Build a Solid Foundation with an Identity and a Plan
Talk to any leading Expert Author and you will find a plan (big or small) at the center of their success. If you want to succeed and ultimately get more out of your return on time investment, establishing a plan will help you achieve your article writing goals as well as any goal you wish to achieve.
In any plan – content plans, strategic plans, etc. – you must first define your backstory via a mission and a vision. Once you’ve established these focal points, you can begin to establish your brand identity.
What do you value?
Your brand identity is made up of the visual characteristics unique to you and your organization – on the Internet, that’s everything. One of the keys to developing an identity that resonates with your audience is to identify your core values.
Core values are the attitudes or beliefs of your organization. These values are not a result of the activities you perform. Instead, the activities are a result of your core values.
To define your values, consider the most basic elements of your organization’s principles and beliefs. Examples of core values are maintaining a healthy work/life balance, a commitment to sustainability, and being resourceful. Use these values, along with your mission and vision to align members of your organization as well as guide activities (i.e., “this activity” reflects “this value,” “this product” reflects “this value,” “this article” reflects “this value”).
Is your Expert Author brand identity consistent?
Cover the bases of your Expert Author identity by ensuring everything points back to your mission, vision, and core values. The following are key areas to review and update:
- Author Name – Your name must be consistent between your website and your articles. In addition, ensure your name can easily be found on your website for added transparency and brand exposure.
- Author Photo – Readers trust someone they can visualize behind the writing and it’s critical to your Expert Author identity. Use your EzineArticles Author Photo on your website for an easy visual cue of your brand and to reassure the reader of your connection and authenticity. [Learn more]
- Author Profile – Your profile is the #1 spot to discuss your credentials as an authority in your niche, your organization, your mission, your vision, and your values. Provide your readers with a call-to-action that will motivate them to visit your website, blog, or other links you provide on your profile. [Learn more]
- Niche – When choosing a niche, avoid the broadest area – the smaller you are, the more focused your niche should be. Start small to build big by establishing your credibility in focused areas. [Learn more]
- Relevance – Avoid writing articles that are irrelevant to your niche. All content in your article portfolio should reinforce your brand, not weaken it with subjects irrelevant to your audience. Save personal commentaries and other content of that ilk for a personal blog.
- Resource Box – Your Resource Box should succinctly include your name, your vision, a call-to-action, and a link to a relevant page on your website.
What are your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT)?
Once you have a foundation, it’s time to take inventory to discover what’s working for you and what’s not. Identify all of your assets – both online and off. Then perform a SWOT analysis to pinpoint areas of improvement as well as effectively create and achieve goals efficiently. Consider the following by using your mission, vision, and values as a lens:
- Strengths – Assets and characteristics that give you and your organization an advantage.
- Weaknesses – Assets and characteristics that limit you and your organization.
- Opportunities – Outside prospects you can use to improve.
- Threats – Outside elements that prevent growth or cause harm.
Once identified, use this information to realign your goals and build the framework of a seamless content strategy that targets readers.
Building a foundation is critical to any successful venture that will resonate with readers. Identify who you are, what you represent, what you value, and be consistent. From there you can identify where you stand and how you can plan to improve. We’ll show you more content planning strategies on audience targeting, evaluating, and more in the next few weeks, so stay tuned!
Did you miss our first content planning post on developing a mission and a vision? Click here!