How To Craft A Powerful Personal Brand Story
As Founder of Amazon and world’s richest man Jeff Bezos once said:
As we learned in chapter 2, you can create a great reputation where people are inspired to say something positive when you build trust with the pillars of authenticity, reliability, confidence, and values.
In this chapter, we’re exploring another powerful, effective way to build your reputation and that’s by sharing your story.
Here’s an example of a powerful personal brand story:
That’s a deeply poignant personal story and just in case you’re wondering, that little girl was Oprah Winfrey.
A well-crafted personal brand story inspires emotion. Powerful stories connect with the heart and they can draw in audiences in ways that data, numbers and cold, hard strategy never will.
This is not to say that there’s no room for facts.
Wherever possible, it’s always a great idea to backup your skills as a coach with testimonials and a proven track record but keep in mind…
Facts without story usually fall flat.
A powerful personal brand story bridges the gap between you and your audience.
It gives them a chance to get to know you on a much deeper level and it’s an awesome way to build a lasting relationship based on trust, love, and loyalty.
The good news is you don’t have to be a great writer to craft an unforgettable personal brand story, you just need to work with a dependable writing method.
Evercoach co-founder Ajit Nawalkha uses a story framework that has been proven to work again and again for himself and for his clients and students.
Ajit’s framework is based on a simple trifecta of elements that are designed to bring forward the strengths and polarities in your character and in your storyline, so you’ll end up with an authentic, rich, multi-layered and ultimately irresistible personal brand story.
Building Your Character
Building your character is about reflecting on your personal strengths and weaknesses as well as your values, likes, and dislikes.
One good way to do this is to think of the milestone moments in your life – major wins and losses. Then, dig deep so you can uncover the insights, lessons and character traits behind your failures and successes.
Building your character for your personal brand story also has to do with understanding your polarities.
Polarities are the extremes in your character that make you memorable and make you uniquely you. Nobody is 100% brave or 100% scared. We are all made up of multiple levels of positive and negative traits depending on where we are in life and the situation or challenge that happens to be in front of us.
If you’re feeling a little nervous about sharing the “negative” polarities in your character, know that the “negative” traits we feel we must hide are the very traits that make us human, relatable and interesting. Your audience won’t connect with -- or likely even remember -- a one dimensional coach who’s “perfect” (read: boring!) in every way.
Identifying Your 3 Key Polarities
There are 3 key polarities you need to uncover and focus on in your personal brand story:
This is your core strength or your superpower. It’s essentially something that’s highly positive.
Think of your superpower as a character trait or skill you want to highlight in your personal brand story. It needs to be something that you want people to know about that will inspire them to find out more about you and follow you.
For instance, if we think about a story-based character such as Tony Stark (aka Iron Man), one of his major positive traits or superpower is that he’s a genius.
This is usually the other side of your superpower.
It’s a counter-intuitive polarity and sometimes it could even be an opposite of the superpower you identified earlier.
For instance, if you’re usually confident around meeting new people in social situations like at a party, your fatal flaw could be a sense of intense nervousness and insecurity when you’re speaking on stage. Going back to Tony Stark, it could be that his fatal flaw is arrogance or hubris.
This is basically your non-negotiable value or vision for the future. It’s something that you abide by and it’s something that you won’t compromise on.
Your North Star is usually tied to your ultimate goal.
For example, it might be about being honest with your clients no matter what or running your business with full integrity. For Tony Stark, his vision and non-negotiable value is protecting the world and keeping people safe at any cost.
Finding Your Story
A lot of coaches resist writing their personal brand story because they think the act of storytelling is super complicated – a task that’s reserved for professional novelists and writers. This is simply not true.
The story of your life is unfolding even as you read this and when you break it down to the basics, a story is simply about sharing a series of events. Like all great stories, your personal brand story will follow a tried-and-tested story arc that’s sometimes called a “hero’s journey.”
A “hero’s journey” is when the key character or hero – in this case, you – is called toward a goal or vision. The hero starts out feeling lost, confused or overwhelmed and then overcomes obstacles and challenges before finally achieving their goal or vision.
Here are a couple of expert tips to keep in mind before you start crafting your personal brand story…
Your story can be short and sweet or lengthy – a couple of paragraphs to a few pages long -- but we’re definitely not going for a novel-length epic story here.
Before you begin working with the framework in this chapter, start with an intention of cultivating a high level of self-awareness. When you’re self-aware about the positive and negative polarities in your character, you’ll see yourself accurately and you’ll be able to write a story that’s authentic, powerful, and unforgettable.
In this chapter, you learned the elements of a powerful personal brand story that connects deeply with your audience to create a lasting relationship based on love, loyalty, and trust.
Answer the following questions so you can uncover key highlights and jumpstart the process of crafting your very own story.
Element #1: Build Your Character
List out milestones that were game-changers in your life path.
Eg: your college or high school graduation, the birth of your first child, the time when you were fired from your job.
Write about the takeaways and lessons learned from each of the milestones you listed.
Element #2: 3 Key Polarities
What are some of your top character traits? What are some of the compliments you receive again and again from people who know you? When you’ve listed everything that comes to mind, read through each one and pick 1 to 3 traits that you feel are the strongest.
What are some of your more negative character traits or areas for improvement? What are some of the complaints you’ve heard from people who know you? When you’ve listed everything that comes to mind, read through each one and pick 1 to 3 traits that you feel are your strongest negative traits or “fatal flaws.”
What is your vision for the future? What is an epic goal or dream that you have about how you want to live and how you want to change the world? A good rule of thumb: reflect on the values you identified in Chapter 2. This will get you insights and clarity around your North Star.
Element #3: Find Your Story
To kick start the process of writing your overall personal brand story, let’s look at a storyline that’s connected to your decision to become a coach. Here are some questions that will help you identify the series of events that make up your story.
What was the trigger or triggers -- situation, person, place or life experiences -- that inspired you to become a coach?
What was your life like before you became a coach? What was it like growing up? What did you struggle with? What was easy for you?
What are the biggest challenges and obstacles you’ve experienced since making the decision to become a coach?
What are some of the highlights and wins you’ve experienced since becoming a coach?
How do you want to make a positive difference in the world as a coach?
Creating A Loyal Community For Your Personal Brand
That is a philosophical thought experiment that questions the relationship between perceived reality and unperceived reality.
In other words, it asks if something is real only if someone is around to observe it or if it’s real whether there’s anyone around or not.
When it comes to personal branding, the answer to that question is clear -- if no one is around to connect with your personal brand, then it doesn’t really exist.
Think about it…
The greatest personal brand in the world is absolutely meaningless if no one is around to see, hear, and interact with what you share.
That’s why it’s incredibly important that you start to build a community and an audience who can relate to your brand, your message and your values as a coach, right from the get go.
Start building your community by identifying your target audience so you know you’re speaking to potential clients who want to connect with you, people who will benefit the most from your expertise as a coach.
The best way to do this is to create and share authentic content based on your personal brand values and vision.
This will attract people who have a similar vision and values as you do, and it’s a great way to build a growing tribe of clients who cannot wait to work with you and learn from you.
You should also think about how you can become more visible to audiences outside your immediate network as you continue to build your personal brand.
Stay alert for Public Relations or PR opportunities that will put you in front of other people’s audiences that are congruent with your identified target audience. Focused PR work can rapidly increase your visibility and you don’t need to hire an expensive PR professional especially at the start because a lot of the groundwork can be done on your own.
For instance, think about emailing major podcast hosts or magazine and community-style websites who’ll be happy to publish or broadcast content from a skilled coach in a specific niche or area of expertise.
You can also try going down the traditional route. Reach out to non-virtual magazine writers and editors who are always looking for interesting, unusual and inspiring stories, and expert insights they can share with their readers.
A crucial point to note here is that not everyone is your target audience or ideal client and not everyone belongs in your community. The more you embody this truth, the more you can be fearless about showing up and sharing content, coaching and ideas that are fully aligned with your values and not what you think your audience wants to hear.
When you build a personal brand and a tribe around who you truly are, you’ll create a community that’s ready to support you and stay loyal to you because they can see that you consistently stand up for what you believe.
It’s how you establish your expertise and your authority as a world-class coach through an authentic and unforgettable, personal brand.
In this chapter, you discovered why building a community is absolutely essential for your personal brand as a coach.
Now let’s dive deeper with the following questions around identifying your target audience plus visibility ideas you can work with.
Exercise 1: Identify Your Ideal Target Audience
What is their age? (you can also highlight a range such as 25 to 40)
Where do they live? (eg: in the United States; anywhere in the world)
What is their profession? (eg: CEOs; new moms)
What is their income range? (eg: $60k to $100k a year; above $150k a year)
What would you say is your ideal client’s biggest goal, dream or vision in life?
What is their biggest goal, dream or vision in their work or business?
What are 3 pain points/challenges/obstacles that stand between them and their big dream?
Exercise #2: Visibility & PR
Here are 5 ideas you can use to increase your visibility and build community. When you’re done, commit to reaching out to the people/organizations that you identify.
Idea #1: Guest blogging
Identify 3 to 5 websites that your target audience loves, where you can submit articles/posts around your area of expertise
Idea #2: Online events
Identify 3 to 5 online summits and conferences where you can speak about your niche or area of expertise
Idea #3: Public events
Identify 3 to 5 live events or seminars where you can give a talk or teaching around your area of expertise
Idea #4: Podcasts
Identify 3 to 5 podcasts that you believe where you can share your story and talk about what you do as a coach and how you help clients
Idea #5: Partnerships
Know anyone who has a similar target audience? Reach out and share how you’d like to work with them on joint venture gigs such as an online or in person event, or a joint course or program that you can present or offer together.
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