and like you to the point where they want to give you their money.
That means you need to work on building that trust and authority, investing time and energy in educating and informing and, above all, demonstrating value as you nurture relationships with people until they’re ready to buy. This is especially important when it comes to a service-based business such as consulting or coaching where the business is you.
And that means creating and sharing content.
So how do you get started creating content?
Yes, as ever, you need to start by defining what you’re trying to achieve. Are you looking to establish credibility in a new industry or field, to create a platform for speaking engagements and consulting projects? Do you want to engage more people in a common mission, creating a community of people working towards a common vision? Is it about building a pipeline of prospects who you will nurture relationships with as you move them through the funnel towards becoming a client?
Knowing where you want to get to will help you work how to get there!
Review where you are today
Before you start creating new content, you want to first review what you already have available and what your online presence looks like today. Have a look at last week’s post where we audited your brand as it stands today and identify your priorities for stepping things up, including the content you’re creating and the channels where you’re posting it.
Fix the basics
It can be a bit overwhelming when you look at all the things you ‘should’ be doing and everything you’d like to improve. There are so many social media channels now to play with, you’re ‘supposed to’ be doing blogs and podcasts and videos and all sorts, and it’s easy to get lost in it all and end up doing nothing very efficiently.
Before you get overexcited with all the shiny things, start with the absolute basics:
- Make sure you have a professional email address.Littlemisssunshine@hotmail.com (yes, that was mine, back in the day) is not really giving the right impression; nor is firstname.lastname@example.org. At a minimum, you’ll want to secure email@example.com and ideally, when you have your own web domain, you’ll have firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Get your LinkedIn profile in order. Before you get caught up in creating a fancy website, business cards, and so on, LinkedIn is a great place to start. Get a professional photo, use a meaningful headline (not just your old internal job title), and write a clear summary that outlines what you do and for whom.
- Start building a personal website. Although you can start a business without a website (getting clients is, after all, about having conversations and building relationships with people), this really is the one platform where you have complete control, and it´s something that you’ll want to build on over time. You can start simple, almost like an online CV, and get more sophisticated as you evolve.
Now that you understand the value of creating content, you know why it’s important to you and your business, and you’ve fixed all the basics… this is where the fun starts!
Next week, we’ll be looking at how you can get started creating content that will build your personal brand. We’ll also be doing a new 5-day challenge over in the Facebook group so grab your spot now if you’d like hands-on support in the Personal Branding Boot Camp!