Bringing more revenue to the table is a pressing problem for each and every business out there. Companies and solopreneurs experiment with content marketing, paid ads, press releases, and various forms of offline exposure.
At the end of the day, revenue requires traffic and visitors look for validation.
Building your personal brand as a consultant is the most resilient investment in your business success:
- Growing your community means a follower base.
- People who trust you are more willing to recommend your services.
- Your exposure online is amplified.
- It reveals new business opportunities and available niches.
- Your community can follow you across different channels.
Here is a list of 7 digital channels that entrepreneurs and consultants actively use while growing their personal brands.
Quora is a reputable question & answers community generating over 200 million unique visitors.
It is instrumental for generating content ideas, connecting with prospects, maintaining the brand of your product or company, and providing leadership advice.
By fostering a community of experts, Quora is often used as an authoritative source by journalists, reporters, and bloggers. The Quora Publishing team has formed strategic partnerships with outlets such as Forbes, Inc., HuffPost, Slate, Apple News – republishing the best content their users have generated on a weekly basis.
The community network could be your go-to source for improving your personal brand as a consultant. You can follow specific topics, participate in discussions, and provide your own unique perspective on industry matters.
Medium is a popular blogging platform co-founded by Ev Williams – one of the creators of Twitter. The content network gathers over 60 million monthly readers and amassed 7.5 million Medium posts in 2016 alone.
It emphasizes on creative storytelling by startup founders and entrepreneurs, covers national elections and political plays, and shares life hacks and strategies for hustlers.
Medium has been the preferred blogging “tool of choice” for many but it’s just as suitable for repurposing your own content. Aggregated content is marked as canonical in order to prevent duplicated content notices. While the science behind what works on Medium isn’t entirely transparent, writers often report stories that went extremely viral and generated millions of page views within a limited amount of time.
If you want to cover the type of stories that are not suitable for your business blog, Medium may be the right place. Repurposing existing content could also capture the attention of Medium’s readers so don’t miss on that opportunity.
3. LinkedIn Pulse
Publishing content on Facebook would hardly receive any attention by users outside of your network. Facebook users browsing their own feed receive stories by the people their follow and groups they participate at.
LinkedIn Pulse is the publishing tool by LinkedIn that provides similar blogging capabilities to Medium. A notable benefit is tapping into your own network whereas your connections get notified about your latest story.
On top of that, LinkedIn Pulse gets distributed in several different ways. Regular readers may follow the Pulse blog or Pulse Discover and stumble upon your content there. Whenever your network interacts with your shared content (through comments, likes, or shares), this organically spreads across their feeds.
This gives LinkedIn Pulse a competitive edge whenever your prospects are dispersed across your own network and the rest of the LinkedIn ecosystem.
Reddit is an aggregator for social news and a discussion board ranking among the top 10 websites worldwide according to Alexa. As of 2017, Reddit reports over half a billion monthly users across its wide network of 1 million subreddits.
Some subreddits are more generic and meet tens of thousands of subscribers while many are extremely niche. With the rise of micro-influencers, interacting with a very targeted audience could drastically increase your exposure. Your conversion rates would be higher and your bounce rates will decrease accordingly.
Unlike Medium and LinkedIn Pulse, approaching Reddit requires a lot of attention. The community is quite protective against self-promotion and everything remotely related to sales or unsolicited marketing. Building trust depends on being helpful, sincere, proactive. Shameless plugs may backfire unless you have already established some reputation.
Approach that as you would with a reputable and professional Facebook group. Spend some time connecting with the other participants. Comment on threads and share some candid feedback. Over time, you could start sharing some of your work or your best content as long as it’s absolutely helpful.
5. Guest Posting
Regularly contributing to different industry sources would position you top of mind. The more frequently your prospects see your name, the sooner they will follow you and start reading all of your content.
Maintaining your own blog or social profiles is heavily dependent on your existing network. In order to grow it, do some research and connect with industry blogs and magazines accepting guest posts.
Browse the established sites in your field and look for a contributing page. Google your industry and include some terms such as “guest post”, “writer needed”, “write for us”, “contribute with us” in order to identify blogs looking for new content. Use the same search terms across different networks such as Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. You may find some posts by authors or blog owners willing to discuss an opportunity with you.
Start small and contribute regularly. Growing your network requires evolvement both horizontally and vertically – approaching more mediums and growing audience in some of them.
6. Authority Columns
Once you’ve generated enough traction and have a solid portfolio, try to apply for the big players. The amount of traffic and exposure is worth putting some time and effort into landing a column or a contributor spot with any of them.
This is a long game that takes patience and perseverance. Brian has nailed the process down for you and you can follow it closely.
Connect with columnists, contributors, and editors on social media. Don’t stalk them but make sure you interact with their content and build a relationship with them. Once you build some trust, you can suggest a quote or some industry data from your own community which would help their content as well.
Combining both approaches above – pitching stories directly and interacting with contributors – would successfully lead to a publication live on Forbes, Entrepreneur, HuffPost, or any of the other top mediums that you can contribute to.
7. Repurposing and Distribution
Even if you craft the most outstanding guide out there, reaching a couple thousand views over the course of 6 months is going to defeat the purpose.
Beginner writers often forget that distributing evergreen content takes a solid amount of time and should be planned as a natural part of the writing process.
You can share your content with Outbrain or Taboola. Or syndicate it with Business 2 Community or other aggregators and content platforms that are open to republishing existing content. Services such as Blogpros will connect with their own audience and bring a steady number of shares for each of your posts, too.
Reusing Quora, LinkedIn Pulse, and Medium are just as suitable here, too. Not to mention that you can get your content republished on some of the reputable outlets.
If you want to expand to more visual channels, consider creating infographics or videos on top of your content. Infographics could be pitched to existing blogs in exchange for a link and submitted to Pinterest. Videos may resonate better with your audience and will rank better on YouTube.
Browse for infographic services like Visme that include a set of pre-made templates for you. Video content creators like Lumen5 can parse your post and create dynamic slides with some background music – letting you create a beautiful video in under 30 minutes.
What are your most successful channels for building your own personal brand?