Composing the story of your personal brand is much like the story of a product or service’s brand – the goal is to reach your audience on an emotional level.
In my opinion, the pros of the digital age greatly outweigh the cons, but the simplicity of creating your own brand online calls for a lot of untrustworthy and lackadaisical sources. Therefore, it is your job to connect with your viewers on a much deeper level by telling a story that they connect with.
If you take at least one piece of this article along with you, be sure to develop your story on a foundation of truth. According to an informative article from Biz Builder Magazine, over 7,000 consumers of the newest generation were asked what they value most about a brand in a study conducted by McCann Worldgroup. The group of participants collectively respected authenticity above all else. Furthermore, they are drawn to “brands of substance” that exude a meaningful story. They crave “brands of substance” that are wrapped in a meaningful story. These findings apply to your personal brand, as well.
You may be thinking, where do I start? When writing your story for your own personal brand, remember it is you who is the living story. The beginning stages of developing your story should start with introspection. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Describe the path you took to get to the place you are today?
- What inspired you to fall into your current career?
- What values do you hold close to you and your offerings?
- How is your product or service different than others?
- How can you set yourself apart and succeed in your industry?
- In a normal social setting outside of work, how do you respond to the question, “What do you do for a living?”
- If you could have a room full of handpicked customers, consumers, clients, audience members, who would they be?
Once you have determined how you perceive yourself and what you have to offer, you should begin thinking of the wording of your brand’s story. The words that come up over and over again in your story are your cues. Cueing helps to keep things consistent. Lucky for you, these key words in your story are the keywords in SEO. Think of the key words you would use to describe yourself in your “About Me” section. These words or phrases relate to your niche and allow your viewers to decide whether or not you are of value to them.
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Finally, it is extremely important to include the consumers in your storytelling approach. Laurence Vincent, Director of The Brand Studio, places an emphasis on the consumer as he stated,
“Curiously, I do believe that brands tell stories. I just think most people who talk about brand storytelling don’t know what it means. The simple fact is that story is how consumers connect brands to their lives.”
You have to begin to draw a parallel between your own self-concept and how others perceive you. One effective way of incorporating your consumers, clients, or target audience, is to listen to their conversation on social media. Discover some of the following:
- What are they saying about you and your brand?
- What are their wants and needs in your area of expertise?
- What role can your brand play in their lives?
- What are their feelings toward your competitors?
Telling a compelling story of your personal brand is the difference between a trusted source and a source overlooked. By discovering your own story, you can begin reaching your audience on deeper, more meaningful level.
Have you thought about the story of your personal brand? How do you differentiate yourself from others in your industry?
Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for organizations with products that target job seekers and/or employers. She is also the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011), #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.