Yet Another Personal Branding Article. 5 Rules to Get it Right.
Most of my articles have been about corporate branding or marketing, but none (YET) on personal branding. That was definitely intentional. But as I keep on seeing new articles on how to develop your own brand, how can you become famous, how can you become the next top influencer, etc. – I felt compelled to straighten up the discussion a bit.
Personal branding is a paradox. People who don’t actively work on their personal brands generally have excellent personal brands.
Maybe you have a good reason to focus on developing your personal branding – but before taking your first steps to your 1k Insta followers, please read this instead:
Find out who you are
In order to build a personal brand that reflects who you are, personally and professionally – you need to find out who you are.
What are you best at? What are your qualities? What are your flaws? What are you trying to achieve? Why are you trying to achieve that?
I will choose three very distinct cases:
- The Insta Rockstar – You want to be an influencer because you want to make money and get free goodies. Alright, no judgement there.
- The Teacher – You want to reach, teach and inspire your audience because you feel you have something new to say. Great, teach us!
- The Cause Supporter – You just want to show who you genuinely are and what you stand for so you can have better opportunities in both life and work.
Be good to people
The Insta Rockstar: If you are the Insta Rockstar, this is a unique opportunity to show that beauty combines with being good and nice. Apart from the thorough product reviews, show us the people you love and why you love them.
I do not mean cuddle your cat in three thousand selfies, I mean genuinely build us a picture of the people that surround you and the love and support you receive. Like a gratitude journal.
The Teacher – be kind in your teaching. Sure, you can mock the competition, or your students, but you are definitely not creating a safe space for them to learn. Do this instead: Honour your own teachers, divulge how did you get where you are, tell us humbly what makes you so good. Embark us on a great journey of learning with tips, advice and references at each step.
Dear teacher, please plan the journey ahead of even starting to create your digital branding outlets.
The Cause Supporter – Yes there are so many reasons to be angry with this world. But leave that in your mind or journal and nowhere else.
Try and focus on the good things that work well and promote those instead. Show us hope in our common cause and help us see the bright side. It is proven that goodwill campaigns, or in general, campaigns for a good cause, have a longer digital time span than the attacking ones.
I believe humans grow more tired of the bad things than the good things.
Be good at what you do
This goes without saying. Work on your craft daily, with focus and intention – this will not benefit only you, but there is less chance you are losing the time of your audience. You must develop so fast that you cringe at your previous post from only 6 months ago… because you grew so much since then.
The Insta Rockstar – be clear and thorough in your reviews. Do multiple takes and make sure you post your next work.
The Teacher – a teacher must be always learning.
The Case Supporter – you must continue to be really well informed, its not a one time thing. Causes evolve in the world, they make a different impact at different times in history and you need to do your homework properly.
This goes further than being honest. It means the brand you create, you actually live and breathe.
The Insta Rockstar: Sure, most of the time you are perfect. But show us you have bad days too. Show us your flaws, your insecurities as well. This will build a better picture of you and you will relate with your audience better.
The Teacher – tell us about what you do not know or know enough. This will help your students relate better.
The Cause Supporter – Tell us about your imperfections in your cause as well. Sure, you are a committed, yet imperfect vegan – this will create more engagement than preceding to be 100% perfect all the time.
Be ready to fail
When Timothy Hoang , CEO of Stories By Tim, Inc. develops his influencer clients, he likes to tell them: “You’ll never achieve the best branding until you fail a couple times while pushing past your comfort zone.” Your personal branding is always work in progress – at the beginning you are focused on one thing, then your passion changes and you focus on something else. Or people do not want to hear what you have to say. Yet. Pass you ego and pain, and find out why.
I believe that the story you tell, combined with your character, your everyday interactions, ultimately define your personal brand. Focus on those first and the personal branding will build itself.