Personal Branding – Back at It
It’s yet another Friday, beautiful people! Can you believe that the month of May is already over!? Talk about time flying by. It’s moments of realization like this that remind me of the importance to truly soak in the day-to-day. I will be the first to admit that when I have a fully booked calendar, a never-ending inbox, and a to-do list that seems to take one step forward and five steps back, my mindset enters tunnel vision “go-time” mode. Priorities rise to the top, and everything else gets placed on the backburner. However, more often than not, it is in the small moments that make up the crazy daily functioning, that some of the greatest joys and deepest lessons are realized.
How can this possibly relate to a refined, polished, and well-planned personal brand you may ask? I have one idea for you to begin considering: Genuine content. That’s right, step number two of my Personal Branding 101 series centers around one of the easiest, and most well-received approaches, to your brand’s content strategy.
Super quick, before we dive in, I have one housekeeping reminder that the final blog in this series is going to be completely made up of Q&A. I have already gotten a handful of questions DMed to me, but I know that more are to come. Again, I will be answering everything you want to know about building a successful personal brand, so pass on anything you want to learn more about. To submit your questions, leave a comment below, or feel free to DM me on Instagram @laurenewalsh using this format: “Blog Series Q: xxxx”.
Now, onto the good stuff!
Step 2: Document. Do not Create.
Document; do not create. It is extremely important in personal branding to document what happens in your life, as opposed to trying to always create content. Remember from what we talked about in step one of the series — you do not build your brand, you are your brand, so don’t try to alter this to be something that it is not. If you are new to the series, or need a quick refresher, you can find the blog covering Step 1 Here.
Anytime something happens to you, write it down. And don’t just stop with writing down the situation, but go deeper into how it made you feel, things that you learned, and ideas you walked away with. Sometimes documenting takes place over a day, a week, or even a month, as you process how something has impacted you. The brightest minds and most brilliant thinkers always have a notebook with them to record anything and everything that might unexpectedly present itself. If you are not one for carrying around a physical journal–which this is totally a personal preference–let me shed light on the notes app on your phone. This is a game-changer; I keep a running list going of anything and everything, and whenever I need a spark of inspiration for content I look through the records that have literally made up parts of my life. Document. Do not create.
As you begin to build your presence online and across different platforms, it is important to understand the value in repurposing the content you have documented to maximize its use across all platforms (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, TikTok, Blogs, Myspace–wait, scratch that last example). Posting a single piece of content onto a single platform is such a waste of the stories and encounters that literally shape who you are, and as an extension, your brand. Take your documented encounters, establish their structure and voice to best fit the function of each platform, and then strategically use these to leverage the story you are trying to share. We’ll get more into the various mediums and how to strategically use these in a step still to come.
The beauty in beginning to operate from a content structure of documenting and not creating is that you will have a continuous inflow of content to pull from; goodbye creative block. Your life is made up of so many moments and lessons that no one else can use in the same way you can (and yes, this is still true even in quarantine, you may just need to look a bit harder). The best brands, and the ones that are the most sustainable, are those that are genuine through and through. Always remember that stories can change lives, and your story is no exception.
Wait for the Scar
With the encouragement to be genuine, I do feel the need to address the topic of vulnerability as well, and something to keep at the forefront of your mind–this is for both your personal sake and the sake of your brand–when considering what to share. There may very well end up being a point in time when you are willing to open up and vulnerably share something in your life. It may be an event that has greatly shaped you, a lesson you learned the hard way, or some way you have grown. When you reach this point, I want to be the first to congratulate you and celebrate how amazing that is! Again, you never know who your story will impact. But, I do also want to offer up the advice that until a wound has healed into a scar, I would not turn a vulnerable moment into any kind of post. In the same way that it is said to not make any big decisions when you’re emotional, likewise, don’t post when you’re overly emotional or still in the thick of a difficult season. The day will come, but don’t force it prematurely. Heal before you help.
“until a wound has healed into a scar, I would not turn a vulnerable moment into any kind of post.”
You are your brand! No one can create or develop this in quite the same way that you can; how awesome is it to think about that! With this in mind, I highly recommend that you take time in the midst of your busy life to identify the small moments and lessons that impact you. Take time to document. Do not create. Never again should you struggle to come up with brand content, because you my friend, are the greatest content asset to use!