Marina Byezhanova, an Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) member in Montreal, is a global speaker, university instructor, and cofounder of Brand of a Leader, a personal branding agency for entrepreneurs. She has spoken to audiences on four continents around her mission to inspire entrepreneurs to stand up, stand out and be radically authentic through the power of their personal brands. We asked Marina how busy entrepreneurs can produce the content necessary to fuel their personal brands. Here’s what she shared.
Entrepreneurs across the globe are becoming more interested in building their personal brands. Yet, as much as we feel ready to put ourselves out in the public eye to gain visibility for our businesses, it means a dedication to consistent content creation. And that presents a dilemma.
Where do we find the time to do it? And if we hire a writer, how do we make sure that the content they create does not misrepresent who we are?
At my company, we developed a six-step content creation process that solves the dilemma. The best part of the process is that you get to focus exclusively on tasks you enjoy, delegating the rest.
Step 1: Identify your content pillars
Before you dive into content creation, be clear on what your personal brand positioning will be and what topics you want to be associated with. Choose two to four content pillars at most: One or two topics around your area of expertise and one or two topics that humanize you. Together, these content pillars need to communicate both what you do and who you are.
Step 2: Uncover your brand voice
When you work with a writer either inside or outside of your organization, you need to make it clear how you want–and don’t want–to sound.
Write down three to five adjectives that best represent your brand voice and three to five adjectives that you want to ensure are never descriptive of it.
For example, I want my brand voice to be “smart,” but I don’t want to be perceived as “inaccessible” or “overly academic”; I want my brand voice to be “outspoken” but not “argumentative.”
Step 3: Task your writer with building lists of questions for you
Sitting down to think out your exact thoughts, ideas, and stories is hard, but being “prompted” to do so with specific questions is always much easier. Have your writer compile a list of questions for you under each content pillar monthly.
For example, one of my content pillars is “personal branding for entrepreneurs,” so the questions might be:
- Why do entrepreneurs need a personal brand?
- How can entrepreneurs balance working on their personal brands while running a business?
One of my humanizing content pillars is “immigrant life,” so questions might include:
- How did your immigrant journey inspire your entrepreneurial journey?
- How does being an immigrant present a challenge to you as an entrepreneur?
At my company, we share these questions on a dedicated landing page that clients can access from their phones. Wherever you decide to host them, make them easy to find.
Step 4: Answer the questions in form of voice notes
Audio format for creating written content might seem counterintuitive. But here’s why it works: when we write, we tend to overthink, over-edit and spend hours in front of a blank Word document. When we record, we speak out loud, making our answers rawer, more real, and less time-consuming to produce.
Dedicate 20 minutes per week to this and watch your content output skyrocket.
Step 5: Edit for two months–then let it go
Give your writer two months to fully capture your authentic voice. Don’t like when sentences start with “but”? Tell them. Can’t stand emojis on social media? Be clear about that. Give micro feedback, but after two months: stop.
Over-thinkers and micro-managers fail at this system and at creating consistent content at scale through any system. After two months of detailed feedback, a skilled writer will get close enough, so let go and let them write. All you should be doing is glancing through the content to spot any significant inconsistencies.
Step 6: Have your assistant, virtual assistant, or marketing team post
There is no need for you to post content yourself–but hands-on engagement is key. Do reply to people’s comments on your posts and articles. Your executive assistant can “like” all the comments on your behalf, but the replies should come from you. After all, authenticity is key, and the goal of this process is to preserve it.
And there you have it, fellow entrepreneur: Answer questions, scroll through your content before it’s posted, and reply to comments. Marketing your personal brand will be well on its way!
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