I've never liked the idea of a “personal brand.” It provides an intuitive understanding that we want to get across, but I've started using an alternative phrase and I invite you to do the same.
Instead of building a personal brand, build a creator brand.
We live in an AMAZING time where creators of all kinds can have lives of creative independence – to connect with people through your work on your own terms.
But to do that reliably, you need to build a mechanism to connect with people and share your work with them. A system or an ecosystem to maintain those relationships and reliably share your voice with the people that care about it.
That’s your creator brand.
Your creator brand is the mechanism you use to connect with your fans. It's your entire online presence – that includes your email list, your podcast RSS feed, your social media, your books, your YouTube channel…any touch point you have with the outside world is part of your creator brand.
And yeah, it might be tied to your name.
But by calling it a creator brand instead of a personal brand, you can remove its grossness. It’s less about holding yourself up as a selfish, “look at me” type of person, and more about creating a reliable way to get in front of people in order to share your work.
Not to mention, it's more inclusive! Many creators are brands behind other entity names or even pseudonyms.
A lot of people stop sharing their voices because they hate the idea of creating a “personal brand.”
There is no shame in building a creator brand. It doesn’t serve you or anyone else to be a starving artist…if you’re starving, your work isn’t sustainable, and it’s likely not reaching people either!
You have a voice. You can use it and do a lot of good with it! And the larger, more robust, and more resilient a creator brand you can build, the more good you can do. Not just with your own voice, but by lending that creator brand to others too.
Further reading: Which name to create behind? Your name vs. project name