I am a brand. We all are.
But this post isn’t about how I’m shaping my brand or building my brand.
It is about the four steps I’m taking while showcasing my brand.
And with just an hour a day, I had to build a system that would showcase who I am without wasting any time.
How did I get here?
Branding, writing and research: three things I really enjoy. But I’ve come to realize that I’ve never focused on these items for myself.
It feels pretty vain, to be honest. Self centered and egotistical for sure. However, this is normal when showing off a brand that is you.
In a business where credibility is critical to my success I figure the best way to approach my personal brand was to get out in front of it. Through the web, social media and other avenues, a person has more control of which first impression they deliver. I just want it to be accurate. You can judge me from there.
So, despite being very uncomfortable with the idea of creating a blog for myself (especially the vanity URL and the number of times I type “I” and “me”) I decided to move forward with a personal brand showcasing project that includes this website.
Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Just be careful.
My intentions are clear
If I was going to start showcasing my brand, I knew I had to start with a clear intention for why I wanted to do it.
My intentions are pretty simple really: create an honest first impression and build trust.
Why honest first impression and not good first impression?
Good is a matter of opinion. My intention is to show who I am and let you decide if it is good or bad. If you don’t like what you see, we can part ways now. That’s ok.
I work with lots of high school basketball players, business owners and decision makers. In the different businesses I own I want to work with customers year after year. That means that they have to trust me. Without trust we really don’t get a chance to build a relationship. How do you build trust without honesty?
The purpose of showcasing my brand isn’t to necessarily change people’s perceptions of me but to try and give them more information about who I am. My brand doesn’t need reshaping. But it could benefit from more awareness.
The reality is that trust building usually begins on the internet. Rarely do people act on blind faith when it is so easy to search Google or Facebook for a name.
Dial it in
With my intentions clear, the next decision was how to showcase my brand and where to focus my efforts. And possibly more important, how much time can I spend on it?
I took a pretty deep look in to my daily routine. I knew that with some sacrifices and a firm commitment, I could dedicate an hour every morning to this project. But I truly only had 60 minutes a day, no more than that. Every minute would count.
Where to go, what to do
I’m familiar with web building, enjoy writing and I understand Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For this particular project, building a blog site and utilizing Facebook and Instagram seemed to be the best fit.
It better be quick and easy
An hour can fly by. So I had to make it count.
I developed a system that would maximize my time by keeping me focused and avoid spinning my wheels for no reason.
A Daily Schedule
The first piece was a weekly schedule:
- Sunday – Start laying out my weekly goals
- Monday – Finish writing goals and update projects
- Tuesday – Publish goals and any project updates
- Wednesday – Focus on social media: comment, curate, schedule, find more topics for future posts
- Thursday – Research on the topic of next posts
- Friday – Publish a post on one of the selected topics
- Saturday – Finish up post or work on anything else that needs an update
This is more guideline than hard set rules but it gives me direction.
I’ve also narrowed in on format for blog posts. I’ve taken a similar approach to the ideas laid out by Joe Griffin in his “5 Blog Post Ideas to Bring Variety to Your Content”. A Google search for “types of blog posts” gives you 40,000,000 results so you’ve got options. The key is finding what works best now and build on it.
Personalized Post Type Templates
I started with four post types and then created templates for all of them. When I’m ready to write, I pick the one that seems the most appropriate and then just copy the template, rename it and start writing. This way I don’t have to sit down and rethink or remember what works. And if something needs tweaking I just update the template and it is ready next time.
And even though the template is the same, if you put time in to the post, each one will be unique. The value is in the content, not the structure.
The Ultimate Brand Test
The most important thing to remember in all my efforts in showcasing my brand is that they mean nothing if my brand isn’t genuine. Each time I post on Instagram or Facebook, when I write a blog or comment on a picture or article, the effort needs to reflect my brand characteristics. These are the characteristics I want to be held accountable for by the people I care about.
For me, my brand characteristics look like this:
- Family – the most important thing in my life
- Health – I want to improve the way I eat, think, work
- Hard working – I’m not afraid to do any job or put in any amount of time
- Honest – I say what I mean
- Integrity – I stick to my beliefs (even when it is hard to)
- Trust worthy – I do what I say
- Smart & Thorough – Details are reviewed, decisions are thought out, outcomes are considered
- Improving / Learning – I can always get better
Do they pass your “Ultimate Brand Test”?
Every personal brand has a big picture test that it is taking. For me, the test is this: if these characteristics are genuine and authentic, will my kids see them and choose to model them? If the people I care about described me, would they use this same list?
I love a well thought out plan. By clearly describing my intentions, understanding my available time and resources, making things simple and sticking to what my brand stands for, I will be showcasing my brand in the most effective way possible.