3 Surprising Ways Being Opinionated Benefits Your Career
Every good story has a point of view. Most of the time, it’s implied — like in Ex Machina. But occasionally, it is explicitly stated — like in Last Man Standing. Either way, the perspective behind a story has a massive impact on how the story is understood by the audience. The same can be said about your personal brand.
Not convinced? Here are three reasons why you should express your point of view:
1. BEING OPINIONATED MAKES YOU VISIBLE
All marketers strive to achieve brand awareness. Realize this goal by making your opinions known.
Newsflash: Expressing a unique opinion is one of the easiest ways to get noticed by current and future employers!
Larry Kim, founder of Wordstream, and Vala Afshar, Chief Digital Evangelist at Salesforce, are two great examples of marketers harnessing the power of perspective online. Both men have built a strong following on Twitter using a combination of research-backed insights and thought leadership. Check out these tweets for inspiration:
Your opinions can help you get noticed offline, too. Next time you’re in a strategy meeting, speak up. By sharing your perspective on what tactics should be used (and why), it becomes more likely that one of those ideas will actually be implemented.
2. YOUR OPINIONS DIFFERENTIATE YOU FROM YOUR PEERS
Smart marketers position their brands in contrast to their competitors. Make your personal brand memorable by stating your perspective on key issues.
Think about how many experiences you have in common with your peers: If you’re a marketer, perhaps you have a degree in business, marketing, or communications. You spent four years at college. You completed two 4-month internships with reputable brands. Now you’re working full-time as a marketing associate.
Next time you apply for a job, what is going to set you apart from every other entry-level marketer in the nation? I’ll give you a hint: It’s not your CGPA. It’s what all those experiences have taught you.
You have a choice: Either say something that makes you memorable — or be forgotten. It’s a pretty easy choice, isn’t it?
Consider this example: Emily and Erica both applied to the marketing manager position at Company X. They have both been invited for an interview. After describing current procedures, the hiring manager asks each candidate how they would improve customer retention. Erica hums and ha’s — failing to give a concrete answer. (Yes, this really does happen.)
When asked the same question, Emily says she would send a handwritten thank you note to customers after each transaction. She explains that, in the age of information, customers are overwhelmed by digital communications — but are impressed by the extra effort that goes into handwritten notes. “It makes customers feel special,” she concludes.
Who would you rather hire?
3. HAVING AN OPINION REVEALS YOUR EXPERTISE
Successful marketers understand the importance of brand credibility. Gain the trust of your audience by demonstrating expertise in your field.
It’s hard to have an opinion about something you know nothing about. Using this same logic, one could argue that you must understand something before you can have an opinion about it.
If you’re just starting out, looking to make a leap from one career specialization to another, or want to be considered for an upcoming promotion, openly demonstrating your expertise is a must.
One way to accomplish this goal is by expressing your opinions about key issues. In doing so, you’ll build the credibility of your personal brand — and gain the trust of your target audience as a result.
#ProTip: Chime in on your industry’s hottest debates.
Content marketers love to debate the relative merits of short-form vs. long-form content. Should we frequently publish short-form content in an effort to get noticed? Or should we invest in developing long-form content that educates prospects?
Every industry has issues (just like this one) that never seem to get resolved. This as an opportunity for you to make an impression: Research the issue, craft an opinion, and tell anyone who will listen.
If you’re concerned about the amount of work it will take you to research every contentious issue in your industry, don’t worry. Harvard Business Review contributor Dorie Clark recommends building a following around just one distinctive idea. Use her free stand out self-assessment workbook to get started.