One Small Shift That Builds Your Personal Brand (From Vacation)

In today’s issue, I want to walk through an important shift for anyone who wants do some personal brand storytelling while traveling.

Moving from general posts like “Hey, I went here!” to a “How I made this trip possible” can add value to the audience.

This approach helps you add some personality to your otherwise, very buttoned up work brand too.

And it’s important because it can help you evolve from a ‘static photo’ to

—‘here’s how you could create this opportunity for yourself and your family.’

Let’s dive into exactly what I mean.

The Common Misstep

Most people who go on vacation begin by sharing a snapshot of them, say in front of the Eiffel Tower.

This gets vanity likes, but it doesn’t add value.

With no set goal, you’re at the very least letting people you haven’t rappelled off Niagara Falls to your death.

At the very best, you are creating trip envy.

A Better Approach: The Value add post

Here’s how I recommend moving from ‘just posting’ to adding to your personal brand:

  1. Identify Your Niche. Who is the audience you are speaking to?

  2. How are you documenting it. What medium will you publish on?

  3. Set Boundaries: Clearly define what is and (most importantly) your offer isn’t

  4. Get feedback

Example: The 80 Year Old Grannies Who Travelled the World

Afar Magazine recently published the story of two 80 year old grandmothers who, inspired by Jules Verne’s novel, travelled the world in 80 days. Both their husbands had passed on.

They did the following:

Identified Their Niche: Any woman who wants to punch time in the face (Whoa!)

Medium of choice: They published their experiences (and about their friendship) on Tiktok, on Facebook, Youtube, on a blog.

Set Clear Boundaries: They were very clear:

  1. They book their own lodging and travel and share how they planned their trip

  2. They stay at inns and private rooms

  3. They eat local food

  4. They never say ‘no’ to a spontaneous experience

  5. They live life on their own terms, here is one of them wrapped in a python.

That’s it.

FEEDBACK: Women of all ages wrote in, wishing they had a friend like this.

OUTCOME: They garnered MASSIVE press coverage.

They have been photographed, featured on the local news stations, written about in magazines, and are Tiktok celebrities with 70,000 followers.

Ellie's breathtaking single swing in Bali

Example: Meghan Donovan, Author, Wit and Whimsy

I met her as a member of Soho House. She runs a travel advisory, which started out with a focus on Paris. But now, she has scaled to London, the Cotswolds, and the South of France.

She did the following:

Identified Her Niche: Any woman who doesn’t want the cookie cutter, tourist experience in Paris or London.

Medium of Choice: She publishes her finds and hotel experiences (and about their friendship) on her website, newsletter, vlogs on her Instagram account, and a shopping platform.

Set Clear Boundaries: She is very clear, she only offers customized recommendations on Paris, London, and the countryside for both, including

  • Accommodations

  • Sites & Cultural attractions

  • Dining

  • Shopping

  • Recommended souvenirs

  • Useful tips and guidance for navigating Paris & the French culture

  • Transportation guidance

  • Packing guidance

  • Exclusive promotional offers from some of Paris’s best vendors

 Bonjour! - Meghan Donovan

That’s it.

FEEDBACK: Women returning to Paris use her service to discover new and wonderful things about the city.

OUTCOME: She now has created a substantial (and beautiful) body of work, and now has a sponsorship deal with Expedia.

Listen to my interview with Michael Parrish Dudell, on how to secure sponsorships.

What if you are thinking about writing while on vacation

I’m heading to Moab, Utah this week to celebrate my partner’s birthday. Adventure is my top value and I’ve been lucky to build a business around it.

It’s important for me to think about how I talk about it. Things to think about if you plan to write while on vacation and build your brand:

Set Realistic Goals

Understand that you’re on vacation, and the primary goal is to relax and enjoy the experience. Set achievable writing goals that won’t overwhelm you. It could be as simple as jotting down a few thoughts each day, working on a small section of a larger project, or writing a single blog post about your travels.

Schedule Writing Time

Incorporate writing into your vacation schedule in a way that feels natural and enjoyable. I love the quiet of the early morning before everyone wakes up or right before I go to bed. Alternatively, writing during a midday break can be a great way to rest and recharge for the afternoon’s activities.

Embrace New Experiences

Let your experiences fuel your writing. Whether it’s an interesting conversation with a local, the flavors of a new cuisine, or the beauty of a landscape, new experiences can provide fresh ideas and perspectives for your writing.

Keep Tools Handy

Always have your writing tools easily accessible. Whether you prefer a notebook and pen for jotting down ideas. I have a postage sized notebook in my wallet. Consider using mobile writing apps if you prefer to travel light.

Share Your Experiences

Consider sharing your writing with friends, family, or a broader audience. Blogs, social media posts, and emails are great ways to share your journey and writing with others. Feedback can be incredibly rewarding and motivating.

Reflect and Revise Later

Don’t worry too much about perfecting your writing while on vacation. The goal is to capture thoughts, experiences, and inspirations. You can always refine and edit your work once you’re back and have had time to reflect on your experiences.

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