How to Build Your Digital Footprint

Extract from an article by : Dan Schawbel 

A lot of marketing strategies that work for big companies can also work for smaller companies and freelancers. In today’s world, everyone has to be a world-class marketer in order to stand out and achieve career and business success.

In today’s marketplace, the biggest challenge you have is standing out in the crowd, becoming recognized as an authority, and obtaining your dream job. Tested, proven marketing strategies can help you solve these challenges, whether you think you of yourself as a marketer or not.

Three simple strategies on “How to Build Your Digital Footprint”:

1. Become a subject matter expert

If you want to be found online, or want to become valuable in the workplace, then you have to focus on one area of expertise and develop your digital footprint.

You must become the most knowledgeable person on a certain topic — an authority — so that people are eventually compelled to come to you for that expertise. Whatever you do, don’t be a “jack of all trades.” It’s completely ineffective because you will end up blending in instead of standing out.

If you try to be everything to everyone, you will be nothing to anyone.

When deciding on the subject you want to become an expert in, you need to think about a few different things.

  1. First, you have to be genuinely interested and passionate about that topic so that you will naturally want to invest the time in order to master it.
  2. Second, you need to analyze the marketplace you’re about to enter, to determine the demand for that topic, as well as the competition within it.
  3. Third, you should build a focused niche audience that you want to support. For instance, if you want to be a copywriting expert, you could focus on a certain industry audience, such as healthcare or finance. If you know there are a lot of job or freelance opportunities in those industries for that topic, then you can specialise and become the well-known person in that niche and develop your training courses for that market.

Becoming a subject matter expert is the best way to build your career and business, because you become someone that people truly come to know, like, and trust, and this investment will enable you to launch training courses (online and offline), seminars (also webinars) and so on.

If you see a lot of competition for that topic, then you need to consider how you can approach the topic in a fresh and unique way. You may need to develop along-term strategy to become the market leader, which could potentially take years of work.

2. Develop your soft skills

Employers are looking for “soft skills” over hard ones when hiring and promoting, and if you running your own business, then having soft skills becomes an essential ingredient for your success.

Soft skills include being able to prioritize work, interpersonal communication, the ability to work well in a team, and conflict resolution. In today’s world, more and more people are lacking soft skills because they are relying too much on technology for communication and project management.

The best way to develop these skills is to become self-aware and to put yourself in as many social situations as possible.

  • For instance, instead of emailing someone or sending an instant message, try giving them a call or setting up a lunch meeting. You can get a better sense of what they’re looking for and truly put your best foot forward.
  • As you’re putting yourself in these situations, if you’re around a friend, co-worker, or manager, you should try to solicit feedback from them. Maybe you’re coming off the wrong way or you’re seen as disrespectful. Sometimes you just don’t know unless you ask someone else.
  • How you present yourself to others can have a major impact on how successful you will become when it comes to networking, winning business or getting ahead in the workplace.

3. Publish compelling content regularly

Visit Copyblogger.com, it contains a wealth of in-depth posts on the topic of content marketing, as well as related topics like email marketing and SEO copywriting. Think about how you can use the same strategy to develop content for your own career or business.

Just reading and taking classes to become a subject matter expert isn’t enough to become a true subject matter expert. What you need to do is to become the chief content officer for your own career.

After you’ve figured out your niche topic, start to think about everything you could write about it.

  1. Then narrow down the subtopics you want to start to tackle.
  2. Identify the specific angles and niche approaches you want to master.
  3. When you write articles or blog posts, make sure you’re covering these subtopics in a way that hasn’t been written about before.

Your posts will stand out in the clutter, and people will be more interested in them.

In addition, write in your own voice so that you can differentiate your writing from others.

Then, set a publishing schedule and do everything you can to be consistent. This is how you earn an audience, gain visibility, and attract new opportunities.

You can leverage your content over time as an extension of your resume and as a way to lure clients into wanting to work with you.

Further reading:

How to Develop Your Influencers Network

How To Use Google+ For Content Marketing

About the Author: Dan Schawbel is a Gen Y career and workplace expert, the Founder of Millennial Branding and the author of the new book, Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success (St. Martin’s Press).