Today’s marketplace is crowded, noisy, interactive and multi-channel; to stand out, you need to be consistent in your approach but more than that you need to show up and add genuine value.
“Adding value” might take the form of publishing or curating online content that solves challenges people are having and which are relevant to your business or expertise.
It might mean changing the way people think in a positive way through concepts or ideas you’ve developed, connecting like-minded people with one another, or lending your weight to a professional body or community issue.
In other words, being useful, helpful and relevant but in a way that’s purposeful, authentic and professional.
Do you want to raise your profile and build your reputation as the go-to expert in your field but don’t know where to start?
Here are five ways to start building momentum towards your personal branding goals:
1. Start a blog
If you want to ramp things up with a higher degree of professional credibility than simply being on social networking platforms, publishing a blog is a good place to start.
A well-maintained blog provides you with a platform to gain clarity around your ideas, demonstrate your expertise, provide perspectives and influence opinion on trends and issues facing your industry.
Done well, a blog will help you build personal visibility within the marketplace and establish authority within your specific area of expertise.
2. Write a series of articles on Medium
If you want to write and publish articles but don’t want the hassle of setting up and maintaining your own blog, Medium provides an alternative solution.
Medium is “a place to read, write, and interact with the stories that matter most to you”. It was established in 2012 by Twitter co-founder Evan Williams, and given content published on the site is long-form in nature, it serves as the ideal bookend to Twitter and its 140-character tweets.
Medium has a built-in audience believed to be around the 650,000 mark, which makes it a viable option for those wanting to increase their reach and influence. I think you could safely say that by and large, Medium readers are an informed lot who enjoy reading and are interested in opinions, perspectives and ideas.
3. Build your presence on Twitter
If you want to build personal brand awareness and grow your professional influence, you need to be on Twitter. If your goal is to raise your profile and build public recognition as the go-to expert and thought leader in your space, Twitter needs to be in your repertoire.
Twitter is one of the key social platform the media looks to for information on trends, breaking news and potential story ideas. If you are a journalist and your ‘beat’ is business or marketing, or technology, healthcare, property, politics or sport, you are on Twitter following the key players in those areas. These are the people who either setting the agenda in some way, wield influence or at least have a public profile so when they speak, people take notice.
But be aware, building a presence on Twitter takes time and effort. The more you put into it, the more you will get out of it. Share content and ideas, answer people’s questions relevant to your area of expertise, challenge people’s thinking with well-timed tweets that provoke discussion.
And don’t forget to actively connect and interact with people – that’s when the magic of Twitter really kicks in!
4. Take LinkedIn seriously
LinkedIn, alongside Twitter, is the social media ‘one-two punch’ for many recognised thought leaders. Individually, these platforms can be effective communication tools, however, together they can be very powerful indeed if used with enthusiasm and purpose.
Make sure you put in the effort required. At the very least, this means (a) ensuring your LinkedIn profile does the ‘professional you’ justice and (b) interacting regularly on the platform – preferably daily.
Get beyond the stale thinking that LinkedIn is a place to post your CV and/or keep all your professional connections in the one place.
Take things a step or two further by sharing meaningful updates such as links to articles or blog posts or videos or podcasts that you think your network would find interesting or thought-provoking. Comment on the content other people share. Join relevant professional groups and get involved, again by sharing interesting information but also by helping to answer questions people post in the group (or you might be the one asking the questions).
Finally, use LinkedIn’s blogging platform to publish your own articles that demonstrate your knowledge or area of expertise. You might do this in addition to using Medium, thus increasing the potential reach of your audience.
5. Get out there and speak!
Some people might prefer to forget all this new-fangled digital stuff and go old-school by tapping into the power of face-to-face connection with people! Put yourself out there for speaking engagements and share your ideas from the stage.
Make a list of events and meet up groups relevant to your industry. Attend them, get the lay of the land, connect with organisers and when you’re ready, put forth your availability as a speaker. Getting on an industry panel is always a great way to start if speaking in public is not something you’re overly comfortable with.
Trevor Young is a communications strategist and adviser specialising in ‘content-driven social PR’. He’s a keynote marketing speaker, personal branding mentor and author of the book, microDOMINATION. Trevor blogs at PR Warrior and hosts the podcast, Reputation Revolution. Follow Trevor on Twitter at @trevoryoung.