Building your brand narrative is not a ‘one size fits all’ type of deal. This article can’t tell you exactly what you need to do. What I CAN do is give you food for thought allowing you to find your own path to that brand narrative.
“What’s your swim lane?” That’s a great question from Joe Mullings, CEO of The Mullings Group. In other words, what topic or topics can you offer value to your audience? What can you write about or speak on intelligently? What topics and areas are you comfortable engaging in discussion with others? That’s your swim lane. That’s your comfort zone where you can share quality knowledge and have an educated discussion with those who engage with you.
Get yourself a small notebook, or a note app on your smartphone and start keeping notes on talking points for articles. As your day unfolds, invariably you will have ‘that will make a great article / tip / tutorial’ moments. Write it down then and there. You WILL forget if you wait till the end of the day.
While video engagement is skyrocketing on all social platforms, including on the career site LinkedIn, if you’re not comfortable on video, start building your narrative through articles. Keep it short and sweet to begin with, maybe three paragraphs. Start with a talking point and consider what you want to give your audience as the takeaway. Are you providing your own personal insight on this talking point? Do you want to educate your audience about something? Do you want to start a discussion? Do you want to share something new and/or interesting about your industry? Knowing what you want to do with your talking point before you start to write helps to formulate your thoughts.
Your thoughts and ideas don’t have to be earth shattering or completely unique. Don’t think you can’t write about a specific topic because it’s been covered by others. Absolutely you can. By your very nature, you will bring your own unique perspective to the topic. Think about the news. Hundreds of television, print and digital news outlets from local to national present the exact same stories every day. Each one presents that story just a little bit differently based on their own perspectives and their audiences. None of them avoid a story just because the others are covering it, they just look for ways to make their own version of the story unique. Don’t shy away from a talking point just because you’ve see others write about it.
If writing doesn’t come naturally to you, that’s ok, write what you can and when you hit a block or can’t think of the next point, stop. Walk away. Don’t frustrate yourself by sitting in front of the computer until you finish the article. Walk away and when inspiration hits you, start writing again. Repeat until your article is done. Once the article is done, find an interesting image to accompany the article and post. The more you write, the more confidence you’ll gain. As you get more comfortable and gain confidence, make the articles longer with multiple talking points.
When people comment on your articles, be sure to engage in the conversation. Even something as simple as “Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts” will foster future engagement. Now you may get zero engagement on your first article. You might get zero engagement on your first 20 articles. Just keep writing. Your content, even without direct engagement, is building your brand. Those articles represent your base of knowledge and willingness to share that knowledge with others. I can say from personal experience, that willingness to share knowledge with no ask in return pays dividends in your career.
One big no-no with articles. Don't sell. Don't directly sell yourself or your services or your product because then your article simply becomes noise. Present quality information and leave it at that. Don't ask for anything in return. DO present who you are at the end of each article so your audience knows where this knowledge is coming from without having to read your profile.
Build your brand narrative. Just start writing.