A personal branding pitch is core to your career, and even the company you’re a part of. It positions you as someone with a relatable story, who solves a very specific problem for a very specific audience. It enables your listeners to understand why they need to know you. It provides structure, entertainment and sound bites, all in one package. Today, more than ever, you need one.
My journey to a personal branding pitch
When I went on my own as a brand consultant, a wise friend told me my first priority was owning my story. What he meant was that I needed to tell a personal story that somehow explained why I was doing what I was doing today, and why that mattered to anyone listening.
Today, the business climate isn’t making anyone feel terribly secure. In this setting, more people would benefit from crafting their own career story into a pitch.
With that in mind, here are the elements I discovered were most effective in crafting a personal branding pitch.
An effective personal branding pitch is first and foremost a structured story that describes your hopes and aspirations, your career path to this point, and the next step you’re hoping to take to get to the promised land.
Done well, it convinces any listener that you’re trustworthy, focused and interesting.
This is important for three simple reasons:
- It helps you create a unique positioning for yourself in the brain of a potential employer or advocate,
- It helps you weave together your life experience into a story people actually want to hear,
- It helps you do a reality check every once in a while – is your current gig really aligned with your vision of what your life should be.
Most people never take the time to craft this narrative. Ask them about their career and they give you a verbal resume. It’s an oral version of death by powerpoint – painful, slow, and inhumane. Not surprisingly, this bland list of achievements won’t do you any favours if you need to hunt for a new job, or you’re trying to land a contract for your startup.
Strong benefits to the listener
It’s important that your story be more than a story. A personal pitch should entertain, but it’s made for a reason: to convince someone that you are the answer to a very specific problem they have.
There need to be checkpoints where you reinforce why details you’re describing are important to the listener:
- Your history in a sector means you have fundamental knowledge they need,
- The a-ha moment you had could be turned into an advantage for them,
- The wisdom you’ve gained from your mistakes along the way mean there won’t be a learning curve if they engage you.
Bear business benefits in mind when you’re crafting your story. The purpose of your personal pitch is to entertain – but also to persuade.
How do you create a personal branding pitch?
A great place to start is with a hero’s journey framework. Essentially, the hero’s journey is the roadmap for effective storytelling. It tracks a humble character on their journey through adversity to victory, learning lessons and helping along the way.
Sound useful? It is. Besides, who hasn’t wanted to chart their life in a way that could lead to a Hollywood script? Well, in our imagination, anyway.
Once you have noted the core elements of your story, the next step is to edit them with a trusted outsider. Elements you might find vital to the ‘plot’ may be confusing; details you may find unimportant may actually add colour and interest. You won’t know unless you treat this as a team sport.
While you’re doing so, try to bear in mind your audience. How do you expect them to respond to your pitch? With a job offer? With an invitation to convey your thought leadership? With a contract for your company? These subtle cues need to be woven into the fabric of your story.
Finally, try out your pitch. Tell your life partner the story. Tell your kids. Try it out on the in-laws and your co-workers.
Like any great story, it will get better with retelling. And with every telling, it will give you a greater sense of meaning and self-awareness.
Get a jumpstart
In my ad career, pitching new ideas was my job. As a consultant, I’ve written countless personal pitches and investor pitches for entrepreneurs. Based on these experiences, I’ve written a 3 Minute Pitch guidebook and course to give you a jumpstart on your personal pitch.