Leadership, “Reputation Matters” Forbes, January 6, 2017

Are you getting tired of all the content-less “content marketing” that pervades the internet in order to “brand” professionals as thought leaders? I know that a lot of the HR heads and CEOs I work with are.

They see this explosion of self-branding “lite” as insubstantial and overly self-promotional. And while the internet does afford everyone a platform to air their thoughts, when done poorly it can backfire and actually take away from your professional reputation and brand equity, instead of building it up.

Unlike a celebrity profile, an executive reputation or brand is forged when you truly stand for something and the totality of your work product, presence, writing, insight, and professional and personal actions support that stance. Whether it is as an A++++ player, a subject-matter expert, a breakthrough strategist, or an inspired leader, these are brands that are built up over time and execution, and validated by the opinions of others, including the media.

True content marketing is leveraging the unique ideas, expertise, opinions, and insight of employees not for the employees’ sake, but to raise the reputation of their organizations.

It is possible for corporate or non-profit professionals to successfully position themselves in public as thought leaders, but not for everyone and not in the wrong ways.

So, to help you avoid some of the pitfalls of over-self-promotion and under-delivery, here is my list of the nine worst ways to brand yourself in 2017. […read more]