Do you need a personal brand?
“When’s the last time you’ve Googled your name?” This is a question I often ask college students who want to know why I work in personal branding. Common questions I get are: What’s the point? Isn’t that just for celebrities and public figures? How can personal branding benefit me, no one else in my career is focused on building one?
It used to be that only celebrities need to focus on this, but now we all need to be our own publicists because we all create content about our lives on a daily basis. The cool part is that we have complete control over the narratives that we create. But with that complete control comes the responsibility to understand the longterm consequences of our digital content creation.
As I’ve had conversations about this new social landscape, I still meet resistance and hesitation by some people on getting started. So now I have a new reason as to why it’s important to start your personal branding strategy now: your children will google you in the future.
What if they could learn alongside you?
One of the many benefits of personal branding is that you get to create the narrative of your life, one that you want to be known for. However, the majority of our social interactions and publishing online is usually unconscious. Each post we publish and interact with is archived, helping us grow our digital presence over time. Whether it is through written, visual, audio or a combination of all three—we can strategically create content that showcases the lessons we are learning over time.
With this in mind, we can use our daily lives as a resource for our future offspring, providing them with essential lessons within the context of who we are. At the same time, there is an added benefit because in any event they don’t necessarily want to grasp a lesson you give them at the time that you mention it, it will still be available online for years to come. If you believe that they won’t research anything about your life in the future, just audit how you interact with people you’ve recently met. You find them on the social media accounts they have and research their past posts to see what they are about. Your kids will have the ability to do the same thing and whether or not they take action in researching your past—you want to be prepared.
Your content tells a story, here’s how to start
The content you create today will also be a part of your legacy. Once you pass on, the digital presence you cultivated over the years will be used as a resource for your kids and grandkids to help remember who you were. You can use this to your advantage. Technology (especially social media) exposes the world to the core of who we are as individuals. This fact will inevitably make all of us (or at least those who are conscious of the fact that our lives are being documented) into better people. That simple realization can help us as a platform for creating content we can share with our progeny. This can be a foundation for your approach to personal branding and content creation.
The easiest way to begin creating content is by asking yourself: “What questions do I currently have?” After asking yourself this, do some research online or ask people you know who are knowledgeable in the targeted subject matter for their answers. If you find the answers you seek, you can use that as content. If you don’t, you can create your own answer and publish it yourself.
You can also document what is going in your life on a frequent basis, as mentioned above. What may be boring or insignificant to you may be extremely valuable for your viewers so, don’t worry about being boring or seeking perfection with your content. You’re not the judge of your content, your audience is. And if you believe you don’t have an audience yet, then imagine that your future kids are that audience.
You can provide an example of how your kids should begin personal branding
Kids today are using cell phones as early as 10 years old. With that fact in mind, it is more than likely that your kids (or future kids) will be using technology and social media at an early age too. How will you prepare them for their digital lives? If you begin creating a personal brand now, the habits and best practices you discover can then be passed down to them.
The best way to learn anything is through imitation and if your kids and grandkids have a good role model helping them understand the benefits of strategic storytelling online (and all the other life-lessons you’re providing through your content), it could give them a head start in their ability to create the careers and lives they want.
These are just some personal musing to think about if you’ve ever wondered if personal branding and content creation is right for you.
I’d love to get your thoughts on this. How is this new ability to document our lives affected you? Do you feel like there are other reasons to start personal branding that aren’t mentioned here? Comment below and let’s chat!
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