Authentic Voice and Building a Personal Brand

I read an article this morning in Forbes about how to make more money online.  Interestingly, it didn’t tell me that, exactly.  The author spoke to the issue of building an “authentic personal brand message.”

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 Image from www.proza.ru

At 72, it seems I can truly feel like it is morning in my life, and not evening.   A “personal brand message?”  That’s something entirely new to me that I had never even considered before.  I’m a Freshman, in terms of this new endeavor, with some skills but much to learn. Thank goodness for the internet,  I am learning so much.  I usually just write expressively to find out what I am thinking  (does anyone relate?), and, well, hopefully to light a candle for someone else to see their way, or at least to know they are not alone.  Well, and because writers write, that’s what we DO.

Now that I am preparing a book, and marketing my written words as a freelancer on fiverr and elsewhere,  I found this a helpful read.  I am guessing I need to focus more on what you, the reader, would either enjoy reading or be led to read.

The article suggests trying to “understand what it is about ME that would be of value to my target audience.”   “Target audience?” Yikes. Do you know anyone like that?  I never considered that I could have a “target audience.”  My feathers ruffle when I find I am someone else’s “target audience.” Still, I understand, they are asking me to consider, as I am at this new beginning, who would benefit from reading what I write, and begin writing  TO THEM.  Perhaps, writing with them in mind.

” If you can define who they (target audience”) are and what they are looking for, you can then begin to structure a truly authentic brand message.”

“The most important process in personal branding is defining what makes you unique and why should anyone pay attention to what you have to say? “

People may want to listen to what I have to say because I am a minister and a therapist, a healer in both roles, AND I am a person who has built a beautiful life after years of struggling with deep depression.  I can teach others how to live a happy life with a peaceful, open heart, with good boundaries.  I know there are people who need to hear my story, who ache to know the HOW of moving past this deadly disease, that’s why I am writing the book.  The purpose is to share HOW to climb out of the smelly manhole of melancholy and enjoy singing in the sunshine.  My audience here is people who are or have been seriously depressed, or love someone who is.

And, now that I have (mostly) healed, I am also a spiritual activist, spreading a message of peace and plenty for the individual and for the planet.

I am still confused though about this “branding” thing.  And so I have asked my friends,

So, I have a favor to ask, dear  family and friends. I am writing again for a living and I am told that I need to develop a “personal brand message” in order to build my reputation as a writer and as a healer. I’ve never much worried about my rep before, and I write about many things, and so the coaching is to ask my family and friends and readers (you) how you perceive me and what you see my true strengths to be. This is not asking for smoke and easy flattery.  And, I know you love me. But if you were writing an “About Gerry” for an article or book I’d write, what would you say? Thanks so much if you could take the time to give me some thoughts.”

Some have started to give really thoughtful replies I must digest, and then I will re-write my “about,” and re-visit this topic with you.  You don’t know me personally, but if something comes to you from reading my posts, I would love feedback from you as well.  And if you have any experience with this exercise yourself, or will challenge yourself the same way, I would love to hear from you.

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