With WFH giving millions of professionals around the world their daily commute time back, while some leaders are experiencing a slow-down on projects while markets and economies wait for restrictions to ease and to see what the world looks like post-Covid, as well as no events, conferences, parties, weddings or family reunions to go to, some executives and leaders are using this extra time to start building their reputations. There are more posts on LinkedIn than I’ve ever seen* and new users on Twitter are up 24% in the past quarter. 

Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey

But is a crisis as far-reaching and devastating as this one a good time to start building your reputation? Or do you risk looking like an opportunistic exec with excess time on their hands who’ll return to the background when this passes?

It depends.

If you’re a leader (or aspiring leader) who’s had a voice in the back of your mind for a while now that you sharing your knowledge and insights may be valuable for your career, the people, and business you lead now would be a good time to start. It may give the people you lead and the audiences you want to engage direction and purpose at a time when many people are isolated and feel out of control.

If you’re considering using this time to start sharing your perspective, here are some things you can consider to help you embark on this journey with authority, purpose and a long-term view. Because if you’re not in this for the long-haul, there’s no point starting. You’ll be better off using the extra time you have at home each day to work on your homemade pesto recipe, doing science experiments with your kids or giving yourself a home haircut.

A very bad haircut

Can you add value?

We are experiencing an event that at times has felt stranger than fiction. And people are looking for information to give them clarity when they are isolated from their workplaces and many of the people closest to them. To know whether you can add value to a potential audience, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you know what you want to start communicating about and why?
  • Do you have a new or original perspective that no one else in your industry is talking about yet (or only a small group of people are talking about)?
  • Will sharing your perspective bring some clarity to your stakeholders and give them some direction or purpose at a time when people have felt overwhelmed and overloaded?

Will you be a trusted voice?

When coronavirus first emerged as a global catastrophe, highly regarded subscription-based news publishers like the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg experienced a spike in new subscribers. People around the world want to stay informed and up to date with Covid-19 and they want the information from sources they trust.

Building your authority as a trusted voice will take time and that’s ok. Actually, when it comes to trust, time is your friend and you should be preparing to step up knowing that you’re in this to play the long game. There are many, but here are a few ways you can build trust with your audience from the start:

  • Telling people the why as well as the what
  • Be consistent (if you’re going to blog, create a schedule that’s sustainable for you and stick with it)
  • Support your insights with data

Zoom call with a group of people

Can you help create a sense of community?

Our physical sense of community and the enjoyment we gain from being part of one has been put on pause while we try to stop the spread. Many people have openly shared how isolated they feel and to overcome this many have found ways to be part of a community online. As a leader, can you bring your people together even when they’re not? By sharing your perspective or insights on what is happening for you as a leader and for your business right now, you’re sharing your knowledge. By doing that, will you help your people, your stakeholders and your industry navigate this crisis as well? And can you communicate with empathy so that your audience will feel like they’re being heard or you’re talking directly to them? If your answer is yes, go for it.

Do you have a long-term view?

You probably already have a lot on your plate. And we all know that even though it may take some time, our lives will eventually return to a new form of normal.  So will you have time for this when that happens? You can make the time if it’s important to you – and if you set up the right processes so that building your reputation is sustainable and easy. You won’t be doing yourself or your audience any favours if you write three eloquent and insightful blogs in May 2020 and then it’s tumbleweeds from June onwards. Start slowly, and build from here.

*Scientific fact.

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Angela Cross is a reputation strategist who works with c-Suite leaders and brands to build and protect their reputations through PR, corporate social media, industry profiling, stakeholder engagement, and effective issues management. If you would like to build your reputation with purpose and authority, email her here.