Your Personal Brand Sucks Because Of 1 Simple Mistake
Let’s get one thing straight..
Your personal brand can “suck” even if you’re making a shit ton of money from it.
There’s not that big of a correlation between money and the “goodness” of your brand.
If that were the case, a lot of people would be digital nomad millionaires right now trekking across the world (and probably filming every second).
The reason why many make a lot of money online is because they’re incredible at selling, not just branding.
Branding can certainly help when you sell, but selling is a whole other art form that any online vulture can master with the proper allocation of time.
This is the same reason you click on articles that promise you’ll be able to tap into “PHENOMENAL, EVERLASTING FLOW STATES” at will by the time you’re done reading.
Congrats everybody, they just sold you something and (probably) didn’t deliver on it.
Oh, you gave them your email address, too?
Then they’re REALLY good.
Now that we’ve established the difference between BRANDING and SELLING, I’m ready to go for the jugular in the first point.
Everyone’s Trying Too Hard To Sell Something
I see so many people create polished videos of their head against some white wall with pitch perfect lighting and a fake smile.
It makes me shiver just thinking about it.
Then they talk for a while about the latest marketing trend or something.
It doesn’t feel natural at all.
The reasoning for this is they want to present themselves as professionals. By creating absolutely fucking pristine videos, they think they’re doing everything right.
And they seem so arrogant about it, too.
What they don’t understand is, these videos are positioning them as robots more than anything.
And you know what? These videos might work for some people. A lot of folks might even eat it up. But the problem is they’ll never have something to add to the conversation.
Because they’re not being themselves.
They’re being what they think they gotta be to make a living at this. And that’s unknowingly putting them into a box that they can only crawl out of IF they decide to be more authentic at some point.
Whaddya really think behind that fake smile? I can practically see the dollar signs in your eyes.
The Secret To A Great Personal Brand Is..
Being fucking real TO A FAULT.
To the point where you wonder whether something is borderline embarrassing but you decide to publish it anyway.
How many, in the vastness of the internet, have the courage to do that?
There’s only so many personal development pieces you can read from somebody before you start wondering if there’s a human behind it at all.
You know what I mean?
The numbers are fantastic and the email subscribers are fantastic, but what makes you different? That’s what branding is.
The best way to create a good personal brand is to forget that a stupid term like “personal branding” even exists in the first place.
Forget about it all — content marketing, email subscribers, click-through rates, etc.
That muddies the water. An over-reliance on these terms is what led so many astray in the first place.
Now when you write an email or an article, you’re too worried about statistics instead of being real. And that’s why you have B.S. videos that look fantastic but feel anything but.
They’re lacking the soul.
It’s fine to think about statistics, by the way, but they should never be the biggest driver behind the content you put out — telling a new story about YOURSELF should be.
Now you’re thinking.
A Lesson In Branding From Casey Neistat
I’ve gotten into Casey Neistat’s videos pretty HEAVY lately. He has upwards of 3 million subscribers on YouTube, and will probably be considered one of the “Founding Fathers” of social media influencing 50+ years down the line.
Maybe I’m getting too ahead of myself.
The reason I love Casey is that, despite his egregious freaking fanbase, I get the distinct feeling he is himself in every single video.
I’ve seen him vent about online trolls, open every package that comes to his office, end his wildly-successful vlog, and basically just attack life with a palpable positivity that feels insanely authentic.
This is Casey Neistat.
The guy who gets up on stage at events and is visibly nervous for the first few minutes before settling in and being awesome.
Willing to be vulnerable. Willing to share EVERYTHING (to a fault) with other people. Willing to vent about his frustrations and zoom around NYC on a boosted board like some millennial because he enjoys it (he’s in his mid-30’s I believe).
THIS is a brand.
And you know what? Casey probably doesn’t care about that term. The whole time he was just trying to document his life. Every part of it.
Ya’ll need to watch yourself some Casey.
Chasing Perfection Is Killing Your Brand
In case you didn’t know, the rules have changed.
People everywhere are starting to put more stock in those who are vulnerable instead of those who are polished.
I’ve seen it with my own articles.
I talked about a terrible mistake I made in one of my posts and many people said it was their favorite article of mine they ever read.
People can relate to vulnerability. We can’t relate to super polished individuals who look and write like they’ve never had a problem in their lives.
I recently stepped into my old high school and saw a huge banner on the wall.
It looked awesome. Then I read it.
Big words like “strategize” and “community” and “ecosystem” attacked my eyeballs.
By the time I got done reading the five paragraphs, I struggled to understand exactly what it was trying to say in the first place.
After reading it 5 more times I realized the writer could’ve literally said everything the banner communicated in less than two sentences if they REALLY tried.
The person writing that was trying to be too proper. Too polished.
Hey, the banner looks great, but it’ll put people to sleep if they actually ever try to comprehend it.
That’s the problem.
A good personal brand doesn’t have anything to do with scripts or camera lenses or the perfect fucking wall.
It has everything to do with how accurately you can paint a picture of your actual self with minimal “editing” of the bad parts.
Now you got a great brand.
Now go forth and be yourself.
Want to get started building a brand on Medium? I have a free 5-day email course called “Your First 1,000 Medium Followers” that will teach you how to do that! Sign up for it right here. I’d love to teach you a couple things.