Coronavirus quarantine is a great time for those willing to strengthen their personal brand. However, every new habit requires efforts. Whether it’s about learning something new, adopting a new habit or quitting an old one – it’s always a challenge.
What if your one of your quarantine goals is to finally get started with strengthening your personal brand online? Let’s say you clearly know why you want to do this and you’ve already done some work on self-analysis, maybe even updated your social media profiles.
If you’re already there, I must say… congratulations! You’re halfway there already.
But there is another part, that of making yourself visible, and that is CONTENT. I often hear this in my consulting sessions with individuals or companies – “We know how we would like to be perceived, but what’s bugging us is that we do not have enough time or ideas for content creation.” In this article I’ll look into content creation from the perspective of making time for it.
“It’s not my priority.”
“I don’t have time during my work hours and I want to spend time with family at weekends.”
“I’m not confident about my grammar and therefore I’m hesitant.”
“I’m worried about what people will say.”
These are a few remarks I’ve heard over the course of my career in personal branding. What I’ve discovered is that communication and making time for it is something you can train for, practise and get better at.
So here are 12 tips to motivate you to put your content out there with more courage and less hesitation:
Tip 1: Know your “Why’s.”
It’s a lot easier to create time for content writing if you have a clear goal, that is, knowing what this content will help you achieve. “Everyone else does it” or “I want to be visible” is simply not enough. The more specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely (yes, remember the good old S.M.A.R.T. framework?) your goals are, the more disciplined you’ll be when it comes to dedicating time to creating content.
Tip 2: Start small.
Your goals might be big, but when it comes to creating content, be realistic and start with small steps. It may depend on the amount of time you are able to allocate for it and the kind of content pieces you are aiming at (e.g. short posts vs. expert articles?). But don’t be too hard on yourself. One post on LinkedIn each week and one industry-related article every three months sounds quite realistic.
Tip 3: Capture your spontaneous ideas in writing.
I don’t know about you, but my best content ideas come to my head when taking long walks, driving or simply having a shower. Granted they may not be the most convenient places to list down all the ideas that pop up, but as soon as you can, try to write them down in your notebook (I simply use the “Notes” app on my iPhone).
Tip 4: Make use of the time you spend in a queue, waiting for an appointment or public transport.
Waiting for the doctor? Waiting in a long queue to pay for your Christmas gifts? Why not look in your “ideas list” and try working on them? I know that sometimes it’s impossible to write up a great piece of content in a short time and in an inconvenient place – but it could be a start! I did a lot of content while flying (and sacrificing my sleep) or waiting for a meal at a restaurant (only when I eat alone).
Tip 5: Dedicate time to your writing.
Set up a specific time during the week (let’s say 30 minutes on Sunday at 3.00 pm.), which you will spend writing up your content. Since you already have some ideas (tip no. 3) and might have done some work on the topic already (tip no. 4), this task would be a lot easier than you think.
This is especially relevant to those that need a quiet environment for writing.
Tip 6: Speak to people and find out what’s relevant in your industry.
Difficult not only to make time, but also to find inspiration? Speak, listen to and learn from people around you. The inspiration might pop up sooner than you think.
Tip 7: Have an accountability partner.
When I shared the idea of this article with my husband and asked him what he would add, he told me the best advice is to have someone with oversight that will pressure you to write content when needed (he meant himself, of course). A guard might be too harsh, but having an accountability partner might help. Got a colleague or a friend who also wants to work on his or her personal branding? You might want to make an arrangement to check on each other at agreed times.
Tip 8: Plan in advance.
I know. This is difficult and I don’t think I am good at it either. But in case you are a planner-type, setting up a calendar and making sure you know which dates you want your content to appear on relevant social media platforms, will definitely get you organized.
Tip 9: Worried about your language skills? Find a proofreader.
Is it your writing style or possible grammar mistakes that stop you from creating content? Then find somebody who can help you out. You might want to trade favours with a friend or colleague who has better skills (in exchange for coffee?). If there is no one in your vicinity, why not try finding a professional proofreader? Yes, it costs, but you save a ton when it comes to your personal brand (you don’t want to give a poor impression to your readers).
Tip 10: Sometimes a picture is worth 1000 words. Make sure you have relevant photos.
Personal branding photography for professional purposes is something a lot of people still neglect. Most of us want to have beautiful photos of ourselves for personal reasons; but why not invest in photography which could enhance the content you create? (and it doesn’t have to be headshots only). Having quality visuals might save you time in writing as sometimes the evocative power of the image is worth 1000 words (or more).
Tip 11: Value is not only about tips and tricks.
Don’t think that quality content is only about providing tips to people and educating them on how to do one thing or another. The value of content might be very different in terms of value. With content we can inform, educate, entertain or inspire. Sometimes a great quote you’ve heard during a conference might provide inspirational value to some people! If followed by a photo of yours, it might make it not only valuable, but also visually appealing.
Tip 12: Relax.
Started creating content, but not receiving enough visibility or attention? Relax, you’re only starting. It takes time to build a personal brand. I like to quote the French proverb: “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and neither will your personal brand. Patience, patience, patience. Great results require time.
To sum up: most obstacles exist only in our heads. So don’t let them hinder your actions. Instead, open up your expertise to the world and enjoy the ride!