Paula Rizzo (author of Listful Living) gets you in the mindset of starting a brand with these important questions.

BONUS FREEBIE: Your message deserves the media’s attention. So how do you get out there in a bigger way? I’ve got you covered. CLICK HERE to grab my free “Checklist to Become a Go-To Media Expert.”

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I’ve found that there’s one word that gives my media-training clients the most anxiety. That word?

Brand.

No matter what you do for work, the age we’re living in means that developing a personal brand that really represents you and your goals is important.

But I also recognize that branding yourself can feel abstract at best and a little hokey at worst. To find your brand, first you have to get clear on what it’s not.

Your brand is not:

  • What you do
  • Your credentials
  • Your title
  • Your accolades 
  • Any label you can find in a dropdown menu

Your credentials, title, and accolades are all a resource for your wisdom. But they don’t lead — you do. And by “you,” I mean the person behind those titles: the one with passion, drive, opinions, a distinct mission

You are who people want to connect with—not Random Harvard Doctor #4. And your brand is the first point of contact and the sum of your customer’s engagement with you.

To find your brand, ask yourself these three questions:

1. Why you — and why this?

To connect with you, we need to know your story — your “why.” What was the moment when you discovered what you were meant to do? What happened that triggered your burning desire to help people with this problem? Your struggles draw us in as much as your expertise.

For example, Dorie Clark is passionate about helping people take control of their professional lives because there were very few opportunities for success in her North Carolina hometown, and she believes everyone should be able to get paid for doing what they love.

Farnoosh Torabi is passionate about personal finance because she was once 22 years old, $30k in debt, living in NYC and eating canned tuna. And as she grew up and out of debt, she realized there was a hole in our country’s financial literacy that was leaving young people out to dry.

Your story may make you feel vulnerable. Good. That vulnerability is exactly what let’s your audience in and allows them to feel something for you. Get people invested in your story and they’ll follow you anywhere.

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Want to be productive in a hybrid work model? My hybrid work LinkedIn Learning course is free until August 31!

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2. Who are you passionate about helping?

One of my favorite exercises to give clients is this fill-in-the-blank:

“I help (people who need/want X) to (benefit #1) and (benefit #2).”

Who are your people? Get specific. Who do you want to be known for helping? Who do you passionately advocate for or think gets overlooked? There’s probably a certain demographic of your clientele that hits your expertise sweet spot.

Don’t be afraid to lean into that one thing — your thing. Getting specific about your brand doesn’t limit you. In fact, it does the opposite. You have to be specific enough to cut through the din. And once you’ve got people’s attention, your brand can pivot with you, because it is you!

 3. What’s your favorite way to help people?

Get specific about how you help people. For example, say you’re an autoimmune disease expert. Maybe you like to get in the weeds one on one with clients and overhaul their nutrition plan. Or maybe you’re a fabulous curator of autoimmune-safe products, recipes, and routines. Those are two brands that, technically, speak to many of the same things. But how they want to help people sets their brands apart.

And when it comes to your media brand, there are only so many hours in a day. You may want to write a book, host a podcast, give a TED talk, teach an online course, create a live-streaming show, and start a blog. And, in due time, we believe you can do all or most of those things! But right now, start with what you love and the rest will follow.

Ask yourself, “Am I itching to write this book or to develop this course?” Your brand will ring truer if you lead with who you are and how you love to be of service. And that will pique the media’s interest.

Considering these three questions can help you narrow down what you want to be doing — and that will create the structure for a brand that is authentic and sustainable.

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BONUS FREEBIE: Your message deserves the media’s attention. So how do you get out there in a bigger way? I’ve got you covered. CLICK HERE to grab my free “Checklist to Become a Go-To Media Expert.”


Listful Living by Paula Rizzo

Listful Living

A List-Making Journey to a Less Stressed You

A best-selling author and Emmy-award winning television producer for nearly 20 years, Paula Rizzo produced health, wellness, and lifestyle segments with a range of top experts, including JJ Virgin, Jillian Michaels, and Deepak Chopra. Rizzo brings her experience to this new project. Readers will learn their stress style and strategies for shaping their days in more productive ways. With self-assessments and exercises, this guide will bring readers to better patterns and better, more organized lives.

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