Overcome struggles defining your personal brand's voice

Struggling with your personal brand voice? Writing for your personal brand can create a new set of challenges. Even if you're familiar with brand writing or already enjoy writing, it can be hard to turn your skills toward building your own brand.

As a personal brand, you may be worried about:

  • What will people think?
  • What should I be speaking about?
  • Will anyone even listen to me?
  • Why should anyone listen to what I have to say?

There's a lot more questions that arise when beginning your own branding. It's a fear of not being good/interesting/fun/exciting/different enough to maintain your presence or draw people in. It's not uncommon to be asking yourself these questions. Combating the fear about your voice can be as simple as knowing what you offer.

What do you bring to the table?

Think about your unique qualities that make you good/interesting/fun/exciting/different. All of these things make your voice valuable to your followers. This can be your:

  • Experience at work or expertise
  • Upbringing
  • Hobbies
  • Perspective
  • Sense of humor and personality

You have plenty working for you! Don't think to harshly of yourself. The more you are yourself, by not trying to put on airs or formality, means that more people will connect to what you have to say.

School trains people to write for a more formal audience. We wrote tons of research papers and reports, they were not really meant to be interesting since they followed APA or MLA style. But when it comes to developing your own voice and brand, you may be falling back into your more formal habits (like henceforth, heretofore, alas, etc.).

Some ways to overcome that weird voice that wants to takeover when you start communicating how "you think you should talk":

  • Write how you speak. Write down words that you use in conversation and include them in your voice. Make sure these aren't filler words or jargon, these types of words don't add value for your audience.
  • Write how you speak (yes I said this twice on purpose). Record yourself speaking about what you want to convey. More often then not, you may be able to explain something much more simply by talking it out. This happens to me a lot - someone asks me to describe my writing and I can do it quickly and eloquently. So the person I'm working with follows up - "Why didn't you just write that?"
  • Read your work aloud. Say the words aloud and see if you encounter any strange phrases or pauses. Your words should flow easily without stumbling. When you stumble, you've found something you wouldn't normally say.

Ways to overcome 3 common voice struggles

Not sure what you have to offer?

  • Ask family and friends!
  • Go through your resume. The highlights are probably where your strengths lie
  • Think about one of your favorite accomplishment. What helped you get there?
  • What are you an expert in? Look to your hobbies and work to see where you've developed expertise.

Not sure what you sound like?

  • Record yourself talking about a topic.
  • Listen to some of the people who inspire you. What are they good? What do they do that works?
  • Ask your friend and family to tell you some phrases or words that you use frequently.

Not sure how to define your personality?

  • Personality tests online are tons of fun! Try out Myers & Briggs or other reputable personality tests.
  • Strengthsquest is a great personality test program that incorporates feedback from people you know. If you have some time and money to invest, try this one out.
  • List the top 5 adjectives that describe you. This will at least give you a place to start.

Building a personal brand takes time and can be difficult! Don't give up your pursuit of your voice. Keep in mind:

  • It's ok for your voice to change over time. Learn how you operate and communicate best as you go. Continue growing and experimenting with what works best for you.
  • Just get started. The surest way to developing your voice is to start reading, writing, and speaking. You will never develop a voice if you never get started.
  • Be yourself. Don't try to be anyone else; your voice is unique to you. Learning to relieve yourself of the inclination to sound like someone else will let your voice shine.