When owning a business, developing a personal brand is important. If you’re self-employed or own your own business, you probably hear this advice a lot. “post more content” on social media.
A lot of people aren’t sure where to start. Some of the most helpful advice tends to be, “Post about what you know, on a medium that feels most natural.”
For most people, the problem is not a lack of experience or knowledge. Once the gates are open, ideas come flowing.
If this is the case, why is it so hard to start?
Don’t Let This Stop You
What prevents many entrepreneurs from posting content can be distilled to a fear of judgement. Not everyone admits it, but it is a defining factor behind their responses.
For example: “I don’t want to make the content about me, I want it to be about the business.”
If you are a business owner, your personal and business brand are inextricably intertwined. Everything about you trickles down into how the business is operated and how it appears to others.
Posting valuable content as yourself doesn’t hurt the business. But it can open you up to external judgement (criticism) or internal judgement (impostor syndrome). Nobody likes to be judged, so in most cases, this is the real issue at play.
What Are Some Practical Steps I Can Take?
Does this sound like you? Start by taking baby steps. Don’t give into the pressure of creating a wildly successful personal brand on day 1.
Take some time to figure out the kind of content you can post about consistently, whether that means once a day or once a week.
Then, figure out for yourself which posting medium truly works best for you. If you are nervous on camera, writing or podcasting could be a better way to get the message out. Do you value keeping things short and to the point? Look into Twitter.
You don’t need to be posting on every social media platform to be relevant. Choose the ones that matter most, and focus on those.
Who Will Care About What I Have to Say?
If you’re asking this, you might be dealing with impostor syndrome. You are more knowledgeable about your topic than you probably realize. However, if you have never consistently posted before, there is one very important thing to keep in mind.
When many entrepreneurs start posting for the first time, they get discouraged when their first few posts go out and they get crickets in response.
This doesn’t mean you are doing anything wrong. After all, if you’re trying to lose weight, you can’t expect to be at your goal weight after your third workout.
In the same vein, you can’t expect your online audience to explode after your third post. There is no “perfect post” that gets you a thousand followers or more. Building a real online audience takes time and gradual, consistent effort.
Building a habit of posting and accepting a longer time frame are two ways to overcome the fear of crickets. By letting go of pressure to build a big audience, you can focus on the action of posting and making it a regular part of your week. This foundational step must come first.
What If My Topic Has Already Been Done?
We receive a lot of cultural messages that we must reinvent the wheel to make our content worth paying attention to.
This “pressure to innovate” is a harmful message. It prevents entrepreneurs from sharing content that can truly move their brand forward.
In our information age, it’s all about the particular way you interpret and present your knowledge to the world. This is enough to hit people differently and get them to pay attention. Motivational speakers existed long before Mel Robbins, but her success can be attributed to a willingness to do things her way. A different way.
The key to developing a personal brand is authenticity. Embrace the fact that you have a unique take on your knowledge that will resonate deeply with someone out there, as long as you do the work to reach them.
So how do we cultivate authenticity when posting content? Focus less on the content you feel obligated to share, or what everyone else in your niche is sharing. Instead, hone in on the content you feel called to share. Less them, more you.
Sometimes, being authentic in your content means you need to grant yourself permission to go off a rigid path of what you think you “should” be posting, especially if the idea of posting about your industry doesn’t excite you.
Your content doesn’t have to be seamlessly woven into the industry you are in, or part of a greater engineered plan where everything locks into place. It takes courage and self-awareness to break away, but many entrepreneurs who have successfully built an online audience report feeling less pressure (and more flow) once they made the effort to own their differences.
As an entrepreneur, you have the advantage of flexibility. Experiment with different content combinations in your personal brand. Branch out and see what happens. At best, you will find a way to post content that comes more naturally and attracts an audience. At worst, you might have to pivot or reevaluate your content strategy a few months down the line.
When developing a personal brand, just remember to stay authentic, always.