How to choose a personal branding theme when you have diverse interests

Mark Schaefer
4 min readAug 24

Since my book KNOWN

was published, many readers have reached out to me expressing how it has changed their lives and their businesses. However, one area where someget stuck is choosing an ideal personal branding theme (I call this your sustainable interest). Most people have many wonderful ideas, hobbies, and passions. Today I want to provide advice on how to sort through all the options and define what is right for you.

First I want to re-state why it’s important to focus on one core theme. The idea is that over time you will create content in a way that attracts an audience that can make your dreams come true — whether that is finding a job, starting a speaking career, writing a book, promoting a charity, or whatever your heart is driving you to do.

To accomplish that, you must remain relevant to that audience, so you can’t be jumping around from topic to topic. You need to stick with a certain theme and be prepared to explore it for years.

In my book and accompanying Workbook

, I have lots of exercises to help you focus on that theme. But if you still can’t choose, here are three ideas to help you:

1. Bring in the stories

I am a person with a lot of diverse interests myself. I like sports, history, art, travel, and literature, to name a few.

But my topic is digital marketing. I think there are three special angles to my writing:

  • I have extensive experience to draw on
  • I love exploring the human angle of marketing and strategy
  • I am unafraid to speak the truth and offer unique and entertaining views

I’ve written more than 2,000 posts now and one of the ways I keep it interesting is by bringing in all of my interests to tell stories and teach lessons.

For example,

  • I told a story about an observation from a London museum that led me to believe that the internet would ultimately be used as a weapon of war (this was before the widespread cybercrimes we see today).
  • I wrote about how a mistake I saw on a basketball court provided a valuable…
Mark Schaefer

Keynote speaker, marketing strategy consultant, Rutgers U faculty and author of 10 books including KNOWN, Marketing Rebellion, and Belonging to the Brand!