By Evan Hughes
We caught up with Delisha Grant, attorney and expert on self-branding, for some tips on building your personal brand.
For someone just getting started, what is the best way to start identifying what their “brand” is?
It is important to consider three key components: Talent—What are you insanely good at? Passion—What would get you out of bed in the morning even if you were not paid to do it? Unique identifiers—What characteristic(s) separate you from the pack and would make people stop and take notice? The multimedia age that we live in is really a blessing and a curse. Technology and new media have made it much easier to gain access to a target demographic, but at the same time, the market is almost always flooded with other brands competing for the same target audience’s attention. Cutting through noise and establishing your niche takes immense dedication and consistency. It is not an overnight process. I have found that those who can settle into the area where talent, passion, and uniqueness intersect are much more likely to stay the course and build a sustainable brand.
Is blogging still of interest to recent grads?
I think blogging is here to stay. It is a great way to pique (and keep) public interest and have a “voice” on the Internet. But, blogging only brings benefit when it’s done correctly. If the purpose of blogging is to grow a brand and expand its audience, new posts must be frequent—once per week at minimum. I haven’t even mastered this yet, but I have seen it work for others. Those who are intrigued by your content will crave more of it, and the moment they realize that you blog sporadically is the moment they will inevitably stop being very attentive. It is worth noting that once your blog is established and has a substantial following, the frequency is a lot less important. Also of importance—what blogging was 10 years ago is very different from what it is today. Gone are the days when blog posts had to be several paragraphs to be taken seriously. It is no secret that our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. I think this is partially why micro-blogging sites like Tumblr have become so popular. Brevity rules the day. This doesn’t mean that lengthy blog posts are a no-go (I’m still a fan of well-written articles that look more like an op-ed piece than a twitter update). It just means that the content must be pretty informative and/or inspiring if you want people to keep reading beyond the first 250 words. Lastly, blogging creates a very unique opportunity to significantly expand your audience overnight. Video isn’t the only thing that can go viral. There are countless stories of bloggers whose popularity skyrocketed by way of one post landing in front of the right set of eyes. You never know when your content may be shared by the right person or picked up by a major media outlet and result in thou- sands or even millions of new readers flocking to your blog.
What role can/should video play in branding yourself?
Video is incredibly important in branding yourself, and probably the component that people are slowest to adopt. Appearing on camera can create a level of unwanted vulnerability that can be avoided in other branding elements like blogging. However, this is precisely why video is so effective. It reveals the person behind the brand, or confirms that the person and the brand are really one and the same. This is some- thing audiences seem to be more and more interested in. It makes you “human” and gives your personality and quirks an opportunity to shine through. When done correctly, it can lead to viewers falling in love with you as a person and supporting your associated brand(s) for that reason alone. Social media also makes “guerrilla” style videography completely acceptable. Who says you need an expensive camera and an experienced editor to connect with current and prospective fans through this medium? Just get started, even if it means taping on your smartphone. If you generate a significant following, a media partner may come along and foot the bill for a more sophisticated setup.