As an entrepreneur, you're told to manage your personal brand. As a company, you're told that content marketing is the next best thing to promote your company.
But how do the two things interact? How do you use content marketing to build your personal brand?
First, let's talk about why building your brand is important
Investors, employers, and future collaborators will research you on the Internet.
We've always expected business partners and future employers to find out as much about us as they can, especially as we seek more powerful positions in the workplace. Social media, therefore, is just another tool that is likely to be used to research potential investments.
It's a cold way to put it, perhaps, given that many of us started using social media to reconnect with high school classmates and send pictures of kids to far away family members. But social media has evolved into a new way to discuss what's happening in the world around us, and many people have used it to show at least one facet of who they are. When this is done purposefully and carefully, it can help give employers or investors insight into who you are, which can help them differentiate you from the crowd.
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Take Control of Your Brand
Since we agree now that you're going to be researched online, there are two things I recommend. First, be purposeful with your brand. Keep your personal accounts under tightly locked privacy settings, and keep your public-facing accounts purposeful. If you don't want something associated with your brand, don't post it there.
As Inc writes “An effective brand consists of a highly interconnected set of business identity attributes”. These attributes include distinct selling points and brand’s core values. One brand that has done a great job is Colonial Ghosts, a ghost tour company.
Be Easy to Find
If you're going to be on social media, don't make it hard to find yourself. If you're making an author page on FB, call it "Your Name, Author," not the username you made up in high school that you use on XBox Live and reddit. In your bio, state clearly who you are. "Writer of science fiction novels," or "Founder of Associated Industries." If you're online, you're going to be found eventually, so just make it easy, and reduce the chances that someone will guess wrong and judge you based on someone else's brand.
Related Article: The Best You: Tactics to Build Up Your Personal Branding Online
Offer Quality Content
Now, this is where the content marketing comes in. When we talk about content marketing, we're normally talking about a blog or website where you maintain many different articles pertaining to a service or product that you offer. For freelancers, that's certainly still the case even once they've established themselves. For many entrepreneurs in the early stages of establishing themselves, however, a different approach may be helpful.
Decide what you want to offer on your social media outlets. Do you have a unique insight into the world of business, such as coming from a traditionally marginalized group? Do you work with a particular organization, or are you representing an interesting brand that you can leverage to make your content more engaging?
This should be obvious, but a business account and brand is never the place for racial or gender based slurs of any kind. You don't need every single post to be in the Queen's English, but you should avoid content that is going to offend or alienate potential customers.
The difference between a personal and a business social media account often has to do with who the content is for. When you're building a personal social media account, the content is often for you. Things you enjoy, articles that are meaningful for you, or that you want to be able to find later. You might share things with friends through your social media channels, social, after all, but the primary unifying factor is you.
When you're building a public profile and a personal brand, the content is about your followers. You're establishing your reputation and persona in relation to the people who are following your account. It's not just what you find valuable, but what you think your followers will find valuable.
Whether you blog about makeup tips, maintain a book review related Tumblr, or are searching for investors for your first product launch, you should be looking at your social media profiles from the point of view of establishing yourself, creating a platform, drawing in an audience. By making high quality, shareable content, you're both doing that and showing yourself to be a smart marketer who knows how to create a winning brand.