The last 6 weeks have been an absolute whirlwind. Phew! I recently became an author by finally publishing the personal branding planner that I have been working on (a bit inconsistently, I’ll admit) for the last 2 years. Between writing, editing, and teaching the Job Search Bootcamp, I felt like I didn’t have time or energy for much. Luckily, I was reinvigorated after speaking at the We All Grow, a latina blogger summit in NYC on November 1. I shared the one thing that most bloggers are missing when it comes to elevating their blog from just a hobby to a brand. I broke down exactly what personal branding is, why it matters, and how it impacts us every single day. From the tools you need, to your elevator pitch, I gave clear and actionable tips you can use to build your audience and position yourself to stand out.
So what is the one thing you’re missing from your brand? It’s quite simple: Your story! Your personal brand is the story that you tell the world. It's what makes you unique and different. There are thousands of bloggers and freelancers in the world. Telling your story is what connects you to your audience, boosts your engagement, and allows you to build your tribe. You will not be everyone’s cup of tea, but you may be someone’s shot of patron. Regardless of what you are, you need to recognize that you are something to somebody. You tell your story many ways — especially in how you package and position your expertise. Your site (especially the about page), your channels, your business card, your outfit and your media kit, all speak for you.
The Three Reasons Why You Need to Tell Your Story
It humanizes you.
You are a problem solver. That’s what entrepreneurial minds are made for. We’re always looking for ways to be better and help others in the process. Being authentic and transparent about where you came from and who you are, makes finding and understanding your niche a lot easier. You may blog for dark skinned girls, for petite girls, for women who have acne, or the women who felt they weren’t enough. You may coach women with low self-esteem or run a website that shares the information you wish you had in college. Whatever the scenario, your content comes from your pain points. You need to be willing to be vulnerable.
Related post: What No One is Telling You About Personal Branding
People invest in you, whether you realize it or not. Why do you think reality TV, Instagram, Periscope, and Snapchat are so popular? We all crave human connection and are curious about others’ lives. When we build our brands, we try too much to be like journalists for the sake of professionalism which is the wrong approach. If people wanted to read objective, data-driven, academic content, they would read the New York Times, not a blog. Give people what they came for: you.
It elevates you.
Showcasing where you were and how far you’ve come is the exact social proof you need to elevate your influence. Hilary Rushford has this concept nailed. She frequently shares how she went from being on unemployment to making $1 million in her business in 9 months. ($1 million dollars during the same time frame it takes to make a baby? Yes please.) This rags to riches story is just the kind of motivation a struggling business owner needs to keep pushing forward. It builds trust, and trust motivates people to take action and buy. Whether you are selling your own products and services or looking to work with brands as a blogger, sharing your journey is something that shouldn’t be overlooked or forgotten.
Another example of using your story to elevate your brand is Boss Babes. Founder Alex Wolf gave girlbosses everywhere something they could identify with. She gave them something to relate and connect. She then built a unique online space for these women. You have to do that for your community. Build trust by showcasing where you've been and where you're going.
How do you get brands or clients to work with you? You show them you have influence. How do you build influence? You prove people will buy from you. How do you get people to buy from you? They trust you. How do you get them to trust you? You show them who you really are.
It informs you.
The things that you once didn’t know or struggled to find solutions for, have now become the centerpiece of your digital identity. I didn’t always know how to build personal brands, but by being transparent around my job search and career, I was able to uncover that others needed the same advice. By being transparent online and sharing your triumphs, lessons, and struggles, you’ll notice what people react to and the content they engage with most. Are there any trends in Instagram comments or tweets you’ve received lately? Who is leaving comments? What kind of person shares your content? Once you have a clear picture of who your audience is, create content with that woman/person in mind.
To figure out what story your brand needs to tell, see what people respond to. You need to listen as much as you talk. People will tell you what they want to hear - you just have to be paying attention. Measure your top Instagram posts, your top tweets, your best performing blog posts month over month and of all time The metrics will speak for themselves.
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