Branding is Telling Your Story

A storyteller.

That’s what I am.

That’s what I’ll always be.

I didn’t choose that role. It’s something I was born into.

Long before the word, “storyteller,” became a buzzword and way before the whole “marketers are storytellers” thing became a cliche, I was telling stories. Whether it was making up games and writing short stories and manuscripts as a kid or creating content for brands and communicating their message, it’s all from that same place.

While writing is my primary passion, and it may be yours as well, there are many ways to tell a story — Film, pictures, audio etc. We’re living in a time where content creation and distribution is democratized and cheaper and easier than ever before. That also means there’s more competition. But if you’re talented and you’re persistent, and you pay attention to the needs of your audience, you’ll break out of the noise.

So, start that podcast or that blog or that vlog or whatever suits your communication style and start communicating your story — your truth. When you tell a story that has people’s attention, countless opportunities will open up for you in life and in business.

Building a brand is ultimately what will help you differentiate and stand out in a crowded market.

Being the Best Isn’t Good Enough

It’s no longer enough to be the best at your craft. If you’re not doing the extra work to communicate to the world, provide value, and build some long-term relationships even if there is no short-term gain or immediate payoff, then I don’t see how you can possibly expect to grow.

To get people to care or appear on the radar of your target market, you need to do a lot of little things besides your regular work, which many of you don’t want to do — Examples: Putting out free content, mentoring, doing free work for influencers, making time to help others and do favors without expectation of getting anything in return.

Be great at your craft. Find as many paying clients or customers as you can. But you also have to do a lot of work that has no immediate payoff. I have been doing much of this work and it’s led to many opportunities, such as referrals, clients and people reaching out because they heard of me or saw my content.

If you’re not willing to do this extra work or view it as beneath your dignity, please understand that a competitor willing to do the work will be more than happy to take your spot. You can rant about it on LinkedIn and in networking groups or among colleagues over a few drinks. But no one is listening and no one cares. Think long-term.

I Do Things My Own Way and it Works.

I have no time for annoying formats, plugging into formulas, or regurgitating someone else’s process.

This is in part because I simply don’t have the patience to follow along with someone else’s rules and instructions and partly because I like to do things my own way. This is how I’ve been in many areas of life in ways that are both good, and perhaps, bad at times, for as long as I can remember. Might be one reason I didn’t enjoy school.

Of course, I studied the fundamentals of copywriting and I have listened to experts and learned about different headlines and certain words that work etc., but at the end of the day, I spend much more time these days creating than consuming the work of others.  And, experience has shown me that the things I write straight from the gut do far better than things which were written while following a recipe or applying some sort of methodology.

Nowadays, I write more like I speak and I let it flow. So far, the responses have been great. 🙂 I understand that not everyone is going to dig me or my style. Not everyone is going to buy what I’m selling. There is nobody who is for everybody.  What matters more to me is making an impact and connecting with others authentically. Keeping it natural.

Are you a freelancer or an entrepreneur? There’s a Difference.

Writer or entrepreneur?

Artist or businessman?

There is a big difference. These questions are ones that I often think about.

Some people are amazing content creators. It doesn’t mean they should start content marketing agencies.

Some people are great at their craft, but they aren’t great at selling or managing people or invoicing or dealing with clients.

Some make fantastic freelancers, or solopreneurs, but they can’t necessarily create an organization bigger than themselves with employees.

They’re better off as one-person shows.

One has to have the self-awareness and the honesty to figure out what is right path for oneself.

So, what makes me think I can go from content writer/strategist to founder/CEO of a new marketing agency?

Over the past two years, I’ve proven to myself and others that I can fly solo very nicely.

Will I be able to grow it into something bigger?

We’re about to find out.

Call it chutzpah, call it foolishness, call it arrogance, but I’m trying. I’m starting. I’m DOING and not just talking.

I’m going for it.

And if I fail, then I fail forward and can always rely on my craft — writing ✍️ to support me. I can always go back to being a solo artist.

However, I’m behaving as if there is no other option.

I’m going full speed ahead as an entrepreneur. I refuse to be another statistic in the game.

Sure, there are a lot of players. Most of them don’t make it. But, as my mother always said:

“Cream rises to the top.”

I invite you to come along and follow me on my journey.

— Zev