Brittany Krystle spent several years of her life working toward a law degree, but she quickly realized that law was not for her.
It wasn’t her passion; it wasn’t how she wanted to spend her time on this earth, and so she pivoted, first into entertainment and then into personal branding, where she finally found her calling.
Brittany didn’t take any marketing courses or acquire any relevant business or marketing degrees, but in many ways, her life to that point had been building toward personal branding.
After all, a successful lawyer is someone who knows how to manage their reputation and their professional brand, as well as someone who kills it in the courtroom. As for the entertainment industry, it’s all about branding.
Brittany has worked with some of the biggest names in the industry and her aptitude for content marketing and content production has seen her become one of the most sought-after talents in the United States.
I was honored to sit down for a one-on-one chat with Brittany, someone I know personally and have known for several years. We discussed what it takes to create a successful personal brand and looked at the many ways to drive revenue to such a brand.
You can find the interview above, but in this blog, I will be delving a little deeper into the topics we addressed, covering personal branding tips, brand clarity guidelines, and more, while also showing founders and entrepreneurs of all experience levels how they can manage their own personal branding.
Personal Branding Defined By An Expert
Whether you’re an outspoken and extroverted business owner, a fun-loving influencer, or the founder of a small independent company, you’re a brand.
You’re putting yourself out there for the benefit of your company and/or your bottom line, and like a brand that tells its story through commercials, articles, and product packaging, you need to be careful how you present yourself.
Anyone who thinks that none of this matters, that it should only be about the company and not the founder/owner, is living in a different era.
Think about how many major e-commerce brands have risen and fallen as a result of their founder’s actions.
Facebook may not be reliant upon the genius of Mark Zuckerberg, its success may not depend on his personality, but he’s still the founder, he’s still a major player. If he was seen running naked through Times Square declaring his hatred of social media and his love of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, you can guarantee those FB shares are going to take a hit.
All of this matters. We’re living in an age where customers want to feel like they’re investing in a company with values.
Your personal brand is how your customers perceive you. It’s the things they find when they Google you and read your interviews, blog posts, and social media posts.
It’s your story, the way you connect to your brand and your industry.
A personal brand is important for all customer-facing businesses and business owners, and this is true whether you’re selling retail products through Shopify, offering creative services to professionals, or dealing with fans and sponsors as an influencer.
Brittany defined a personal brand as a feeling, and as the things that people say about you when you’re not in the room.
I love this explanation, as it paints a perfect picture of what a personal brand is and how it can be manipulated.
You can’t force people to like you and say good things. But you can lay the groundwork, and if you do it properly, people will praise you, follow you, and support you, and it’s this support that you need.
Do You Need A Personal Brand?
In a recent interview with Nick Aldis, best known for his grueling work in the wrestling ring, where he fights under the name Magnus, we looked at the ways that a personal brand should be managed and utilized by famous actors, wrestlers, athletes, and musicians.
We addressed many of the ways that branding works in a highly specialized industry and were able to use Nick’s personal experience to help with that.
But what happens when you don’t have that history and that experience?
What if you’re a plumber or electrician and you don’t spend your weekends wrestling muscle-bound athletes in spandex while millions watch?
As Brittany stated in our interview, not only do you still need a personal brand, but you already have one. This is especially true if you’re providing a service. Before someone invests in you and pays for what you’re selling, they will Google you.
The question is, will that Google search display positive or negative results?
Many entrepreneurs and business owners don’t start thinking about personal branding until some damage has already been done.
Every SEO expert, writer, and marketer can relate stories of clients who came to them in desperation after discovering negative stories about themselves online. In fact, an entire industry has cropped-up for PR and SEO experts who know how to make negative stories disappear, either by removing them entirely or creating positive ones to push them into obscurity.
If you’re a self-employed plumber, you probably don’t have any such stories to worry about, but there may be bad reviews on trade forums and social media sites.
All of this is connected to your personal brand and it’s why branding is so important.
Personal Branding Mistakes To Avoid
Before we look at some ways to maximize your content marketing strategy and highlight Brittany’s top personal branding tips, let’s get the negative stuff out of the way.
For the most part, personal branding works just like business branding, and if you have any experience with the latter, you should adapt quickly to the former. However, individuals repeatedly make the same mistakes and these cause untold damage to their brands.
1. Avoiding All Limelight
Every time the subject of personal branding is raised, there are introverted entrepreneurs and business founders hiding away and stressing over what branding means for them.
They don’t want to “get out there” and make a name for themselves. They don’t even want to stand in front of a camera.
Habib Salo, an expert in scaling B2B businesses, recently told me how anxious he was when first stepping in front of the camera. He discussed the routine he used to desensitize himself and to reach a point where he was comfortable and confident.
And he’s not alone. Many of the biggest YouTubers and the most seemingly extroverted entertainers were incredibly anxious when first standing in front of a camera.
Of course, if you’re an introvert, the idea that you just have to “get used to it” is probably not what you want to hear. And the truth is…you don’t.
If you really don’t want to be in front of a camera, then don’t be!
Content production isn’t all about vlogs and grinning selfies. Some of the best content marketing strategies have revolved almost entirely around written content, whether it is being commissioned by a business owner and crafted by a copywriter or penned by them directly.
If you don’t want to speak, then write.
Writers are some of the most introverted people in the world, but they manage to maintain their personal brands by using their knack for the written word.
Take a leaf out of their book; if you’re not confident in front of the camera, then write; if you can’t write or speak, hire someone who can do one or both.
2. Losing Brand Clarity
Your personal brand, just like a business brand, can change over time, and there’s nothing wrong with this. People evolve, times change, and your followers, fans, and customers will typically be happy to follow you on that journey.
However, you need to have some sense of brand clarity from the outset and this should be maintained throughout, because some things can’t change.
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes for a moment. When they approach your website or social media pages, they don’t care about how you spend your day and what star sign you are. All that matters to them is the following:
- What can do you for me?
- Why should I care?
- What differentiates you and your services?
You’re not making a big commitment. Nothing is set in stone. You’re just laying some very basic groundwork to provide clarity and prevent confusion.
Brittany says that one of the things she sees most often is a complete lack of clarity on social media profiles and website bios. Rather than informing the customer how they can provide value, these bios list favorite foods and hobbies, or they talk about star signs and passions.
None of this speaks to your customers.
3. Not Speaking With Customers
In an ideal world, you’ll create a product, launch a company, publish some content, and within a few weeks, have a mass of social media followers hanging on your every word.
In the real world, it doesn’t work like that.
To understand what those customers want and how they perceive your brand, you need to speak with them. See things from their perspective, build a relationship, and make necessary improvements.
Brittany insists that all of her clients speak with at least 10 customers. It’s not something that the average founder is willing to do. They want to create a disconnect and they are happy to take a step back. But you can’t initiate a successful launch without knowing how your customers perceive you and the things you’re creating.
4. Not Getting To The Point
The average prospective customer gives your profile and website just a few seconds to make an impact.
If we use Instagram as an example, they’ll look at the picture, the caption, and then the bio. You’ll be lucky if they spend more than 3 seconds doing this (the average is just 1.5) and if you don’t capture their attention in that time, you’ve lost them.
This is why it’s important to consider the value of everything that you put out there and to make sure it’s succinct, snappy, and interesting.
If you’re a fitness expert selling body re-composition programs, don’t waste the first lines of your bio talking about where you’re from, why you love fitness, and how many pets you have.
Tell your customers what you can do for them, what makes you unique, and why they should be interested. Only when you have their attention should you focus on the superfluous information.
The old adage that you can never judge a book by its cover is true but try telling that to the 7 billion+ people who judge every single book they read by its cover.
5. Trying To Be On Every Platform
You don’t need to have a presence on every online platform. If you want to be on all platforms and you have the time and the means to make it work, go for it, but there’s no need to force yourself, especially if it means you’ll be sacrificing your content to do so.
Find the platforms that work best for you, your business, and your content marketing strategy.
If you’re an introverted devoted to writing blog articles, you don’t need to be on YouTube, and you can probably give Instagram a miss as well. Sure, Instagram optimization can work wonders for your content production plan, but it’s not suited to someone who’s only focused on writing blogs and posting syndicated content.
In such cases, look into LinkedIn optimization, get on Facebook, Medium, and don’t forget about Twitter. Alternatively, if you want to put yourself out there and plan to create regular videos and other visual content, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and Pinterest will make more sense.
Brittany often tells her clients to stick with just one platform to begin with. For her, it’s all about finding the path of least resistance; the option that plays to your strengths, and requires less time and effort.
Once you have built a foundation on that platform and have settled into your content marketing strategy, you can look at alternative options and start branching out a little.
6. Assuming Success On One Platform Will Lead To Another
Success, when measured in social media terms, in very limiting. To illustrate this point, we can use YouTubers as an example.
I know of countless YouTubers who regularly receive over 1 million views on their videos and have subscribers totaling over 250,000. Yet, at the end of their videos, they practically beg for Instagram followers or Facebook likes, because despite their success on one platform, they’re struggling on another.
Of course, success is relative, and their “struggling” fanbase of 10,000 Instagram followers will be a game-changing amount to someone with a much smaller platform. But it’s very little for someone who performs so well elsewhere.
The assumption is that everything will synchronize and that success in one place will lead to success in another.
This won’t happen without your input.
If you hit 100,000 subscribers on YouTube and decide it’s time for an Instagram account, don’t assume those subscribers will follow you just because you ask them to.
You need to put the time in; you need an effective content marketing strategy, just like the one you used to build your YouTube following. Sure, you have a little head-start, but that doesn’t mean everything will happen organically.
7. Misunderstanding Virality
What does it take for a social media account to go viral?
Ask the average person this question and they’ll probably tell you that it only takes a single post from a celebrity or influencer. You feed off their clout and you use it to hit new heights.
A few years ago, an acquaintance of mine posted a tweet that generated a lot of exposure. It received over 50,000 interactions, most of them positive. At the time, he had fewer than 200 followers and as he watched those likes increase, he was anticipating big things.
When the dust had settled, he had tripled his follower count, and more or less immediately he went back to creating tweets that were seen by just a few people.
Another acquaintance of mine makes his living as an artist and is immensely talented. He created some amazing artwork for an upcoming sci-fi flick, it was seen by the director and lead actor, and they both posted it and credited him on Instagram.
He was excited, because he was selling the same artwork in the form of merchandise, and he expected his sales to skyrocket. A week and several more big-name posts later, he had gained just a couple of thousand followers (the celebrities didn’t even follow him) and sold 1 branded t-shirt.
Luck certainly plays a role and if you can get a little boost from an established name, it will help you on your journey. But the majority of social media users overlook mentions and shoutouts; they read viral posts and then forget about them moments later.
You can’t rely on these things to get you to the top.
A half-hearted acknowledgment from an A-list celebrity can’t replace months of consistency and hard work. So, stop waiting for your big break, stop pinning your hopes on it, and focus on creating good content.
8. Waiting For The Right Time
This is a mistake you can find in every business and in every walk of life.
People are naturally scared of taking a giant leap into the unknown and when you add business, money, and the prospect of abject failure to the mix, the procrastination levels increase exponentially.
They look for excuses and they use these excuses to avoid making a commitment. For instance, they might convince themselves that it would be reckless to start anything new during the pandemic, when in fact, many businesses and individuals can benefit more due to the increased online spending and social media activity.
They may be waiting for their business to enter a new phase or for an investor to jump on board.
Many times, this delay is the result of misplaced expectations. They assume that as soon as they start building their personal brand, everyone will pay attention, followers will flock to see their every word, and potential clients and customers will scrutinize every soundbite.
In actual fact, it’s a very long and slow process. Sure, established business owners may see some immediate benefits, but in terms of building a large presence, it can take months and even years. It does not happen overnight and the sooner you get started, the sooner you can reap the rewards.
The only excuse you have for waiting is that you either haven’t launched your business and have yet to even decide what type of business to launch, or you have no means to create content.
However, it shouldn’t take you long to decide on the direction that you want your business to go, and even when you have a vague idea, you can start building your brand.
As for the content side of things, it’s okay to start small. If you have nothing, create something, post it, and start your journey, otherwise, you’ll be making the same excuses this time next year.
Content Marketing Production Tips
Content marketing is basically the content that you create to market yourself and/or your business. It’s not limited to advertorials and promotional tag-lines, nor is it limited to video commercials.
Your content marketing plan includes every piece of content that you create and publish, whether it’s a blog that you syndicate on Medium.com, a series of posts that you write on Twitter, or a lengthy Podcast that you host on Restream or YouTube.
It runs deep, and it’s intertwined with your personal branding.
Now that we’ve covered the personal branding mistakes to avoid, the things that you should not do, it’s time to look at some personal branding tips, the things that you definitely should do.
1. Audit Your Brand
The first step is to audit your brand and establish your baseline.
Brittany offers an auditing service to her clients and it is a crucial part of the branding process.
To begin with, simply Google yourself and your business.
What do you see?
If the search results are filled with other companies and other individuals who have your name, great. You have a blank canvas. If there are some news articles and press releases painting you in a positive light, even better. If it’s all bad reviews and bad press…there’s some work to be done, but everything can be fixed in time.
If you have been in business for a few years, this can be a pretty daunting experience, but it’s also necessary. More importantly, the sooner you shake the fear of discovery, the easier it will be to keep your brand under control in the future.
Everything you see here is what your prospective customers will see when they prepare to do business with you.
Sponsors, investors, clients, customers—you’d be surprised just how many people will look for this information.
I know of writers, developers, and designers who refused to sign contracts with established entrepreneurs because they encountered negative reviews, reports of fraudulent activity, and other bad press. And unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve no doubt seen the destructive nature that a single old tweet or opinion piece can have on an influencer’s chance of acquiring sponsorship.
What do you see when you Google yourself, how do you come across, and will that help or hinder you going forward?
2. Getting Rid Of Bad Press
No one likes to see bad reviews and negative comments made about their businesses, and when those comments address the founder directly, it can feel like a personal attack.
As soon as you encounter negative articles and reviews, it’s normal to feel a little angry and to take drastic action. But this is the worst thing you can do.
Don’t respond to negative reviews and comments, don’t send scathing emails to bloggers and journalists. You’ll just give them fuel for their hatred, and you’ll look like a petulant child in the process.
Instead, simply compose yourself and focus on the things that you can change, the things you have power over.
The more articles you write and syndicate and the more videos you post, the less significant these negative pieces will become. They’ll fall down the rankings and will eventually be drowned out by all the positive and helpful stuff you create.
The same goes for anyone who searches for themselves and finds nothing actually related to them. Don’t worry if someone else is being a better version of you right now. If you execute a good content marketing strategy, your brand will begin to dominate the rankings and when people search for your name, they’ll actually see content related to you!
3. Create Consistent Content
Consistency is very important when creating content.
If you only have time for 1 video a week, that’s fine, just make sure you set a date and stick to that weekly schedule.
It’s better to post weekly like this than it is to post sporadic pieces of content with many weeks in between.
You need to show the algorithm that you are consistent and reliable, and eventually, when you build a fanbase, they will know when to tune in and what to expect.
As for where you get that content and how to find the ideas, it’s actually quite simple.
One of the tricks that many content marketers use is to spin one lengthy piece into multiple smaller pieces. This is something that Brittany recommends, and it’s also something I’ve discussed with many other branding and content specialists.
Let’s use This Week With Sabir as an example.
Every week, I sit down for a 60-minute interview with an industry expert and we discuss a specific topic at length, from my conversation about Google Ads with Isaac Rudansky to a chat about raising capital with Matt Higgins.
After each video, I publish an article (which you’re reading right now) that covers many of the same points. Sometimes, the articles are just a couple of thousand words, sometimes they are much longer. It all depends on the value that I can provide.
If I were to take things further, I could break this article down into multiple chapters and then post each of them as separate blogs. At the same time, I could take snippets from the video, and publish them as separate clips on YouTube. Short snippets from the video and this article can then be added to still images and posts on Instagram and Facebook.
From one 60-minute interview, I could create a dozen videos, lots of soundbites, multiple blogs, and stacks of social media posts.
For another example, let’s assume that you’re an SEO expert like my friend Neil Patel, and you want to create content themed around this topic.
You could create a video on “The 10 Best SEO Tips for Beginners” where you just sit in front of a camera, use a few basic graphics, and list your tips in full. You can then take the transcription of this video, give it to an editor or writer, and turn it into a long-form blog post.
From there, you can break all the individual tips down using basic editing, at which point you will have 10 additional videos and 10 additional articles. Grab some quotes, plaster them over stock images, and you have a dozen images as well.
If you don’t have time to do all of these things, get some help. Focus on the aspects that you can do well, whether that be creating videos, writing blogs, or captioning images, and work with freelancers to fill in the gaps.
It’s much easier and cheaper than you might imagine, and this is the process used by some of the biggest agencies and multinational brands in the world to churn out vast quantities of content every single day.
4. Build Connections With Engagement And Strategic Comments
Load of Pinks Designs asked a very interesting question during my interview with Brittany. They wanted to know whether you should devote time to building connections if you don’t already have them.
If you’re building a personal brand based in your area of expertise, and you’ve been involved with that interest for many years, there’s a good chance you’ll already have connections. If so, these can be very valuable—connecting you with new opportunities and new leads, pushing your business forward.
But what happens when you don’t have the luxury of an experienced network to fall back on?
For Brittany, it’s incredibly important to build and grow your network, and this is true for everyone.
She recommends spending at least 20 minutes engaging with your audience when you post. And don’t worry if you don’t have much of an audience to speak to. Everyone has to start somewhere, and social media sites are geared up to facilitate conversations between people who are not connected.
Use hashtags to find relevant topics, comment on other posts, respond to comments on your own posts, and if people start following you, DM them to express your gratitude. This is especially important with networks like LinkedIn, where a DM will actually be read and appreciated.
However, that doesn’t mean you should create an auto mailer and just spam everyone who starts following you. These messages are annoying, and they’re also transparent.
Treat it like a dating site. If you message people with a copy-paste test that doesn’t address anything personal and has clearly been sent to everyone else, you’re going to frustrate a lot of people very quickly, and it won’t do your branding any favors.
On the flip side, if you send a personal, carefully considered message that proves you have read their profile, they’ll be more inclined to express their gratitude and show an equal level of support.
This is also a great way to get people interested in what you post. They’ll be curious and will start venturing down the rabbit hole of your content, creating more engagements and cementing you in the algorithm.
This works very well for Medium.com, as well, and you can send these personalized messages as comments. Research suggests that this is a great way to boost engagement on your own posts.
Don’t feel like you have to be overly friendly or nice, either. While you should always keep things civil, you should also never lose sight of the fact that sites like Medium are there to create discourse. If you disagree with something or have some critical points to make, speak up.
What Do You Do If There Is A Disconnect?
During my discussion with Brittany, she discussed the importance of connecting your brand with your business, using one to boost the other. This is true even if your ultimate goal is to create a disconnect between the two and to use your personal brand to launch a new business or enterprise.
But what happens if a massive disconnect already exists?
I asked Brittany what someone should do if, for instance, they are a microbiologist, a field that few people know about or have an interest in. How can they connect to their consumers and create a strong brand if they’re appealing to an incredibly small niche?
Brittany explained that it all boils down to what you want to achieve—what you want to get from your brand. In this case, maybe your goal is to teach or to give speeches on stage. Maybe you want to secure big government contracts, speak on documentaries, or advise experts all over the world.
In other words, there’s always someone looking for your content and there’s always some way to use it. In this case, you may have very few followers when compared to sports stars and influencers, but they are not your competitors. Your goal is to become the biggest and the best in your field, and an effective content marketing strategy, along with the personal branding tips outlined in this article, can help you with that.
As an example, documentaries are made on every conceivable subject and they always want to speak to the most esteemed experts.
A documentary I watched recently had an expert on dendrochronology (the dating of tree rings) and an expert on a dead language that only a few people understand. Both of these individuals likely have very small followings, but they are both experts in their fields and so they were the first people that the documentary crew spoke to.
If your goal is to sell a consumer product related to your unique specialty, tone down the lingo, speak directly to your consumers and tell them what they can gain from your product, why they should buy it, and why it’s unique.
The $100,000 Question
At the end of my interview with Brittany, I asked her the $100,000 question—what single piece of advice would she give to aspiring content marketers looking to create 6-figures of value?
For Brittany, it’s all about being yourself.
It sounds like something your mother would tell you before a first date, but in the world of personal branding, it’s imperative.
The more you stay true to yourself and the more authentic, honest, and transparent you are, the more successful you will be. For Brittany, it’s as simple as that, and she knows this better than anyone.
Customers respond to honesty. They can sense when someone is being genuine and when someone isn’t. More importantly, it’s much easier for you if you stick with the things you know and stay true to yourself. Don’t try to be something you’re not.
It’s your personal brand, it’s all about you; own it, don’t hide from it.
For entrepreneurs, Brittany also recommends joining LinkedIn. You can learn more about LinkedIn optimization, Instagram optimization, branding audits, and other essential information by visiting Brittney’s website, which is linked on this page.
About Our Guest: Brittany Krystle
Visit Brittany on the Web: https://brittanykrystle.com