How to Build Your Personal Brand by Publishing As Much as Possible
Leverage publishing as much as possible to position yourself as a thought leader and grow your personal brand. Specific insights on how to use LinkedIn and Medium to get started publishing today.
Content is King. Bill Gates said it way back in 1996 and the reality couldn’t be any truer today than ever. There’s no other way to put it. And if the great pandemic of 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that anyone can build a strong brand by being a content creator.
At the heart of any great brand are the experiences a person can anticipate when interacting with that brand. When it comes to personal branding, the same logic applies. What will an individual learn by interacting with your content? How will they be delighted, engaged or challenged? For those attempting to build or grow a personal brand, the good news is you can facilitate great brand experiences online through content creation.
A strong personal brand can make the difference between looking for a new job and a new job finding you. A strong personal brand can mean the difference between going out to find clients, and clients finding you through referral. These are just a few reasons how having a strong personal brand can bring new opportunities to your doorstep.
For me, having a strong personal brand has resulted in some exciting opportunities like attending high-level (and expensive) tech events free, inquires to serve in leadership positions and part of local boards, commissioned speaking gigs, live event hosting, and video appearance to name. Many of these opportunities were because of my brand as a marketing creative engaged in the tech and startup communities. Those are some of things I’m known as an authority on. One way I continue to position myself in this way is by publishing as much as possible.
So, now that you’re ready to begin positioning yourself as a thought leader and authority on something, you’re probably asking yourself next “How do I do that? Where do I start?”
How to Publish as Much as Possible: Two Strategies
There are a couple different ways to being publishing as much as possible. I use these strategies for myself and have seen career and marketing coaching clients experience marked results using these two strategies.
Two easy ways to get started with today are 1) Self-generated content on self-maintained platforms and 2) Self-generated content on third party platforms. Both options are great to consider, so let’s start by breaking down what self-generated content on self-maintained platforms means and some tech tools you can use to leverage this option right away.
Self-generated content on self-maintained platforms is marketing speak for content you create and post/publish through communication channels you own. This could mean you host Facebook live videos, every two weeks. You will likely use your personal facebook profile, group or page you may own, and the content you post is what you have created. Self-generated content on platforms you own has both challenges and benefits to consider. The strategy of creating your own content and posting to your own platforms is by far the easiest way to being publishing as much as possible.
An important benefit of launching and utilizing your own platform is you make all the decisions about the content, tone, frequency and the like. You charge yourself with creating a content calendar, frequency, channels and the like. You can offer others opportunities to be interviewed or publish on your site or blog, helping you amplify your presence with their followers and vice verse, another great benefit to consider as well.
In addition to the ongoing challenge of consistency, another to consider is the ramp up time it takes to learn a new platform and to adopt a new platform. Depending on your level of familiarity and comfort with tech, this may be the biggest hurdle for you to overcome because learning a new platform can be both frustrating and exciting all at the same time. To help you get over this hurdle, lean on help documentation, video tutorials through both the site as well as experts on YouTube to help you.
I specifically mention doing Facebook live videos as an example for a number of reasons, the most important is that it’s pretty easy. I do Facebook live videos frequently for this reason.
A second strategy you can use to being publishing right away is to generate content that is posted by someone else. Self-generated content on third party maintained sites means your content is published on a platform that is not owned by you, while similarly aligned to your brand and authority areas. Depending on the strength of your brand, this may be a strategy you can grow into; however, don’t take yourself out the game too quickly. Content creators are always looking for great content to share, so you may find success more quickly than you imagined, it just depends on who you approach.
A few important benefits to leveraging this publishing strategy include third party validation of your brand. This happens when your content is published by someone other than you and is a gold standard in personal branding and marketing. Additionally, you receive exposure to a new audience of potential followers and supporters already somehow aligned with your authority area. You generate both trust and creditability and the site or content creator will likely promote your content. The better the content performs, the better your SEO juice your receive generally and on that site.
Overall, getting your content on a site or platform you do not own is very, very beneficial to your brand’s credibility and value. I have used this strategy over and over again to continue to build my brand as well as re-position my brand.
Of course there are a few challenges to generating content that is picked up by third party sites, first it may be difficult to get a submission successfully accepted. There will likely be guidelines on content and form, so you may need to ramp up and review their guidelines to increase your chances of successfully admission. Another challenge to be aware of is that you may no longer own the content which means you may not be able to “republish” that article or video on your own maintained sites. And there may be editors which may alter your content in ways you did not intend. So, you have to evaluate your comfort level with those challenges to determine your next steps for leveraging this strategy.
4 Ways to Begin Publishing Today
I realize there are a lot of social media networks already out there, with no slow down of how many more that will hit the market in the next three months. Add that to the already crowded space of the internet generally, and one can quickly become overwhelmed with where to publish. Start with your lowest hanging fruit.
For many of us, this means start with leveraging LinkedIn. In the event, you’re on the fence about using LinkedIn to being publishing, here are a few key statistics to help put the potential in full view.
LinkedIn has 675 million monthly users. Instagram currently has 1 billion users, and Facebook has 2.5 billion. Twitter reports around 330 million.That’s a 14% increase since the end of 2018, when LinkedIn reported 590 million users.
57% of LinkedIn users are men, and 43% are women. According to We Are Social’s extrapolations from LinkedIn’s registered users, the average LinkedIn user is a little more likely to identify as a man.
27% of Americans use LinkedIn. According to the latest data, that number is up 2% since 2018, when only 25% of Americans used LinkedIn.That makes LinkedIn the 5th most popular social media platform for Americans (more popular than Snapchat, Twitter, or Whatsapp.)
51% of Americans with a college education use LinkedIn
Now, I’m not suggesting LinkedIn is the best place for every person, but for a good number of those reading this right now, it is probably an ideal starting point. You may already have a LinkedIn profile and you may be using the social network in some way. For the purposes of positioning yourself as a thought leader and amplifying your brand, now is a great time to up your usage and experience some of the benefits active LI engagement can offer. Consider using the “articles” feature to generate your own content to engage your followers and their networks.
This is a great starting point because there are no barriers to entry except a LinkedIn profile. You don’t have to have the paid version to leverage the article feature and the content standards are up to you, so you are in command of your publishing ship. You can use, text, photo and video. The content can be pinned to your profile in a “Featured” section so you get extra mileage each time someone visits your profile page.
If you’re not publishing regularly to LI with articles, comments and posts then consistency will be a challenge for you. Also, you may feel a little intimated because your network may be relatively small for the moment, don’t let that challenge stop you, publishing content your network is interested in and engaging will not only help you develop your brand, but will also help you grow your LinkedIn network as well!
A second way to get started publishing as much as possible quickly is to become an individual writer on Medium. As an individual writer on Medium you can create and publish your own content. Long-form content typically has better performance metrics here (generally an 8 minute or more read). A few things to consider if you decide to go the Medium writer route to being building your personal brand.
Easy Ramp Up. Unlike some other platforms, ramp up on Medium is pretty easy once you become a member. Membership is $5/month which gives you access to any content across all Medium publications and writers without hitting the paywall. Additionally, for content creators just getting started and feeling nervous about the tech side of things, the interface looks a lot like a word document, so you can jump in sooner than you think.
Monetize behind a paywall. As an individual writer on Medium, you can quickly begin monetizing content behind a paywall when you join the Partner Program to generate revenue on a per read basis. Content published by writers is crawled by editors of publications. If your content aligns, a publication may reach out to “pick up” and publish your post. This is awesome because that action increases your reach and sphere of influence through third party validation.
The third strategy to begin publishing right away is to use Medium’s publication feature to launch your own publication. In addition to being a place for individual writers, Medium is an ideal platform for aspiring bloggers not ready to take on the full spoils of a Wordpress blog or website. Here’s why:
Monetize behind a paywall. This is one of the #1 reasons I think Medium is a great platform to launch and build your brand. Between the analytics data you can generate and the ability to selectively use the paywall, you can derive greater insights on what content topics are resonating with your audience and make publishing decisions armed with that info.
Admin functionality to add writers and contributors. This can be very useful if you want to expand the content you publish to include other thought leaders, influencers and authorities on associated or aligned topics. This is a great way to “enter” the conversation by bringing together the relevant authorities and creating a platform where those important discussions and voices are amplified.
Organize content through tagging. I can’t say enough about the ability to organize content through their tagging system. It’s easy to use and gives a way to organize your content and easily create navigation on your publication. Additionally, you can use tags to generate wider reach because content tags provide an indication the followers of that tag.
Easy publication “follow” for users. I love this passive engagement opportunity that’s built into the platform. When readers follow your publication, they can update their notifications to get a ping each time you publish! That’s a great auto feature… all you need to do is publish great content that demonstrates your thought leadership.
Generate newsletters to followers. Although I have not utilized this feature because I use this feature in my current CRM, having the ability to do so as you build your following is great. And if you’re not ready to launch into building and maintaining a client relationship management system just yet, this is an easy alternative to consider
My final recommendation to help you start publishing and as much as possible is to search out Medium publications and submit your content for review. A lot of people don’t realize that Medium is an exciting and extensive platform of diverse publications. Many of those publications are always looking for great content to populate their site. Some of the larger publications search and crawl published content by individual writers to include. In some instances content creators can seek out publications to submit content to as well. Here’s how you can give yourself a leg up.
Search out publications. Medium does a really great job of making searching through tagging very easy. You can both see what the common tags being used are and the number of followers for each tag. Leverage your home page to mine those topics you follow the recommended article and publications to follow. Once you have a few on a targeted list, look for submission guidelines to determine how you can submit your content to their publications.
Content standards: A document like this will likely give you an idea of what kinds of articles are accepted, and will likely include content and form. There might be a list of the broad topics that align with the publication, whether the content has to be original, republishing guidelines and other useful content related information. This is a very important page because it can serve as the blueprint for how you can get your foot in the door.
FAQs: If there is a Frequently Asked Questions section, definitely review this information in detail. This is where those specific questions are addressed like, pay, republishing guidelines, timeline for review, and editing expectations.
Submission guidelines/Form: For first time submissions, a publication may ask you to add your information to an external form or email. Once you have been identified by a publication as a writer, you will likely submit through Medium, but be aware an external publication strategy may be utilized.
Now that you’ve had a chance to better understand how you can position yourself as a thought leader by publishing as much as possible, how will you get started today? Let me know in the comments. I can’t wait to hear what’s working and what you had to abandon ship on.