Up and until now. Everything I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, you can kind of do as a relative unknown. Just an everyday Bartender going about their business. A little bit of Networking in the industry and you’ll be good to go.
However, from this point on. Everything I mention in future Blogs will come and grow as a direct result of you maxing out your Personal Brand.
Now is the time to really hone your skills and develop a passion in something. For me as I’ve mentioned all over my blog, it was Rum. But in recent years, I had to wade in with Gin too. I had to become known as the Gin guy locally. But now, I’m firmly back with Rum and now, even niching further into Tiki.
For you, now, the world is your oyster. This includes Beer and Wine. Cider and Sherry. Spirits...but really niching into a specific area. Rum. Tequila. Mezcal. Vodka. Whiskey. Cognac. It’s possible to be known for a few things and of course, you will need overall knowledge covering all things booze. But you really need to become known for that one thing.
Now here’s where it does get a little complicated…
Because, while I am quite well known for my Gin Nights and Rum, the overriding thing for me is being known as a “Comedic & Entertaining Educator”. I am known for my Cocktail Masterclasses. I pretty much own that niche in East Anglia. I’ve developed that skill of being able to Entertain and Educate at the same time. Hen Parties now book me 8-12 months out. And that really is a truly humbling thing.
Now, this has been a bit of a journey for me. 6 years ago, Put me behind the Bar and I’m the most friendly, outgoing and smiley guy in the room. Put me in front of a Bar in a public situation and I’d crumble. Even presenting to 10 people and I was a quivering wreck. These days, after Public Speaking training and a year of solidly of getting outside my comfort zone, getting up on a Stage to present to 250 people doesn’t faze me in the slightest. And that’s the skill I needed for Masterclasses. From the very first second of any Hen Party, they need end to end Banter, Memories, but most importantly, Fun! They don’t need Egos and Skill. They’re not actually booking you to learn how to make a Pornstar Martini. They’re booking you because they want some great Memories and a Laugh, all while having a Drink.
Now this whole Personal Brand isn’t just for Hen Parties. Or Masterclasses for that matter. It’s everything. Being a Brand Ambassador for a Spirits Brand. Being a BDM for a Wholesaler. Making money from YouTube (a Blog later down the line). Putting on Tasting Nights in Local Pubs and Bars. Consulting and Drinks Development for Bars. All this can ONLY happen to you, if you get yourself known. And you only get yourself known by putting yourself and your skills out there on show.
Where do you start?!!
Right. Maybe a controversial one here, but having done this, I’d absolutely swear by it.
If...if you are planning to make money by yourself at any point in the future, then Buy your Website domain. I bought stevethebarman.com and stevethebarman.co.uk waaaaay back in 2002. Some 10 years before I even really knew what to do with it. (The world was a different place back then. Making Money via YouTube for example hadn’t even been dreamt of!)
Why is having your own Website Domain “Controversial”?! Well it isn’t really. But most people would really go the other way first and build a Social Media Following first and foremost. But here’s the thing. All these People building their Personal Brands on Insta, Facebook, YouTube, Crapchat etc. What happens if they Crash...or worse still, disappear?!! Look at all those who went hard on MySpace in the early Days. Then Periscope. Then Google+. Virtually overnight they were no more.
NEVER BUILD YOUR MAIN PLATFORM ON RENTED GROUND.
In my opinion, you need a Website first and foremost. And you need to be pumping out regular content. Blogs. Cocktail Recipes. Anything that other people will find useful…around your chosen Niche. Everything else is secondary to this. Take me. Alongside my Blog pages, are my Sales Pages for what I actually sell and make money from. By directing people to my Blog, they then find what I actually do, and then I make money.
And this is where those “Social Media” platforms come in. Instagram and Facebook for most of you...and for me, YouTube are the key avenues to redirect traffic. You build a following on Social. Then you send them to your Website. There is no point just pumping pretty Cocktail pictures on Instagram, if all’s people can do is Heart it, Comment then carry on Scrolling down their feed. Your posts on Social should be the teaser to the bigger content on your website.
For example. I come back to myself again. My main Social Platform is actually YouTube. I’m building an organic following there. But I’ll also use Facey and Insta to promote that Content and send those followers back to YouTube. Then, that YouTube content also forms part of my Blogs on my Website. So from YouTube, I’m sending people to Stevethebarman.com and from there, maybe 1 in 100 will buy a service from me…but maybe 1 in 10 will start to pay regular attention to what I do and I’ll remain on their radar for 3-6 months…and then further down the line, they may spend money with me.
Now the whole YouTube thing for me is not only demonstrating my Knowledge, but also showing my personality. Most of my Hen Parties and Corporate Events who enquire with me, ONLY want me. If I’m booked, a very high percentage will either change their date, or not bother with it at all...as opposed to people just searching for any Masterclass company.
You have to build your own groupies. Your own superfans.
But first you have to decide WHAT you want to be known for.
You could just post Cocktail Recipes. That works. Of course it does. And that’s a great avenue for Consultancy and Brand Ambassador Stuff. But the only thing with this, is if you search the hashtag Cocktail on Instagram. You’ll get Millions and Millions or results. How do you even begin to stand out?! So if Cocktails is your thing, maybe just constantly use one Specific Brand for example. Become known as the Warner’s Gin Cocktail dude or the Sailor Jerry Fan. Niching is all about finding something that’s “a few yards Wide, but a mile Deep”. For example, Sailor Jerry Cocktails is your width, but there’s thousands you could make and create. In fact, it’s quite possibly endless.
The same applies for what I mentioned earlier. Beer, Wine, Cider, Vermouth, Vodka, Rum, Tequila. Don’t generalise. Pick something and go deep. Waaaay Deep. It then won’t take too long to stand out. But remember, always be building your following and take them back to your Website. Don’t make that final destination an Instagram Profile, or a YouTube Video. Use those platforms to build visitors to YOUR OWN PERSONAL DOMAIN. Something YOU OWN!!!
Once you’ve got your head around this and worked out what the things are that make your eyes light up the most, then you can move on to the following Blogs and Articles in this series.