When done right, creating content can be an amazing tool to grow your personal brand. So, what makes brilliant thought leadership content? Let’s take a look…
Do you dream of being the world’s number one procurement influencer or one of our profession’s Gamechangers. Well, blogging is an important step in raising your profile. Here’s how to find your voice…
On the internet, content is king. So wrote Microsoft founder Bill Gates in an influential and still oft-quoted essay in 1996. Content informs and entertains. It can move people to action, whether that’s visiting a different website, buying a product or service or changing their thinking and behaviour. It is enormously powerful, done right.
But with millions of pieces of content added to the internet daily (four million videos are uploaded to YouTube every day, to give just one example!) how can you as a procurement professional stand out?
Start with these top tips for finding your voice, building your personal brand and creating brilliant thought leadership content online…
Who are you?
You might think that’s an easy question to answer. But when you’re considering your online presence, it requires a bit more thinking to create a personal and professional brand that will help you stand out from the crowd and be seen as influential and credible. Ask yourself the following questions:
What do I want to be known for?
Who is my audience?
What is my unique selling point? Why should people listen to me?
Once you’ve answered those questions, you’ll have a clearer idea of the topics you should create content on, the style of content you want to create and also the kind of things you want to stay away from. You can’t do everything, so pick your niche and stick to it.
Know your angles
Any content you create needs to have an angle. If you’re writing a blog post or thought leadership article, your angle is the clear theme or point that you want your readers to take away from your piece. An article without an angle is unfocused, unclear and uninteresting.
The best way to identify your angle is to think about the headline of your piece. How can you best sum up your idea into a short, compelling statement that will make people want to read the whole piece? Often a good idea is to answer a question that people might have or to offer a series of tips. For example: ‘How to build brilliant stakeholder relationships remotely.’ ‘Five creative ways to make cost savings in indirect procurement.’
Writing great copy
So you’ve got your angle, how do you write a great post? When it comes to online content, the best approach is to keep it short (fewer than 1,000 words unless you’ve designated it a ‘long read’), punchy and accessible. Our attention spans are getting shorter by the year – thanks internet! – and people do not have the patience to engage with overly long and complex material online. Break up your article with sub-heads, use bullet points or pull out a few top tips at the end.
If it’s getting too long and complicated, why not break it up into a series of pieces? This will also encourage people to keep coming back to you for insight.
And it might seem obvious, but remember to proofread your work. Your ideas might be fantastic but you’ll be far less credible if your pieces are riddled with spelling errors and misplaced apostrophes!
Keep it consistent
Consistency is a critical pillar of building trust, and you want to be a trusted voice and expert on your chosen topic. Being consistent means committing to putting out content regularly – not spamming people but making sure you are continuing to put out a regular stream of interesting and insightful pieces. If you are starting to blog, you can’t just post something every six months. Instead commit to at least once a month.
Consistency also relates to your voice and subject matter expertise. People should know what to expect from you. That doesn’t mean you can’t mix things up and be creative, but don’t just write about something for the sake of it or because everyone else is doing it. Being consistent means being genuine, authentic and true to yourself and what you stand for.
Know your channels
If a procurement professional writes a blog, but no one reads it, was it even worth writing? Think about the channels you can use to amplify your voice. Twitter and LinkedIn are great tools to publicise your work but also to ensure you are consistently sharing relevant content by others that relates to your interests and the personal brand you have created. Using a platform like Procurious is great because it has a readymade engaged audience eager for insightful content.
And think about format as well as channel. Is written content best for this message or could you get creative with video or audio? Should you embed infographics or imagery? Have fun with it and your audience will enjoy it as well.
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