Personal branding is a necessity, not an option.
Let’s discuss why.
Standing out in the competition is not the only reason to go for building a strong personal brand.
Whether you’re providing a service, consultation, or even selling Saas products, you’ll face competition.
But when you’re at the front, people would like to know more about your goal, mission, and your service.
Let’s validate that point from a content marketing perspective.
Let me cite another useful study done by HubSpot.
The study was done to compare the open rates of email sent from the brand name and an employee name.
Here’s what Hubspot got from the study.
Click-through-rate (CTR) was higher when the email was sent from a sender name (real-person) than the email sent from a company name (Brand name).
This is one side of the story. Even if you yet have a product to sell or service to provide, you can still get benefited from your personal brand.
Assume you’re a photographer and currently you’re just working as a paid photographer in part-time.
Now, if you start focusing your personal brand and building a community around you, you’ll see that the people within your community will position you as a photographer.
Over time, you’ll gain more experience, knowledge.
Since you’re putting yourself in front of the community for a long time, people will get to know about you and most importantly trust you as an expert in the photography field.
[There’s more to cover in becoming the trusted expert but as of now, let’s understand this in the simplest way]
Now you have an audience who trust you, follow you, and get influenced by you, you can easily monetize this audience in many ethical ways.
You can start your own online class later and teach people about photography.
Or, who knows many people from your community would like to hire you as a personal photographer.
The idea is when you have a loyal audience and a strong personal brand, you can easily monetize it with multiple ethical ways.
Now that you’ve understood why personal branding is important, let’s start with how.
How to build a strong personal brand by leveraging content marketing?
This is the primary question and this blog post will help you in finding the answer.
Hey! I am Rafiqul, a Content Marketing Practitioner, and welcome to my blog, IamRafiqul.com.
1. Start with your own place
People invest lots of time, effort, and money to build a super fancy house.
But what if you get to know that the place your house is built upon is not yours. It is owned by someone else.
It is their choice whether to allow you on the place or not.
That means all of your time, money, the effort can be destroyed without asking for permission.
Likewise, in the digital spaces, your profile in like Facebook, Instagram, and even Youtube may seem like completely yours but in reality, it isn’t.
There are many cases where Account with hundreds of thousands of YouTube subscribers, gets deleted.
That’s why you must have something that is completely yours and in this case this a personal blog of the foundation of that.
[It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t leverage social media; obviously you must do but without entirely relying on these]
Step 1: Start With A Domain
Selecting the domain name is crucial especially if you’re going to build a personal brand.
When it comes to select a domain name, I have two suggestions for you.
Either go with a domain name [Your Full Name]
In case your full name is too long or it is already taken by someone else, go with variations.
For example, I didn’t find rafiqul.com available so I selected the name with a little variation (IamRafiqul).
But remember the following things before buying a domain especially for personal branding.
- Make it short. Having less than 15 characters great. Even it is a little long consider the following points.
- It must be so easy to pronounce that people can easily pronounce your name in the first attempt.
- Having your name in the domain is my absolute recommendation for you.
- When your name is too long go for variations such as Iam[name], [name]blog, profession [name] (eg: MarketerMurali), etc. You have endless opportunities.
- Choose only TLD domain extension (.com is my highest priority)
You can also look for different automated suggestions for your primary name by using domain name generators.
For example, go to hostinger.
Type your name that you want to use in your domain (typically your name).
Add filter for any particular domain extension (Here considering .COM)
Now, even if you don’t see your name is available to buy, you’ll see lots of other variations related to your name.
Step 2: Make writing a habit
Now that you have your own domain and know your niche, it’s time to dive deep into content creation.
Having an own blog will help you in building more authority and credibility only when you add some value to it.
A website with just contact details and your smiley face doesn’t help you in building your personal branding.
the idea is to add content that is helpful, useful, and valuable for your audience.
If you’re into the writing niche, all you can do is helping people who want to be writers or anything related to your niche.
I will share more about the content strategy in this blog, as of now consider that creating a blog (adding value) consistently will help you a lot.
Here’s what you must know before starting.
- It’s not a one or two-month game. Your personal blog is going to assist you fo years.
- Add one new and fresh article a week to your blog (Most important)
- Don’t invest too much time to make it look fancy. Just start with the basic theme. Give more focus on the content than the visually appealing factor.
- Make it consistently.
Even if you’re just learning, you can also share it through your blog. Hat way you can also learn in a better way.
You can also think of your blog as a notebook where you’re going to share all of your learning (in your niche).
When you’re adding value consistently for a longer time, people will start noticing you. It is also important for your personal brand because people are going to see whether you’re a real person or having real knowledge or not.
And the content that you’re regularly putting on the web will then act as an extra credibility factor for your personal brand.
Step 3: Make a great newsletter
One of the clear reasons for building your own email list is because you own it entirely.
Because of the continuous algorithm shift, you just cannot rely completely on any channel that you don’t own.
You may have already heard of the death of organic reach on Facebook.
Even this is not only about Facebook, it’s almost the same as other social media platforms.
Some are working well currently such as Instagram and LinkedIn and others have already lost it completely.
Even on youtube, you’re still not sure whether your channel will be live tomorrow.
Let me give you a real-life example
There is a YouTube Channel (called Udaan NGO) that provides great Book summaries and the channel has over 250k subscribers on their channel.
After creating almost 400 book summaries that are about 9000 hours of pure quality content, the YouTube channel got deleted by YouTube.
After some days, YouTube recovered that channel but all of their book summaries had to removed from public access.
Isn’t it ironic?
Maybe No! It’s because it’s their platform and maybe you get subscribers on YouTube but still, these are their audience.
Unfortunately, we forget to build our own community (especially email list) where we can have the key to control.
This is why start with building your own community and email newsletter still works great.
Most importantly, you have to make it amazing.
The important elements to make email newsletters are, according to me:
- Content about people’s pain points, challenges, questions. Not just about us.
- Consistency. If it is once a week, keep doing this for a long time. The time you break consistency, you actually break the engagement as well.
- Personalized email. Adding just the first name is not all about personalization. You can segment your audience based on their interest.
Learn how to master creating a successful newsletters
2. Right content format
One mistake that you’ll see everyone is chasing everything. What do I mean is that in the beginning, it is exciting to start with a blog post, creating YOuTube videos, podcasts all at once.
But staying consistent in all of these content platforms is super hard especially if you don’t have a huge budget to spend.
What happens is when you try to be everywhere, on every platform, you’ll find it hard to create consistent content for all of these platforms.
Nd this is where it breaks one of the important tules of content marketing which is consistent content.
No matter which platform you choose you just cannot get success without providing content consistently for a long time.
This is why choosing the right content form, at for your business is important.
That means you’ll have one or two at maximum content format (blog post/ eBook/ Video, etc.) and you’ll provide value for a long time without breaking the consistency.
Now the question is how to select the right content format that will bring you the maximum opportunity in terms of branding, service, etc.
Five factors that play a crucial role in determining the right content format are:
- Budget or resource (sometimes, Creating a blog post is not that expensive as producing quality video content. Therefore budget plays a crucial role for a long term game)
- Content goal (What goal do you want to achieve with your content? Not every content format is best-fit for every goal)
- Expertise/skill (Creating content is actually helpful only when it is valuable and the best quality.)
- Research (eg: What your audience is enjoying the most? Content marketing is not that popular in YouTube as compared to Google)
- Demographics (Study shows the younger generation is much interested in video content whereas people above 55 still prefers email content)
Please go through this article to learn how to select the right content format.
But here’s another important part.
Selecting one or two content format fr your business doesn’t mean you won’t leverage other social media.
You can but with a strategy.
This is where content repurposing comes into the place. By repurposing each of your content you can easily reach more people across different channels without giving so much effort.
I have also included a detailed guide below to understanding the art of repurposing.
3. Content strategy
In the first step, you learned why having a blog and adding content to it consistently are necessary for your brand.
Remember, don’t just create content just for the sake of it. If you try to
Now, you’ll learn how to plan a content strategy from scratch.
But before you start, you need to know your end goal.
What I mean by this is do you want to generate clients for your service or business or your primary goal is to become an expert in your field.
The reason I am asking this is that you cannot have one content strategy for two different goals.
For example, if my target is to get more clients then I have to create content based on the buyer’s journey.
Again If I am just trying to establish myself as an expert in the field, then I will approach a different method.
It is also possible to choose both but for that, you need to have two different strategies as well.
Here’s how you can deal with this.
Now, the first thing you need to do is define your primary goal.
Is it to just build authority or position yourself as a trusted expert?
Or, do you also want to target possible customers for your product or service along with the personal brand.
Goal 1: Building authority
- Content to grow your credibility and expertise level
The one thing which is fixed for every goal is creating content for credibility.
There are certain types of content that I have seen working well to showcase yourself as an expert or trustworthy.
The first one is about research-based content.
Recently, I did a research on the current state of digital marketing in India. For that, I collected data from various sources and finally presented as a research-based report.
As a result, I got many messages from some well-known experts in this field.
Imagine if it is just like any other blog post, nobody would have given such importance to that content.
But because the content is fresh and never seen before, many people have shown interest in it.
And I end up building any relationships with them.
You’re just starting in your niche, then I would definitely recommend you start with creating research-based content.
It will not only help you in building more credibility but also help you in networking with other experts in the field.
Actions to consider:
- Do your own research.
- It doesn’t have to be super complicated; you can even start collecting data that are already available.
- All you need to do is compile your research and present it into a fresh form.
Other types of content that you also need to consider to build more online authority are:
- Long-form content (Google loves the long-form and in-depth article)
- Recent industry updates
- Content to solve questions
Since you’re not concerned about targeting your possible customers right now, it is absolutely best to help your customers by creating valuable content for them.
In this case, you need to invest time to collect the questions and queries that your target audience is facing.
For instance, if I am into the online marketing field and I want to be known as a digital marketer, then I can start creating content like the followings:
- How to grow your business using digital marketing?
- Digital marketing guide for beginners
- How to start learning about digital marketing?
- And many more…
Notice that your content will be to solve your audience’s problems that they’re facing.
To know your audience’s pain points, challenges, questions, you need to deep dive into the research part.
Following platforms will help you in finding possible questions that you can solve:
Type your niche topic into the search bar of Quora. And, you’ll see lots of questions regarding that topic.
Let’ see the questions that people are asking regarding content marketing.
One cool thing about Quora is that you can search for the questions based on the past year, past months, and more.
- eLearning platforms
If your topic is into the eLearning section, then this will help you to find lots of content ideas within minutes. Go to popular learning platforms such as Udemy and Coursera.
Next, search for the topic or courses related to your industry.
After that move on to the reviews part, where you’ll find lots of feedback on the same topic. This will tell you the topics that people are interested in and paying to get a clear answer to that.
Here’s the example of how you can leverage the comment section of these courses.
It is rare that you won’t find any book in your industry.
The best practice is to look for positive and negative comments.
Amazon alone is more than enough to give you hundreds of ideas.
Especially the negative ones will help you in understanding the need and pain point of your audience.
I have also used this method to structure my upcoming book.
This tool is great at delivering questions people are asking on your topic. Just type your keyword and you’ll see hundreds of questions (Content ideas) to cover.
- Spy your competitor’s blog comments
The idea is to get questions or challenges that your audience is getting their mind. To discover that look for competitors in your niche.
Next, take a pen and paper and start noting down the questions or queries that people are asking again and again on your competitor’s blog.
Now, let’s talk about the content strategy when you’re also going to target clients for your product or service.
Goal 2: Building authority + Attracting clients
1. Content to grow your credibility and expertise level
The strategy to establish your authority and credibility is going to be the same as discussed in the above point.
In this case, you’ll need to include the buyer’s stage to create content.
Basically, when someone purchases a product that prospect actually goes through three different stages such as:
- Awareness stage (When a prospect isn’t aware of the problem or issue and will try to understand more about the problem or challenge.)
- Consideration stage (After getting aware of the problem, now the prospect is looking for possible solutions).
- Decision stage (Prospect will now make the final decision to buy a product or hire a service.)
Let’s see how to leverage the buyer’s journey to create a content strategy for getting leads.
The simple idea is to create content for three stages (just discussed above).
I would recommend you to please go through this blog to get a detailed guide on the buyer’s stage content strategy with examples.
In short, this is what you need to do.
- Search for the queries that people might ask in each of these stages.
- Categorize them based on the buyer’s journey
- Create content
- Remember that you need to create content for every stage of the buyer journey.
That way you’ll have two types of content.
The first one is for getting leads for your service or product.
The second one is for establishing your online authority.
4. Content repurposing for more reach
Consistency is the key. If you see any successful people in the online space you’ll notice the consistency in their content.
From Gary Vee to Neil Patel, you’ll get engaged frequently.
But it is also true that creating content on a consistent basis is hard especially if you’re a one-woman/man show.
This is the reason why you should learn content repurposing so that you’ll get enough content to provide even creating consistently.
Here’s the most detailed guide on content repurposing.
Do check it out and come back here. It’s that important for you.
The key idea is to use each piece of your content in more than one way.
You’ll get to know about the overall method, but let me give you a quick example of how I do it for myself.
First, I prefer creating a pillar content whether it is in the form blog post with an average length of more than 3k words.
Next, I break the article into multiple segments. A few weeks ago, I created a blog post on “17 tips to create quality content”, where I have discussed 17 tips.
That means I got 17 small segments from that large piece of content.
Next, I have scheduled those 17 small content in multiple social media for the next 8 days (twice a week).
I am not done yet.
After that, I have also created a detailed video about these 17 tips. Since I have already my content ready, it doesn’t take much time to create that video.
In the end, here’s what I got from just one pillar content (a long-form blog post).
Smart Note for content repurposing
Writing a book is one of the effective tactics that help to establish someone as an expert in that industry. Even though people are not going to read it, they just cannot ignore the fact that you have written a book on your topic.
Here’s my smart advice for you.
Consider a broad topic that you’re going to write a book about. Make it intentionally related to your niche.
The next step is to break down that broad topic into multiple sub-topics that you can also consider as chapters of the book.
After identifying the book chapters, start writing for each of the chapters and make it a blog post form.
Yeah, you heard it right.
Make each of your chapter as an individual blog post.
Publish it one by one.
Once you complete all of your chapters, combine it and edit and design it to give it a bookish look.
Now, let’s say after 3 months you have written 12 blog posts (12 chapters of your book).
And along with the blog post you have also done with writing your book.
It’s that simple.
Now, don’t think that the same content doesn’t add value at all.
I can show you many successful examples that have already done it brilliantly.
Gary Vee, Digital Deepak are some of them.
If you’re still stuck on this, I would say remember why you’re writing this book.
What’s the purpose behind this?
You’re not writing this book to become a NewYork times bestseller but to showcase your expertise in your field and having only a hundred reviews for your book is more than enough to make people believe that you’re not someone with fake knowledge.
Here’s how I applied this for myself.
5. Content with consistency
When you put content consistently on different channels, you’ll likely to be noticed by mane.
Again, having a clear idea about where to publish your content is also important along with putting content consistency.
Here’s what you can learn from my experience:
For the past few months, I’ve started sharing content on various platforms. Facebook groups and LinkedIn profile page are two one of my important channel to publish all of my content.
Instead of creating fresh content for social media, I repurposed my blog content and YouTube video to share on different channels.
This allowed me to have enough content to publish at least 4x a week.
Now, because of putting content on a regular basis, I got three major benefits:
- I was able to build a loyal audience in the form of an email list and social media followers who like to consume my content.
- I got some work offers as well. This was unexpected at all but I noticed that all of these offers came because I was getting their attention every time I put valuable content on different platforms.
- And the most important thing to grow your personal brand is networking with experts in your field.
All of these happened because of publishing content with consistency.
To build your personal brand, you cannot hide away from social media channels. In fact, you can leverage it to grow your credibility.
Here’s what you can do step-by-step to leverage social media channels:
- Make a list of communities (FaceBook groups, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc) where your audience is already there. The larger the group will be, the more reach you’ll get.
- Repurpose your pillar content and publish it on these platforms.
Remember our goal is not to get website traffic or anything to sell; all you’re doing is to build a relationship with your audience and experts in your field.
One thing to strictly avoid is never ever trying unnecessary promotion (Your article, video links, your social media profiles, etc.)
- Make it consistently; even if no one is reacting to your post. A similar story happened to me. I have noticed in the beginning that even after not having too many likes and engagement, many people liked my content and tried to make a connection with me.
- You’ll see that you’re not alone on this journey. Many others are also doing the same tactics to build an audience for them. What you can do is connect with them.
Things that have worked for me are:
- Commenting on their post,
- Asking for feedback
- Giving feedback to their content
Your end goal is to create a relationship with your audience and experts in your field. It takes time to have a connection with people and people actually become a part of your audience but it is worthy.
Building a loyal audience is probably the strongest reason for applying content marketing.
And, having a loyal audience is the must-have for building a strong personal brand.
From choosing the right content format to building your own community, I have discussed five valuable content marketing tips.
I hope this will really help you to start with a strong foundation for your brand.
Last but not least I would like to end my note by saying, “Providing right content to the right people consistently for a long time is the most significant content marketing tip for building your personal brand”
Now, I am curious to know your thoughts.
What do you think is the most powerful thing for becoming a trusted expert in your industry?
Let me and my audience know about your thought in the comment section.
Sk Rafiqul Islam is a content marketing practitioner with 3+ years of practical experience. He spends most of his time helping businesses to build a loyal audience with content marketing. He is also running a tech career blog called 10Pie and content marketing VIP, a bi-weekly marketing newsletter. In his free time, he loves reading books and playing football.