The Internet and social media have forever leveled the playing field and made obsolete the old way people, branded, marketed and practiced PR.

Today, the small businesses and individuals that are generating buzz realize it doesn't take a big, complicated marketing plan to get their messages across but rather requires a persistent, and often creative, approach to promotion. Here are three interesting and different ways you can build your personal or CEO brand. 

Draft a 7,000 to 10,000 word blog post. 

While most blog posts are between 500 and 800 words in length, in reality, Google loves long-form content. If you're trying to use search engine optimization for a particular topic related to your thought leadership and CEO brand, consider writing one of these anchor articles that goes deeply into the topic you want to cover.
And we are not just talking quantity here, but quality. Google gives credit for content that

shows an expert understanding of a subject, vs. a shallow take, including: citing studies, other experts' opinions and ideas, appropriate use of keywords, resources, how-to information, stories, examples and of course lots of live links.

In short, every once in a while, write something closer to a mini-book than a blog post. Doing so may just get you placed squarely on page one of Google for your subject expertise and build your CEO brand for the desired thought leadership topics. 

Aggressively promote your competition.

As counterintuitive as this may sound, putting your competitors in front of your audience is a proven path to expanding your CEO brand. Think about it: Your competitors' followers have already self-declared their interest in your subject matter. 

Consider doing a blog post, podcast or webcast interview featuring one of the leaders in your field, and make them the star. When the interview posts, do your own top-notch social media promotion, and then ask your interviewee to promote it on their social media channels. This promotes their brand -- but also puts you in front of their audience, with the backing of your competitor.

Send out snail mail notecards.

What? Snail mail in the age of instant messaging! At a time when receiving promotional emails and friend requests is the norm, a personal note inviting your potential customer to connect with you will be noticed. Want to really make their heads turn? Handwrite it and make it personal by mentioning something you read on their LinkedIn profile or other source.

As a branding and marketing strategist, I am continually on the lookout for interesting, unusual and creative ways to help my clients build their personal and business brands. If you have any you would like to share, please email me for a chance at being included in one of my upcoming Inc.com blog posts.