How do you define a brand? As a small business owner, the idea of “personal branding” (until VERY recently) gave me the creeps! I’ve never primarily defined myself by my career, so I cringed at the idea of who I am “in real life” so intimately tied to my business. I simply couldn’t fathom having these two (seemingly-separate) entities fused by this amorphous, pretentious-sounding thing called “brand”.
Yet there I was, starting my solo copywriting biz, desperately trying to figure out how “Myeisha” could stay hidden in the background while I built the MPower Content brand and serve my clients.
Spoiler alert: it ain't happenin’! But thankfully, a word from Miss O (Oprah Winfrey) snapped me out of my delusion and helped me reframe the idea of personal branding.
“Let excellence be your personal brand.” Oprah Winfrey
I was listening to a YouTube compilation of some of Oprah’s interview clips, and my ears perked up when she began talking about her own initial dismay with being a brand. She then decided that, instead of thinking about it as this fake persona, she could simply decide what parts of her own values she’d amplify as the core of her business. Her decision: let excellence be her brand. She decided to simply do everything with care and to do it so well that people couldn’t help but notice and want to work with her...
Yup, it’s just that simple. Mind. Blown!
So, I’m building a personal brand. Now what?
After I replaced my slimy definition of personal branding with the more simplistic, purpose-driven one, I began the work of figuring out how to go about the whole thing (still in process.) Per usual, my first step was to go down the rabbit hole of research and podcasts to learn as much as I could to begin my personal branding journey.
Below is a list of podcasts that helped me crystalize the concept and get into action (this blog post being one of those first steps!)
Know Like & Trust Show with Brittney Gardner
What I love: Brittney’s relaxed, engaging interview style combined with ACTIONABLE tips.
Great episode: #107
While this episode skewed more philosophical than actionable, what stood out to me was Brittney’s statement that: “You need to turn off at least as many people as you turn on, or you don’t have a brand. You have an advice column with a lackluster personality.” Whew! That’s definitely something to chew on when facing down fear and deciding how to share your voice.
Brand You Podcast with Mike Kim
What I love: Mike is a fellow copywriter-turned-business owner, so I get tons of value from his podcast on both fronts. And, like Brittney’s podcast, it’s packed with ACTION. Mike also doesn’t shy away from pulling the curtain back on his own business and talking about his setbacks and struggles.
Great episode: #219 (Interview with Nick Cavuoto)
If you’re like me, feeding the content monster that is social media can be exhausting (and I’m a copywriter, so I have to create for my clients too!) In this episode, Nick and Mike discuss how to use micro-content for social media audience engagement and building brand awareness.
On Brand with Nick Westergaard
What we love: While not squarely focused on personal branding, this podcast includes marketing strategy and amazing interviews with people who’ve worked with innovative brands like SalesForce and Whole Foods.
Great episode: September 21, 2020 with Margie Agin
As a copywriter, a cornerstone of the work I do is translating a brand’s personality into words. The September 21, 2020 episode, “Finding Your Brand Personality” dives into moving past a few clever phrases to actually building a meaningful, sustainable brand personality and voice. If you want to dive deeper, Margie’s book, Brand Breakthrough: How to Go Beyond a Catchy Tagline to Build an Authentic, Influential and Sustainable Brand Personality, is a great place to start.
You’re already a brand. Get over it!
Whether you like it or not, how you show up as a friend, a parent, or an employee is already a brand of sorts. People already associate you with personality traits, skill sets, and values. That's the foundation of your personal brand. Now, let’s see how that translates into building a business that you love!