As SimplyBe’s content manager, Grace Friedman has a hand in everything: articles, websites, video and podcasts. More importantly, she’s in charge of creating in-depth personal branding strategies and ensuring that those strategies shine through every piece of client content that goes out.
To Grace, personal branding combines a process of personal transformation with strategic content marketing.
Helping distill a person’s or company’s message into a clear value proposition can position these clients as thought leaders. Personal branding content creates a relatable connection while also highlighting clients’ missions, whether they focus on digital transformation, business coaching or mental wellness.
Here are some highlights from our conversation with Grace.
Why do you think it’s important for content to relate back to the personal brand? Why should writers and editors care about this?
Creatives have no excuse not to craft personal brands, especially when you have the technical skill to put it into action and valuable services to offer. It’s our responsibility to share our gifts, because you never know who’s looking. It carries your business forward in so many ways.
Most importantly, it gives you the opportunity to help other brands that have stories to tell to make a tangible impact.
How can we create a personal-brand-focused approach to our own content? What about our corporate clients?
You always have to start with the why. Why are you interested in content in the first place? What is it about your work that excites you? Quality brands and quality content work best because they’re authentic.
With corporate brands, you have to dive into the humanity of people behind the brand, the execs, founders and employees. A brand’s unique value proposition is always its people.
You don’t have to have a wildly creative backstory to create a successful personal brand. I’ve found success by following what I’m good at and being true to the skills that I have. Don’t force it; just go deep on what’s already there. Ask yourself “What lights me up? What do I want to be known for?” This definitely requires some self-reflection, but don’t be afraid to ask for feedback from your friends and colleagues.
Everyone has a story to tell. You just may need a good writer to bring it to life.
Tell me more about this personal branding process. What comes after finding what lights us up and why?
Once you’ve determined what you want to be known for (e.g., blogging, content strategies, web design), start creating that content. The foundation of any standout personal brand is high-quality, original content your audience can engage with. That’s Marketing 101: Have something to market. And, oh — make sure it’s really good.
Having consistent, high-quality content is only step one. You need people to want to come to your page, engage with your content and share it far and wide. The easiest way to do this is to optimize your social platform profiles. Make sure you’re using high-quality images, your expertise is clear, your copy is crisp and typo-free, and you’re making it easy for people to find your blog, website, video series, etc. Social media is the most powerful content marketing tool out there, and as a content marketer you should definitely know what you’re doing (or at least appear like it).
At SimplyBe, when we’re helping clients fix up their digital platforms we often compare it to throwing a party. You wouldn’t invite people over without first cleaning your place up, right? It’s the same online.
What about your personal brand? Do you have one?
I’ve always felt pressure to be super-interesting on the outside and still wish I’d gone back to school for a degree in writing. But that’s my impostor syndrome talking.
I spent five years as a recruiting coordinator, honing my branding skills and really learning how to attract and market to diverse groups of people. Huge credit goes to that company for helping develop those skills. I never thought of myself as a creative or a writer until I started working for SimplyBe. I may still enjoy being behind the scenes but I’m slowly working my way up, and it’s great to have so many opportunities to learn about other fields.
Ghostwriting for some big names has made me realize that I am an expert in my own right, an expert at helping people tell their stories. It’s kind of meta.