Why No One Cares About You (and How to Make Them)

You certainly can’t always look at things from someone else’s point of view. For instance, from here that looks like a bucket of water. But from an ant’s point of view it’s a vast ocean, from an elephant’s just a cool drink, and to a fish, of course, it’s home. So, you see, the way you see things depends a great deal on where you look at them from.

—The Phantom Tollbooth

Why No One Cares About You (and How to Make Them), by @devinemily Click To Tweet

Remember when you were a little kid, and you created “works of art” out of ziti that you sloppily pasted onto green construction paper using too much glue and paint that always ended up looking brown when it dried? Remember how you proudly (and illegibly) scrawled your name on the page and handed it to your parents who would squeal with delight at the sight of it: “OMG. Wow! That’s AMAZING.” Remember that?

Okay, cool, now forget it completely, because that part of your life is over now. Once you become an adult, if you’re lucky, you learn a very important lesson: No one cares about you.No one cares about you... until you make them, says @devinemily #PersonalBranding Click To Tweet

Really. They don’t care about you at all. They don’t care about what you’re saying to them, what you share on Twitter, your blog or even what you wrote to them in that email you spent so much time writing. They really don’t care how much you care about whatever it is you’re talking to them about. Oh, and this one is important, so listen up: they really, really don’t care about what you want from them.

So what do you do when you’re trying to build your personal brand, your business, get a job or even just grow your professional network? How do you get people to care about you?

People Want to Care

The good news is, people want to care more than you think. The problem is, there’s just too much to care about, so they need to disregard a lot just to stay focused on their own goals. They choose their playlist and do their best to tune out everything else. Yet in the darkness of their tunnel vision is your opportunity: If you learn what other people care about, then you can use that to get their attention and develop a meaningful relationship around your brand that benefits both of you. Learn what people care about + use your brand to help them—@devinemily Click To Tweet

How to Get People to Care About You

Know what you want

The first step is easy: figure out what you want, and who can help you get it. Whether it’s one person, a boardroom or an entire audience, get to know the person or people you want to care about you, and what you want from them. If you start here, you’ll have purpose driving all your efforts, you’ll know who the players are and what will motivate them to help you.

Stop talking and start listening

The odds of you saying the “wrong” thing are greatly increased when you talk more and listen less, because you don’t know enough about your audience to say the right thing. Instead, ask questions about them. Listen to the answers. Ask more questions and be genuinely interested in what they’re saying. They’ll walk away liking you, even if they know nothing about you. And the next time you talk to them or ask them for something, they’ll be more inclined to ‘help you, because they’ll remember how great you made them feel.Stop talking and start listening, says @devinemily #networking Click To Tweet

Change your perspective

Most people focus too much on themselves when they build their brand. This is a mistake. It’s like walking around with your hand out asking people for money on the street. “Help me. I believe this. I want you to do that.That’s an awfully one-sided experience, and could make you appear inauthentic and selfish. If you want to get people to care about you, think from the perspective of the person or people you are targeting and position your brand in the context of their lives.

Okay, so now what?

Once you’ve determined what you want and learned all about the people you want to work with (or for), it’s time to write your brand story. The good news is, by now you have all the information you need to craft a narrative that people will not just care about, but be drawn to.

How to Build your Brand

Think about your personal brand as if you’re a business. How would you market your business? You’d do research to determine your product-market fit. You’d learn everything you can about your target customer. You’d position your product based on your customer’s needs. You’d craft messaging you think would resonate with them, and then test it to see if it really does. You’d ask for feedback and use that to hone your product and messaging over time. Right?

Think about your #PersonalBrand as if you're a business — @devinemily #careeradvice Click To Tweet

1. Brainstorm

Here’s where you get to focus completely on you. What do you want your brand to be? How do you want people to feel about you? What do you want to be known for? Think about what you care about, what you love to do, write it down and use that to begin crafting your story (more tips on that here).

2. (Re)Write your story

You’ve done all this listening, now use it to develop your value prop and make yourself an essential asset to your target audience. Demonstrate how you are different (and better) than your competitors. 

3. Test + Revise

Now it’s time to put yourself out there. Go to networking events and test the story you created. Publish content on your blog. Create your business website. Then get feedback from all those people you’ve been talking to. Hone your story. Rinse, repeat. You don’t have to get it “right” the first time and it doesn’t have to be perfect. Just try things out, see how people react, and make changes along the way.When building a #PersonalBrand, #experimenting is key —@devinemily Click To Tweet

The Results

Remember all that listening you did (and are hopefully still doing)? All those people you paid attention to and brought into your personal brand development will begin to feel like stakeholders in your success. Which means that when you’re ready to officially “launch” you’ll already have a tribe who care about you and want to help you achieve what you want.

Funny how that works, huh?

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Devin Bramhall

Devin is the Director of Content at Help Scout, a web-based help desk designed for a great customer experience. In her spare time, she serves as Executive Director of Boston Content, the largest community group and career development resource for content marketers in Boston. She is also founder of The Master Slam, a story-slam style debate that turns a traditional panel discussion into an evening of live performance and competition. For the past 5 years, Devin has been writing and telling stories live on stage throughout New England, as well as training speakers for TEDx talks. She is also producer and host of TEDxSomerville and teaches storytelling at the Startup Institute and General Assembly.


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