It's not about you [#1]
I know it's called personal branding, but I use the terms branding and business interchangeably. Something you do for yourself? That's a hobby. Satisfying the need of your customer or audience? Now that's a brand.
Ask yourself this: what problem is keeping your customer awake at night, and how can you provide a solution?
If you're looking for a way to organize your thoughts, save inspiration, or research your competitors, I recommend the tool Dropmark. It's kinda like Evernote, but even easier to drag files, text, maps, websites or documents—so drop it like it's hot.
Brand for tomorrow [#2]
Maybe I'm biased, but I think that branding is the most powerful business tool available to us. There's no other viable way to identify your goals and take immediate steps to get you one step closer to achieving them. Want to charge more? Travel less? Brand accordingly and paired with hard work, you'll reap the benefits.
Where do you want to be years from now? Follow me on Instagram and send me a DM with your vision.
If you're looking for a way to keep your visuals consistent without requiring Photoshop skills, I highly recommend Canva. I find myself creating templates (like the image above) that I can follow and delegate to others on my team, all while staying on brand. Consider upgrading to Canva for Work, where you can upload your branded fonts and colors, too.
Be real [#3]
Regardless of positioning or industry, your brand is formed of two elements: content (what you say), and personality (how you say it). The latter is your secret weapon.
I'm not saying content isn't important—of course it is! But it doesn't make you unique. Keep us coming back for more by taking inventory of how you communicate in real life. If we were sitting across from each other having coffee, what would I learn? What words would you use to share your perspective? Do it exactly the same way online so you can recreate that in-person experience we love.
Here's my challenge for you: Hit reply and describe yourself in three words to me. I'll respond with a brand hero that has a similar personality.
Listen to yourself. Mid conversation, crazy ideas on your commute—they're all moments of thought that need to be recorded and repeated online. I love the app Braintoss to quickly catch thought in voice, photo or text format. In the wise words of David Allen, your mind is for having ideas, not holding them. If you don't toss them, you'll lose them.
No headshots [#4]
Branding is defined in a lot of ways, but recreating the in-person experience sums it up best. It's the act of making it easy for someone to understand you, and photography is key in achieving that.
You can communicate your demeanour, passions, and perspective through just one photo. It will transform your entire web presence and make it easier for someone to connect with you. Give someone a photo that clearly tells them who you are. Show them that you took the initiative to get amazing photography and that you’re comfortable in your own skin. Be the person that someone wants to connect with and meet.
Wonder where you should get photos taken? Let me know when you feel like your happiest self and I'll provide some suggestions for locations.
P.S. If you're intimidated on hiring a photographer or communicating what you expect from them, read this blog post about creating a shot list.
Go where it's less crowded [#5]
We feel the pressure every day to be active on a bunch of platforms. I get it, and share in the feeling of occasional resentment toward social media as a whole.
Focus your time and energy where it matters—where your audience is, and where they're most likely to notice you. As opposed to hiring a videographer, fussing with hair and makeup and cameras and lights, go live on Instagram, a channel many people are still too afraid to use. Or post a video on LinkedIn, which is likely to get more traction and views than other common platforms. Get in early before it's too late.
Today's action step? Go live. Do it today. Don't other think—just do. And right after hit reply with your handle or URL so I can take a peek!
Need some content ideas? My personal fav resource is Answer The Public. Type in a keyword and immediately get questions, prepositions, and comparisons, which will give you lots of inspiration.
Sub brand [#6]
Branding isn't just about looking good or slapping your logo around. It's a business tool to help organize and communicate your offering.
Dive a bit deeper on your visual brand by considering what methods, processes, or entities make you unique. For example, blog categories, product lines, or even office locations are all good opportunities to sub-brand your business. Icons help illustrate the way we perceive your brand, and it's an opportunity to gain control over your first impression.
Need a tool to source icons for your website, slides, or something else? The Noun Project will become your new best friend.
Be a big fish [#7]
Don't be afraid to own a niche. There's no reason to be afraid.
Geography matters less than ever before. The Internet can effortlessly connect you with a very specific customer. In fact, the more specific the audience you target, the more likely they'll identify themselves in what you offer. On the contrary, when you try to appeal to everyone, you effectively appeal to no one.
Being scared of a niche (or being "pigeonholed") is being afraid of being SO GOOD at something that people call you for your expertise. Have no fear. And while you're at it, reply to this email and let me know your niche. Appeal to a specific audience, and you'll likely attract secondary and tertiary markets as well.
Transcription tools can be helpful to get your thoughts written down. Rev is great for accuracy and short clips ($1/min and done by a human) and I use Temi for longer clips (like podcast interviews) at $0.10/min.
Embrace evergreen [#8]
I'm all for being more organized so it puts less pressure on ourselves. All for it! Evergreen content is one way to make the content you create last longer and be more impactful.
Evergreen means you can post it at any time without it being dependent on a certain day, event, etc. It becomes easier to schedule and post without as much daily effort—-perfect on days when you're really busy, and might not have the time to post.
If you're planning your Instagram feed ahead of time, I recommend the app Preview. I've tried them all, and this is my fav for preplanning your feed aesthetic, captions, and hashtags.