Personal Branding, Podcast

The Foundations (aka 5 Cs) of Personal Branding

Think that successful personal brands are all about charisma, cute photos and luck? Think again. Today we’re going to take a look at the 5 equally important pillars (or as I call them, the 5 Cs) that help support your personal brand.

Having any sort of framework or roadmap is the key to achieving your goals in the quickest time possible which is why I created The Personal Branding Blueprint. I don’t want you to have to rely on guesswork or trial & error to build your brand when I know it can be so much easier and more enjoyable!

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Resources mentioned:

Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller

Download my personal branding blueprint


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The foundations of personal branding


You’re listening to episode two, the foundations AKA the five CS of personal branding. Today I’m teaching you my own process for building a personal brand so you can remove all the guesswork and just start taking action today. Welcome to the personal branding project. I’m your host, Kat Elizabeth, an actor and personal branding coach who is obsessed with helping creative entrepreneurs like you, build personal brands that change 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 occasional dose of tough love so you can stop dreaming and start doing what it takes to make those dreams a reality. Welcome back to the podcast. I am really excited you’re here because today’s episode is such an important one. I learned about personal branding the hard way, I mean books, online courses, some podcasts, but mostly trial and error, which meant that it was a really slow process and I made a ton of mistakes and I really do think that if I had some sort of process or formula structure to follow earlier on, I probably would have gotten here a little bit faster than I did.

I really do believe that having a process is the key to success. I mean, you can have the mindset, you can be super determined and show up every single day, but if you don’t know where you’re going, then how you’re going to get there. There’s a process to achieve just about anything in life, whether that’s weight loss, growing your business or planting a garden that was very random. I’m not actually that much of a gardener, but I just think it’s really the same with personal branding as much as it can seem like it’s something that’s intangible and all about that X factor that you supposedly have. Well, you don’t have, that’s not true. There is a formula and yes, you’re going to have to apply your own X factor, your charisma, your values to it, but at least I can lay the foundations for you so that where you’re going.

So today I’m going to give you the high level approach to the blueprint. There are five pillars in my personal branding blueprint and they all start with C so that you can hopefully remember them easier. Now obviously you can download my personal branding blueprint and if you go to the show notes or you go to personal branding project.co/zero zero two you will find the link so that you can follow along and start really doing this work that for the time being, I just want to introduce you to each of the Cs so you can get the juices flowing and then we’re going to deep dive into each of them in future episodes. Okay, so C number one is clarity and there are sort of four main areas that I like to focus on under this. Number one is your customer avatar. Your customer avatar is really just that, that ideal person that you want to work with.

And so it’s really important to know, where they are, what they need, where they’re at in their life, in their journey, in their transformation that you’re wanting to help them with what social media platforms they use, what kind of language they use. Like there is so much that comes from them that is going to influence the kinds of ways that you communicate with them moving forward. So that is why it is the number one step. So next up is what you’re selling because the thing is we really need to be able to reverse engineer everything that you do. You always have to begin with the end in mind. So I mean, and yes, this could change, but right now you need to figure out what is the end goal of how you’re going to work or sell to your clients or customers.

Once you know what that end goal is, then you can start mapping out the road to get there, which is why my next focus is your brand story. So your brand story kind of is that roadmap. So once you know where you need to get, you then need to create this entire story around your customer or your client, where they’re at right now and what your role is in helping them get to where they want to go. Now I’m a huge fan of building a StoryBrand, a book written by Donald Miller. I mean he’s got online courses, he’s got everything… But he has created this really simple way of kind of whittling down your journey with your customer or client down into tiny little sections like bite sized pieces that make communication so much easier. And it provides all of that clarity.

You need to know how to talk to people, how to create the right kind of content, how to write your website, like this is the the framework that’s going to give you that. So highly recommend if you’ve never checked out his book, do check it out. I will be talking more about it in future episodes, but there’s a lot in the book. Like I probably set aside an entire day to work on my own brand story. Like it does take a bit of homework and there’s no magic that happens here where you press a button and out pops the story. But if you’re prepared to do the work, that book is going to get you what you need. And then finally your mission statement, which is more for you than for anybody else. But I think the clarity that comes from knowing why you do what you do kind of fuels you through those tough days and there are going to be plenty of tough days.

And there’s the days where you just don’t see the results even though you’re doing the work and you can get really disheartened about why is no one following me? Why is no one commenting and liking and all of that. That for me, I always back to my why and it’s usually about, if I can help one person then is that enough? And for me I’m like, yes, yes it is. Obviously I want to build an empire. But if what I’m doing today can help change one person’s life for the better, then I’ve done my job. And so that’s why I think it’s really important to write a mission state statement for yourself around what you want to achieve and how you want to help people so that you can, put that up on your wall and just like remind yourself of it.

Anytime you’re struggling, every day you can wake up and remind yourself of why you’re doing something, then it’s going to make the life a lot easier. And you’ll keep showing up and doing those actions every day. Building those habits that in time, I’m telling you, they will get you where you want to go. So that was clarity. Now the next C is confidence. And I look at this as a kind of a two sided coin because there’s the confidence that comes from within that so important and there’s the confidence that you instil in your audience. So that’s why my first step in establishing that confidence is about mindset. Doing the inner work, working through your own inner demons. And the things that make you self sabotage, that make you feel like an imposter and removing them as much as possible so that you feel confident in your ability to help other people, which is going to then move on to helping them feel confident in you.

So the next step I have for confidence is visibility. So really like you do need to be visible for people to trust you because they need to have those multiple touch points where you’re sharing, your message, where you’re sharing value and resources and all of that. So in visibility we talk about choosing the right platforms. How you could collaborate with the right people, you could be doing some guest blogging, SEO or like all that very technical stuff is going to help you get more visible, which is going to help your audience trust you more because there’s just more proof of what you do. Next step is authority. So people need to really believe that you’re an expert in what you do. So thinking about, okay, how can I show people that I’m an authority? is it testimonials? Case studies, interviews, speaking opportunities, like there’s so many different ways we can demonstrate our authority and it’s always about leading by example.

So that’s a really important one in the confidence pillar. And then finally, content strategy, which is going to help pull all of this together. Okay, so what you want to talk about, where you want to be found. So what is the content that you’re putting out there that is going to spread that message with the world. The third C is communication. So basically if we’re not communicating in a way that resonates with our audience, then we may as well be speaking gibberish. So it’s really important to make sure that we communicate with them in the right way. And also keeping in mind that communication is so much more than just like the written word or the spoken word. There’s all these nonverbal cues that communicate what we represent and what we do and how professional we are in all these other places.

So with communication we start with tone of voice, which is, really understanding the language that you’re going to be using, how friendly or casual you are, how on-trend you are, whether you’re using emojis, like all these little things make a difference in helping your audience kind of go, yes this is my person or no, that person is not for me. But then we move onto brand photos. I feel like this for me has made such an impact on my brand is that when I started doing the right kind of photo shoots where I showed the ideal version of me. Now when I say ideal, I’m not talking photoshopped looking like somebody else. But I’m talking like wearing signature outfits that really represent my personality and being, showing off the right kind of personality and looking really professional and confident.

When people see these photos, they already start to get what I’m about. And it does — they say like a picture speaks a thousand words. It really is true. So if all you’re focusing on is like hoping that, okay, well I’ve got this great website, lots of amazing words, but you are not even putting photos of yourself on there. It’s really hard for people to get a gauge of of who you are and what you’re about and you could actually be losing people for this reason. Now I totally get it if you don’t, if you don’t want to lie for privacy reasons, but the fact is where we’re talking on a personal branding podcast right now and the thing is I’ve gone and looked up service providers or product providers that I have wanted to, learn from or work within the past.

And when I couldn’t find a photo of them or anything about the person behind the brand, I decided not to work with them because I was like, I just don’t, how can I know who you are? You might be telling me you’re this one thing, but without any photographic evidence, I really struggled to believe it. So just keep that in mind. If f you’re battling with this whole… Should I put my photo up on my website? Should I show myself in my social media feed? I feel like in most cases, I mean, well I feel like in all cases if you want to build a personal brand, I’m sorry, your face has to be a part of the equation. Next up. The pretty things like colours, fonts and potentially a logo. I really think a logo is optional with a personal brand, but using the right and consistent colours and fonts and even things like shapes, it’s going to play a big role in pulling together this whole kind of aesthetic.

And it’s just another way of communicating what you represent. Like we really feel, even if it’s subconscious, we feel different things when we see different colours. And you can use this to further drill in your message about what you represent. And as you might know, like when people see certain fonts, comic sense, we make immediate assumptions about the business. Whereas if you’ve got a, a beautiful script font, people might think one thing versus something very clean and minimalist, a sans serif font says something else, a traditional looking serif font… If I’m speaking gibberish right now, then I highly recommend going onto YouTube and maybe doing a, watching something on, the history of typography and understanding typography. Because honestly, I’m so obsessed with typography and I do think it has this incredible way of communicating our brands with the world.

And so if you can pick a font or two that really does represent you and you use that quite consistently moving forward in everything that you create, then that is going to play a role in getting the word out about what you do. And then finally, well not finally. There’s a lot more to communication than these, these four items. But this encompasses a lot of them. You’ve got social media aesthetic and this is something we didn’t use to have to worry about. It really used to be just be about, maybe a website and some printed material. But people are often going to social media before they go to our websites. Sometimes they never go to our websites and they decide solely based on our social media presence whether they want to work with us. So it is important that the first impression is a good one and an accurate one.

And also a consistent one, that they don’t land on one social media profile, it looks like one thing and then your other social media profile is something completely different. Moving on, we’ve got consistency, so consistency includes your brand integrity. So making sure that everything that you do kind of stays true to your brand values, especially that the message is actually getting out there and it is always the same. So people know what to expect from you. And I mean things like even you, your ability to show up on time, how long you take to reply to emails and how you sound on, on, a text message versus how you sound on your website. All of these kinds of things are going to be clues that people use to, to, draw assumptions about us. So it’s really important that once you establish your brand, your story, your values and everything that you offer, itch, everything should come from that place. You know, nothing is separate from that.

Next up, content scheduling, so this is another technical one, but when you schedule your content and batch it and have it prepared in advance, then it allows you to be consistent, which continues. Building that trust with your audience, it continues helping the algorithm. It’s like there’s so much to be said for being consistent because people know who they can count on you. And I feel like consistency is kind of the number one key to building momentum as well. Both with social media and how you start growing your following, but also with yourself. Like if you can be consistent each day that you show up, you’re going to get a little bit better and a little bit better. you’re going to keep growing and learning and getting more determined and more confident.

So doing things like scheduling your content and advance so that you’re going to keep showing up for your audience is going to have a big a payoff than you actually realise. Launch scheduling obviously ties into that as well. But thinking about when your products are coming out or when you’re launching a new service and how you, you build out your entire content schedule to tie in with that so that it’s consistent and so that, because consistency is also about like not just suddenly going, Oh, I’m launching this thing and then changing everything that you’re doing just to talk about that one thing. But being able to like not miss a beat when you launch a new thing or you make a pivot when it’s planned in advance, you can make it so smooth and effortless and people just kind of accept it and it doesn’t freak them out.

Whereas if you have this massive pattern disrupt where you’ve been doing this one thing for so long and then suddenly you decided to change directions, it could throw people a little bit in. Some people might be good with it, but the majority of people don’t really like change. We’re scared of change. So if they’ve come to expect something, all of you, it’s really important to keep delivering on that. And by planning your launches well in advance and working them into your overarching strategy, you can continue being consistent no matter what changes you’re making in your business. And the final piece of the puzzle with consistency is accountability. And this isn’t, Oh, it’s a tricky one because it’s, it’s so easy, especially when you are a freelancer. If you’re self employed or you’re side hustling, it’s easy to be like, no, I’ve got this. Like I’m a lone Wolf.

I’m just gonna figure this out as I go along. But I have learned that no matter how determined or resourceful you are, there is something to be said for having some extra accountability. Now, it doesn’t always have to be another person. There are ways of creating accountability for yourself, but sometimes always it’s going to be a little more tricky to become your own accountability partner than it is to find someone else to provide you with that accountability. And so that is where things like mentors come in, coaches come in, being in masterminds or other groups or even just having a good friend who has a similar mindset to you is also trying to achieve something kind of big and you can just have each other’s backs, and your partner can be a great option for this too. Although keep in mind they may get sick of hearing you talk about all the stuff that you’re doing.

I’m not speaking from experience. (Yes I am.) But sometimes it’s better to have someone on the outside. Also, the other thing is the emotional connection. Sometimes if you’re with someone who is just too emotionally involved and you take things a bit personally when they make a comment or you get frustrated with them when they don’t give you the support that you need, things can get a bit messy. So sometimes it’s better to find someone on the outside where you can, you can lay fresh ground rules and figure out how you’re going to show up for each other to make sure you achieve these things. But it is such a crucial piece of the puzzle. And finally we’ve got C number five, which is compass. And this is one that I think the majority of us forget about. And I’ll be honest, when I first wrote the personal branding blueprint, I didn’t include this one and I was like, hold on, something’s missing here.

So within compass, the number one point is tracking your results. So it’s really important to have an awareness about what’s working and what’s not and why. And we often kind of put our heads in the sand around this because we hate having to find out that, when you go into your analytics that people are only staying on your website for 30 seconds or people are dropping off right after your intro in your YouTube video. Or you can see that your engagement’s going down on Instagram. All these things sting. Also thinking about how many people are actually converting, like how many people are getting an opt in put in front of their noses and are actually signing up for it and how many of the people that are on your email list are turning into customers or clients, but these figures, they are so powerful because we can use them to learn what’s working and why and then what’s not working and why so that we are empowered to make changes and keep improving.

Step one is track your results. Step two is also to go a bit deeper and survey your audience. So you want to take time to reach out to the people who follow you, who are on your list, whatever it may be and kind of check that you’re actually giving them what they need and that they are learning and that they are engaged. Like keep in mind that everyone, even though they may be the end goal is the same as all of your other followers. Like we all have different learning styles, we have different attention spans, we’ve got different schedules, if we can check in and make sure we are actually serving our audience as well as we possibly can and and fitting in with their unique needs, then we’re going to have quicker results than just assuming these things and just doing what we’d always planned on doing.

No matter what, no matter how they’re actually going. And so then step three is to make the changes. So take on board the feedback, look at the analytics, figure out what’s not working and start to tweak. And this is the part that can be really painful. I had to go into my videos in YouTube and go, huh, interesting. Like people, a lot of people are dropping off at this point in the video. What is it that I’m doing wrong? And then you have to go back and watch the videos and make the connections. And this is all very dry stuff, but once you can figure out why it’s not working and why you’re not getting as many results as you’d like, then you’re empowered to make that change. And so I was able to actually see what was happening and make changes.

Like, okay, I need to get to the point quicker. I need to give a stronger hook, bigger promise about what’s coming. I need to break up my video into smaller chunks, change things that are happening on the screen and as much as that kind of pained me because I had my routine down and I was like, yeah, but this is my thing, this is how I do it. What is the point of going to the effort of doing it? If you then find out it’s not really working, if you’re going to go to all this effort, then go to that, that nth degree to find out, to track your results, survey your audience, and then make those changes. So the effort starts to pay off in bigger ways. And then finally it’s about setting new goals as well.

Because in time we might find that the thing that we were aiming for is no longer the thing that we want to achieve or that our audience is starting to shift and they need different things from us or it may be we actually did achieve something and we’re like, cool, now what? So it’s important to set fresh goals for, and I’m talking high level and small goals. So some of them might be like you were posting three times a week on Instagram, you’ve kind of nailed it. Maybe it’s time to go to five days a week on Instagram, something as small as that. Or it might be setting new revenue goals or setting a goal of creating a new product, whatever it may be. We need to check in with our existing goals and see where we’re at, how we’re feeling about them and then maybe set some new ones so that we stay fresh and excited and motivated. And we keep on going.

Well, they were the five Cs and that was probably a lot to take in. But as I mentioned, this was high level stuff. I just want to raise your awareness about all these different things that are going into building your personal brand or even your business brand because you’ll find that pretty much all of it is the same as building a brand, except as I’ve said before, instead of building something that’s separate from you where you can kind of write the story from scratch, you’re building your brand around your own story that exists, and then we’re just kind of tweaking it and framing it in the right way so that it resonates with your audience. And now we’re just going to lace going to be kind of looking at what you do and starting to maybe run a little bit more of an assessment or an audit on your existing brand and how it’s going.

And you might start to notice things that you go, Oh, that’s right. I didn’t even realize that was a factor. And now that it’s a factor, you can see that it’s one of the factors that is holding you back from faster growth. So we’re going to get way deeper into all of these things moving forward. So just stay subscribed so you don’t miss a beat. And if you liked today’s episode and learned something new, I would be incredibly grateful if you would leave a review, whether that’s on Apple podcasts or wherever else you’re listening to this. And also share a screenshot with your biggest takeaway, a tagging me on social. So whether that’s Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, I’ll find it, uh, at @iamkatelizabeth and I will be sure to reshare it because I am so grateful. So get sharing and I cannot wait to chat to you on the next episode. Thank you so much for listening.


Kat is a copywriter, brand & messaging strategist personal branding coach and the founder of The Personal Branding Project whose mission is to help you go from best-kept secret to in-demand brand.


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