You're applying for a new job. You submit your resume to Big Name Co™️. After glancing at it for 10 seconds, what does the hiring manager do?
They Google you.
Have you ever Googled yourself? Based on your online footprint and the uniqueness of your name, you may or may not show up on the first page. What if there was a way to improve your online presence and build your personal brand?
What Is Content Marketing?
One strategy to build your personal brand is called content marketing.
Content marketing is a form of marketing focused on creating, publishing, and distributing content for a targeted audience online.
Typically, content marketing is used to attract and transform viewers into customers, but what if you're not selling anything?
You might not be explicitly selling a product, but you are selling yourself. You should view yourself as a business, and successful businesses usually have some form of marketing.
Why Should I Use Content Marketing?
For me personally, I learn best by doing. I wanted to drive more content to my portfolio, but I wasn't sure how. I decided to put more focus on creating informative, high-quality content in the form of blog posts. The results have been pretty staggering.
After finishing my last post, How Stripe Designs Beautiful Websites, I posted a link to the article on Reddit and Hacker News.
I was immediately receiving 10x the traffic as before. The article ended up hitting #1 on Hacker News and /r/web_design.
This ultimately led to the article being reposted across a bunch of different websites. It continued to grow organically throughout the day, bringing in ~70,000 views in 24 hours.
This traffic created two notable events:
- My average site traffic doubled
- My portfolio moved from the 3rd page of Google to the 1st
You might be thinking "That's great Lee, but would it work for me?"
Who Is This For?
- Are you looking for a new job?
- Are you trying to network with your peers?
- Do you aspire to become a thought leader in your industry?
- Is your name Michael?
Just kidding, reader named Michael who is a little freaked out right now.
If you answered yes to any of those questions, this article is for you. Let's use Michael as an example (Sorry Michael).
Michael is a Computer Science graduate from a top university. During his time in college, he had a few internships with some reputable companies and managed to graduate with a 3.5 GPA. At the end of his college career, Michael created an online portfolio to showcase his work in hopes of landing a job.
Let's evaluate the market.
Who is Michael's target reader?
Prospective employers and fellow peers in the industry.
What are they looking for?
- Examples showing he is a proficient programmer
- High-quality content they can learn from
- Impressive written communication skills
Michael decides he wants to start a blog. His goals are to:
- Effectively research and study new topics
- Practice and exercise different skill sets
- Develop and improve his writing abilities
- Attract viewers that could lead to a job opportunity
Ask yourself: Are you knowledgeable about something others would find value in reading? If the answer is yes, start writing now.
How Can I Do It?
Okay, by now I've convinced you this is a good idea. But how do you actually go about doing it?
I'll start by addressing the most difficult part: You have to be authentic. You're creating an online identity for yourself. It needs to be your great ideas and thoughts. You can't write some half-assed article you threw together at 2 AM and didn't proofread. You're trying to build trust with the reader.
You need to produce high-quality content. You can't write one paragraph and call it good. You have to provide value to your readers. So how do you produce high-quality content?
- Research the subject matter and become very familiar with it. You should be educating your readers.
- Tell stories with your articles. Make your readers connect with you.
- Use humor when appropriate 😄
- Include pictures. They're worth 1000 words, remember?
- Optimize your article for social media. Read about meta tags and open graph.
- Don't waste their time - Make your articles concise but still informative.
Share Your Content
After you've created some content you're proud of, you should:
- Proofread it, and then proofread it again.
- Utilize a tool like Grammarly to help prevent spelling issues.
- Share it on social media and any other industry-specific communities.
- Send emails to connect with influencers.
- Be active and respond to readers questions and inquiries.