Rumor has it that personal branding is set to transform marketing in 2021, but not in the way you might think. Today, the concept is more focused on humanizing business — and those behind the business. By establishing and strengthening a founder’s personal brand, there’s an opportunity to put a face and personality to a larger brand’s name. It can also help establish a sense of integrity or expertise when that founder becomes a credible spokesperson who can highlight the company’s progress and long-term victories.
Email newsletter Morning Brew has always done a great job at this. Its co-founders, Alex Lieberman and Austin Rief, are especially present on social media, Twitter in particular. The two also encourage their employees to do the same, which really elevates the sense of thought leadership coming out of the brand as a whole. With each subsequent post, they continue to weave a stronger and stronger identity that helps the brand stand out and elevate the company above the competition.
But as you move from text to video as a way of personal branding, you take your efforts to yet another level. This allows for even more personality to be married to a brand, as you’re leveraging a more engaging medium — people are simply less likely to scroll on by. Video also has a way of feeling more authentic and genuine than a 280-character tweet, which can be important. A study from Stackla found that 90% of customers mentioned authenticity as a deciding factor when it comes to which brands to support. Besides, according to Social Media Week, 78% of consumers report watching online videos each week, with 54% wanting more content in general. The audience is there, so why not leverage the demand?
Approaching video content wisely
The question, then, is this: How exactly do you create video content that moves your personal brand (and company brand) in the right direction? The following are often the best places to start.
1. Share your brand story
The reasons people don’t use video range from lack of time to little clarity surrounding the return on investment. But among non-video marketers, one of the more common reasons is not knowing where to start — and that’s where your brand story will come in handy. It’s a logical entry point for viewers.
Put some thought into your personal brand as you begin to build out a narrative. If you’re skilled at a particular craft or field, for example, this might be a good starting point. Perhaps your business fits within a certain niche. This, too, provides a natural means for engaging with an audience.
As your brand story begins to take shape, consider storyboarding your thoughts and ideas. Think about which settings would best support your narrative and add interest. What sorts of angles should you use? Close-ups? Wide shots? Take your graphics or lighting needs into consideration. Plan out every aspect of the shoot to connect with an audience.
2. Get used to being on camera
The sole way to get comfortable on camera is to practice being in front of the camera, and the more you practice, the more natural it will feel. Given enough practice, authenticity will set in and come across to your viewers. Start off by filming a few videos, and make sure you’ve prepared some talking points.
Keep it casual and conversational by trying to imagine that you’re actually talking to an audience (people rarely enjoy canned speeches). Even if it’s an audience of one, it’ll help make the interaction feel a bit more natural. And consider your body language during the shoot. According to SOAP Presentations, effective presentations are 55% nonverbal communication.
After you’ve got a few in the can, review them. If you feel comfortable, share those files with a friend or two to gather a little feedback. Then, step in front of the camera again, keeping any tips or advice in the back of your mind.
3. Focus on authenticity
One of the key elements of building a personal brand is that it’s, well, personal. It allows people to catch a glimpse into who you are as an individual. Keeping your content genuine and authentic can be effective in conveying this. Share pieces of your actual life — not curated versions that often ring hollow. If it’s not genuine, the content doesn’t matter.
Gary Vaynerchuk has become an internet personality largely due to his authenticity on screen. He talks to the camera as if he’s talking to friends and rarely (if ever) censors what he’s saying. Even his very first video, which had no budget whatsoever, comes across as distinctly genuine, and he builds his personal narrative from there.
4. Try going live
Although going live might feel like high stakes, livestreaming does provide the opportunity to engage with your audience in real time. It can also make your content feel less rehearsed, giving a sense of immediate gratification and allowing you to really connect with viewers in a different way.
Just make sure to do a trial run or two prior to the shoot, map out the details to ensure everything goes smoothly and consider the purpose of going live. Don’t do it just to do it. Consider why you’re employing this tactic. Is it to educate or improve sales? Above all else, don’t set it and forget it. Repurpose the content for other platforms.
Glennon Doyle has been using livestreams to grow her personal brand for a while now. It started as the result of the pandemic, as she had to cancel tons of book appearances. But now, it has grown into almost a daily experience with her morning meetings on Facebook and Instagram. She shares funny and emotional stories, highlighting the difficulties of parenting and maintaining a relationship during the pandemic. The result? She’s now a New York Times bestseller, and her new podcast topped the Apple Podcasts charts before it was officially released.
For personal branding purposes, it’s really important to put a face behind your brand, insert some personality and come off as a genuine, authentic person. That’s the foundation for creating great video content. Once you’ve mastered the above areas, you should be moving in the right direction.