Brand Building Resolutions for a New Year
New Year’s resolutions: you either love ’em or hate ’em. Whether you’re a goal-setter like me or cynical about the concept of New Year’s resolutions, there is a new year full of opportunities ahead. It’s important to consider what sort of difference you want to make. Considering the countless hours you’ve dedicated to your work, it deserves to be read!
Will this be a year you spend building your personal brand, reaching more people, and growing an audience excited to read your work? Building your personal brand is key to attracting an audience interested in your work. If you are already sharing your work online and building your brand, below are three New Year’s resolutions to engage with your current audience and attract new readers. For those who haven’t yet committed to building a personal brand online, I suggest you read my piece that explains more on this topic.
CRAFTING YOUR NARRATIVES
People care about stories. Stories capture our hearts and minds and invite us to learn more. Stories give us information about ourselves, others, and the world around us. Great thought leaders are also great storytellers. For this reason, I recommend clearly writing out and explaining these two stories in your online writing:
- Your Origin Story: The story of you which will help others understand why they should listen to you.
- Your Work Narratives: These stories explain your work, who it impacts, and why it matters.
Experts need a good origin story just as all superheroes do. A superhero’s story explains how they got their powers, what they can do with their powers, and the resulting villains or problems they face. Subject matter experts should structure their story in much the same way, covering these three areas:
- How did they get their superpowers? Here the expert explains what sparked their interest in the field and their relevant work experience in this area. This establishes authority.
- What do they do with their powers? It’s important to concisely explain what type of work they focus on now. This explains what type of expert they are.
- What villains do they face? This introduces the problem your work aims to solve and other obstacles that are preventing your proposed solutions from becoming reality.
When posting to social media, try to weave in your background and experience when relevant. This helps establish credibility with your audience and explains why you are passionate about the subject.
Narratives on Your Work
Telling the stories about your work is just as important as telling the story about yourself. I recommend focusing on making a basic narrative outline for all of your research or writing that boils down the reason why it matters in language that will attract and entice new readers. Stories should answer:
- What is the problem you seek to address?
- How did we arrive at this situation?
- What people are impacted by this problem?
- How are they specifically impacted?
- What is your proposed solution?
- How will it improve people’s lives?
Explaining your work with people at the center of the story will better resonate with your audience. Especially when you find areas to connect how the issues directly impact them. Show people why they should care, and why your ideas are the solution they need.
CREATING A CONTENT PLAN
Now that you’ve created outlines that tell stories about your work, it’s time to organize how you will share these stories. Creating a plan to consistently publish your work can seem overwhelming, so I recommend finding a system that works for you and will make it feel easier.
I highly recommend adding some key dates to your calendar. These dates could indicate when you’re publishing new writing, scheduling media appearances, or when there are inflection points in the news in your field of focus. Whatever is relevant to your work and that your audience will care about should go on this calendar. This calendar can then give you ideas on what to post and guide your social media content.
Creating a document where you can store content is helpful too. It is a central place where you can add books or podcasts on which you want to share your opinion, and links to good articles your audience will find interesting. This can become your library that you can pull from whenever you need to.
Lastly, I recommend developing a strategy for repurposing what you’ve already published. Here’s an example of some ways you can share the article you’ve written with your audience more than once:
- Share in a tweet
- Share in a tweet thread
- Share on LinkedIn
- Blog about it on LinkedIn
- Share the blog in a LinkedIn post
There are numerous ways you can promote your work, but you will lose out if you only post about it one time. Get the most mileage out of your work by finding different ways to share it. Don’t forget that when the topic becomes relevant in the news again, it is reasonable to share that content again in the context of the current discussion.
CONSISTENTLY ENGAGING OTHERS
Too often, when we are focused on promoting our work, we forget about the true purpose of social media: to be social. In order to build meaningful relationships on the platform, be sure to follow influential people in your audience. Read what they are talking about and the content they are sharing. And when it is relevant to your work, engage!
Creating Twitter lists is a great way to organize influential people in your audience. Make a list of the people you’d like to develop relationships with. Make lists with influencers in your field so you can keep up with the current conversations. Pull together lists of people who influence your audience. Use these lists to monitor the conversations on Twitter, and when relevant engage with them in conversation.
Tagging others is another great way to engage. When you share someone else’s work, tag them. If you are interviewed, share the interview and tag the show and its host. Giving credit and a pat on the back to others is a great way for them to feel valued.
Over time, these steps toward relationship building can pay off in the form of others reading your work, sharing it with their audience, setting up meetings to discuss it further, and many other opportunities. But this comes with time and consistency.
The next 365 days are a gift, so use them well. As you look to the New Year, creating a plan is the best way to ensure your time is well-used and you are able to drive your goals forward. May your year be full of joy and success in your work!