When I decided once and for all (it was a journey) that my brand focus was going to be personal branding, I decided I was going to be the best and most well-known personal branding expert out there. I was going to be THE go-to expert for personal branding.
First things first: obviously I had to have the actual experience that laid the foundation for this path, which I did. Then I had to visualize myself as the best before I could truly start to position my brand as the real deal.
Once you’re checked experience and confidence off the list, the next thing you need to write in that oh-so-fancy Day Planner of yours is content.
Why? Because content is queen when it comes down to positioning yourself as an authority.
Once I got my mindset right, the next step was sharing content that established my credibility (ahem, this blog post).
What does that content look like? Well first of all it’s free. It’s free content so people can see that you’re an expert BEFORE they pay you. It’s like those people who share samples of perfume at the mall. Once you smell a yummy new scent at the perfume counter, you have-to-have-it.
And because you want your audience to have-to-have you, you need to create free content and resources to give them a sample of what you have to offer.
My free content comes in the form of blog posts, videos, and PDF workbooks and templates. I realized that the more free content I have out there, the more accessible I seemed to my audience. This accessibility allows people to see that I know what I’m talking about. This makes them comfortable with inviting me to appear on their podcast/interview/blog/summit because I’ve proven that I know what I’m talking about. The risk of buying from me is essentially removed.
Create a high-value opt-in that is a must-have
The more people have to do to access your content, the more value you can add to it. For example, your free opt-in is a chance to offer higher value content than your blog posts. After all people have to share their email address with you so you have to give them something worth the exchange. If your free content starts to define you as an expert, then your opt-in is the chance to really cement your credibility in your niche.
Share new trends
It also helps if you’re the first person to share new trends. This shows that you’re in the know. Just like you admired the most fashionable girl in high school who had the latest shoes and saw her as a cool fashion expert (or just like you admired the chair of the cookbook committee in junior league who always had the best stickers in her Day Planner and saw her as the ultimate organized lady) people will share the same admiration for you.
Add value by sharing other voices
When you need a break from your own content, share content from other people – position yourself as an expert by sharing content from other people in your niche/or content that BIG people have written about your niche. Yes, they may be your competitors, but if you post about the content in a way that positions you as an equal, then suddenly you are an equal. When you get out of your own mind and look to what your audience might find from others, not only does it increase the amount of content that you have to share, it strengthens your network too. It may seem counter-intuitive, but when you share other people’s work, it puts out strong vibes that attract attention and can increase your brand recognition.
Be bold with the content you create and share
Don’t be afraid to take a stand with your content. Whether you’re on the popular side of a topic within your niche or you have a contrary opinion, people will remember you and respect you for voicing a strongly-held opinion.
You cannot become a thought leader if people don’t see your thoughts. It is better to make bold statements and take strong positions on things and change later than to not take a stance at all.
For example, I can think of several big thought leaders who came out strong and said “Meerkat” was going to be the best video app ever and that it was here to stay. The fact is, you may be sitting here now thinking “what the heck is that? I’ve never heard of it.” But, the same people who came out so enthusiastically for Meerkat have since announced the death of the platform. Guess what? It’s still around – just not in the same form.
No matter what your business is, and what your niche may be, content is king. It proves your credibility and gives you expert status when people refer to you. That content can be written; it can be video or even audio. It doesn’t matter, as long as it is high quality content that showcases your brand.