I recently read an article by Forbes, which really made me think about the changing face of influencers and brands over recent months. One of the most interesting elements of the article, was that not only is the world changing from a technology point of view, but it’s also changing from a culture point of view.
There’s a huge movement online of social media users looking for more authenticity and ‘realness’, it’s no longer about how many filters you can add or how smooth your thighs are (although that place of the internet does remain). Instead, people are looking for an insight into people’s lives. Instead of building a brand through showing off or making others feel bad about themselves, we’re instead setting a stage for those who want to share a message. We’re offering a platform to the everyday people doing extraordinary things, to those overcoming challenges which we all recognize, and for those whose platform is about being themselves as opposed to being a shiny version. Personally, the thought of this shift in content consumption makes me excited.
From a personal branding point of view, this new emphasis is making space for new creators, for a new generation of servers - those who want to create and generate content which is for a specific audience. It’s something I’ve been expecting and recognizing for a while, however, to see publications such as Forbes discussing it, is further confirmation that this is something we should be talking about and utilizing to our advantage. Whether that’s as a content creator, or as a content consumer - it’s time to stop feeling bad about ourselves. We all know the online world of influencers have become oversaturated, and Forbes lays out an excellent example of an influencer with 2.6 million follower being unable to sell 36 t-shirts. The reality is, people are moving away from the influencer market and into working with people who have a strong personal message. This is hugely exciting, because it means that not only are people engaging more and more with these types of creators, but it also means that these creators are being recognized for their worth.
If you’ve been thinking about moving into that creation space, of building a personal brand and taking your message and vision more seriously, there has never been a better time.
From blogging to photography to being a content creator, the online world is transforming - and it’s becoming your oyster. There are hundreds of thousands of resources for you at your fingertips, but what these resources often overlook, is the foundation - the 'how to' the 'why'. So, what do you need to do to use this shift in the online world to maximize your personal brand?
There are several questions you should be asking yourself before you start to build a business from your brand - and the number one, is what exactly do you want to do? Do you want to create online products? Do you want to be a service? And is there anyone right now, who is doing it already?
The reach of social media can make it feel like you can reach anyone and everyone, but the reality is you don’t want to do that. Have you ever heard the saying, “I’d rather have one best friend who loves me, than 500 friends who tolerate me.” You will never make an impact or change the lives of those who tolerate you - which is why you need to find your audience. Those who you serve.
To do this, you need to niche down. To truly identify your niche, you're going to need to niche, niche down, niche down again and, probably, niche down once more. It’s a process, but it means you’ll be reaching those who need and want to follow you.
Once you've identified who your niche is, it's time to look at what others are doing. The likelihood is, if you're already generalizing, you'll have an idea of who is killing it in your niche and what products you love. If not, it's time to have a Google of the competition.
Research and write down:
Alongside each one, write what you like and dislike about it. What are they doing well and what would you like to replicate? What do you not like?
Once you've defined this, you can start to build your business and generate the content you would enjoy consuming.
Your methodology is simple - how do you take someone from A to B. If you've identified your target audience as somebody who wants to build a new product, how do you take them from that ideation stage to a tangible product? How do you solve their problems? Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day. Your methodology may take tweaking, but that is perfectly okay. We all need to learn, adapt and overcome and as elements of society such as technology continue to evolve, we will need to adapt our methods too. Your personal brand will be a key factor in determining this methodology as you will want your A to B to adhere to your own values and vision. Once you've broken down your methodology into steps, you can narrow those steps down into keywords for your processes. Once those keywords have been defined, you can create content around those stages, knowing this is exactly what your target audience needs to get from A to B.
Your methodology is the starting point for your content, which will help you to decide on and build your assets. Your assets are what people want to buy, they are essentially, what will turn your hobby into a business. The idea of developing a personal brand and taking the previous steps to identify your niche and purpose, is that you know you will have an audience who want to buy your products. Because you’ve been targeting them, you’ve been reaching them, and they’ve been engaging with you. When you are building your assets you should always have the methodology of A to B at the forefront of your mind - how will these assets help your target audience? What are you bringing to this particular table that they need to purchase?