It is. It really is. You’re not in advertising or marketing, you don’t own your own business (yet!), you’re not a PR person… so why take the time to generate your own original content and share it with the world?
This is the new foundation of our professional reputations. We’re moving beyond “what happens when someone Google’s you?” It’s still important, don’t get me wrong, but there’s so many firms and packages out there to optimize your SEO – “tricking” visitors to come your way; simply showing up isn’t going to cut it anymore.
That is clearly a harsh over-characterization, but think about it:
If it’s just a sales pitch (even bio & contact info fall in this category) or regurgitation of existing content, I have no reason to stay on your website/profile/blog – and I may even be a little irked at you for wasting my time…
Enter: Your Original Content.
Now I have a reason to stay with you; I’m drawn in; I’m interested. I may not even know how you can help me (i.e. what you’re selling), but I likely don’t care at this point. I’ve connected the dots that you are a source of information that is meaningful to me. The next time your profile pops up on my LinkedIn or Twitter feed — or blog RSS or Google+ page… you get the point — I’ll give you that extra 0.35 seconds (my highly unscientific measurement). Now your SEO plans are paying off because I want to engage with that which you got me to land on. Now we’re getting somewhere…
I’ve been following the trends – watching the rise of social media and content marketing. So writers and other experts have told me all of this via their own content. But I’ve tried it myself. Outside of my “day job” I’ve started creating my own content, and using my social media reach as the built-in delivery and amplification platform.
Here’s a map of the new followers from just my first 6 LinkedIn Articles:
Give it some time
There is no magic bullet, nor perfect formula of words: it simply takes time to cultivate the interest and following you desire. But stick with it. My first few posts had the views trickle in. Then I had a few get picked up on LinkedIn Pulse fairly quickly, which caught the attention of folks far outside my own network. I’ve had an article generate engagements from 23 different countries!
My options are wide open now. I can stay the course and work to firm up my place as a thought-leader. I can, of course, leverage the new connections and visibility that result from my content to make a career move. Or, best yet, I can keep playing with the content that is meaningful to me until I find the sweet spot that generates a ton of interest from industry. Now I’ve got the jumping off point to strike out on my own.
What was the point again?
This is all from a pre-existing platform (LinkedIn is clearly my current preference, but any social media or blog hosting spot will do) because others help do the work to provide an audience. When you’re ready to take it to the next level, then you host your own content from your website, podcast, or publication. Yes, advertising and getting people to these platforms does take more time and money, but you’ve got more control over their experience: you design the engagement to your benefit.
I would argue the hard work has already been done. You gave the audience of piece of you, something of value, helped them out and you didn’t ask for anything in return – except maybe a “like” or “share.” They trust you and your brand; they recognize some value. You broke down many of the regular business barriers without a single stressful sales pitch or in-your-face advertisement.
So what do you think – am I on to something with my own content? After all, you’re here reading..