Social identity for the guy who that hates "branding"

What is it about the content you create and share that makes it, you.  Every time someone tells me to “create and work” on my brand I puke a little in my mouth. I find the idea of some social media slash marketing guru buoyantly preaching about the importance of branding, very distasteful . Not just distasteful but also lame.

So, what I am about to share below is not more ‘brand management’ gimmicks, it’s just a few tips that might leave your content slightly fresher. Before I continue, I want you to separate the advice from the giver. I’m not sharing these tips because I’m some multi billionaire blogger who made it big from donations and advertisements. If that were the case,  I probably would not have the time nor care to write this post.

These are just helpful tips to help fellow content creators in their journey to great work (I hate calling this ‘content’….the phrase is somewhat devoid of soul and depth. Alas, you know what I mean).

Helpful tip # 1: Reduce the clutter – Just as with the famous fashion rule; “before you leave the house, look at the mirror and remove one accessory” so it is with writing. Before you hit publish, read your work and remove a few words. Dressing down is the ultimate form of sophistication. No need for layer upon layer upon coat fringed with unnecessary words (see what I did there?). De-clutter your thoughts.

Helpful tip #2: Step away from buzzwords. These don’t make you sound smart or cool. They do not add to your art form, instead they chip away at what little shred of respect your readers have for you.

Helpful tip # 3:  Allow your personality and tone to shine through.

This is the only way your writing will ever be authentic. Personality talks to who you are as a person (bubbly, crazy, considerate, keen, encouraging, impartial etc.), tone is about how you speak to different people. It’s okay to call certain people ‘mofos’ under specific circumstances or to be preachy, accusatory, encouraging…..all this depends on who is reading. Context is key, my friend!

Helpful tip # 4: It’s always fun to have certain specific words or punctuations that help readers identify your work. I’ve taken to using the peace sign on Twitter to express eagerness and a silent nod to myself (a sort of ‘ you’re doing alright, kid’). Sometime I use the weird eye- emoji; “O.o” which could mean anything from “what the heck?” to “I just can’t” to expressing deep disapproval coupled with disinterest. If you want to understand better what I mean here, go listen to Roman Mars on his 99% invisible podcast.  After listening to a few episodes, you can tell that the specific way in which he talks as well as his choice of words are very deliberate. They are perfectly curated and make him, Roman Mars.

Helpful tip #5: Don’t be different for the sake of being different. Since we’re all about authenticity, your readers can totally tell if you are constantly writing stuff that you don’t truly believe in for the sake of being different and not ‘mainstream’. Also, you’ll seem like a big jerk if the foundation of your writing is deception.

We hate jerks…….no really, we do!

Helpful tip #6: If you read some Baudelaire you will know that you don’t always have to have a goal. If you’re not writing an academic paper, open letter, newspaper article etc. you are TOTALLY allowed to JUST write. It’s like speaking , when you talk to your friend and loved ones you don’t stop mid-sentence to ask “what’s the goal of what I’m saying”. Sometimes it’s fun to just share cool stuff that move and inspire you and leave you excited and giddy. Go forth and be silly.

I guess the lesson here is be conscious and deliberate. Not just about what you say but how you say it.

Now, are these tips going to help you win a multitude of writing awards? Yes. Jokes! They won’t, but you will sleep a little better at night knowing your readers are a little happier. This in turn, will make you a little happier and you will go on and flourish and your offspring will flourish.


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