One of the most common questions I get from writers and creatives is, “how can branding help me?” There are so many ways, but for brevity’s sake let’s just look at these few. But first, remember that great personal branding is all about knowing yourself so you can go kick ass at whatever it is you love!
If you’re unsure of exactly what the hell a brand is, you’re not alone. Read this post first to get the quick definition (& how it’s different than platform, or marketing).
If you DO know what a brand really is, read on.
Clarity = Powa! (aka Power)
Branding makes your life easier. Imagine you have a clear vision of where you want to go, what makes you strong, what values you hold dear, and clarity as to just who you are.
Suddenly making decisions like whether to take that job, or make that video, or write that book become easier. I’m not saying it’s magic, but it does give you more powa to make decisions.
Unlike what you may have thought before, your brand doesn’t pigeon-hole you, it frees you to be your most authentic self while pursuing the goals you truly care about.
Email Newsletters, ads, sales funnels, etc. are pointless without mindset.
Have you ever felt overwhelmed with the sheer quantity and pace of marketing? Really, who has time to do all of the things that everyone says you should do to promote yourself? We have to pick and choose what we’ll try and how we’ll market ourselves–but those are just actions, to do list items. If we want to succeed we have to change our mindset.
I’ve been working in branding and marketing for many years, but it wasn’t until recently that I realized just how key mindset is.
When you’re down in the trenches promoting yourself or your work it doesn’t always feel refreshing or inspiring. It’s easy to lose sight of why you’re doing it in the first place. That’s where branding shines. If you’ve created a cohesive brand and branding strategy, it’s easier to go back and remind yourself of your WHY (why you’re doing all this anyway).
But there’s one more thing.
Brand strategy also takes you in depth into who your ideal market is and once you have a more intuitive and structured insight to who the people are who love your work (what they desire, and where they are) all of your efforts become more effective as well.
Marketing without first taking the time to figure out your brand strategy is like throwing darts into a lake, hoping to catch a fish.
Achievement isn’t as satisfying if you don’t know who you really are and what you really want.
We’ve all seen it before, people at the pinnacle of their careers who end up having a mental breakdown, or worse. And instinctively we know that many times this is do to overwhelm at a life that was reeling from fame and fortune. I’m no celebrity or billionaire, but I’m willing to bet self knowledge and mental healthcare could have prevented these tragic reactions to “success.”
When you are no longer in a low-key existential crisis all the time, you suddenly have the strength and clarity to do the things you never imagined you could.
Like creating the kind of art you feel born to create, for instance. Good brand development helps empowers you to do this.
You have a brand, whether you want one or not.
Think about the ridiculously successful writers and creatives you know of–they all have a personal brand, or what some might call a personal philosophy.
You understand quickly who they are and what they’re all about. You then use that knowledge to decide whether or not they are for you. Your audience deserves the same.
Regardless of whether you’re consciously creating a brand strategy, or just doing your random thang, people are watching. They are deciding whether or not you and your work fit into their lives. If you want to be successful you must make it easy to understand just what you’re all about.
What drives you? What do you want to do in this life of yours? How do you want to be perceived?
Chances are, you will not achieve the kind of success you want, unless you get super clear about who you truly are and what you offer the world.
The Secret Sauce is you.
When I set out to become a legit writer I was very confused about how to brand myself. After all I wrote in different genres and my day job was in marketing, design, and branding for business. For months I struggled with just what I wanted to do.
Then one day I attended a local TedX talk on personal branding. The speaker said something that shifted everything for me. Paraphrased it was this:
When it comes to personal branding, what you do for a living doesn’t matter as much as who you are.
Let that sink in for a moment.
How you move about the world, your values, your desires, your professionalism, the way you do things is most important. Whether you change careers or genres it doesn’t matter if you’ve build a solid brand based on WHO you are.
This is what helps personal brands like Elizabeth Gilbert or Shonda Rhimes skip from genre or format without losing their fan base. People want to engage with other people. Sure they may be initially attracted to your writing or art, or songs, or whatever you’re making, but they will STAY because WHO you are comes through and resonates with them.
Invest in self-knowledge
This is why I do what I do. See, I believe we have the opportunity to make the world a better place and we all have our parts to play. Writers and creatives are needed more than ever. And yet writers and creatives tend to doubt themselves more than most. Our culture has placed more value on money than beauty, but I know we can have both. I refuse to follow the starving artist philosophy.
It’s the arts that makes us human, settles us, informs us, ignites us, and helps us remember that there is more to life than mere survival.
I’m on a mission to help creative people step into their authentic selves, even if that self is a work-in-progress–spoiler: we are all works-in-progress–and gain the clarity they need to live the life and do the work they feel pulled to do.