Who are you, hun?
When I arrived onto the creative scene in Birmingham in 2013, I thought I knew who I was. I didn’t have a clue about personal branding.
I thought I was a writer who was starting to love herself. On some level, that is still true but over the years I’ve unpeeled and unraveled my many layers to really get to know who I am.
So, who are you?
Personal branding is incredibly powerful, in case you didn’t already know. I’ve known for a while that people connect with people before they connect with a product, I’ve known the power of genuine interaction and engagement.
When I became a Writing Coach, I was encouraged by a former friend to write about writing. The idea was to position myself as an authoritative figure in my industry, and the clients would pour in. My audience were waiting for me to launch something, she insisted. And so I began to write endless blog posts about writing basics, and filmed Facebook live videos covering much of the same.
It didn’t work.
I felt disconnected from my audience, I fell out of love with my craft and I didn’t know who I was.
This is what will happen when you place more value in the opinions of inexperienced others than you do in your intuition.
With this in mind, I spent a long time rediscovering myself and arriving into 2019 with a fresh new outlook. I’m sure you’ve noticed how much more refreshing my content has become, or at least I hope you have.
I’m more confident then ever in my personal brand, not because I’ve created something out of thin air, but I’ve utilised the areas that worked already.
But there’s no real point in keeping my knowledge to myself. Perhaps you’re rediscovering yourself and looking at building your personal brand as you approach a blog, project or other creative venture. It probably feels difficult to identify which parts of you are constructed by your environment, and which ones are the genuine parts of you.
To help you on your way, I’ve highlighted some key areas for you to think about:
Core Values and Beliefs
Rather than think about what you believe in, I challenge you think about your non-negotiables. What are your deal breakers? What qualities of a person or a project would turn your stomach? What would be enough for you to walk away? And then think about, why is that?
For example, I know integrity is one of my core values and I hold it in high regard when approaching relationships of any kind. I know that when integrity is compromised, for me there’s no going back from that. I know that it is incredibly important that I can trust the people I come into contact with.
And then there’s this gem: To attract trustworthy people, shouldn’t you display trustworthy qualities yourself? I think so.
If someone who had never heard of you was to stumble across your blog, website, YouTube Channel, IG Account, or whatever, what impression would you like them to have of you? If you were to summarise the impact of your personal brand or what it represents with one sentence, what would it be?
Remember, what you’re currently representing is not always the same as your intent. Being clear on your key message will help you create content that supports it.
Privacy versus Public
I speak to people who are new to social media almost everyday. Believe me, there are people out there who don’t know the difference between a Facebook group and a Facebook page – and this initially surprised me. Some of us grew up in the era of MSN chat and Myspace, where online chatrooms were relatively cool and shorthand text messages were a thing.
As Facebook et al developed over the years, we’ve slowly been sharing more and more personal content online. Where before we’d have not had the opportunity to do so, now we’re “checking in” at restaurants, taking selfies while on holiday and posting photos of our dinner. While some moaners roll their eyes at all of this “oversharing”, I personally love it. How better to connect with an audience than to show you are human too?
Yet, I get the hesitance. Perhaps some things shouldn’t be posted on social media, some things should be kept behind closed doors and locked away from public view. I get that, totally, and I also think it is up to the individual to make a choice on what works best for them. So, when you think about your personal brand, give thought to the parts of your life you don’t mind strangers knowing about, what fits in with your brand. Everything else? Keep that private, for you and your family to enjoy.
Ultimately, it’s worth remembering that sharing personal stuff online always seems like an overshare, but in my personal experience often what we see online is barely scratching the surface. Your news feed really is just a highlight reel, you know?
Power of Three
If you were to summarise your brand with just three words, what would they be? I challenge you to ask other people, your friends and your followers. See what words come up regularly, see how it feels for you.
I think sometimes we aim to portray one message but end up making an impact we never expected.
For me, when creating my personal brand, it was important I chose words that represented every aspect of what I do. Because obviously, I’m a writer but not just a writer.
I chose Create, Inspire and Empower. I feel you can come across my online content, perhaps listen to one of my talks or simply just engage in conversation with me, and you will get the essence of one of those words.
What words represent you?
Personal Brand in Action
Now you’ve thought about your core values, key message, how much you want to share, and what words represent you, it’s worth putting a plan into action.
It’s time to create content around it, whether it be a Facebook Live Q&A session, a blog series or an IG challenge. It has to be more than colour palettes and perfect posting, although that still has value. What should your content say about you?
So, for example, if one of your words was “Traveller”, what content can you create around it?
If one of your words was “Integrity” or “Spiritual” or “Sass”, how can you create content that is in alignment with it?
I suggest start with writing down some ideas, look at the content of your peers and start creating.
Lots of love,