As I look around social media I see a new spiritual leader or pastor emerging up every month, especially among millennials. There’s always another young pastor, minister, singer-turned-pastor or evangelist on social media, Facebook live and YouTube sharing their story and message to their thousands of cult-like dedicated followers. And, frankly: I love it. I love the fact so many young people aspire to share hope and light into our troublesome world today.
See, these millennial ministers (as I call them) understand the power of personal branding. They understand that in order to get people to listen to what they have to say, they must be likeable, quotable, marketable, and frankly visible.
With this surge of new ministers and spiritual leaders online, one may wonder if it’s possible to stand apart from the crowd and make an impression. Personal branding strategies and modern marketing techniques make it infinitely possible to share your message with a captive audience. And, before you say “I’m not a brand”, hear me out.
Your personal brand is simply your reputation, your presentation to your followers, and the story your followers tell other people about you.
Each time someone encounters you, whether through a sermon, video, word-of-mouth or a visit to your church, they are forming an opinion about you based on that “branding experience”.
I understand there are some pastors who would argue that religion and ministry is not about branding and marketing, but I beg to differ. How do you think Jesus became so well-known and His message was so well-received? He preached a hopeful message of salvation and did good things for people. Every miracle Jesus performed, every kind gesture He gave, every sermon He spoke and parable He told was a personal branding experience. Then, onlookers told stories of what they saw and experienced when they were around Jesus (aka marketing). And, it works the exact same way today; only today, we have technology that makes reaching and connecting to people 100x easier.
Now don’t get me twisted: I’m fully aware that at the end of the day, the good news is what matters most. However, I do believe the method is just as important as the message. Remember, it’s much easier to minister to a homeless person by first meeting their need (food and clothing). Meet their need and they’ll be much more apt to receive your message. My point is you must meet people where they are.
The importance of the message you’re called to deliver does not negate the importance or existence of your personal brand and the need for marketing. I would argue that the two are not mutually exclusive.
Personal branding should matter to you because you are the face of your movement and through your personal brand people will be helped, delivered, encouraged and inspired. It is your visual brand that people will SEE before they HEAR you. So, invest in professional graphic design, videos, web design and marketing because it all enables you to do what you’ve been called to do more effectively.
Whether or not you fully believe in personal branding is irrelevant to the fact that your followers do–that’s why they follow you in the first place. They believe you have something to say that can help ease their troubles and make their life better. Therefore, it is imperative that you are vigilant in cultivating your personal brand in order to completely fulfill your calling and share your message. Everyone is listening to someone; being visible with a powerful personal brand enables you to give them something worth listening to.
Furthermore, your personal brand not only represents you, but it also represents your ministry.
Investing in your website, video production, social media and graphic design is an investment in your ministry, which makes it easier to reach the people who need your help.
And, real talk: your brand is not even about you; it’s about the audience that is waiting to hear from you. Your Facebook live videos and website are simply the vehicles that will assist you in delivering your message to the masses. There are droves of people out there waiting in the shadows, hurting and helpless because you haven’t reached them yet. Don’t continue to allow your lackluster, unprofessional personal brand/image delay the help you have to offer them.
There are 12 personal branding elements every pastor, minister and spiritual leader need in order to reach the masses. Click here to download the free pdf guide and get on the fast-track towards using your influence to make an impact.