Content marketing — in the form of sharing useful content such as blogs or videos with web viewers who relate to your brand — can be one of the most successful digital marketing methods for your personal brand, but only with a solid strategy in place. According to the Content Marketing Institute’s 2015 B2C Content Marketing Report, 47 percent of the most effective content marketers have a documented strategy in place, while only 5 percent of the least effective content marketers have devised strategy.
With the abundance of types of content and channels to distribute content on, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Use these four simple techniques to positively use content marketing to boost your personal brand and extend your reach and visibility in the global online space.
1. Produce meaningful content on your website
First, determine your target audience and what passions you have that relate to your professional objectives. You might want to create written posts or videos where you share your expertise by teaching the audience a new skill. This helps cultivate an image of you as an authority in your field.
Don’t just promote yourself in your content. Think about the content consumer first, and how you can best help them. To brainstorm ideas for your content, ask yourself:
- What topics am I an expert on?
- What is the best way to convey my knowledge—through writing, a podcast, a photo slideshow, an infographic, a video, or something different?
- Would I be more helpful I interviewed another expert and weaved their testimonial into my content, or if I made their interview the primary content focus?
- How can I make my content more accessible to more types of users, such as by adding a transcript to a video for hearing impaired visitors, or by adding photography to a blog post for people more likely to want to consume images?
Regarding frequency for posting on your own site, a 2015 study by HubSpot found for companies with 10 employees or less, blogging at least 11 times per month is ideal. The study also found companies that published at least 16 blogs per month received three-and-a-half times more traffic than companies that published four posts or less per month. Start out slowly in the beginning if you’re trying to find your content marketing rhythm, but aim for continual higher frequency.
While your content should not focus on you, it should help you generate positive sentiment and exposure for your personal brand. Achieve this by linking back to an About Me page through your author bio link so people can learn more about you—and do business with you—if they like your content, or add a call to action to get in touch with you at the bottom of the post.
2. Offer to guest blog
Now that you’re an exemplary content-producing machine on your own website, search for other stars in your industry you can network with and whose audiences you can also share your professional prowess with. Choose influencers you admire, reach out to them and tell them why they interest you, and explain how you relate and how you can help their audiences.
Offer to create a post for their website, and ask for a link back to your website in return for your useful content. This generates a positive backlink that benefits your personal brand’s search engine optimization, while exposing you to a new audience that might lead to new business. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to do guest posting effectively. Also, let them know you’ll promote the post through your own network via a promotion on your website, through an email newsletter, or via social media. By offering to help other influencers, they’ll be more likely to help you promote your content, as well.
3. Host guest content on your site
Like guest blogging on other sites exposes your personal brand to new potential contacts, letting an authority create quality content for your site is also beneficial. Your site becomes more well-rounded and a better source for insightful information that will help drive traffic up, while the guest poster is likely to share their post through their own networks, bringing new visitors to your website.
You can also use guest content to promote your own related content. Keep in mind, promoting your personal brand is not the goal with hosting guest content. Rather, make your sure any promotion of your content is relevant and non-invasive to the post. A simple way to ensure this is to use a widget on your site that automatically displays related posts on the bottom of the article or video. You can also include “Read more related to this topic” links on the bottom, and customize what you share.
Content marketing is a waste of time if no one is seeing your content. Entrepreneur recommends using paid outlets, such as sponsored LinkedIn updates, to increase your reach, but amplifying your content doesn’t have to be costly. Save time and money by using free social networks and digital connections to get your content to more targeted consumers.
4. Set up profiles on all applicable social networks where your target audience is.
Content related to personal branding will most likely be useful on professional networking sites such as LinkedIn, while journalists and media pros are also likely to have Twitter accounts. When promoting your content, write posts with search engine keywords in mind, and include a call to action to entice those who see the post to click.
On the content post, encourage discussions to keep readers engaged and coming back to posts by asking questions on the bottoms of posts, or by promoting a discussion via the post you share the content through. Don’t just copy and paste links into social networks or on message boards—experiment by sharing photos or videos from your content to better adapt to the network’s algorithm, and constantly test posting times and types of posts to optimize your reach.
Once you’ve built relationships with other influencers, share your content with them when you feel it’s relevant to their audiences. A successful content marketing strategy is based on how much value you provide for both an audience and those who help you share your content. Create and share with a philosophy focused on helping, and you’re on your way to strengthening your personal brand through content marketing.
by DAN SCHAWBEL