A big part of the branding journey is finally figuring out “your thing.”
This is often what clients are struggling with when they seek me out. They’re having a hard time deciding where they should hang their hat or what they want to become known for.
It’s an important decision, but an understandably hard one. You’re complicated! (In a good way.) How are you supposed to prioritize just one thing about you?
It’s so intimidating that many of us just don’t do it. But, if you’re ready to change that, I’m going to share a few pointers and a full walkthrough to help you out.
First, a new way of looking at it:
You can actually have more than one “thing” in your business. (The good news!)
You just have to focus on building only one up at a time. (Still tough, but way better than thinking you’re putting just one stake down for the rest of time, right?)
So, if you had to narrow in on what you want to become known for this year (knowing that you can add to it in the future), does it take some of the fear out of putting your stake in the ground?
… And can you imagine how much more effective you’ll be at getting your message across if you focus on only one or two of them all year long?
Yup, I thought so. So let’s do this!
Your Key Message for 2017: Here’s a quick walkthrough.
If you have a solid sense of your brand, you already have lots of messaging that resonates with clients and is aligned beautifully with who you are and what you provide. But what will you lead with this year? What stakes will you be focusing on putting in the ground?
- It might be something in your heart – a message you want to become known for.
- It might be a niche or a specific kind of client you’ve decided to target.
- It could be a particular kind of pain or problem for which you want to become the go-to person.
Need a little bit of help? Here’s the step by step process I use. If you have a Brand Profile with your overall messages and strategies, it’ll be a valuable sidekick as you go through the brainstorm process. Otherwise, just pull from what you know!
1: Dig up possibilities.
a) Jot down the key ideas that you think your clients will most resonate with this year – the ones that feel most relevant to them right now. If you pay close attention to them, there are probably some patterns you’re noticing in what they want or struggle with.
For example, I’ve heard clients talking a lot about struggling to find their niche or put their stake in the ground lately. So I’ve decided to amplify that piece of the value I provide in my content this year … hence this post! :)
b) Now, list all of the messages that you have in your heart right now. I know, this is easier for some of us than others, but we all have insights we want to share that feel important to us. What do you want your people to know? What are the problems and misunderstandings in your industry you’d like to dispel this year?
I have a special message brewing in my heart for the undersharers out there, and feel the pull to bring them together and help them attain the visibility and personal expression they crave. This is one of the stakes I’m putting in the ground this year. (So, if you’re an undersharer, and don’t want to be anymore, get on the list to find out when this small movement begins!)
c) Put down any other ideas that feel key to setting you apart this year and becoming known for your true value. This might mean a particular skill set that you want to become known for, or a problem you want to focus on solving for your people, going forward.
In my example, this is going to mean emphasizing the fact that I’m great at helping people see and bravely own their truth in their business; getting clarity on who they are and how they want to show up.
Remember, it can feel uncomfortable stepping up and owning this stuff! That’s why so many people stay generic.
2: Create your short list.
Once you have a full list of potential “stakes” to put in the ground, choose just a handful of them to make up your short list. (This list will be a super handy resource for planning your entire editorial calendar!) Choose the ones that are closest tied to your overall brand direction, but that also really excite you to focus on.
3: Choose the one or two stakes you’ll focus on putting down this year.
Now, you must narrow down again! Choose 1-2 that you will lead with for the year. It doesn’t mean that the other messages aren’t true or will have no place in your copy or content, just that your focus will be on repeating the top ideas like a broken record… truly owning them.
To narrow in, you might want to try this prompt that worked wonders for me.
Ask yourself: “If I saw somebody else put this stake in the ground tomorrow and become known for this idea, which ones would I be the most upset about?”
If you’re feeling protective about an idea… I think that tells you something. It might give you instant clarity on what you should be leading with.
As a perpetual slowpoke, I have learned the hard way that there is an expiration date on your ideas. But, As overthinkers, we often sit on our most treasured ideas and intentions “until the time is right.”
We protect them instead of expressing them, and then the moment is gone.
So I encourage you, this year, to lead with those best ideas… the ones you ultimately want to become know for. Don’t protect them, don’t hold back. If there’s something you hope to become known for, the time is now to start putting that stake in the ground.
Start now by sharing your answers with me over on my Facebook page! I’d love to hear what you’ve come up with.