In the first instalment of our Personal Digital Branding series, we introduced the foundations to creating a representative ‘personal’ profile. In the second blog of the series, we delved into the ‘digital’ side of personal digital branding and provided our top tips for selecting the right social medium and using it to your advantage.
This article continues the series, exploring the ways in which you can bring your brand to life through thought leadership and the creation and curation of quality content. The right thought leadership can make the difference in positioning you as an aligned and relevant leader in the future world of work, thus ensuring you are better known and sought after in target areas.
Every industry has its key players, the individuals that others turn to for insights or expertise on selected topics. These individuals are considered thought leaders and have earned that distinction through the active and strategic building of their profile within their designated space.
If executed properly, thought leadership can be a hugely beneficial tool for differentiating oneself in an increasingly crowded and competitive marketplace. This may prove helpful in an executive career transition, with securing new business, or attracting other opportunities for networking, NED roles, or further reputation-boosting publicity. Implicitly, people want to work with someone they can trust; an individual who they believe is best suited for the job. Thought leadership helps build that trust, authority, and credibility.
Thought leaders actively connect with others in their industry and attract valuable connections from outside of their immediate network, too. They are up to date with the latest developments and engaged in discussion about the issues, trends, and news impacting their space. They may be frequent commentators in the media, or active on the global keynote circuit (virtual or face-to-face). Alternatively, these individuals benefit from having a really strong and active social media presence or a great content strategy.
Our previous blog provided guidance for developing this strategy, but a key question is what should you actually be sharing in order to build your credibility? What separates good thought leadership content from average material?
We work very closely with our Personal Digital Branding clients, helping each Executive to perfect their thought leadership. In doing so, we help them to stand out from the crowd. Typically, once a client reaches this point in the process, they have already completed the essential work of clarifying their objective – for example, identifying the top organisations for whom they would particularly like to work and clarifying the compelling value proposition they have to share. They will understand their personal digital brand and areas of expertise. Our experts will also have helped them research the best ways to reach their target audiences and helped them to articulate key messages through different communication channels. Strong digital content is the next step for bringing those elements together to create results.
The types of content you should share as a thought leader will and should vary. Here are just a few examples:
As mentioned in an earlier blog, a great way to get a feel for what this content looks like in practice is to examine the profiles of the thought leaders you admire. Visit their social profiles, read their blogs, and note the things you feel that they are doing right. Take those lessons back with you and adapt them to suit your style, goals, and strategy.
Thought leadership takes time to cultivate. To become a thought leader, you need to remain vigilant and stay on top of your posting. Here are a few final pieces of advice to build your personal digital brand:
Personal digital branding and thought leadership can be hard work but can also bring about some incredible and valuable opportunities for your career including internal promotion or external appointments. Once you have found your stride and determined which content works for you and your audience, keeping up with thought leadership should become a natural and effortless part of your normal professional activity. Make it part of your daily routine. Be patient, as it will take time to build trust and credibility. But with time, you are likely to find that putting in the work to pursue thought leadership was a worthwhile investment in your career and professional development.