It’s been four years since I sat down, opened my laptop, and started Motherhood: The Real Deal. If someone would have mentioned the words “personal brand” to me back then, I would have wondered what on earth they were talking about. Yet four years down the line, here I am, with a personal brand. Eek! Just saying those words makes me want to go and dive under a dusty rug somewhere, but there it is.
To be entirely honest, it’s not something I set out to do. But when I look back on those years there are some definitely things and decisions that have led to the creation of a personal brand. You hear so many people talking about how to build a personal brand. It’s a strange concept – perhaps slightly uncomfortable. Yet it’s something that has come about for me through pure hard work and a belief in what I’ve been doing.
I was lucky enough to have a photo shoot recently with the lovely and talented Henika Photography. I knew as soon as I saw her gorgeous pictures which seem so REAL and authentic – that they would be perfect for talking about how I built the brand that is Motherhood: The Real Deal.
From the very start
I guess I was building a personal brand from the very first minute I published that blog post. Although I was still searching for who I was in new motherhood. Having undergone a massive identity crisis, I knew I had something to say. And that I wanted to say it honestly.
Subconsciously, I was positioning myself as the parenting blogger who wanted to tell it like it is. The clue was in the name – Motherhood: The Real Deal.
I knew I wanted to break the silence about so many things people weren’t talking about in motherhood. I also knew I wanted to reach out and support other mums and parents who were grappling with the same questions and issues I was.
Although there have been many times of doubt during my four years, I always knew at the end of the day why I was doing what I was doing. I wanted to make other mums and parents feel better about what they might be going through. I wanted them to know they were not alone. That they weren’t the only ones feeling that way when they’d had a terrible day. And I did that by producing relatable, helpful, useful, and sometimes strategic content.
As I grew, I listened to people’s pain points – in conversations, in the news, in forums, and put together content around that.
Authenticity is key
Authenticity was key right from the get go. I wore my heart on my sleeve and shared my own parenting struggles, I framed them against the context of what was going on in the wider world. It felt true to me right from the start – and I always held on tight to that. I slowly yet unknowingly cultivated trust and authority through a platform that was built to last. And perhaps most importantly, I wrote in the voice that I thought in.
That authenticity and originality was key.
Personal branding is not about pretending to be something you are not. Goodness knows we see enough of that out in the big wide world. It’s about showcasing your true self. If you’re confident about your core values and beliefs, the rest is natural.
Getting out there
I realised early on that if you wanted to be heard, you needed to shout bloody loud. Nobody else is going to do it for you. I harnessed the power of social media to connect with people, and created useful and thumb-stoppable content to do exactly that.
I collaborated with others and soon learned that THIS was where the true magic happened. After all, we are not islands. I found synergies wherever I could. I explored, and remained curious. Wherever my passions were, that’s where my Motherhood: The Real Deal life would take me. I tried not to overthink things, or let that self-doubt take over. Instead, I just went with my gut. And pushed that button!
Oh the places you’ll go
Following my gut took me to a lot of places and people. I’ve worked on some brilliant campaigns – everyone one of them had to be a good fit. And I’ve pushed my fear aside time and time again to appear on TV and radio. I knew me speaking out about the truth was more important than my fear of doing so!
It has also helped me connect with so many incredible people. I’ve discovered the power of building your network both online and offline. It has been nothing short of monumental. As an online brand, it can be so easy to forget all about the power of building that network offline too – but trust me, it’s invaluable.
Every breath you take
Remember that whatever you do has an impact on your personal brand, so if you’re not comfortable doing something, then don’t. Only work with others who have similar values and beliefs to you. When it feels right. There is no point trying to force a square into a circle.
So that’s how I built my personal brand. Although a little bit of me still cringes at the term “personal brand”, I am still proud of what Motherhood: The Real Deal has become today. But I always remember that none of this would have been possible without YOU reading.
If you’d like to find out more about the photography services offered by Henika Photography whether it be for personal branding, headshots, personal or family portraits, visit http://henikaphotography.com/.
*I was gifted the above photography services by Henika Photography