Your personal brand is your most important tool as an artist. Without it, you can’t build a website or even introduce yourself. Your brand will also change as your art, body, and goals change. With these tips, you’ll be ready a branding expert (at least for yourself).
You have to constantly reinvent yourself and your brand. Are you remembering everything? Click To Tweet
- When a major business goes through a rebranding, it is usually a response to 2 reasons. Either 1) They’re on the brink of collapse and need a massive (and risky) restructuring just to survive or 2) They have saturated their market and now they are looking to expand to different audiences and build their overall brand
- As artists, we have a 3rd trigger for rebranding: evolution. Involuntarily, our bodies change every 3-5 years, our interests expand to include new influences and outlooks, and our goals change depending on our phase in life. A company can be kept “young” forever; an artist is constantly reinventing herself.
- You are the only person on the planet who understands your brand and values inside and out; others will offer advice (and sometimes it will be very good advice) but your gut reaction and personal goals should be steering the ship on this one. And even if you try something and quickly decide that it wasn’t the right way to go, then change it! You call the shots. Your instinct has gotten you where you are and you can trust that it will take you to the next level, too. So think, respond, and follow through.
1. Headshots / Promotional Shots
- If your shots don’t look like you anymore …you’ve grown out your hair, you’ve lost your hair, you just had to buy a whole new wardrobe, all of your shots are black and white in a technicolor world… you need new shots.
- You can never have too many professional photos. These are your main connection with your audience and your peers. You’ll hand them out at interviews and gigs and to fans, plaster them all over your social media, and incorporate them into all of your branding products going out. In this case, more is more.
- Do you like the photographer’s overall style and feel it blends with your brand?
- Do the artists in the shots look good? No visible touchups but no blemishes either?
- A photographer with a clear pricing strategy on their site shows that they have experience and a strong understanding of their product and audience.With the ever-increasing digital marketplace, photographers have their portfolios available for you on their websites and you can scout out recommendations in a matter of minutes. Things to look for:
- Hair style, wardrobe, setting, and vibe should all be carefully selected by you, your agent, and the photographer. If you don’t have an agent or you’re not sure what shots you need, ask your peers: “When you look at me and my brand, what do you think of?” and whittle them down to an honest answer.
2. Website & Digital Media
- Building your website and social media can be a major pain. Know what you’re getting into in advance… If you don’t have design and computer skills, find a professional to help. Ask your friends or use sites like ElegantThemes, 99Designs, or Fiverr.
- Think of your personal website as your online version of yourself. Everything that goes into it should be a facet of your personality, including the wording in the bio, the color choices, the pictures, and how people use the site.
- Have videos embedded. People are more likely to watch them than read a page of text.
- Let people reach out to you directly unless you need to send them straight to an agent. (But don’t list your email address on the site. Use a contact form.)
- How else can people get in touch with you? Make sure you have easy links to all of your social media pages, where your audience may see your updates on a daily level.
- Side note: Domain name. If you’re currently using JohnDoe.wix.tv/website then you desperately need a new domain name. It needs to be memorable after hearing it one time. Your name is ideal, as is something cutesy like SethActs.com or LizzyHasAWebsite.com. (both are available for purchase on GoDaddy)
- On your social media, go bold with your header and profile pics and cater them to your audience.
- Make sure your header images match the specific dimensions of the site and that nothing is blurry. (I’ve just started using Canva and I think it’s awesome).
- Sync up your profile pic across all platforms so that your fans feel comfortable no matter where they are visiting you.
- Order a whole slue of business cards, post cards (to be used as thank you notes), guitar picks, buttons, pens, or whatever you associate with your new brand because you are going to meet people and leaving a little memento with them will help ensure they remember you. You love free stuff, they do too.
- For anything printed, I recommend Moo.com, which offers a large library of customizable templates and a huge selection of products. Also, I mentioned guitar picks and you can buy personalized guitar picks (that are actually good quality) at InTuneGP.com.
- Once you have your swag, have it with you at all times. This is not just for handing out at conferences, have it ready to go at the grocery store, gym, and for the chance encounter on the street. When someone is interested enough in you to talk for 10 minutes, they’re a good candidate for a business card.
4. Resume / Personal Logo
- You update your resume almost as often as you update your website but when was the last time you looked at the overall branding of your resume? If the whole page is in 1 font, all black and white, with everything justified left, you may need to refresh your resume design.
- Add some color: Take a color from your website and use it as a divider on your page between sections.
- Add a logo: Before someone knows you well, they remember your cool glasses or your awesome shoes… they don’t remember you for your resume. So add a little splash of flair near the top so that they can say “Oh ya, the guy with the red swirl on his resume, I remember him!”
- Show them what you want them to see: Don’t just put words on paper. Design your resume to draw the eye to where you want them to go. Put your most interesting jobs at the top as a conversation starter. Use bold, italics, and CAPS to bring emphasis to certain areas. Make sure your name is bigger than anything else on the page and use a font that matches your personal brand.
5. Bio/Elevator Speech
- Your bio and elevator speech can be similar but used in different contexts. Your bio will go on your website, social media, EPK, etc. Your elevator speech is reserved for in-person encounters and talking about yourself in an interesting, yet humble, way.
- You need 3 versions of your bio/elevator speech: micro, short, and full. You’ll use all 3 versions. So this gives you some wiggle room in your approach. You don’t have to get all of your information in your micro bio, just distill it down to the most important 140 characters. Leave the longer bios for really showing the goods.
- In your bio, write in 3rd person and use your name as soon as possible so people know who we’re talking about. This also allows you to write the whole thing yourself but imbue it with the sense that someone else is talking about you. Now, you can say anything you want and still be humble.
- In your elevator speech, don’t talk in the third person. Instead, find interesting factoids and fascinating nuggets about yourself that will leave the other person wanting to know more.
- Most importantly, revise as needed. Share it with peers and get feedback, read others’ bios, and revisit it many times until everything feels… right. An ideal bio lets me know who I’m reading about right away, gives me some personal insight, and lists an impressive list of accomplishments that makes me want to learn more.
After you reinvent yourself, reintroduce yourself. Click To Tweet
As an artist, rebranding yourself every 3-5 years can either seem like a burden or it can be an amazing reincarnation. In our industry, it’s almost expected of you to make this shift so fully embrace it for being the powerful business tool it is. You have the opportunity to grow your brand, while being fully supported by your fan base and network. Just don’t forget to include them. Reintroduce yourself after the transformation is complete. Send out post cards, promote your website, and ask your audience questions like “What do you guys think about my new page?” I guarantee you, it will all be worth it… this time, and the next time, and the next…
Thanks for Listening!
Thank you so much for tuning in to my conversation your personal brand and reinventing yourself!
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(but you don't have to do this alone)
Occasional resources, tips, and tools for the independent recording artist so you never miss a beat.