This November marks 20 years in the news business for me. I started the broadcasting portion of my career in 1997. It has taken me to three different TV stations in three different states. For nearly 14 of those years I’ve been in southern Illinois. When I go out and someone recognizes me, I get asked: “You’re the news guy, aren’t you?” So it goes without saying, my biggest “brand” right now is that of a local newscaster.
I have no problem with this. I’m honored and humbled by the recognition. I worked very hard for a long time to get to where I am both in front of and behind the camera. But as the business evolves, so does my interest and desire to be branded as someone one. I believe it’s possible to be known for more than one thing.
In September 2010 I launched My 1-2-3 Cents, a professional wrestling blog. It has grown through the years and now includes a now neglected YouTube channel and a weekly podcast. I have poured my heart and soul into that brand for almost seven years. But not only have I invested time and effort into this labor of love but also money and other resources. The efforts are paying off, not in terms of money, but in recognition. I remain hopeful and confident that my toiling in this area will pay off in big ways soon.
In addition to wanting to be known as ‘the wrestling guy’, I’ve worked on becoming known as a ‘craft beer guy.’ About 18 months ago, I joined some friends in launching the Craftbeericans. Thanks to our efforts more people in this area are seeing me as a craft beer guy. I don’t think I can publicly say how or why just yet, but soon I will be able to I’m sure.
Thirdly, I am trying to build the name and reputation for this website. As Kevin Hunsblogger I am hoping to take my freelance writing to the next level. It’s been a slow start and one that I am continuing to work hard behind the scenes to get off the ground. With the combination of posts here and wearing the couple of crazy suits I own, I’m steadily seeing success. But I think the basis for building all of my other brands is the fact that I’m in people’s living rooms and bedrooms two hours a day, five days a week. For that, I am truly grateful.
Some successful examples of brand building include a handful of my friends. My former co-anchor Emily Eddington has created a brand on YouTube and through her blog. She’s known as the Beauty Broadcaster and has evolved. Her success online has become a full-time career (in addition to being a mom). Tom Harness is known for his business, Harness Digital Marketing, silly suits and Chicago Cubs. He’s a hustler, as is my friend Jeff Rose. Like Tom, he too is a veteran, who has taken his brand national. Jeff is a certified financial planner, blogger at Good Financial Cents, author, podcaster at Marriage More with his wife Mandy (who is also a blogger) and a YouTuber. He is actually the guy who got me started on writing the wrestling blog so many years ago.
Gary Vaynerchuk remains the epitome of personal brands. I’ll never have his hustle, but he sets a good example to follow. New friends like Chris Strub and Ms. Candy Blog, who I met at the MDMC 2017 event in St. Louis in the spring are crushing it too.
My best advice to build a brand is figuring out what you’re passionate about. You must not only love it but be good at it too. All the examples I named eat, sleep and breathe their brands. Follow them on social media and follow their leads. But don’t obsess. You can’t build your brand if you’re spending all your time watching what others are doing. Surround yourself with supportive people and don’t try to please anyone.