Write-up of my talk for Content Creation Collective
Had such a great time meeting everyone at last nights Content Creation Collective event. So many amazing creative people with lots of different jobs and motivations. The one thing we all had in common is we all create content, in some way. It might be for ourselves, it might be for video, it might be for global clients that want to spread their message via social media.
I kept my talk quite general, but I wanted it to be from the heart and about what I’ve heard through blogging, networking, and developing my own tone. I think what we learn from our own experience with building communities and spreading ideas can be applied to our personal brand, or indeed any client that would like to be consulted in this area.
So here is are the key points from my talk, for anyone that couldn’t make it:
*You Are A Brand: Yes, you heard correctly. YOU are the brand. Anyone who has an internet connection, people skills and hard-work gene can be a brand. A brand is simply thing: Talent + PR + Differentiation. Any person we follow in the news, leader of a business, on the football pitch or on blogs, is a brand that they have created, to sell their skills/ideas to the crowd.
*Forget Your Job Title: I don’t have a job title. At work I’m a global community manager, on LinkedIn I’m a Senior Digital Executive, to the Huffington Post I’m an online journalist, to other publications I’m a writer, to other PR companies I’m a blogger and at events I’m a speaker. But the point is, I’m OK with this. This is all OK, if you make sure you brand is firmly planted in the ground. If people know YOU – then they know you have these many traits and that you have a few different areas you like to explore. E.g If Jamie Oliver was ‘just a chef’ he wouldn’t have gone out and given kids nutritional advice and tried to save people. If Justin Timberlake was just ‘a singer’, he wouldn’t have invested in MySpace. If Richard Branson ‘had just founded record stores’ he wouldn’t have expanded into travel, or phones, or internet.
*Blogging is Free – Did you hear that, FREE! Nothing is ever free in life. But blogging is (well the internet connection you have to pay for, but you know). You can sign up and start one TODAY and put things into the world and train yourself, improving your writing skills. Exploring your interests. Doesn’t matter if no one reads it, it’s testing out what works for you, what your personal style is and who you reach. There are other free tools, like change.org. The latest amazing petition/campaign to come out of that one is @NoMorePage3. A free tool leading to a massive change and thousands of supporters. Click here to sign up.
*The Medium Is Your Message – Check with platform works best for what you want to do. If you’re a photographer, use Tumblr. If you’re making videos, get on Vimeo or YouTube. Depending on if you are niche or trying to hit the masses. Don’t post personal blog posts on LinkedIn and don’t put things on Twitter if it’s not meant to be public. Oh, and if you’re working for a brand and there is a customer service question – maybe social media isn’t right for that particular question – maybe you could use the telephone. It’s still there you know.
*People Don’t Care What You Do, But Why You Do It – There always has to be an emotional value in whatever your selling. If you don’t care why you’re doing it, then why should we? We care about Steve Jobs and his passion as much as we liked Apple. And maybe we wouldn’t have liked Apple as much if we didn’t feel connected to Steve in some way. Make sure people realise why you’re doing something.
Take Appropriate Risks – I say ‘appropriate’ risks because they have to risks that mean if they fail, you can still blog/tweet/work/play again tomorrow. Risks that mean it doesn’t matter the next day are so crucial. E.g this talk I did, if it failed, I could do another talk the next day and make it better. If someone doesn’t RT a tweet, I’ll write another one tomorrow. Don’t be a random cow in the field, there’s lots of them already. Be the Purple Cow. Seth Godin wrote a book on it.
*Don’t Forget Who You Are – You might be doing lots of different things and people asking you to do favours for them, but don’t get too swayed into doing something that’s not ‘you’. This could harm your brand and remaining consistent is so important to be trusted as a source. You have to find your core values and not stray from them. Our most favourite brands still have the same values as they did 50 years ago. E.g Nike – it’s still about the athletes and ‘Do it’.
*Be As Niche As You Want – This is the amazing thing about the internet. We can find people just like us. Even if you’re an Irish tap-dancer who’s in to horse-riding. You can build a community, host events, make things happen. There are so many ways you can connect with these people now, through blogs, search, twitter. The Huffington Post started off as a very niche blog about Greek Politics, and now look at it.
*Consume As Much As You Create – 60% of my ideas for this blog and at work come from reading other peoples work. This doesn’t mean I’m copying them, it means I’m being inspired by them. Nothing can be completely original any more (I think) so by being a head of the news and reading reading reading, we can always be part of the conversation.
*Know How To Ask – We ask A LOT. In PR, in advertising, in every day life. Starting off a small business or helping out a client, we ask a lot of favours from other people. We ask bloggers to blog about us, journalists to write about us, people to meet us for dinner so we can pick their brains. BUT – we have to get good at asking. If you ask someone something and it’s a selfish ask, they will remember you as the person who made them feel uncomfortable and won’t want to work with you. If you have a reciprocal relationship and a mutual benefit, then Hey Presto, people will want to work with you and help you out.
*Have A Personal Archive – If you do a lot of stuff, then put that ‘stuff’ somewhere so people can find it. One link that says THIS IS ME this is my work. It can be anything, for me, putting a tab on my blog and putting it there works, but it can be a website, or a LinkedIn page- just make sure you have somewhere to direct people. Paper CV’s are dying out.
“The Simple Power Of One Day” – A quote by Seth Godin. Imagine how much really we can get done in a day and how many people we can reach. It takes 2 seconds to send someone a message now. No telegrams, just tweets. GO DO IT!!
Join the Content Creation Collective here so find out about upcoming talks/events: http://www.meetup.com/Content-Creation/
How I Grew Up Online
“In love with Emma Gannon’s Ctrl Alt Delete. So funny & smart, and reminding me of some of my own cringe teen Internet exploits!”– Anna James, former literary editor of ELLE
"Funny, honest, and nostalgic!"– The Debrief
“Emma Gannon is a bright spark of light in the world. I seriously dig everything she makes”– Elizabeth Gilbert, bestselling author of Big Magic