How to Create Content for a Personal Brand
Even though I’m four years deep into the personal brand space, I believe it’s just getting started. Some industries are ahead of others so we’ve seen a huge explosion of them in social media over the last five years. Platforms like YouTube, Vine, Instagram and Twitch (etc.) created celebrity-like status for early adopters. Real estate agents have begun to leverage this over the last couple of years as shows like Million Dollar Listing create more brand awareness around the individual agent then the brokerage. Athletes are jumping into it left and right and the current President of the United States built a personal brand before it was trendy. It won him the Oval Office.
When it comes to dentistry, I believe the personal brand space is wide open. Some speakers and consultants have done an okay job in the past, but it’s nothing like what we’re about to see. I think the next ten years [in dentistry] are up for grabs. Those who create the most and spend the most will create the biggest personal brands. It’s similar to Malibu in the 1920s and 1930s when some of the first developers showed up and recognized the incredible potential of that space. Now, decades later, it’s all sold and developed. Sure you can still get in, but it’ll cost you millions and you’ll never make the same return on your investment that they did.
When we decided to launch a marketing company over four years ago, we had two choices. Create a dental specific company like everyone else. Something like AmazingDentalMarketing.com and join the hundreds of others fighting to make noise in that space. Or create joshuascott.com and build a business based on relationships and trust. I believe people buy from people. So putting a trustworthy person at the center of our company made more sense.
So how does this affect the average dentist? On a micro-scale, patients come to the practice because of people. Often because of friends or family that referred them, but also because of the dentist. They saw that you rescued a Labradoodle on Facebook and they have a rescue dog as well. They saw the new furniture in your waiting room on Instagram and it inspired them to rethink their living room. If you’ll begin to put yourself out there and develop part of the practice brand around you, you’ll see a new level of connection and growth.
On a macro-scale, there’s incredible opportunity for doctors who take this serious and begin to create consistent, valuable content. What do you want to do professionally in the next ten years? Lecture around the country? Coach other dentists? Develop a monthly, online program that creates residual income? It all starts now by establishing yourself as the expert in that space and connecting with other professionals around the country. The greatest marketing platform EVER IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD is at your fingertips. Use it right and you can do whatever you want.
It doesn’t happen by accident. In fact, it’s a very structured process.So let’s get started. Here’s the roadmap I’ve developed to creating consistent, monthly content.
Every month I work from a content calendar that my team and I create ahead of time. It focuses on certain topics throughout the year. For example, I knew we wanted to focus on “attention with social media” in February after Facebook’s algorithm change. It also happens to be the same month as the Super Bowl which is the pinnacle of advertising attention. It fit together perfectly. We set aside March to talk about the #MeToo movement since March 8 was International Women’s Day. I knew I wanted to do a month on personal brands. Since I’ve been having so many conversations around it, we decided to put that in April.
We’ve also got a month set aside for a leadership topic, we’ll do one around group practices, another around “Your Why.” One month we’re going to focus on the patient experience and I’ve got an interview guest that I’m super excited about. We start big picture by identifying the main topics we want to talk about in 2018 and then start laying them out on a content calendar. It might sound rigid, but it’s actually very flexible and we always defer to current events that may be more relevant in certain months.
Once the topic of the month is decided (#MeToo for example), I work on an outline for an article (you can read it here) as well as write two video podcasts (The 8E8 Show). The first episode follows the overall outline of the article (watch Episode 85 here), the second tries to introduce a different perspective. This year, we’re trying to include as many guests as possible on the second episodes (we introduced the LadyEights on Episode 86) to help broaden the topic.
We also produce a monthly vlog (#CurrentSituation) that we plan out ahead of time with the same concept. The goal is to film one a month, so we look ahead to trips, events and anything out of the ordinary that would make a good episode. Once we have that nailed down, we develop an outline that includes introduction, closing, location-specific ideas and intentional content-focused pieces. We used to just go out and film (the technical term is “wing it”), but we found that the more intentional we are the better the episode turns out.
Side Note: I realize that video production can be difficult. You may not have the skills, the money or the right people to pull it off. I totally get it. I would suggest looking at a podcast format instead. It’s way easier to learn and the cost of entry is relatively low. Just like personal brands, I think podcasting is just getting started, so jump in now.
Once all the outlines are sketched out, it’s time to produce the content. The first step is sitting down to the write the article. Writing can definitely be intimidating, so here’s a few things I’ve learned to help the process:
A. Block it in your calendar. I usually need half a day every month to write the first draft of an article along with the two podcast episodes. For whatever reason, I do my best writing on airplanes, so a three hour flight to Denver is perfect.
B. Start with an outline. Take the pressure off of writing an entire article and just put “Create article outline” in your to do list. That’s way easier and checking off a box gives you momentum. For an outline, all you need is an introduction, a close and two to five points in the middle. That’s it! Here’s my outline for #MeToo:
Topic — #MeToo
Intro — Current Events (USA Today, Time Magazine, Oprah)
1 — Why This Topic?
2 — Share Your Story
Close — U2’s “Song for Someone” lyrics
C. Write the first draft. Take the outline you created and just dump whatever’s in your head onto paper. DO NOT EDIT. Just write. It doesn’t matter if it’s crap. Hemmingway said, “The first draft of anything is shit,” so take his advice and don’t overthink it.
D. Edit the article. Now’s the time to clean it up and make it pretty. This is where I spell check, do research and fact check. I will also read the article at a quicker pace and make adjustments to help it “flow” better. Once I’m happy with it, I’ll send it over to my team to get their eyes on it. Typically, I’ll edit the first draft five to eight times before it’s finished.
Once the article is done, the shows are filmed and the graphics are designed, we promote them all throughout the month. Social media is by far the best place and gives you great channels for distribution and sharing. Here’s where I promote my content:
Articles — I post a full version of my article to Facebook, Medium and LinkedIn. I love the user experience on Medium and I think it’s the best blogging platform out there, but Facebook and LinkedIn value original, long-form content. I get more visibility if I post it there instead of linking to Medium.
Videos — Our 8E8 Show and #CurrentSituation videos all get uploaded to YouTube. By far, that’s the most used video search engine. We also post the full length videos to Facebook. Again, Facebook wants the original content and will prioritize its exposure. Instagram only allows 60 seconds, so we edit a shorter promo and create a shortened bit.ly link from youtube to include in my Instagram bio.
Audio — We strip the audio from the 8E8 Show and turn it into an audio podcast. We use a service called Libsyn which tracks all the analytics and kicks the feed out to iTunes and Stitcher. Voila, now I have a podcast too.
Micro Content — Once you’ve got the pieces out there on social media working for you, don’t forget to point people back towards the topic all month long with quotes from the article, questions from the podcast, teaser videos and promos. Once it’s out of sight, it’s often out of mind and creating bits of micro content will help keep people’s attention throughout the month.
Once you get a good rhythm under your feet and feel confident about creating consistent content, I would suggest developing a personal brand website. I bought joshuascott.com early on and use that as the hub. The benefit of a website is that it positions you as a professional with a service to offer. People will see your content through social media, but if they’re interested in working with you, they’ll need a place to learn more.
I also send out a monthly email anchored around the monthly topic. It includes links to all the videos, social accounts, etc. This allows me to stay in touch with everyone on my list throughout the year regardless of their interaction with me on social media.
Last, create business accounts on Facebook and Instagram for your brand. This will allow you to start “boosting” your content and creating ads. I encourage anyone who’s serious about this to start spending $5 a day boosting your best content to a targeted audience on Facebook. You’ll be surprised the interaction you’ll get and the leads it will begin to create.
The ideas around creating content for a personal brand are limitless. I would love to hear your suggestions and what’s working for you. My intention here was to “pull the curtain back” on our process and give you a road map to get started. If you’ve been thinking about taking your personal brand to the next level, I encourage you to commit and jump in. I’d love to hear your story and even promote you through my social media. Please drop a comment or message and let me know where to find you.
Joshua Scott is a marketing speaker and consultant. He has been speaking to audiences for over 20 years and has spent the last 16 years in the dental industry. He works with practices around the country to create confident marketing strategies.
He leads Studio 8E8 (pronounced “88”), a creative marketing firm specializing in brand creation and digital marketing solutions. He is also the host of The 8E8 Show — a regular podcast answering dentistry’s most important marketing questions.
Discover more about Josh’s approach to marketing at joshuascott.com.