These days, it’s rare to find a founder or CEO who isn’t developing a personal brand outside of the business or brand to which they are attached. That’s largely in part to social media where connection is key and that connection usually has to be linked to a person or small group of people.
Aside from that, founders, CEOs, and others in top leadership positions are learning that a personal brand just might be the bridge to their next opportunity in or outside of the board room.
With that being so, there are few better ways to build a brand than with content. But not just any old content. Audiences are savvy with short attention spans. They need something that not only makes them pay attention but that also stays with them long after they've consumed the content.
Below you'll find a description of three pieces of content that CEOs and founders need to start building their personal brands, creating stories that resonate, and building genuine connection.
Talk points are a running list of answers to commonly asked questions that most CEOs and founders encounter from their audience or in interviews. Though the questions are common, the individual should focus on answering them with information that helps shape a perspective. It is up to the CEO or founder to decide what that perspective might be.
In addition to shaping the perspective, when you develop talk points ahead of interviews and appearances, you allow yourself to form well-thought-out answers rather than making up info on the fly. When you aren’t prepared, you’re likely to be unclear, lack cohesion, and might even let something slip that you’ll later regret.
To develop your specific talk points, answer the following questions:
1. How did you get started in your industry?
2. How do you stay motivated?
3. From where do you find inspiration?
4. What’s your life motto?
5. What books are you currently reading?
6. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
7. How do you measure success?
8. How do you manage to balance home and work life?
The reason that brands like Apple, Coke, Oprah, and Disney become household names is that they’re able to create story-based connections with their audiences.
Whether that story is centered around the founder (Apple), the underdog (Oprah), or childhood fantasy (Disney) there has to be a story that resonates with the receiver. And it needs to be heard repeatedly.
So how do you choose which story to tell?
You choose the one that elicits the most personal emotions for you. When you hold a story personally close that does two important things:
You become able to relay the story more authentically, more enthusiastically, and/or more consistently. If you’ve ever seen or listened to an interview where the interviewee struggles to tell a story with passion, conviction, or energy, it’s likely because the story does not mean much to him or her. It’s either that or it has been chopped and screwed so much that even they can’t find a sincere connection to it. That’s why it’s important that you feel the story first. If you don’t, no one else will feel it either.
You’ll make a more authentic connection among people who can identify. People like to see themselves in a story. That’s how most of us make connections. Even if we don’t see our current selves, we can imagine our future selves in the stories of others. That alone gives us hope for a better, brighter tomorrow. Another benefit? The more we can identify with the story, the higher regard in which we’ll hold the storyteller.
A Vision for the Future:
Most of us have been asked the “where do you see yourself in five years?” question. That question is outdated and uninspired. While we don’t think it’s important to articulate a full-blown, down-to-the-day plan for the next five years (times change and circumstances change), we do however think it’s important to have a vision for what you’d like to see, accomplish, or perhaps even become involved in over the next few years. And by next few, we mean 5, 10, or even 15 years ahead.
This is important for founders and CEOs because those under their leadership, whether virtual or in real life, take cues from the people they most admire. And if you’re a solid leader, you have admirers.
If you haven’t yet, you can develop your future vision by considering the following?
1. What do you most hope to accomplish?
2. Aside from yourself, who can/will most benefit from those accomplishments?
3. Are there any causes/organizations in which you’d like to seek involvement?
4. What is something you’ve learned that will be integral to wherever you go in the future?
These questions are specific enough that they allow you to develop a thoughtful vision, but broad enough that they allow you to erase and rewrite when needed as you move along your journey.
Having multi-use, branded content that can be used to fill a myriad of public relations needs will become your saving grace when you start getting and/or seeking increased visibility. A story that is relatable and repeatable will become the cornerstone of your brand and help solidify your place in the minds of your audience.
About Prose & Pens:
Prose & Pens provides full service content writing and editing with a focus on content that’s engaging and conversational…not bland and boring. Need helping kicking your content up a notch? Visit www.proseandpens.com.