How to Promote Your Personal Brand … Minus the Ickiness

BlogHer Original Post

Just be cool, man.

J.B.C.M.

#jbcm

And that includes not getting all weird about your personal brand. Ugh: "Personal brand." My fingers feel a little itchy and sticky just typing that phrase, but we've got to talk about it, or else more excellent and worthy people are gonna sabotage themselves and test the patience of their nearest and dearest.

There's no shame here. Very few people come straight from the womb possessed of the skill set to package themselves elegantly, and there's a certain amount of trial and error involved.

BlogHer University: How to Promote Your Personal Brand Without Feeling Icky by Kat Kinsman

The good thing is that you have plenty of social media tools at the ready for you to get your message out to potential customers and fans. The pitfall is that on many of these platforms, your closest connections may end up feeling like they're being treated as a fan base. Your friends and family are (ideally) already rooting for you to succeed, but you can't expect them to like, favorite, and share every post and event. That'd be like them expecting you to show up at their job and applaud every safely installed electrical breaker and balanced expense sheet.

It's fine to share things you're especially proud of, but on friend-based networks, consider starting a separate presence for your business to minimize the obligation and burnout.

And speaking of that alter ego—tread carefully. Your brand is you, but you are not your brand. It's a subtle distinction, but there's a huge difference between walking up to someone at a conference and saying, "Hi, I'm The Churlish Cross-Stitcher." (Really? Your mama named you that?) and "Hi, I'm So-And-So and I write as The Churlish Cross-Stitcher." One comes off as "I am here to promote at you!" and the other, "I'm a person, and I have this particular interest. Let's connect."

It's understandable why someone would feel like they could or should disappear within their brand. It's monstrously awkward to have to promote yourself, and might feel easier to hide behind the carefully constructed avatar. But it's also one-dimensional—and if the person you're meeting doesn't care about it, you're not giving them a chance to care about you, or vice-versa. It's scary as heck to let yourself be human and vulnerable to new people, but it also gives them permission to let their guard down, too, and share their story.

And speaking of generosity: It goes a looooooong way. Once you've sweated and struggled to build your platform, it might be tempting to stand on top of it and constantly broadcast your message: photos, new writing, events, products. You've earned it, right?

Sure, and yay, you, but it doesn't take long for it to get awfully echoey up there—and lonely, too.

You probably didn't climb there by yourself, so consider extending a hand and helping other excellent people get their time in the sun as well. That might be linking to their work, sharing their posts and events and generally helping them signal-boost whenever you can. There's a good chance that they'll do the same for you—but it's also just an awfully cool thing to do, man.

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