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These days, building a strong personal brand online is just as important (if not more) than building your company’s brand. In a sea of digital information, you need to stand out as an expert in your industry.
When you build a strong personal brand online, you can then leverage that platform to attract customers to your company simply by being yourself and highlighting your expertise and knowledge.
It doesn’t just happen overnight, though. It’s something that you build over time, and it requires a lot of work. I’ve leveraged my personal brand to build my businesses, but it hasn’t been a walk in the park. For example, I have been contributing here on Entrepreneur.com for more than four years and have written over 250 articles.
Personal brand building requires a lot of work, but when done right, it can have an extremely positive affect on your company. Here are four tips to help you become an online personal branding rockstar.
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1. Start blogging and fine-tune your voice.
I love to write. It’s my escape from my regular day-to-day responsibilities, and over the years I have fine-tuned my voice. I get a lot of emails from entrepreneurs who want to start writing and they all ask the same question: “Who do you use to ghost write for you?” I never have and never will use a ghost writer. I write every article I publish across several media outlets and never miss a deadline, no matter how busy I am.
You have to go all in and commit to creating content multiple times a week for a period of several years. To get your feet wet, start a personal blog or begin blogging on your company’s website. You can also use a self-hosted option like Medium to fine-tune your voice and build a following.
2. Create value-packed content for your target audience to engage with.
While a blog is a great way to get your voice and name out there, not all consumers want to sit there and read paragraphs of information. So, create content in other formats, allowing you to convey your expertise by giving something of value. Some examples include:
- Infographic. Visual content works well for many reasons, namely for its easily-digestible format. You can take a complex topic and present it in a way that both captures attention and delivers the message.
- Podcast. This is an increasingly popular content format because it’s portable. This allows your audience to listen to what you have to say when they have downtime — morning commutes and the gym are popular times to listen to podcasts.
- Vlog. Video content is popular because it can be consumed on any device, and it allows the consumer to put a face with your brand. Consistency is key, whether you are vlogging weekly or daily. If you want two vloggers to draw inspiration from, check out Casey Neistat and Gary Vaynerchuk — they crush it.
- eBook. An eBook is something that you can offer as a bribe on your website. Publish a valuable guide or case study and allow it to be downloaded by simply handing over an email address. It’s a win-win — the consumer gets something of value that helps validate you as an expert, and you get an email address that you can market to in the future.
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3. Build a loyal following on social media.
Social media is a channel that allows you to connect with a very targeted audience. Time warp back twenty years and think about how difficult it would have been to contact the CEO of a company. Now, a simple tweet can open a line of communication.
You can leverage it to grow your brand — both company and personal. It gives you a huge stage to display your expertise and knowledge, while also networking with industry thought leaders. Facebook ads and promoted tweets are a great way to really increase your following if you have a personal branding budget available.
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4. Use SEO to help position yourself as an expert.
Determine what it is that you want to be known for in your industry, and focus your content around that. We can circle back to our top tip, as this is another reason a personal blog is such a must-have for those that want to improve his or her personal brand.
“You need to take the same keyword research and strategy approach as you would for personal branding that you would for an e-commerce website. Fundamentally, it’s all the same. Rather than optimizing your content for products, you would optimize for what it is that you want to be branded as. For example, ‘Facebook advertising consultant in Chicago’ would be an ideal keyword to optimize for if you want to brand yourself as the Facebook advertising authority in Chicago,” explains Jordan DeLozier, founder of SEOClerks.
For a complete guide on optimizing content for SEO, check out this resource.