Make some noise

April 8, 2015
Creating compelling content is the best way to get noticed

Now that you’ve cleaned up your online profile and taken ownership of your personal brand, it’s time to make some noise in a very noisy world. Perhaps more than what you’re selling, educated buyers want help and expertise. Having something compelling to say and marketing those ideas is the best way to increase your credibility and build an audience that will actually listen to you.

Creating content is not as hard as you think. I’m living proof that you don’t need a creative bone to draw from experience and communicate ideas to the masses. You don’t need a column in a magazine. You don’t even need to be a writer. “Content” comes in many forms. The key is having a narrow, deep focus; keeping the selling to a minimum; and being a frequent and purposeful poster.
Once you know what you want to say, pick a content marketing strategy that you’re comfortable with. Here are some options:

  • Research. White papers, webinars, ebooks, surveys, and other original research are the Ferraris of content marketing. They are valuable and authoritative but also time-consuming and expensive to produce. Research can build your brand, but it’s probably not the best place to start unless you have support and funding.
  • Written content. A blog or an industry newsletter are great ways to make some noise. If you’re going to give writing a whirl, be consistent, keep your posts short, and write the way you speak. Trying to impress your audience with Shakespearean flair is a huge mistake. Short sentences and one-syllable words will increase the readability of your work. Don’t use words like Shakespearean!
  • Online conversations. Conversations count as content. Industry chat rooms and social media sites are my favorite ways to exchange ideas. I learned that ending comments with a question is a simple way to keep the conversation going so you can really get to know your target.
  • Shared content. It’s cool to share a link to something you see (I like sharing industry-related news items from mainstream publications like Fortune). But mindlessly hitting the “share” button on content that has no value to your audience makes you look lazy and inconsiderate, hurting your brand. Sending links via social media to articles that can only be opened by others with paid subscriptions is also not cool!
  • Visual content. People remember what they see. Charts, graphs, pictures, videos, and funky visuals draw attention to content. Sometimes it’s better to show than to tell!
  • Wacky content. Push the “wacky” envelope and you will get noticed. Ask Mark Cuban! Just make sure you’re noticed in a positive light. Stay away from taboo topics like politics, sex, and race. Politically, I’m right wing but wouldn’t dream of promoting an agenda through content marketing. Those who sit on the other side of the fence will tune you out forever.
  • Insider content. Exclusive content from trade shows, conferences, and association board meetings is coveted. It’s hard to put a price tag on being perceived as an insider, and being active among industry rainmakers is the only way this is going to happen. Just don’t let your zeal to share a scoop betray the trust of your colleagues and business partners. You’ll be on the outside in no time.

The last piece of the personal branding puzzle is distribution. It should be easy considering we all work in the distribution business. That’s for my next column.

Mike McCarron was one of the founding “M”s in MSM Transportation and currently works for Wheels Group in M&A. He can be reached at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @AceMcC.

About the Author

Mike McCarron

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