I began 2019 with an invitation to have Personal Branding Webinar sessions with the Tony Elumelu Foundation entrepreneurs. This was an oppotunity that came to me because I divinely met the person in charge of partnerships at the Foundation and I was able to pitch the value I could bring to the table even before I knew her official title. If you are serious about growing your personal brand, you must be prepared to pitch yourself at any given time which is essentially your elevator pitch.
After the first Webinar session in April, I also received an invitation to speak at a Masterclass during the Alumni-Mentor Dinner at the Tony Elumelu Foundation Forum (TEF Forum) which is arguably the largest gathering of entrepreneurs from across Africa. I didn’t realize how big this was going to be until I entered the room where over 1000 entrepreneurs from all over the Continent gathered! Talk about pressure for someone who often shies away from public speaking.
Thankfully, it went really well. I believe God just took control and made everything fall into place. Here’s a brief summary of what I shared with the entrepreneurs during the Masterclass on how entrepreneurs can change the African narrative by learning how to build their personal brand and leverage the media to boost their business.
It Starts With A Compelling Story
Every media feature and interview you will ever grant is based on a story. Have you worked on your story? A good personal brand has to be built on a compelling story which must have these three components:
- It has to showcase your passion
- It must reveal the value you bring (What problem did you identify and what solution are you bringing?)
- It must showcase quantifiable impact (This is where case studies and testimonials become important)
If you are wondering how to develop your story, start with spending a few minutes writing about your passion and why you do what you are doing (or the subject matter you want to become a thought leader for). Once you’ve done this, work on tweaking it into something more conscice that you can say under two minutes.
Find Ways To Tell Your Story
Once you’ve developed your story, you must tell it. What’s the point of having a great story that no one will ever get to hear? Thanks to the digital age we live in, you can begin to tell your story right now. Like I always say, no platform is too small when you are starting out. Here are some quick steps you can take:
- Have an overall strategy. Where are you going and what will get you there? If you don’t create the right strategy, you may end up getting to the wrong destination or telling your story to the wrong audience which means you won’t see the desired results.
- Break your strategy into smaller plans so that you make measurable progress in terms of achieving your overall strategy. These smaller plans could be deciding how many times you want to post on social media, how many guest posts you want to contribute to blogs in a month and so on.
- Create your own platforms and leverage on social media. The goal is to have media features but you must start by leveraging your own platforms to tell your story. Social media is great for this. Use it strategically, as well as industry specific online communities where you can begin to share your story and interact with your target audience.
Work On Your Media Pitch Pack
I shared this in my last two posts and it is really essential. Once you’ve worked on your story and you have started sharing it, you need to have your pitch pack ready so that you can easily send it to platforms you may choose to explore. It doesn’t matter where I am in the world, if someone asks me to quickly send them my profile for example, I can do so with a few clicks on my phone along with my professional picture. Being able to respond quickly this way has allowed me to gain access to certain opportunties.
Here’s what you need in your media pack:
- Your story embedded in a well-written profile
- Professional headshot (invest in this please)
- Quick links to know more about you (Helps if you have already started to tell your story)
- Your personal website
I believe that if more African entrepreneurs can begin to share their compelling story and document their journey digitally, they can collectively change the African narrative. Just imagine if 80% of the Tony Elumelu Foundation entrepreneurs work deliberately and strategically to build their personal brand? There is no reason why majority of them should not dominate the Forbes 30Under30 list for example or any other global list for entreprenuers.
The same applies to you. Take deliberate steps daily to grow your personal brand. Tell your story. Share great content. Always be on the look out for opportunties and be quick to jump on the right ones. Offer value and always be open to learning. You will become known as a thought leader in no time.
Again, do let me know if you find this helpful and also share with your friends!