Part II: Deploying Your Personal Brand
Companies love mission statements. Or rather, consultants who get paid to help companies develop mission statements love mission statements. Likewise, adjunct professors can spend countless hours agonizing about how to describe themselves and who to sell their expertise to.
In a previous blog post entitled Building Your Personal Brand as an Adjunct Professor, InsideScholar outlines how adjunct professors develop a personal brand and how to define an audience for the application of expertise. The next step requires more work. If you are an adjunct professor, you need to ask yourself whether you are ready to turn your expertise into a business. Are you ready to become an adjunct entrepreneur? If your personal brand is the product, then the following is the content marketing plan to broadcast it.
Components of a Personal Brand
It’s a dizzying array of options. Perfectionists beware. Deploying a personal brand requires multi-channel marketing. No one method will reach a large enough audience to build the momentum an adjunct professor needs to sustain a steady stream of work. Getting noticed is dependent upon the power of one’s network and the volume of his or her output. Thankfully, each channel feeds from the other. An adjunct can riff off one message and let one’s personal brand reverberate across different mediums.
Here is a list of the top ten channels for broadcasting a person brand:
It’s still true. Positioning oneself as a published author holds weight. The barriers to entry have dropped. Self-publishing means an adjunct doesn’t have to convince a publisher to get published. Getting a book deal is glorious. But printing an organized treatise only requires a quick study of what it takes to upload a word doc to a publishing site.
One can use templates to create a website to present a personal brand like Jim Rockford printed business cards.
3 . Blog
This is where a personal brand pulses a regular beat within a chosen territory of expertise. In less than two pages, can you distill a thought or reaction to something worth reading? Everyone’s doing it because it works. This is how a website gets found and can build credibility. If a series of blog posts hit a nerve, this format can become a white paper. A white paper can become a book. A book can become a speaking tour….
4. Email networking
Selling your personal brand is not what an academic is trained to do. Selling requires short phrases. Selling requires pithy remarks. Selling requires connecting with acquaintances. Academics who ooze expertise may fall into the trap of preferring to hear themselves speak. Email networking is the act of quickly connecting a problem with a solution. “Hi friend. Are you frustrated by this? Here’s how I can help. Interested?”
5. Call Networking
Are you asking a favor? No. Are you being a pest? No. Are you risking rejection? Yes. Make enough phone calls, and the risk fades as momentum builds. If you reach out with a compelling question and honestly pursue a solution, then it’s not cold calling. Call networking for the adjunct professor is the act of making a list of people to stay in touch with for the sole purpose of finding out what they are working on and what their challenges are. If there are challenges that you can help with, great. If there aren’t, you’ve deepened the relationship and planted a seed.
A platform is a forum where one can network with like individuals with like needs or interests. No dinner party required. The challenge with most social media platforms is in finding one that suits your needs and interests. A mismatch of audiences wastes time and effort. Participating in this form of networking involves completing a profile, monitoring activity, and adding proactively to discussions.
7. Media Kit
Yes. A good headshot is still required. When a prospect calls, an adjunct professor needs sales tools to distribute quickly in clean and protected formats like pdfs, gifs, and jpegs. Do you have a package of work samples that include photos, snippets from publications, infographics, testimonials, and case studies?
8. Video Clips
This is marketing currency. A less than five-minute clip of your personal brand in action is the fastest way to connect with an audience. We all have cameras in hand and teenagers to produce our work. It’s that easy and that impactful.
Have a face for radio? No problem. Record a few shorter versions of a series of lectures that support your personal brand. Voila; you have a podcast.
Shoot for less than ninety minutes. The components of a webinar start with a catchy introduction that drives home the novelty of your concept. What is the problem? What is the viewpoint of conventional thinking? How does your personal brand present a different approach? What are three things to know, do, or reconsider. What are successful examples of your approach? What should the audience do next to make a difference?
Creating Content that Sells Your Personal Brands
How do you fuel all these channels? Keep a notebook of your ideas. Are there themes worth pursuing? Which ideas match which format the best? Is it a short argument? Is it a longer discussion? Is it a new approach? Prioritizing content for development is predicated on the priorities of your target audience. Do a google search using key phrases associated with each idea. What searchable phrases autofill your results? These are the topics worth pursuing. Adjunct professors are unique. Shorter and simplified arguments are harder to develop when academia tilts towards research-based theses with larger words, complex concepts, and a mountain of notations. Find content mentors. Follow their lead when choosing your best mix of media, messaging, and complexity.
It’s Important to Constantly Evaluate Your Personal Brand.
Is it fresh?
Is it searchable using the latest key words?
Does it include multiple formats?
Is the message consistent, concise, and clear?
Does each piece of your content cross-reference other parts of your portfolio?
Is the presentation clean of distractions like opinions, commentary, and subject matter that conflicts with the focus of your personal brand?
Potential clients demonstrate their interest in your personal brand with their likes, shares, references, participation in the associated communities, and following within target platforms.
Maintaining your personal brand keeps the momentum going after you have published your first round of content. Respond to those who engage. Build a repository of testimonials, case studies, interviews with clients, and data that reflects post project success. Once you can document what your audience is responding to, outline a publishing schedule that you can maintain over the next three months.
Create content. Partner with those who are interested in broadcasting and supporting your work. Build a multi-channel cache of material. Fine-tune how it can be found. Repeat. Small businesses are looking to hire experts. Professionals just need a pathway to connect with adjunct expertise.
As an adjunct professor looking for additional sources of income, developing and deploying a personal brand takes time. This investment empowers a career if an audience connects with the message. Finding the proper network to broadcast one’s personal brand will exponentially help extend an adjunct professor’s reach beyond academia.