"Hey, Kat... how did YOU build your personal brand?"
While following my own personal branding framework the other day, I was hopping on market research calls and one of my interviewees asked me this. A brilliant question and one I can't believe I haven't actually answered yet!
So today, I'm going to break down my own personal branding journey for you. A little on the timeline (because it certainly didn't all happen at once), a little on the different things I did to build an audience and authority, and of course, some of the mistakes I made.
I'll even give you a little sneak peek at my 2021 personal branding strategy!
If you enjoyed this episode, please leave it a review wherever you're listening to this as it makes a HUGE difference in getting the word out.
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You're listening to Episode 27, my personal branding journey, what worked, what didn't and what's next. Yes, I am going to pull back the curtains today and dive into all things my own personal branding story, including strategies, what I actually did, where it all began in the hopes that it's just going to give you a little bit more context and hopefully a little bit of hope to see that you don't have to get an old right from the beginning in order to see massive results. So I hope you enjoy this one buckle up, because there's a lot to talk about. And I have so many other exciting topics in store for you in coming weeks and even months. So let's just dive into this. Welcome to the personal branding project. I'm your host Kat Elizabeth and actor and personal branding coach who is obsessed with helping creative entrepreneurs like you build personal brands that changed your life for good from attracting bigger opportunities, more joy and freedom in your life. And the ability to get paid to do the things that you love most. Each week, I'm bringing you inspiration, practical advice and the occasional dose of tough love. So you can stop dreaming and start doing what it takes to make those dreams a reality. Hello, my friends. So I kind of tricked you, I suppose with my last episode where I was like I'm back. And then I wasn't back. Um, let me quickly explain where I've been. I mean, mostly busy, mostly busy, I'm not going to lie, there is a lot of work involved in creating online courses. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying. Yes, the way I used to make them took a lot more time as in, there were a lot of extra bells and whistles and the production that I was doing that I thought was really important. Whereas these days, it's just about the content, but the content still takes time. So I went and created my course the profit prescription, which is about basically building out your very first sales funnel, but in a way that's not scary. And it's actually all about your client journey, not not about just making money and manipulating people and being all salesy. So that was keeping me busy. And then I also decided that I needed to kind of go back to basics. I'm revisiting the foundations of my own brand, which is partly exciting and fun and partly frustrating. I'm not gonna lie, like if I'm really having to follow my own advice. Right now I'm having a practice what I preach, which is challenging. It's so easy for me to be on the outside or someone else's brand and be able to give really like objective advice, see what's missing? What needs work? It's really difficult to do it when you're in the inside, which is obviously why people come and work with me, because I'm able to help them with that. Yeah, so doing it for yourself can be... Yeah, intense. I've basically I've had a year, a really incredible year, basically 12 months since I officially made the personal branding project a thing, it kind of happened a little bit organically. So maybe, maybe it's been longer than that. But I've gotten to work with so many different kinds of people and businesses and experience levels. And I've also tested at so many different ways of working with people. So you know, I mean, my background was as a copywriter, and then I started doing online courses, and then I launched the membership. And then I've got sort of hybrid offerings as well. And so it's just been a year of testing, experimenting, seeing what works, what doesn't. And beyond that, really seeing what actually excites me, like, Where am I going? Like, this is why I wake up each day? And what are the things that are starting to, you know, get me down or bug me? And sometimes it's, it's less about all this is, I guess it's it's not so much about the direction you're going always sometimes it's just that you need to get help. So I've also been bringing on some my first kind of official team members, I suppose, in order to stop doing everything myself, because some of you may know, but probably some of you don't. I've done everything. So I have done all the design all of the writing. I've always built my own websites, I've done my own editing. And for a while I was very proud of that fact. And I'm glad I did because I'm then able to help people on a different level because I understand what it's like when you're building from scratch, and you've got no budget, and you've got a limited skill set and you're like how can I be resourceful? How can I make this work for me? So because I've done it myself and I've tried all the software's all platforms like I've made all the mistakes, I'm able to give you like a really educated, you know, set of advice and kind of guidance in order to do it yourself. But then at some stage, doing everything yourself becomes a form of self sabotage. And this is where I got to, because you're like, maybe it's, it's you being a little bit of a control freak, that's the reason you're still doing it. Or it's that you're so overwhelmed with all the work that you're like, when am I going to find the time to even bring people on and teach them what to do. So there were all sorts of obstacles, and there was a lot of resistance. And it's taken me a good few months to come around to the idea that I'm finally sort of setting up my systems and my support, really, to scale. And so I'm really excited about what's coming in 2021. I won't go into all the details today about everything. But what we are going to be talking about, is, I guess everything that's been working, that's helped me get to this point. And then also, I will kind of tease what my own brand and marketing strategy is going to be in the new year as well, because I'm sure you'll find that interesting. I want to explain what even triggered this episode though. So I told you, I'm revisiting the foundations. And one of the things that is part of that foundational work that I get all of my clients to do, whether they are trying to work on their messaging, whether they're in the stage of coming up with content ideas, whether they're trying to validate an offering, or maybe a course idea. It's a thing called message mining, really, it's it's market research, but basically where you get on coals with people who fit your ideal client, avatar, and you ask them questions. And so I decided, in order to help me get clear on what I needed to do next, and to really finesse my offerings in my own messaging, and as you both you probably wouldn't have seen yet, but I relaunched my website a few weeks ago, and you will notice that the messaging is shifted a little bit. I wanted to actually take my own advice and do these calls. And what was funny is that when I got one of these calls, I was asked a really great question. and was like, oh, I've never really spoken about this. And the question was, what did you do to build your personal brand? I was like, Oh, I mean, I kind of thought I was telling you that. But really, what I don't explain what I'm saying how to do something on YouTube, or how to do something on Instagram, I'm not really saying, Oh, this is what I did. And this is what worked, what didn't work. So I wanted to create an episode on that. So you have a little bit more context, like when I am talking about all these other things like you know, where I've come from, that it was actually tested by me. And hopefully you find that helpful in some way. I know that this person who asked me this question was like, a little bit skeptical about whether you can build a personal brand organically from scratch. And I only teach organic methods in my programs. I mean, there is something to eat, like Facebook ads, paid advertising, in general, it has its place, it can be amazing. But I don't believe for the purposes of what you and I are trying to achieve. It's it's necessary at this point in time. So I absolutely built my brand. Without ads, I have had a I have added some ad experience in the past. And it's not that the ads didn't work. It was just, it was for something that I didn't end up doing. And I'm not going to go into that. But let's just say I'm all about the organic growth. And it's absolutely possible it still is today, it's just as possible as it was five years ago or 10 years ago, we just maybe have to work a little bit harder. Some we used to be able to hack the system a little bit easier. Whereas now there is no system hacking. It's like you just do the work. So let's dive in to I guess my own timeline of building a personal brand will help you because then I'll just literally say all the things that I did. And I will point out anything in particular that I think worked extra well or it could have done better. So to give you the actual official start point, I would say that really, I started thinking about my own brand when I was creating like writing and producing and performing in this cabaret show that I created, which was about seven years ago, I think was in 2014. So it wasn't so much personal branding, but I kind of built this brand around the character bombshell and that was like when I was testing things out and going oh, this is fun. So it's almost like I built a personal brand for bombshell the character and then realized I needed to do it for myself. And then I ended up becoming officially like I did a lot of marketing around that time sort of got into marketing officially as a career choice. But then became a copywriter and went full time in the copywriting and again was like getting so much experience of like helping build other people's brands and sort of paying attention to what I was doing or not doing you should know that. I shared this with someone on the message mining calls the other day, I had no website for my first year as a copywriter was that the right decision? Who knows. But I landed a lot of clients in that first year without a website. So that is just something to note for yourself. If having a website is getting in the way of you be, you know, doing what you want to do, if you feel like Oh, I can't officially launch until I have a website, that is a lie, you're telling yourself you can absolutely launch without a website might be a bit challenging, depending on what it is you're launching, but I did it. And then I finally created a website I would like so the way my tool of my branding tool and sales and marketing tool, like the only thing I used in that first year because I didn't even use social media for my copywriting business. All I had was a PDF portfolio, which sounds hilarious sounds very basic. But guess what clients loved it, I would send it when we had to pitch for jobs, there would be two or three of us that was sort of submitted for a job. So like we'd get to be put in touch with a client potential client. And we'd have to fight it out kind of thing. So I would always reply to the initial email with my portfolio already attached. And other people would be like, go check out my website, well guess what the, the client would usually look at my PDF portfolio first because it was right there in their inbox. And then soon after, I would hop on a call with them and bond with them, like create a connection. And I want a lot of jobs over people who had way more experience than me. So this is probably the most valuable thing I can teach you is that, you know, this was the first example of me figuring out that you just need to meet your client where they're at, like they have a problem that they need solved. I was getting them to solve it as quickly as I possibly can. Whereas other people will may be creating obstacles because they're forcing them to go creep around their website and have a look. And then they're saying or email me back if you have any questions, whereas I was like, just picking up the phone and calling them. And this is a really big deal, you should know, I was terrified of the phone. Like I've never been a phone person. I'm an outgoing introvert, like I don't like initiating those kinds of conversations. But when I was trying to build my copywriting business, I was desperate, like I had no money. So and I had no backups. Like I'd quit the job that I had at the ad agency, I had no savings, I had no credit card, nothing. So it was a single swim. And so that it's amazing when you're in that, you know, position, sometimes it gets you to get out of your comfort zone and do the thing. And that's what I did. So that was my first real like that was that was my marketing and branding strategy back then. It definitely could have been better. But it got the job done. And then as I went along, I stopped. Like I finally built a website, I think I ended up having two different copywriting websites. And I started teaching so that was that. But really the obsession with personal branding, less about just having a business but like thinking about beyond that was when I read the crushing it book by Gary Vaynerchuk. Now, I'm, I'm a fan of Gary's but like, I'm not a super fan, like I, I have so much respect for what he did and what he does. But I don't agree with all of his advice. And I think sometimes there's this disconnect when someone's been doing it for a really long time, they've got a lot of money behind them, they've got a big team, they giving you advice based on what they're doing now forgetting that you're not in the same position as them. So that's why it's really important to me to always try and bring the advice back to basics and remind you Well, I'll tell you for the first time that like, I didn't do all the things that I'm doing now, when I was first starting out because it wasn't viable. I didn't have the time or the knowledge or any of that. So just like take his advice with a grain of salt, you know, telling people to put out 250 pieces of content a day, like that's great when you have an entire team who's creating the content for you. What if you're busy juggling clients like and you have, you know, 15 minutes to yourself a week, you know, you're not going to create 250 pieces of content in that time. So anyways, I digress. I read his book crushing it. And that was the first time I really fully fully understood what a personal brand was and why we need one. He was like you have to build your own platform. You can't rely on having, you know, like you can't rely on you know, the last job you had to give you credibility, like you need to sort of build credibility in your own right. And I was like, that makes sense. Okay, so what am I gonna do, and his first thing was starting a YouTube channel, he had the wine TV or whatever, it was cold. So I decided to start a YouTube channel. And this is coming up two, three years ago now. And I didn't know what I was going to talk about. I didn't have a business plan. Like I didn't know where I was going to take the channel. But I just started by talking about what I know about and that is that was acting at the time, like I was like, I have knowledge of acting. But in particular my niche I guess, which I didn't really see it as a niche at the time, but So that everyone teaches acting like how to be a good actor, but I knew because of my background as a professional actor and musical theater, that there's so much more to it than that, you know, it's about the mindset, it's about having a business sense. It's about marketing yourself. It's about handling rejection. So my thing was, like, really bringing the realities of acting and, and having a, you know, trading your career like a business to my YouTube channel. And so my strategy was create 30 videos in 30 days, so that I built some momentum. And then my partner may meet, you've probably heard me say this before, but my partner made me promise made me set a goal that was in within my control, so that I didn't get disheartened about the lack of views or lack of subscribers. And so the goal that I set for myself was to create 100 videos before I gave up on YouTube. And thank goodness I did, because I would have given up because Tell you what, I was pouring in so many hours to those videos. And early on, like when you've got, you know, less than 100 subscribers, and you get like, one video might get five views. 20 views was like a whole Wow, 20 people have watched this, like, it's tough, like, you feel like oh my gosh, like, is this even working? Is this paying off? Should I even bother? And so one thing that kept me going was the 100 video commitment that I made to myself, because I was like, well, you just gotta keep putting them out there. But the other thing was I really focused on who like, Can I help one person with this video? Because if I could help one person, that was enough, it would have been worth my effort. And, you know, it didn't happen immediately. But I did start getting feedback that it was helping. And I was like, Okay, cool. Like this, I'm off, I'm off to a good start. This is...this is something. So I continued going with the YouTube in the background, I was also working on my Instagram. And I will be completely transparent here that before I had the business that I have now like this is a couple of years ago, I did hire someone to help me with my Instagram. I really wanted to increase how many followers I had, because I was thinking about moving overseas, and I wanted to like have my account look more credible. So I hired someone who did outreach for me. So like we they go and like interact with all the other accounts and get people to follow you back. And it did work as far as getting the numbers killed the engagement on my account, like it was, it was brutal. Like I remember I was getting like, over 1000 likes for a post. And once I sort of cracked the 10,000 follower mark, it just plummeted. Now, it's not just from me hiring someone I shouldn't, I shouldn't blame them for that. It's I've also noticed, and I've heard from other people that when your account reaches that sort of mass, you do your engagement does drop. It's like just the percentage of people that you're reaching. So I'm no algorithm expert, but yet that hurt. But I decided to stick with it because the numbers still looked good. And then thankfully, eventually what happened was, I started replacing those like random people that were following me for other reasons. Like for my acting career, eventually, like they started unfollowing me for me because I started talking about business and branding all the time. And I started to replace them, like with all of the people who were finding me on on YouTube. So I you know, and here's something that worked really well was just on my YouTube videos having the watermark for my Instagram, like in the top left, I always had my Instagram handle there. And that's, that gets me like at least 50 followers a week on on Instagram. Now, keeping in mind, that's a lot like that sounds like a lot to someone just starting out. I have a you know, I have a lot of views coming in on YouTube, because that's something that I've optimized really well. So don't just think that you'll start a YouTube channel and you'll, you know, magically get Instagram followers but you can sort of do this double whammy where if you optimize your YouTube properly and it's getting found in search, then those people if you encourage them to will go follow you somewhere else. And Instagram is sort of like an easy ask, you know, they're not necessarily going to go follow you on Facebook because they might not be using Facebook much. I also get a lot of people joining my facebook group for that. So okay, I'm getting carried away. I'm just gonna calm down now. So much to include. So YouTube works really well. Instagram was kind of there but I didn't really know what I was doing with it until I launched the personal branding actually note correct correction game face by cat so my my next sort of like endeavor was launching the makeup course game face. And that is when I sort of shift I pivoted a little bit I tested out doing a couple of more like makeup related videos on YouTube, I switch the focus of my Instagram so I was doing some a few igtv videos and I also had a Facebook group, a free Facebook group about the makeup stuff didn't last long because I launched that business and then realized that's not what I wanted to do. So I can't speak much to those strategies because they would not long lived. But what I did was then pivot and so I ended up switching out by Ended up I can remember if I'd like change the name of the Facebook group or I just started a new Facebook group, I'm not sure. And I ended up switching on all of the focus of everything I do to personal branding. And then in this time last year, so about November last year, I launched the podcast. And I launched it because I'd had a lot of feedback from people who loved the content that I was creating, but they were like, I really struggle to watch it on YouTube. Like, I just don't sit down with YouTube, and watch videos, but if you know, if I could just listen to you on the go, like when I'm in transit, then I would totally listen. So I was like, right, it sounds like my audience are asking for a podcast. And and look, one of those audience members was my mom. Um, and I think that's valid, because she was my part of my target audience. So I listened. And that's another piece of advice they'll give you like, like, Listen, when people give you feedback, pay attention to what they're saying, don't just obviously take what one person says and use that to overhaul your whole strategy. But if someone says it, maybe there's more people so dive a little bit deeper, dig a little bit deeper, I should say, and try and kind of validate that idea. And then, as far as other strategies, like the other thing that I guess helped me get the word out and really build this momentum was speaking on other podcasts. So I had some good traffic from a few different podcasts that I spoke on. And I found that like, I'm trying to remember how I connected like some of them, I just connected with them in a Facebook group. I feel like someone reached out to me, I feel like I submitted for one or two, because I was in a Facebook group where you can find like podcast interviews, like it was a, I didn't have a podcast pitch strategy, let's just say that was very random. And I will be doing that probably in 2021. But for the time being, I have a few little podcast interviews that were great. And then something else was speaking at events. So I had a couple of like a string of a couple of cool events that I spoke at in Vancouver. And it was actually like one led to the other led to the other correction. So one of them was from me networking and then being invited to go speak. So I went to one of the events with they eventually invited me to speak, then the organizer of that event, had been asked to speak in another event and couldn't. And so it put me like in as a recommendation, which was very cool. And that ended up leading to the opportunity to contribute to a magazine as well. And then someone else found me on LinkedIn, they were looking for personal branding experts for their upcoming University event conference type thing. And they asked me so few random little things, but definitely meeting people showing up at events like it does pay off. But it's one of those slow burn type things, it doesn't just magically happen. Sometimes you just you're in the right place at the right time you make a connection, and then things happen. So that's a little bit of an overview of the things that I was doing. And so the real question that I was asked is like, what, what actually worked. And I would say everything that I did consistently, so the YouTube channel, even though I've had some spurts, like, I'll be like, consistent, and then I'll disappear for a few months. And I'll be consistent. Again, the beauty of YouTube is that if you're focusing on search engine optimization, the stuff that you created years ago can continue generating views. So if you go to my YouTube channel, now, you'll see I have about eight and a half thousand subscribers. And I've got some I've got one video that's nearly at 100,000 views, and some others that are right up there. Those are things that I created ages ago, and I have not really put heaps of focus on YouTube in 2020, just because of time and so many things. But YouTube kept working for me. So it's worth planting those seeds. I obviously built a lot of momentum early on. And then I also upskilled and really made a point of learning how to optimize my videos. And so that kept paying off. And that led to as I said, Instagram followers, add to me growing my email list added to my Facebook group and also like led me to some clients, some people found me also a potential TV opportunity that came up, which unfortunately, couldn't happen because I had to leave Canada but yet lots of cool things from YouTube, Instagram, definitely, as people find me through Instagram, I've ended up with some clients, thanks to Instagram, but also I just found that it's a really good networking tool collaboration tool. So that's another one, the Facebook group, I've not put enough into the strategy to really sort of speak to it, I would say I see so many people doing it really well. I think I'm not doing it super well. I pop in do a video disappear. So that is part of the strategy that I want to sort of optimize in 2021. But it is a good way of establishing authority because if you are the host of a group in a certain niche, then people just assume you know lots of things about that niche. So it's something I definitely recommend, but I'm not going to speak to all the strategy on this episode until I can report back More information. The podcast has definitely been successful in that it's got me a lot of really high quality leads. And I found that some of the my best clients have come from the podcast, so and I found that it's more like clients who are interested in one on one coaching and things, not just like sort of the lower priced offerings. So that's interesting is that I do find that YouTube does attract a lot of freebie seekers. And it's not to say there's not paying clients out there. But it's also that mindset like YouTube, we go there for quick answers. Whereas a podcast, we tend to invest a bit more time in and we build a lot of trust with the host. So I'm keeping YouTube and podcasts moving forward. But I'm I've decided to pour more energy into the podcast for the time being, because I've seen a bigger return on investment from it. What didn't work was anything I didn't consistently. So I was really inconsistent with the Facebook group. So I saw inconsistent results, I was very inconsistent on LinkedIn. So inconsistent results, inconsistent on Pinterest in consistent results, are you noticing the pattern here? What you need to know is that there is no one magic strategy for building your personal brand. Anything can work if done consistently and with strategy. So that is, yeah, like that is that if you can walk away with one thing from this, it's like you do, you need to pick your thing, and you need to go all in on it and see it through and really like optimize upskill, like just do whatever you possibly can to become the best at that one thing. So whether it's a podcast, or an Instagram account, or a Facebook group, it doesn't matter. Go with the thing that you think is working best right now, but then make it better. That's what I'm going to say. And then a quick snapshot of what the plan is for the new year for my own strategy is I mean, you've obviously seen I'm so I'm going back to basics, as in, I've done a ton of market research calls already. And I've got more locked in. So I'm really trying to make sure I'm really clear on how to best serve my my clients and my listeners and subscribers and things that helped me relaunch the website. And then what I'm going to do is, so I've already sort of optimized my site for SEO, and you know, a few of my pages are ranking really well. But I'm actually going to optimize more pages, you know, create some more core pages and create some blog articles and make sure I'm popping up for all sorts of personal branding things. Because that's actually working really well by accident. Like I didn't put a ton into website, I barely did anything website SEO. Until now, which is embarrassing to say considering I'm a trained SEO copywriter, but I only ever helped my clients with their SEO. So I'm trying like, you know, doing it for myself. And I'm already seeing results. So SEO is big. Same with obviously YouTube, SEO. It's it's all about that. But I'm not thinking about the YouTube channel right now what I'm going to do is double down on the podcast be really consistent. And I'm actually increase the two episodes a week, but make one of them just like a little tiny bite sized tip. When I get back to YouTube, not sure when that will be but I've got a different content strategy I'm going to be testing out so kind of shaking it up from only doing how to videos to having a little bit of a mix talking more about mindset, and some things on that side as well as the strategy side. And I'm going to finally focus on Pinterest for a while I did I hired someone to help with Pinterest for a little bit and yeah, wasn't super happy and started doing a Pinterest program and like for me to learn it properly myself. And now I see why it wasn't working with the outsourcing because there's just so much that wasn't able to be done by someone else. I mean, unless I was paying them a fortune to just bent on the time and time on it. So I am going to be doing that for my own account getting it set up. And then the whole thing like that I'm going to be really focusing on like beyond my strategy is actually making sure that my my workflows and my my systems and my team are then able to support me to make sure that everything goes out seamlessly like like clockwork, like every single week, things just get done. So I'm doing the production pot or pot, you know, like I'll be recording and brainstorming and things and then I'll maybe I'll do an edit. Maybe not. I'm also hiring a podcast editor. And then it gets handed over to other people to make sure the promotional bits get done. The blog article goes out like all the pieces of the puzzle that really makes something extra effective. Because my my strategy before with the podcast was like recording episode edited, and then I was like, Oh, I'm too tired, and I'm too busy. I can't do anything else. So I barely even promote the podcast. So the fact that we hit 15,000 downloads the other day, I was like well, that's great. It's a miracle because I did so little to optimize it. So moving forward, I actually am going to focus on growth and not just kind of doing the bare minimum. So that is my update for you. You, I hope you found it helpful. I am, I have so many content ideas moving forward, which is like the double edged sword of doing these market research calls, the list of things that I want to talk about is so long, it's ridiculous. So it's exciting and overwhelming at the same time, which is why I was like, I definitely need to hire a podcast editor so I can get more of these out. But I hope this was helpful. I'd love to hear from you. If it was, and if you have any requests, I'm happy to add it to my really long list. And I would also ask you, because I am really committed to getting the word out about the podcast moving forward. If you've been listening for a little bit, and you haven't left me a review, I would be so grateful if you would do that today. It takes like 60 seconds if that? You know, just think about me and the hundreds of hours I've poured into content and just go Can I give Kat 60 seconds of my time. I'm not trying to guilt trip. Okay, I am anyways, a five star review with some words written about why you like it, just like Apple loves it. And it means that they're going to suggest this to other people. And I really want this to be a helpful resource to so many people moving forward. I my goal for 2021 really is I want my content to have a massive impact. Like Yes, obviously I've got my paid offerings. But I want to make sure that like if you listen to a podcast episode for 30 minutes, I want you to be able to walk away and do something different, like apply something you would feel better, like I want to have a really positive impact on your life, and your business and your brand. So I'll be really grateful if you could pay that forward by leaving a review so that more people can find out about it in the new year. Thank you though, for those of you who have been listening since the beginning of time, and who have put up with my inconsistency and my radio silence. I appreciate you. And I can't wait to better serve you moving forward. Just let me know how you're doing. If you ever feel like dropping me a DM just let me know how you're going what you're finding helpful. And also you can screenshot this episode and post it to your stories and tag me at I am Kat Elizabeth and I will absolutely reshare it. All right, I'm gonna stop talking now. Love you old bits and I'll chat to you soon.