Your X-Factor: Building a Personal Brand

Have you ever heard or watched the X-Factor or American Idol? Have you noticed how many times Simon Cowell fussed over a contestant simply because he doesn’t know where to “fit” them? It has been the music-mogul’s signature to give them that daunting stare, “You know … I’m having difficulty putting you in a category. I don’t think you know the artist you want to be yet,” he preaches. And that is pretty much how he crushes the contestant’s hopes.  Essentially, what he’s talking about is the ‘image’ that is extremely important for music labels to sell, and recognisable enough for consumers to buy. That’s right. He is talking about the brand!

Apply it in business and it’s no different. In this world of constantly evolving digital age, you are leaving a footprint and people are talking about you. Whether you like it or not, you do have a personal brand,  and it’s up to you whether you capitalise on that.

What Is a Personal Brand?

First, you should know what a brand is. A brand refers to anything that sets one thing apart from another—even if some other two things do the same thing.

Take for example, Mac vs. PC. Basically, I’m a writer. So that said and established, all I really need to do in my job is something to type on and an internet connection. I could work equally well on a PC or a Mac. But then I am using a Mac. Why? Because of the Apple brand. I emotionally identify with Apple. I always feel a connection to Apple.  Their brand is so strong and so well-known that they’ve successfully persuaded me to spend a lot more money than I needed to, just so I can type on a pretty Mac keyboard which is one of Mac’s specs.  That is just the perfect example of the power of brand, and if you know how to leverage that can mean the difference between being a Mac or an obscure laptop that sits untapped on a PC World shelf.

How Much Time Do You Have?

When you build your personal brand, it means that you are also building a reputation, being consistent and credible in your space, and even leveraging the power of positive social proof so you can be seen as the leader amongst your competition.

Complex, isn’t it? But then it really is. In a so-called ideal world, you’d be a living example of multiple personalities all rolled into one body –a social media manager, a writer, a speaker, a conference-attender, a podcast maker and so on, as well as finding the time to go above and beyond in your job. But then this isn’t an ideal world and we certainly don’t know many people who have the time to do all of that.

Don’t let your fear get the better of you though. There is an easy shortcut:

Curate Content

Curating content is the easy solution if you don’t have the time, ability or inclination to research, write, publish, and market your own highly unique, useful, engaging content.

In short, you need to consistently find and share industry-relevant content that other people have written, this is without claiming to have penned each word yourself, of course.

Content curation is a powerful shortcut for building your personal brand.  Check out these benefits:

  • Positioning yourself as a thought-leader
  • You get increased reach
  • Building credibility
  • Can be seen as a trusted voice
  • Building authority
  • Taking almost zero time compared to actually creating content

You’re sold. Now. And of course, you should be. Whether you like it or not, you do have a personal brand, and content curation is the easiest shortcut to making that brand work for you.

Getting Started with Content Curation is Easy

Here’s a step-by-step procedure that can help you.

  1. You should remember to set up keyword alerts so you don’t miss important updates
  2. Follow industry influencers on Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn and keep your finger on the pulse.
  3. Sign up to Scoop.it to look for relevant content easily within topic streams
  4. Make a schedule of ten minutes every morning to review new and trending articles
  5. Pick 3+ and add a ‘takeaway’ thought to each (using Scoop.it or simply adding a comment when you post it)
  6. Use Hootsuite or similar to schedule each at intervals throughout the day
  7. Rinse and repeat.

Would you look at that? It really is simple! There are loads of content curation tools out there too that are designed to make your life easier by seamlessly integrating content curation into your day job.

You can’t say now that there’s an excuse because almost everyone shares content anyway—instead of tagging your mate in that video of a cat singing to a camel on Facebook, why don’t you share something that will effortlessly build a personal brand that hinges on professionalism and insight?

Something to Remember

As effective as curating content is, it’s also about what you share. The simple act of sharing itself doesn’t add value.

The reason that content curation is such a powerful shortcut to building a personal brand is because you can quickly add value to your network. That’s the key. When I’ve seen people fall down with content curation, the reason would be because they lose sight of their purpose: to provide useful, valuable, relevant insight.

With that bore in mind, always remember that quality is key. Obvious as it may sound, you should never share anything without reading it first, thoroughly. Only post things you’d be happy to put your name to because failing such would certainly put a bad light into your credibility.

Now that’s where adding a ‘takeaway’ thought comes in – you try and encapsulate what you think people will get out of the article by reading it. If you can’t get anything from it, maybe it’s something to avoid sharing.

What’s the Upshot?

Curating content is not a complex activity. It’s an easy shortcut for building your personal brand—something that traditionally takes a lot of commitment and time. It’s actually easy to do and only requires very little actual effort. Furthermore, it takes almost no time compared to creating content. Plus, it can have a huge impact in how you’re perceived by your target audience. There’s not really a downside, as long as you heed the brief word of warning above and make sure you’re always adding value, I am pretty sure that you’re good to go.

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the Online Alliance

the Online Alliance is here to inspire growth and challenge the status quo by creating member resources, tools and training that is meaningful, evergreen, affordable and effective, that is designed to support Independent business owners to achieve their higher goals.

1 Comment

  • This is a great article about Curating Content.

    Two Important things we took from the article

    Read thoroughly and ensure the message has congruency with your brand and what way you want to be perceived.

    With that borne in mind, always remember that quality is key. Obvious as it may sound, you should never share anything without reading it first, thoroughly. Only post things you’d be happy to put your name to because failing such would certainly put a bad light into your credibility and your personal brand.

    Now that’s where adding a ‘takeaway’ thought comes in – you try and encapsulate what you think people will get out of the article by reading it.

    If you can’t get anything from it, maybe it’s something to avoid sharing.

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