“Mark my words, if you want to stay competitive in the coming years – I don’t care if you’re in sales, tech, finance, publishing, journalism, event planning, business development, retail, real estate, you name it – you will still need to develop and grow your personal brand . Everyone-EVERYONE-needs to start thinking of themselves as a brand. It is no longer an option; it is a necessity. “ Gary Vaynerchuk, Crush It
If Facebook was a country it would be the 4th largest country in the world. Youtube is the second largest search engine after Google. Twitter, Linkedin, Tumblr, Flickr… What are those social networks all about?
We live in the era of personal brands.
Your personal brand is what sells your services, gets you hired, helps you develop relationships. Your personal brand is what makes your business recognizable and sets it apart from others.
Here is where a lot of people get stuck. Everyone tells you that you have to create a unique and compelling brand. And you probably have been thinking long and hard what your brand is all about and how you can make it unique and different.
Let me tell you the truth that you already know.
You don’t need to create a brand. You don’t need to come up with anything unique and different.
Because you ARE a brand already.
And this brand of YOU is as unique as it can get. You can try long and hard but you won’t find anything more unique than YOU. You are one of a kind. Don’t look any further.
All you really need to do is embrace your DNA, get clear on your core message and learn to clearly communicate that message to the world.
That’s what authentic branding is all about. And authentic brands are the ones that crush it.
Here are some of the steps that will help you:
1. Get clear if the business you are in is really the business that resonates with who you are.
Are you passionate about what you do? Is it YOUR business? The best test to find out if you are truly passionate about something is to ask yourself – would I do it for free. If yes, then green light to you.
2. Get clear on your core message.
What is unique about you? What is your story? Come up with a compelling tagline that clearly communicates your message. Brainstorm for ideas until you find the one that resonates with you. Don’t do anything else until you find your core message. This is the most important step.
Your brand starts with your authentic core message.
3. Get clear on your Ideal Customer.
The clearer you are on who your Ideal Customer is, the clearer your message is going to be. Getting clear on your Ideal Customer is a whole blog post in itself, so I’ll write about that later, all I want to say here – don’t be afraid to narrow down as much as you can.
Who is he? How old? Is it he or she? What does she do for a living? What dreams does he have? Kids? Married? What else do you know about your Ideal Client?
Can you imagine how much more clarity you get by knowing exactly who you write your book or your blog post or even Twitter and Facebook updates for. Your website copy, your sales pages – everything is going to be transformed once you know exactly who you are writing for.
After you’ve got those basics covered, it’s time to start communicating your brand to the world.
4. Make sure that everything you do communicates your message in one way or another.
When people land on your website they should understand within 7 seconds what you are all about. Your blog posts should communicate that message directly or indirectly. Everything you put out there should be put out with your core message and your Ideal Client in mind.
5. Be consistent.
Have the same look and feel on every platform you are on online.
Logos are overrated, often your picture and your unique style is enough to create consistency. But logo can serve the same purpose too.
Make sure your style is consistent with your message. Meditation retreat with a tagline Rejuvenate your mind and calm your soul and a busy website with crazy colors – Not Good.
Start with you. Then go from there.
I love simplicity. I love Clarity. Look at my website. Clear. White. Simple. I also love color red. Fire. Passion. Again, look at my website. Look at my logo. Look at my Twitter and Facebook. You get the point.
6. Start blogging.
I don’t care what business you are in, if you are not blogging yet, start. Blogs show the personal (human) side of you and your business. Blog tells your story. People want to buy from people. Stories sell.
7. Tell your story.
You have a story. We all do. What’s your story? How did you come to where you are now? Tell us about your failures, about your successes. Why are you qualified to solve the problem that you are solving?
The about page is usually one of the most visited pages on blogs and small businesses websites. People want to know your story. They want to know You.
8. Don’t write from the third person.
Your customers will connect with you much quicker when you write from the first person.
9. Don’t try to please everybody.
It won’t lead you anywhere. Speak your message. Don’t apologize for who you are. There will always be critics, but those who connect with you, will follow you everywhere you go.
10. Be YOU. Don’t be afraid to show your personality.
I like color red. I am introvert. I hate small talk. I am vegetarian. I am from Russia and I speak with sexy accent. I sometimes make mistakes when I write blog posts. My man just started checking some of the stuff I write, but overall it’s all me. Raw and unrefined.
What about you? Your customers/readers/followers want to know YOU.
“Be yourself, everyone else is taken” Oscar Wilde
In Atlanta? Check out my September authentic branding and blogging workshop. We”ll take the brand of you out and come up with a strategy to deliver it to those who need it.