10 ways to improve your personal brand without giving up your day job

At a time when we are all swimming in great content, how can busy, time poor, intelligent professionals provide more value to their clients? 

While we all have different ideas about what constitutes value, we know from numerous studies that clients of professional service providers value thought leadership and being kept abreast of what’s happening in the market.

I recently interviewed Dr Krystal Evans (@Dr_Krystal), CEO of the BioMelbourne Network, about her top tips for maintaining a professional network using content. It turns out that every time Krystal writes something in her professional life, she considers how it can be repurposed.  For example, she recently delivered the BioMelbourne Network annual report, a kind of statutory report to fulfil a necessary compliance requirement, and one that appeals to a very narrow audience. However, she took a section about ‘attracting Biotech investment to Melbourne’ and turned it into an internationally focused blog, extolling the virtues of the world’s most liveable city. As a result of this smart move, BioMelbourne won a new engagement.

There are other ways minimal effort can make maximum difference to smarter use of work content. Here are my top 10 tactics:

  1. When you finish reading good content, write a sentence or two about what interested you, and post a link with your comments on LinkedIn or Twitter.
  1. Write a list of your five ‘most important’ clients or contacts and stick it up at your desk. Commit to sending each person an article/blog once a month (as per above) with a comment about what you think is relevant for them in the article.
  1. Repurpose what you’re already doing. In a bid, a colleague had to describe the top five issues a client’s industry was facing.  Once we’d submitted the pitch, we used this section as the basis for a blog piece.
  1. When you’ve taken the time to write a piece of thought leadership, read and record it to create a podcast. You can find examples of how we’re doing that here.  My colleague Geoffrey Cann, has found that podcasts of his blogs extends his audience by a further 25%.
  1. Use LinkedIn’s new blog feature. Now everybody with a LinkedIn profile can blog within the platform; there’s no need to create a standalone website and its viewable by everybody who’s looking at your profile.
  1. Consider what you want your personal brand to stand for. That may already be clear in your mind, but if it’s not, write it down.  Then you will have more clarity about the kind of content you want to post that best reflects you.
  1. After developing a PowerPoint presentation post it on SlideShare (being mindful of confidentiality).
  1. Pick two LinkedIn savvy clients or contacts and look at the LinkedIn groups that they frequent. Join the groups and to spend 10 minutes twice a week reading issues and responding to questions within the groups.
  1. If you don’t already know, work out how to use the advanced search feature of LinkedIn and identify key contact people at two organisations that would be useful for you to meet. Cruise their LinkedIn profiles to find out what topics they’re most interested in or post on regularly, or groups that they’re members of.  Consider topics of common interest or post in groups that they frequent.
  1. Each fortnight, spend ten minutes looking at thought leadership published by your firm or key industry bodies. Skim read, and then assess which is most relevant for clients who you can schedule a coffee with to discuss.

We all have preferred ways of working, but I’m a big fan of scheduling regular time for some of these activities, just as I prioritise time to go for a run.  Pick two or three tips that sound most manageable and commit to them for three months – doing them regularly will make a difference to how much value you provide.  And my other big tip? Ask people you respect for their key tips; not only do people appreciate being asked their opinion, if they’re smart people whom you value, they’ll be sure to have an idea or two that will resonate with you.

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