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Guest Blog: Personal branding and your book — Toying with talking points

September 11, 2008 at 6:38 am

I’ve been asking my dear friend, Judy Martin, to contribute a post to this blog, and today, she delivered. Personal branding and your book and talking points are her subjects and something many of you will want to know about. Judy, who I think of as my little sister, is an up and comer in this great big world. She’s an award-winning broadcast journalist, a peace activist, a media trainer and a great writer. We’re lucky to get a complimentary slice of Judy’s magic. There’s some very valuable advice ahead, so take it all in. And now….here’s Judy!

Spread way to thin in her world of marketing, a recent client hired me to hone-in on her many gifts and articulate her unique message. We met for an entire day in an effort to tap those laser-sharp talking points that she knew laid dormant in her consciousness about her work. She was so darn good at promoting other people, but when it came to discussing her own work and in fact the book that was bursting to be born within her – she entered a shy-zone. 

This was odd coming from a woman so passionately dedicated to helping others on their journey of entrepreneurship. She has already had incredible eras of success, but was now in somewhat of a transition and was toying with her talking points to figure out how to approach writing her book.  What emerged shocked us both – an original first outline for her book, and subsequently a book proposal. A month later she had a book deal with a major business publisher. 

Hard to believe – but a true story which I embrace and share. When you align your core values with your work and are doing the work you love, inevitably the universe (or whatever term you are comfortable with) has a tendency to support you. Still, as we all know – we must do the work to trigger the information download. 

When my client made the commitment to move toward completion of this book project, she knew she had to be different, and use her unique voice to make a significant impact in her field. She tapped that inner resource – which we all have and can cultivate –  to take her business to the next level and write a book.

 YOUR Individual Message

There is a depth to your message as an expert which no one else on this planet offers. That’s because you are delivering it through your lens of awareness – in your voice. Deliberate talking points will be heard above the rest no matter what kind of work you do, and in fact are a part of your personal branding power. 

Another client recently contacted me about her desire to hone in on one message. The problem was that she was so good at so many things, and delivered in three completely unrelated fields of work, that she wasn’t sure which area to focus on. This dilemma was causing a disconnect in the structure of her business and in fact – she was in the midst of an identity crisis from a business perspective – although she was highly skilled. 

After a few hours of working together it became evident that she was actually a one stop shop for marketing, branding, and interior design. Instead of highlighting one particular skill – she merged them. She gave them all a voice in an integrated way and now has more business than she knows what to do with. 

An Integrated Approach to Your Message

It’s that integrated approach that we have shunned in the past because traditionally we were taught to concentrate on that one Big corporate career which would drive our pension and lead us into retirement. That’s not the case anymore. We are a multi-tasking, multi-skilled society in a 24/7 global marketplace. We can work from anywhere in the world. But so can everyone else which means that the internet, media, advertising and marketing venues are being flooded with information.

 Scores of professionals in your field are all vying for attention. One of the best ways to attract clients and/or the attention of your boss is to emphasize your unique qualities and gifts. For many, that means digging into the real meaning of your passion behind your work, and bringing that passion to the surface by articulating it through a more integral approach. It’s also about finding your story – a unique narrative. Exploring the nuggets of specialty that only you can offer will help you to stand out above the rest. Also keep in mind that depending on your audience, you might accentuate certain skills above others.  

We all want to share our message infused with meaning, passion and purpose. But delivering your distinct vision in a succinct way is an art form that warrants careful consideration and planning. Producing “talking points” is not an overnight process, but here are a few pointers to get you started:

  1. Ask yourself, “Who am I, and what is the unique message I have to offer?” Your personal brand and/or identity is your calling card. If you are a therapist – what is your specialty? What education, experience, background makes you uniquely qualified to comment as an expert in your field? Is your message different from others in your niche?
  2. Who is your audience? If your specialty is indoor air quality – who needs to hear your message? Perhaps learning institutions, large corporations, parents with children suffering with allergies. Cull anecdotes from your client work. Know the latest trends, statistical information and   studies associated with your field.
  3. Write down the top ten points most important to you. Have a discussion with a friend (not another expert) about these ten items. Ask them to share the top three points that would make them want to hear more about your topic.
  4. Choose talking points that you can associate with a visual image. Descriptive language which creates a picture is more interesting to listen to, than random facts.
  5. Be open to using your personal story as a talking point. I know a man who decided to go to massage school after years of unrelenting back pain. He had tried all other approaches including surgery and finally realized that certain massage techniques helped him alleviate the pain. He uses his story to help and teach others. Why have you chosen your line of work and why are you passionate about it?
  6. Look out for storylines related to your field that the media harps on. Often, you’ll see the same story in a different version continuously popping up in your community or on a national level. Keep up-to-date on current affairs in your niche. Begin to develop your own talking points or comments on these issues.
  7. Be aware of the needs of the media. While TV and radio call for quick sound bites, if you are being interviewed for a blog or magazine, you might have more of an opportunity to get your message across. You should have tighter talking points for broadcast media.

 For more information about personal branding and your book and talking points and to learn about Judy’s media training work, click on: http://www.judymartinspeaks.com

Judy also blogs at: http://www.worklifemonitor.com

Judy Martin

Judy Martin

 

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