Personal branding is so hot right now. From snazzy logos to custom-fitted public personas and editorial calendars to outfits designed to be just hipster enough, personal branding does for individuals what Madison Avenue did for big brands back in the ’50s and ’60s — it helps you put your best foot forward.
Unfortunately, many people don’t understand what branding, personal or otherwise, actually is. Copyblogger puts it best (best read in Tyler Durden’s tone and pace): “Branding isn’t your company name. It’s not a tag line. It’s not a logo. Branding is just another name for creating a perception.”
Sometimes that perception may be that you’re an expert in your field, other times it may be that your small business has the best customer service around, but whatever it is, your branding should be as close to a reflection of your actual business practices as possible. What do we mean?
Be True To You
Are you impatient and tough to work with, but able to always produce great work on time? Play that last part up, instead of trying to hide the first.
When it comes to customer decisions, sharing the criteria your company used to determine such is a great idea, as can your thoughts behind boosting employee morale. But when it comes to decisions about laying people off, dropping clients or other, more intimate, issues, sharing the step-by-step process with the world in a blog post isn’t the best idea. Save those stories for late nights around the conference table.
It’s Okay To Polish Your Story
One of the biggest concerns with social media, content creation and any additional marketing/advertising mediums is the amount of time it takes to do it right. While we’d all love to have an in-house storyteller capable of creating content that shifts the world’s perception of you to however you’d like, it’s not always possible. Hire a great writer to get you started, and then build off what they do.
One of my own failures in branding via content marketing on my own blog is the complete lack of focus on any topic. Sure, I can say, “but it’s all about me, which is consistent!”, but that doesn’t work when you’re a small business trying to repeatedly attract new customers by giving each a somewhat planned experience. Pick a few things to laud and leave your competitors to picking among your left overs.
Content marketing that’s helpful to potential or current clients benefits both sides in the long run. Good luck.