Want to build your brand? Stop worrying about filming yourself and just do good work

While the rise of 24/7 video content might work wonders for some online marketers, the majority of us would probably be better off simply investing that time into our work, writes PR consultant Katie Clift.

I’ve been in professional agony for a few months now.

It’s not from lack of challenges or fulfilling campaigns – it’s been over something a little simple. Maybe even embarrassing. It’s the pressure of building a personal brand.

If you follow enough ‘thought leaders’, entrepreneurs, motivational coaches and small business strategists online, you’ll know there’s a current school of thought underscoring advice globally about being successful in media, marketing and public relations: building a solid, authentic, unwavering personal brand.

Experts tell us we (and our clients) have to post more, share more screen time, get real on camera, share our true selves and constantly connect with our target audience in order to even begin to compete on the media, branding and marketing spectrum.

I get it. Viewers and followers today want to connect with genuine people. Me included. They don’t want to be sold to. They don’t want content that’s just about you, your product or service, or (what you think is) your crucial message. They want to connect first and consider engaging later.

I’m the first to admit I like getting to know the people behind the brands. I like social stories far more than the feed. I’m frustrated with more ads being introduced on YouTube. I’m less and less inclined to click on Facebook and scroll through a mix of sponsored and self-indulgent posts.

Photo by Steve Gale on Unsplash

But behind the push for a great personal brand is a heck of a lot of pressure.

I tried it myself. I turned on the camera and – while I had helpful content to share – I couldn’t get the format right. It felt odd. Even trying to outline a rough content schedule on what I planned to share was frustrating, time-consuming and at some points downright ridiculous.

Honestly? I struggle to understand how my reputation and reach can be significantly influenced by me documenting the entire process of my weekday homemade pizza night – but maybe that’s just me.

I came across a great quote from Ogilvy recently – funnily enough, on their Instagram account online. It read: “Forget about ‘creating a brand for yourself.’ Instead focus on being a good person, doing good work, and showing up on time. Your brand will follow.”


Imagine the personal branding that would follow us across the media, and for our clients and customers, if we all just focused on being better people.

I wonder how much of our time is spent trying to connect and build a persona – on crafting genuine content to shape ourselves and a brand – vs. committing to just living life well. Shouting a co-worker for coffee. Going the extra mile for your client. Spending a little more time perfecting your latest pitch.

I know people who build their personal brands effortlessly across media – it’s a gift for some, and I don’t doubt it has an impact on marketing and brand results. It’s hard work, and something I want to get much better at. I approve of the new trend of being more genuine and connecting authentically in all we do, transforming old-school approaches to media and marketing. I’m committed to sharing more and connecting as much as possible – and helping clients do the same.

But for now? I’m going to relax a little and let the brand follow. Building a better personal brand for me looks like just being a better person. And I don’t think that’s ever a bad investment.

Katie Clift is director of Katie Clift Consulting Pty Ltd. Follow her at twitter.com/katieclift, @katieclift on Instagram or at katieclift.com.


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