Building your personal brand is about standing out and generating heightened visibility, credibility, awareness and respect in professional circles, in ways that benefit you, your career, your organization, and your industry. There are many ways to accomplish this, including networking, public speaking, building your own website, expanding your social media presence, and similar activities. However, I believe one of the most powerful ways to build your brand is by becoming a published author: sharing original, valuable information with the supply chain community and beyond.
By publishing your opinions and perspectives, you’ll become a more recognized, credible professional. Potential employers, customers and business partners will see your viewpoints when they search your name online. You can share links to your articles online with friends and associates. You’ll earn greater name recognition. And here’s the best part: today, it’s easier than ever to become a bylined author. You can have your writing published, or publish it yourself, through a variety of respected free or low-cost self-publishing platforms. The internet puts you in the driver’s seat, compared to just a decade or two ago when you had to break through layers of gatekeeping editors and publishers in order to get your work in print.
Here are some opportunities to have your work published:
Contribute to Industry Publications, News Sites and Blogs
Supply chain publications like APICS magazine, Sourcing Innovations, Supply Chain Quarterly, The Network Effect, Shipping & Freight Resource, Global Logistics Media, Inbound Logistics, and many others, are always looking for guest blog posts and articles. Review the publication to understand its particular tone, style and editorial guidelines, then contribute your own article for consideration.
Among the easiest first stops for getting published is LinkedIn. Publishing an article that shows your ideas, leadership, vision or creativity will bring a spike in the number of people who view your profile. You can share a brief update or link to an article with your connections from your homepage. More importantly, you can request publishing capabilities from LinkedIn which gives you unlimited word count on the posts you share, leaving you free to post and upload bylined articles on your LinkedIn page.
But the true power of LinkedIn lies when you publish an article that appears beyond your network, using the LinkedIn Publisher platform tool (available in many, but not all, markets at this time). This publishing platform lets you upload articles that potentially will be shared by LinkedIn as “featured” content sent to targeted recipients across its global network. The LinkedIn Publisher platform provides guidelines on writing and editing, uploading and sharing to help you get started.
Create Your Own Supply Chain News Site or Blog
Medium is an online publishing website that falls into what’s referred to as the “social journalism” category, housing a hybrid collection of amateur and professional writers. The site was launched in 2012 by one of the co-founders of Twitter. Medium calls its content “stories,” not blog posts or content, and you upload your written content to the site. Medium has 25-30 million monthly visitors and has a reputation of being a good platform for thought-provoking articles.
Tumblr’s format allows you to create a sophisticated web page and upload articles, multiple photos and video. You may need to direct your readers to find you on Tumblr, but once there, they can scroll through your series of thought leadership pieces. In addition to writing your own content, Tumblr lets you interact with others by mentioning or sharing their articles.
Publish a Book
Have you thought about writing or co-authoring a book? You can self-publish a professional-looking hard cover or paperback book that is printed on demand, as well as a Kindle e-book, using a platform like Amazon.com’s Createspace or the full-service Archway Publishing from Simon & Schuster. You write and edit the content; you can hire freelance contractors through a site like Fiverr to design a cover and lay out the interior pages.
Advance Yourself… and the Supply Chain Community
Creating quality material takes time, consideration and commitment. It requires consistency and frequency. Be vigilant not to fall into the habit of writing self-promoting posts, and by sharing thoughtful, educational, targeted information, you will elevate your personal brand while also bettering the supply chain community.
Here are four parting tips on effective writing for supply chain professionals:
- Be authentic. Write on what you know, include personal anecdotes and have an opinion.
- Be innovative. Think outside the box, suggest different ways of doing things and share new ideas.
- Start a conversation. You want to compel people to respond and react to what you write.
- Include images. Photos or graphs will add to the story.
- Write clearly, concisely and avoid using industry jargon.
The world is waiting for your unique perspective, so start writing now.