Why now’s the time to build a strong personal brand
The biggest marketing trend that we’ve seen throughout 2020 is the drive to build a strong personal brand. Customers are becoming savvy to the ethics and ethos of the businesses that they are buying from. They are being more discerning in their choices driven by the desire to do good and to avoid untrustworthy brands during an unpredictable time.
The absence of physical events in 2020 is also giving leaders more time to put in effort to invest in themselves and the way that they communicate to both internal and external audiences. Having a strong personal brand is even more important for businesses operating in crowded markets where it’s more difficult to cut through the noise of the competition.
A business is brought to life by its people. Increasing the visibility of CEOs, members of the board and senior leadership teams builds your brand identity, showcases your values and demonstrates that you own your areas of expertise.
People buy into people; so what better way to express a message of equality, vision and purpose than through an individual that’s believable? Personal brand building can support your wider marketing comms initiatives, boost reputation, build trust and drive leads.
So how do you build a strong personal brand? In this article, I will share six key steps.
Step one: Get your message spot on
The first step is to nail your brand vision, message and personality. Ask yourself these questions; what’s your purpose? Who is your target audience? What is the one thing you want to tell people and why? What brand qualities do you want to be known for?
For example, do you want to be perceived as approachable and knowledgeable, dynamic and energetic or polished and highly qualified?
Step two: Blog
Your company blog is a great place to start. Blogs are very well read as they are a great way to find out more about the culture and ethos of a business. It’s important that your company blog features a range of employees including board members and c-level spokespeople.
The focus of blog content can be diverse; you can blog about anything from topical industry events and national days to company fundraising efforts and opinion-based articles. Blog content can then be amplified throughout all of your company social media channels.
Step three: Be present on social media
It’s important to have a presence across all of the main social media channels, but the focus of content will be different for each one. LinkedIn is the most used social media platform among Fortune 500 companies. Over 50% of all social media traffic to a B2B website a huge 80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn. For a business leader, it’s one of the most effective ways to communicate to your target audience. You should use this platform to share your knowledge of industry trends, advise your audience, share your expertise and grow your network.
Facebook is mainly viewed by a consumer audience so it should be used to demonstrate the culture of your business to future employees. But remember leaders of huge corporations are consumers too, so make sure that this platform is moderated and inbound comments are reviewed. Twitter is a great way of amplifying blog and traditional media coverage and also as a way of sharing industry information.
Across each platform make sure you mix up your content with video, articles, posts and try and avoid stock photography so your feed looks fresh and dynamic.
Remember, that sharing content is only half the plan, you also need to invest time in community management. If you nourish your network you will get out what you put in.
Step four: Build relationships with traditional media
Generating a good momentum of positive earned media coverage in industry titles, regional, national and broadcast media is a fantastic way of boosting credibility. Building relationships with both traditional print and digital publications will help you to reach your target audience, share your knowledge and expertise, influence their decision making and motivate people to do business with you.
It is also great for SEO, building links from credible sources and increasing leads to your website.
Step five: Become a known industry speaker
Industry and media events offer the opportunity for you to put a face behind your company brand, build relationships and increase your corporate network. Create a list of key business events within your industry and become an engaging keynote speaker.
As you become more known on the circuit, the organisers of these events may even start to approach you to ask you to participate in future speaker events.
Step six: Win awards
What better way to demonstrate your credentials than to say you are award-winning in your field? There are reams of industry awards out there; some are run by industry publications offering the added advantage of boosting your media presence as they report on the winners and runners up. Create a list of credible awards in your industry and find out which ones your competitors are entering.
Create strong award entries detailing customer successes; the key is evidencing your successes with plenty of facts and statistics. When you win an award, ensure you broadcast it throughout all of your channels; your website, blog, social media, on email footers and in newsletters.
To build an effective personal brand strategy the trick is ensuring that your message is compelling, you take a diverse approach to the platforms available to target your audience and finally, to create traction when distributing content to maximise the impact.