I recently had a Twitter conversation with a blogger/trainer I adore (& whom I dont seem to get enough of in my life. I need to rectify that.) about the power of branding and creating a personal/blog brand.
(This concept is *definitely* something I thought about a great deal even before I was honored (& awed) by Entrepreneur.com.)
The most frequent question I receive is whether I planned my MizFit brand from its inception.
If I mapped out precisely where I wanted to end up immediately after landing on the name and blog address.
The answer is yes & no.
Yes I sat down, decided on a name, a caricature I adored, & the precise message I wanted to convey.
I took the time to create a blog mission statement which meshed with all the other mission statements in my life.
No I didnt map out my brand (short & long term) in a concise bullet point’y fashion.
That’s not my style. Im the writer who doesnt storyboard either. I tend to start with a beginning & end in mind (oooh! see? I do have an end in mind) & let the middle unfold as it may.
My approach may or may not be what works for you, however here are 6 pretty universal branding tips Ive learned along my misfit way:
- Your blog-brand is merely your readers expectation of their interaction with you based on their *past* interactions with you. This is good news. You may be one of the panicked people who tweeted me thinking you have no brand—you do. Look back at your blog. Read your comments. Reread your posts. Take a moment and write down what *you* think readers expect when they stop by your neck of the ‘net. This is your brand. As Dr. Phil says: The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. In the world of branding predictability is a great thing.
- Be consistent (hey look at that! It’s just like exercise) Focus on utilizing the same language, messages & voice everywhere you appear. When I tweet, guest post, podcast, attend conferences, appear on radio shows etc. my message is always the same (there’s that mission statement again. it’s crucial to branding). At times it may feel as though you are repeating yourself—-you’re not. People are drawn to brands which are consistent and know what message they want to convey. TIP: if you find you are struggling with consistency step back and re-examine your message. You may simply need to return, revise & redefine your brand!
- Play to your strengths. Your brand is a gathering of your gifts. People frequently experience paralysis by analysis at the notion of brand creation when it’s pretty damn simple: what are your strengths? what are your best skills? That’s a big clue to your brand. Invest time in figuring out *who you are* (define those core values!) and be that person. In life and in your personal brand. This authenticity will draw people to your brand and an added benefit is you’ll never have to think “how would my brand react to XYZ?” You are your brand & all you need to do is stay true to your core value system.
- Check to see if others “get” your brand. I asked friends & readers for an HONEST answer to: what’s my brand? What immediately comes to mind when you hear the word MizFit? You might also explain your brand to someone & ask them to repeat back to you what youve said but in their own words. If people struggle to explain your brand to you then you might need to spend more time clarifying for yourself what your brand’s mission statement is.
- You are not all your brand needs. This seems obvious yet I see daily evidence on Twitter of people who do not grasp this. Your brand can not exist in a vacuum. You need readers and interaction (and people who challenge your opinions) in order to grow. A big piece of my brand is an emphasis on giving back. Give in the manner which fits your personal brand—but give. For me this ‘giving’ takes the form of to the blogworld/twitter you may be one person—but to one blogger/tweeter you may be the world. This phrase is part of my brand’s mission statement.
- Patience. Building a quality brand takes time and effort. We all know bloggers/tweeters who emerge on the scene like the proverbial house-a-fire & suddenly disappear never to be seen again. Everything you do/every interaction is brand extension. That’s both a great & challenging thing. As tempting as it can be to want to focus 24/7 on creating your social media footprint (or business footprint) you need to step back, wait and let your brand evolve.
(Speaking of PATIENCE huh? I know that was kind of a longdensepost.)
Now it’s your turn.
I can only share what’s worked for me and my blog-brand.
Is your experience similar to mine?
Am I truly as much a misfit as I surmise?
Please to hit me up (the the manner most in alignment with yer brand) in the comments below…