Search engine optimization (SEO) has a lot of potential angles and strategies associated with it. Though there are some universal best practices you’ll need if you want to rank higher (such as cleaning up your technical on-site SEO and building natural inbound links), there are variable approaches you can take to find success in your own niche.
For example, you may adopt a local SEO strategy to gain more traction against your larger competitors, or you could opt for niche, long-tail keyword targeting to get a faster rise for lower-volume queries.
But there’s one angle — my personal favorite — that can propel almost any SEO strategy forward, and I don’t see nearly enough companies and organizations using it to fuel their ongoing efforts. Personal branding is your secret weapon, and it’s time you integrated it into your campaign.
What Is Personal Branding?
In case you aren’t familiar, personal branding is a strategy much like corporate or organizational branding. You’ll establish a set of identity standards, including a personality and an image, and use those standards as a foundational basis for your marketing and advertising communications.
The difference with personal branding is that it applies to an individual, rather than an organization as a whole. For example, you might run a personal branding campaign around your company’s CEO. Typically, this is done on behalf of a company, so the CEO’s personal brand would serve as an additional outlet for the corporate brand at the center.
Why is this so advantageous for SEO? Here are six reasons:
1. Authorship Potential
First, your content is going to have more appeal due to its association with a specific author, as opposed to a corporate brand, and this manifests in a couple of different ways.
First, you can use different personal brands to cater to different audience segments; for example, you might develop two separate personal brands, each of which becomes an expert in a respective field. This helps you build niche expertise in separate areas without fully alienating the audience of your core corporate brand.
As an added bonus, individual authors tend to be more appealing candidates as contributors to external publishers, which you’re going to need in your guest posting strategy; a core component of SEO link building.
2. Syndication Expansion
Next, you’re going to have far more reach on social media platforms, which you’re probably already using to syndicate your content. If you aren’t already syndicating your content here, you need to start; this is a massive gateway and opportunity for you to get more eyes on your material.
Each of your personal brands will be able to build and grow its own audience, so the more personal brands you have posting frequently, the more you can multiply your total potential audience. For example, if you have three personal brands revolving around a corporate brand and you take similar efforts for all of them, you could potentially quadruple your total reach.
3. User Trust
Modern consumers have a natural distaste for corporations, which are frequently seen as greedy, manipulative, and faceless. Corporations, no matter how well branded they are, don’t have a personal identity, and therefore can never be trusted as much as another individual human being.
Personal brands, on the other hand, are individuals with unique personality traits. The more sincere these personal brands are, the more trust they’ll be able to generate among your shared user base. This can lead to more passionate followers and better initial customer relationships — not to mention a better sales rate.
4. Audience Segmentation
I mentioned this briefly in the audience section already, but you can also use personal brands to softly segment your audience. Each of your personal brands’ social accounts could be used to identify and engage with a different portion of your market.
For example, one of your brands could target early-stage buyers to raise awareness and syndicate specific content for their needs, while another focuses on late-stage buyers.
5. Ease of Entry
Personal brands are also advantageous because of their simplicity. It doesn’t take much effort to start a personal brand from scratch — in fact, all your teammates need to do is act like themselves, post regular content, and engage with new users on a recurring basis.
This doesn’t require any specialized training or any significant monetary investment, and can be executed in the span of a few hours per week. This gives personal branding a higher potential ROI than most SEO strategies.
6. Employee Advantages
Finally, there are some distinct advantages to personal branding from the personal brand owners’ perspectives. Though your main goal in personal branding will be to promote and syndicate your content to earn more links and a better online reputation, personal branding can also be used as a kind of resume building.
Giving your employees the chance to develop their personal brands incentivizes them to work harder at it, since they’ll be able to take their personal reputations with them should they ever choose to leave.
There are dozens of advantages to using personal branding, even beyond its utility for an SEO campaign. In today’s age of corporate distrust and favoritism toward more personal relationships, it’s almost a necessity for corporate brands to get involved.
If you’re getting started for the first time, be prepared for a slow build; this is a long-term strategy, and it takes time to generate real momentum. But it’s one that pays off in the long run, and is well worth the initial cost of development.