In this personal branding strategy guide, you're going to learn the four simple phases of developing your own personal brand strategy and when you stick around to the end, we have three foundational keys to success, irrespective of what type of brand you're going to be building, but first let's go ahead and talk about what the heck personal branding actually is.
So here's my definition and then we'll break it down. “growing a niche audience around a shared interest or desired result through storytelling, engagement, and value.”
Let's go ahead and break this down so we can see step by step what exactly encapsulates what a personal brand actually is:
Growing a Niche Audience:
Keyword being “niche”. And this is because when you try and speak to everyone you wind up connecting with no one. So whatever type of influence, authority or brand you're building, your goal isn't to try to connect with every single person in the world, because you're going to wind up having a very flat message that's not going to really resonate with anyone.
A Shared Interest or Desired Result:
It's very important that you're around one particular topic and you're very focused on what either you talk about, in terms of the content or you're very focused on something called “the journey”, which we'll get to later.
Through Storytelling and Engagement:
Storytelling means you're being authentic and you're telling stories. You're sharing your personal experiences. You're not just a robot reading off a transcript of things that you research, you're adding your own personality to it. And then engagement, which you think would be simple and just that means we're replying to comments. No matter what you're doing, you need to actually engage. Your job isn't to just throw your message out there and then just keep making videos or keep making Instagram posts or whatever you're doing. You need to actually engage, it should be a conversation.
Because people need some sort of tangible benefit from engaging with your content, which actually leads us into the very first phase of developing your personal brand. And that is actually being helpful.
Personal Branding Strategies
1. Being Helpful
That's understanding the difference between building a personal brand, as an authority and expert and building a personal brand as just being some cool influencer. We've all seen those Instagram pictures from influencers who have the perfect body, the perfect house, the perfect car, they're taking vacations all across the world. While that's awesome, and it has its place in your content if that's legitimately a part of who you are, but when it comes to building a personal brand because you actually want to have a business or coaching, consulting, online business, then you actually have to be helpful. It's not just about flexing and showing all the cool stuff you have, or showing your six-pack abs if you're a personal trainer. It's about showing people that you can be helpful. And the key way to ensure that you actually do this and you fall in this camp versus just your flexing all the time showing how cool your life is, is helping them through their journey.
2. Customer Journey
This is where you have a detailed understanding of who your target person is. So when it comes to building your personal brand, you have to remember that everything that you say and do the way you act is ultimately your brand. Your brand is the perception of who you are. And part of crafting that perception; and when I say craft, I don't mean make it up. Crafting is being strategic in how you communicate and what you say and what you share and decide not to share and that comes down to being helpful along this customer journey, because whoever you're talking to wants to achieve a result. They want to enjoy something that they're not enjoying now. And you have what results they're after, your content and your brand can communicate that you can help them get the result and actually help them get the result, not just communicate that you can help them, but actually help them through your content. So people can see your Instagram post, they can watch your YouTube videos, and they come away feeling like “yeah, I could take a step towards what I'm trying to achieve”, as opposed to coming away from your content like “well, I think they could help me, but it looks like they want me to pay them 3,000 dollars for private consulting or something to actually get it done”.
You do need value in your content and that's going to help you build your personal brand, but until you have a detailed understanding of who your ideal audience is, in terms of what they're after and then what they think is getting in the way, then you can come alongside them and help them along their journey. Now, if you haven't achieved that results, then just document your process of trying to get to that result. There is no shame in being transparent and saying “look, you know what? I want an online business”, or “I want six-pack abs”, or “I want to live till a 100”, or whatever the lofty goal is, and saying “I'm documenting the process of everything I'm learning to get there.”
It's very important is that you stay focused in on the same audience member. So if you really like business, you really like fitness maybe or you really like a particular genre of TV shows, well that might really matter to you but it might not matter to your ideal audience. The people who are really interested in fitness might not really care about the TV shows you watch or not might not really care about the things you're doing with your business. So it's very important to choose your content pillars, where you choose three to five pieces or topics of content that you focus on.
As an example, let's say we have an entrepreneur channel and our pillars would some look something like talking about analytics, social media marketing, sales funnels, advertising and membership sites, right? So that would be the broad categories that i could talk about on an entrepreneurship channel. And sure in a vlog i could talk about a TV show I'm watching or i could talk about a new workout that I'm trying out and doing, but it wouldn't be the core of what the brand message is, it wouldn't be the core of what the content is.
It's so hard to stand out in a sea of noise across social media. So you want to be that person or that particular go-to resource, when it comes to whatever your topic is. And this is goes back to building a nice audience not trying to be Superman or Ironman of everything. With these three content pillars, what it allows you to do is make sure that you stay focused with your content, but it also ensures that your content doesn't become repetitive, because if I made a YouTube channel and all I talked about was Google Analytics all day, that would be really boring. Nobody wants to subscribe to a YouTube channel that only talks about analytics. So you want to create these different content pillars and this will actually help with your content calendar, because then you can have different topics on different days. And it makes it very easy to stay consistent with your content and keep your content fresh.
4. Content Types
Now, when it comes to actual content creation, this is phase number four where you're actually going to start figuring out what type of content should you make. There's two main types of content, and you need both of them to build a personal brand. You have authority building content and you have relationship building content.
Authority building content provides value through YouTube tutorials, LinkedIn pulse posts and in-depth blog posts. That's all that kind of Authority thought leadership stuff, where you're getting real nitty gritty with the details.
Relationship building content is where a lot of disconnect happens, because typically you'll gravitate towards one or the other, you really do need both. When it comes to relationship building content, you're sharing your stories, you're sharing stories from your industry, maybe you're commenting on what's going on, you're replying or responding to a really popular video in your niche or your space, this is where your personality comes out.
Just imagine you're sitting at a coffee shop, and you're talking to your ideal viewer and you're just chatting. You're just talking. There's no kind of goal of creating a specific piece of content to help them achieve a specific goal. This is just where you try to relax well as much as you can on camera and be yourself and just talk about the topics in your particular niche.
You need to communicate to your audience, that yes you've achieved this result, but you put in the work. It didn't magically just land in your lap. And all of our content when we start is not going to be great. So there's no point in trying to make it perfect.
The point is when it comes to relationship building content versus Authority kind of tutorial style content, you do need both. You'll find that one is easier than the other, but you do want to make sure you have a good mix of both of them. If that means you only vlog once or twice a month, well then, okay you only vlog once or twice a month, because you really feel uncomfortable with it, but you still have to do it.
keys to Success in Your Personal Branding Strategy
Now it's time for the three keys to success, when it comes to building your personal brand. And these are going to seem a little repetitive, but they bear repeating.
1. Be Real
The first key to success when it comes to building your personal brand, is making sure that you are real and authentic. People buy from people they know, like and trust. And in order to do that, you need to be transparent and forthcoming with whatever your situation is and the results that you've achieved. So if you haven't achieved the results that your ideal viewer is looking for, then just say you're working on it and share the results that you have. And if you have failed 20 times, well, guess what, that's 20 different pieces of content you can say: this doesn't work, this doesn't work, this doesn't work and this doesn't work. This is going to save them a heck of a lot of time, them being your audience, because they're learning from your mistakes.
If there's particular parts of your life, business or whatever, that you don't want to share a 100% of then just don't talk about it at all. Just say “you know what? That part of my life or that part of who I am, I don't really want to share all of it or I don't want to share any of it, then just don't talk about it" That's as simple as it gets. Choose the areas that you're going to be extremely transparent in and then just choose the areas where you don't say anything, that's okay.
2. Done is Better Than Perfect
Done is better than perfect, when it comes to content creation, when it comes to your strategy, because at the end of the day, it's just about creating content and putting yourself out there, because no matter how good it is, no matter how much time and energy you put into it, someone is going to leave a mean comment. You're going to find something wrong with a piece of content you made. You're going to be looking at it and thinking about 20 different things you could have done differently. Great! Go ahead and do that the next video, the next post, the next round, the next time, because there's always another one. So number of occurrences when it comes to growing your personal brand, is very important in terms of the amount of content you put out.
3. Quality vs Quantity
This ties back into my personal definition of what a personal brand is, focusing on a niche audience. You may have heard of Tim Ferriss or Seth Godin talking about their thousand true fans, and this is something where you want to focus in on finding who are those thousand people that are really going to resonate with your message, they're always going to watch your videos always engaging with you on Instagram and Facebook and Twitter, always buy whatever products or services you're offering within reason of their budget. You want to focus in on who those people are.
You're not trying to connect with a massive audience. The size of your audience doesn't matter. It's better to have a 100 or 200 people on your email list or following you, that are just real superfans who are going to do business with you, who are going to engage with you, then 10,000 people who could care less if you posted ever again.
I sincerely hope you got some value out of this guide. And most importantly, you got some ideas on how to craft your content strategy and put together your own personal brand strategy.
So go ahead, and keep building the business you love.