Are you ready to focus on your brand?

By now, especially if you follow me, you’ve heard a lot about personal branding. You’ve likely even seen others making an attempt to define their brand and raise their overall visibility. What likely is still unclear is what goes on behind the scenes and how much work is (or isn’t) involved regarding personal brand building.

Allow me to remove the mystery right away – it takes a lot of work and dedication. Sorry to be a buzz kill, but a great brand doesn’t just magically appear. It’s created through strategic planning and consistent deployment of content. Even if you hire someone like me to manage it for you, you still need to be present in the process and willing to collaborate and provide timely feedback.

The good news is if you’re willing to dedicate yourself to the process, it will all become second nature very quickly.

Below are a few tips so you know what to expect should you want to set out on a brand building journey.

Be prepared for real talk

Building your brand requires that you are honest with yourself regarding who you are (or aren’t) and the influence you have (or don’t). Having this “come to Jesus” with yourself will allow you to maintain realistic expectations throughout the building and execution process. Even the best marketing takes time for adoption, so you need to remain patient and realistic throughout the process.

Strategy, Strategy, Strategy

Even if you are a super star athlete or a TV personality, you need to have a strategy regarding where you brand is now and where you want it to go. You wouldn’t build a house without a blue print. Building your personal brand is no different. Who are you? Who are you trying to reach? And why would these audiences listen? These are all questions that are explored during a strategy session. Strategy is so important I’ve written an entire blog on it, click here to read it.

Understand the costs

Brand building, even if you do it yourself, is not entirely free from out-of-pocket costs. Let’s break down costs between hiring a professional and DIY:

If you decide to hire a professional to create and/or grow your brand, the overall cost can vary according to  the vendor and what it is you’ve agreed that they would do, i.e. draft a strategy, create messaging, create a content calendar, create original content, manage your social media accounts, etc. My preferred arrangement is a monthly retainer so the client and I can refrain from the counting hours game and can just stay focused on the plan. My retainer will often include hard costs to me that come as a result of the project so that I don’t need to go back to client for additional funds.

If you plan to a self-manage your brand be sure to research and access tools that will make your life easier, i.e. editing apps, graphic design apps, publishing platforms, etc. Click here for an article that has done the heavy lifting for you. Apps and platforms can range from free to rather expensive, and more doesn’t always mean better so shop around. Other hard costs you need to keep in mind could be for building a website, purchasing images and/or video, or hiring a photographer for a photoshoot.

Focus on engagement  

As you begin to execute your brand, be sure to focus on engagement levels rather than followers. You can have thousands of followers, but if none of them are liking and sharing what you post, you might as well not be there at all. Tailoring your brand message to the audience and platform so that you receive optimal engagement should remain your focus. Followers will always gravitate to interesting/unique/useful/entertaining content. 

Stay focused on your journey

No two brand journeys are the same. Your journey and your destination are not the same as anyone else’s, so don’t get wrapped up in what others are or aren’t doing with their brand. If you see someone doing something you’d like to emulate and it makes sense for you, by all means do it. Remember that executing your personal brand via social media is like having a publicist on steroids, so don’t think you are lesser or not meeting your objectives just because you perceive someone in your lane doing something amazing. It could all be smoke and mirrors. Stay focused on the strategy you created and you will see positive results.

If you’re ready to move forward, I applaud you. Investing in yourself by elevating your brand will be one of the best professional decisions you’ll ever make. If you set out to do it alone and it becomes too overwhelming, give me a call. If you already know you don’t want to take on this task, give me a call. If you’re not sure, give me a call. I think it’s very clear what the next step should be. Good luck!

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