Kimberly N. Alleyne
We cannot escape it. We live, work and play in a hyper-crowded communications landscape. On any given day, we’re bombarded by information via email, online, social, print, mobile and broadcast mediums (let’s not forget digital-out-of-home and outdoor advertising). It’s an effect of the convergence of digital and traditional media. Anyone who wants to can grab a microphone and have her say.
For communications and PR pros, the room is really noisy. The digitization of everything has opened doors for practitioners to set themselves apart, and that’s great because open doors promote inclusion and level the field; but if no one can hear your brand above the noise, you run the risk of stifling audience engagement with muteness, and muffling opportunities to position yourself/your brand to shine the brightest in the crowd. Here’s how communications and PR pros can pomp their prowess and create a community of brand loyalists at once.
Before you get started building your brand stage, ask yourself these three questions:
What are you great at? Have exceptional knowledge about?
It’s okay if you don’t know the answer yet, but be mindful to find the answer. Test your skill sets to find your sweet spot: volunteer for a charity, offer to help on a project at work, or offer to help a colleague solve a communications, PR or branding problem.
What do you want to say about it?
Like many practitioners, you probably have a diverse, multi-discipline skill set. If that’s you, then you have to hone your focus to one or two primary areas of expertise otherwise your brand will seem schizophrenic. Decided who you want to be and what your focus will be.
Who wants to hear it?
Do the work to determine who your target audience is and then create content they want. Once you know who your people are, don’t make it an one-sided, one-way relationship. Listen to them. Ask them what they need to know. Ask them what there challenges are and how you can help them. Do what you can to make it a mutually-beneficial experience when they engage with you —- they’re more likely to stay engaged when they heard and appreciated.
Once you’re satisfied with your answers, it’s to take your show on the road. Here are 5 of 15 ways to #build that brand and let your thought leadership shine:
It’s more than a tweet — it’s an opportunity to drop nuggets of advice, learn from others, monitor your brand reach, and meet other folks in your professional space.
Get serious about your brand and seize opportunities to build a community. If you use Facebook account as a personal social network, great!, but think about using it to #buildthatbrand, too. Create a separate, professional page where you post about industry news, articles you’ve written, presentations you’ve made or speaking engagement.
3. Linked In
LinkedIn is a great hub for job leads and expanding one’s professional network, but it’s also great for branding. Join a group to meet other professionals with common interests. Also, publish articles, presentations, projects to your profile.
*Tip: Connect your LinkedIn profile to your Twitter account so that every LI post is automatically tweeted.
Shocase is a new platform for marketers. It’s a place for all things marketing: advertising, branding, public relations, social and content marketing. Sign up, create a profile, network and “shocase” your talent. It’s place for marketers to “get noticed, build business and stay informed.” Exciting!
5. Huffington Post
Make your pen (or keyboard) your the biggest weapon in your branding arsenal. Pitch a standing column to the Huffington Post, and explain your value add to readers. How will they benefit from your knowledge? Why will they be interested in reading your column? With a national and international digital footprint, (the blog and news aggregator boasted an audience of 84 million at the end of 2013), you can write your way to expanded brand reach and influence.
Come back for Part 2 and more tips! And remember to share the space, don’t be a brand ham. Yes, it is important, and absolutely okay to cut yourself a slice of the brand rock star pie, but you didn’t get where you are alone and others deserve a slice, too. Be humble and gracious. When you have opportunities to do so, throw shout-outs to fellow practitioners who are doing great work, are equally knowledgeable or simply need a chance to be heard. If you have authority to open doors for others, please, open them wide!
How are you #buildingthatbrand? What strategies do you recommend for creating thought leadership? I’d love to hear from you. Write me in the comments or at Kimberly@kimberlynalleyne.com.