A lot of marketing strategies that work for big companies can also work for smaller companies, or even freelancers gutting it out online.
I believe that 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 professionals have is standing out in the crowd, becoming recognized as an authority, and obtaining their dream job.
Tested, proven marketing strategies can help you solve these challenges, whether you think of yourself as a marketer or not.
Let’s take a quick look at three of these simple strategies right now …
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.
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.
In a new study I did in partnership with American Express, we found that both employees and managers agree that being a subject matter expert is extremely important to career advancement. 65% of managers and 66% of employees say it’s either important or very important.
When deciding on the subject you want to become an expert in, you need to think about a few different things. 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.
If you’re just doing it merely because of a perceived market opportunity, you won’t become exceptional at it.
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. If you see people talking about a subject over and over again online but there is no thought leader who has carved out the space, then there may be a market opportunity for you.
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 a long-term strategy to become the market leader, which could potentially take years of work.
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 specialize and become the best-known person in that niche.
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.
2. Develop your soft skills
In my research, I’ve found that employers are looking for “soft skills” over hard ones when hiring and promoting.
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.
When two people have the same skills or are both subject matter experts on the same topic, it’s soft skills that separate them. In copywriting, your ability to convey your point of view in a concise way, and focusing it on the right audience, is everything.
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. It’s much easier to get ahead in your business if you are meeting people in person because 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
Copyblogger.com 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.
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. Then narrow down the subtopics you want to start to tackle — the specific angles and niche approaches you want to master. 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 career 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.
Let me know how you’re accomplishing your content marketing goals in the comments below …
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).