Manhattan, New York
During an interview, Barack Obama was once asked about minority representation especially with regards to making one’s voice heard enough to make a difference. President Obama answered by encouraging the person to utilize the various social media platforms at our disposal today to be more vocal and put their voice out there. Eventually, he said, they would attract like-minded individuals who would listen and join in the rhetoric.
I bring this up because I believe that this is also the basis of how to build a successful personal brand.
As suggested by the name, personal branding is just that- personal. So it’s all about you!!
So you are your brand and therefore to sell your brand you need to be able to sell the idea of you!
Now, if like many of us, you feel a bit lost and find yourself asking “what am I doing?” or “why am I doing this?” Then I have news for you – YOU ARE NOT ALONE! So please don’t beat yourself up about it, this article exists precisely to help you figure that out. So just keep calm and continue reading.
Okay so, what am I doing?
Having a clear vision of this is the first step in establishing a successful personal brand. So simply ask yourself “What am I doing?”
Are you in the business of telling stories, a photographer, a filmmaker, entrepreneur, influencer, podcaster, chef? Or “an aspiring filmmaker, who hosts a podcast and was a chef for 10 years”?!?
You could be doing one or many things, it really doesn’t matter as long as you have a clear vision of what these things are and what you hope to achieve from them. Set strong intentions and make these clear to your listeners, followers, and subscribers. In fact the wider your area of expertise the more diverse audience you attract. And if what you’re doing is a niche, well then that’s ok, too! Because you can shape out a space for yourself as the go-to guy!
What I’m trying to say is don’t beat yourself up either way because the key to success is not forcing yourself to be like someone else. It is being the best possible version of you.
Fine, why am I doing this?
If “what” is the body, “why” is the soul of your personal brand!
If you expect others to invest their time and energy into your personal brand, then you must have a very strong “why” for yourself. Because if it’s not important to you then why should it be important to anyone else?
Today’s reality is an oversaturated market. So there will likely be a lot of other people doing what you’re doing. Therefore what will set you apart is having a strong reason for why you’re doing what you’re doing which in turn will influence how you do it.
One of the prime reasons for lack of engagement is not having a strong why.
Hmm, what happens next?
With a clear what and why you form a solid picture of what you are offering. This will be unique to you and will be the foundation of what draws people to your content. For example, you are a chef who used to be in the film industry and you supplement your cooking content with anecdotes from your time in the film. The unique blueprint of how you arrived where you are paired with your cooking skills today will be what draws people to you. Your STORY paired with your TALENT will be what compels your audience!
What if I don’t know what or why?
I’ll let you in on a little secret- most people don’t! And that is OK! You are actually in an ideal position. Your brand and content can focus on sharing your journey and your process; how you’re trying to figure out and define your what and why. You can share your failure and your triumphs every step of the way. Opening yourself up and sharing your vulnerabilities is truly the most compelling form of content. So don’t worry or put undue pressure on yourself. Just start your journey and live it out in the spotlight. Trust me, your honesty will be refreshing and inspire many!
In fact, let that be your main takeaway from this article- honesty. Consumers today are not stupid; they have access to a plethora of information on the internet and can easily identify the fake from the genuine. If you try to deceive them – THEY WILL KNOW!
Think about it, how many times have you come across content on the internet that seems disingenuous or fabricated; giving out a perception that you know is not necessarily true?
So don’t try to be or show something that you’re not. The most successful people who have branded themselves have only done so because of their honesty. They’ve embraced their flaws and failures and have learned to laugh at themselves. Consumers are not looking for a fake perfect version of someone; they are looking for someone they can relate to. So just be you because – YOU ARE ENOUGH!