These days, it seems like everybody and their mother is talking about their “personal brand.”
It might seem like another empty buzzword. However, it’s true that how you present yourself to the world matters. Simple as that. Whether you’re looking for a job or starting a business, having a strong personal brand can help you appear more trustworthy and build a loyal following, both online and IRL.
However, the biggest reason why you should focus on building your personal brand is that it is often the reason someone decides to choose you and what you offer over somebody else. After all, wouldn’t you rather work with someone who’s super passionate and knowledgeable about your particular industry, over a ‘jack of all trades’?
But before you can start piecing your brand together, it’s important to understand what a personal brand actually is and what it’s not. SocialMediaToday defines a personal brand as, “the practice of marketing and packaging yourself, your career, and your experience as a brand.”
So, while having a pretty Instagram feed or writing funny tweets can be a part of your overall package, those things alone do not make a solid personal brand. To use a somewhat lame analogy, online content is a bit like owning a fancy car. While it might get you a lot of attention parked on the side of the street, without gas, in this case, a solid voice, vision, and mission, your content is not going to get you to where you want to be.
Ready to start building your personal brand with content? Whip out a pen and paper (or open a Word or Google Doc) and answer the following three questions.
1. What do you love to talk about?
And I mean reeeeally love. The kind of topic that you could go on and on and on about for so long that your mouth actually gets dry before you’re done. Maybe you know right off the bat what that is, or maybe you need to do a little soul-searching first.
If it’s the latter, think about the topics that you’re drawn to, whether you have expertise in that area or not. Or maybe there’s a company or brand out there that you’re simply obsessed with. That could be the first step to unlocking your passion. And when it comes to content, whatever you love talking about can be used as inspiration for social media posts or blogs.
2. How do you want to make people feel?
Imagine this: you’re in a brainstorming session with people at work. You’re chatting away during one of the breaks and then you leave to take a drink of water. What do you think those people are saying about you? More importantly, what do you want them to say about you?
There’s a popular quote from Maya Angelou – “I’ve learned people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” This, in essence, is your personal brand. Do you want people to feel empowered after meeting you? Supported? Fired up? Infuse whatever you want people to feel into everything you do, say, and write.
3. How do you naturally speak?
It can be hard not to fall into ‘business speak’ when you’re writing. This is especially true if you have worked in the corporate world for some time. However, while peppering your language with jargon and acronyms and buzzwords might work in an email, it won’t resonate in content that’s meant for a larger audience.
If you were to strip away all of that industry mumbo-jumbo, what would you actually sound like? For example, are you someone who likes to crack jokes? Then consider injecting your content with a little humour. Are you somebody who likes to get to the point and ‘tell it like it is’? Your energy is made for video. Are you somebody who likes to tell stories? I see long-form content (or at least long captions) in your future.
These are simple questions with not-so-simple answers, so take your time with them. Once you have the answers to these questions, you can use them as a guide to craft your overall content strategy.