Subtitle: use this. share this. link this. please to not steal this. sadly Ive been noticing some of my work cut & pasted on other people’s sites.
First I need to thank all of you for allowing me to toot my own horn last week.
I appreciate you being as excited as was I about the brand recognition.
So many of you left me questions in the comments that I wanted to take a moment and answer them as best I could.
So many of you left me questions in the comments that I wanted to take a moment and see if we, as a group, could generate some answers.
The most common question I receive (before & since the entrepreneur.com shout out) is whether I planned my MizFit brand prior to launching the blog.
The answer is yes & no.
Yes I sat down, decided on a name I liked, a caricature I adored, & the precise message I wanted to convey.
In a sense it was a simple a ‘plan’ as creating a blog mission statement to go along 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. In 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.
Given my nontraditional approach to all that is personal branding here are the 6 branding tips Ive learned along my misfit way:
- Remember, 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 emailed 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 my onetimefave Dr. Phil says: The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. In the world of branding this predictability can be 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 perhaps 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 then be that person. In life and in your personal brand. This authenticity will draw people to your brand and, an added benefit, is you will 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. For me this took the form of asking friends & readers for an HONEST answer to: what’s my brand? What immediately comes to mind when you hear the word MizFit? It also helps to 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 back to you then you might need to spend a bit 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 evidence daily on Twitter of people who, in my opinion, 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 move forward and grow. A big piece of my brand is a focus on giving back. Give in the manner which fits your personal brand—but give. For me this ‘giving’ takes the form of the ole 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. As with anything (from exercise to dating) 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, essentially, 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.
(seriously. I know. Could my posts get any longer? I feel your pain…)
So there you have it.
My top six branding tips after 3 years of MizFit’ing.
I know what works for my brand may not be what youve found to work for yours.
Have a tip to share?
A branding question for me or the reader-community in general?
please to hit us all up in the comments…
Karen saysApril 14, 2010 at 3:36 am
I don’t blog yet and have printed this out for when I do.
Much of your tips (be consistent etc) are crucial in my work success, too.
I have a work-brand I guess 🙂
Helen saysApril 14, 2010 at 3:48 am
Thanks for this Mizzy.
I have been working to create a brand and thought it needed to be somehting not me at all.
I love that you say play to your strengths.
Now can you help me find them LOL??
Kat Eden saysApril 14, 2010 at 3:50 am
This is great and so perfectly out of left field (wasn’t expecting awesome business advice when I decided to check out what your blog’d been up to!)
I especially like your point about being consistent and repeating your message. I think I’ve inadvertently let myself down in this area; always trying to have something ‘new’ to say.
I also wonder whether I have enough structure to what I post for people to connect with it as a ‘brand’. I tend to plan my posts only a week in advance so they’re a bit all over the place. I do get great feedback but sometimes wonder if it would be more useful to have some sort of flow?
Nan saysApril 14, 2010 at 3:59 am
I giggled at your patience remark and wondered if we were thinking of the same man.
Michelle@Eatingjourney saysApril 14, 2010 at 4:04 am
I think the most important thing is that you’re yourself the whole time. I can’t stand it when people ask ‘what do you want to see on my blog, what can I change?’ WHO CARES? People read your blog for you. So just be yourself. I am still baffeled at why people even read my blog..but I have never not been myself.
MrsFatass saysApril 14, 2010 at 4:18 am
I try to be the me that I am offline as well as on. I mean, offline I don’t say Fuc% as much (okay, well maybe I do) but I try to have the same heart. Not always easier – I’m ballsier online – but at Fitbloggin? I loved the comment that I heard once or twice that I sound just like I write. To me, that’s important. Authenticity.
Something I’ve learned from . . . you.
Tara saysApril 14, 2010 at 4:19 am
Interesting post because when I saw it I initially thought THIS ISN’T CARLA.
It is not your typical layout or approach and then I saw that you address this in your first time.
Your brand to me is more chatty.
JourneyBeyondSurvival saysApril 14, 2010 at 4:35 am
I love your thoughts. Without having thought a lot about it, all of them ring true with my small experience.
Evan saysApril 14, 2010 at 4:39 am
I don’ t blog yet but this has been true to my experience owning my sporting good store.
Great stuff, Carla
Yum Yucky saysApril 14, 2010 at 4:42 am
I didn’t plan anything except to stop falling asleep at 7pm. So I start blogging to stay awake. What a funny turn it has taken.
Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman saysApril 14, 2010 at 5:40 am
This is great. Thanks for the tips. And, yeah, yeah, yeah patience. I wish that wasn’t the answer to everything in life. 🙂
Ryan Sullivan saysApril 14, 2010 at 5:42 am
How are you giving this stuff away for free? I’m being serious. Your level of giving is just off the charts!
Lainie saysApril 14, 2010 at 5:50 am
What Ryan said.
Here’s hoping lots of karma flows your way.
I heart you.
Leah J. Utas saysApril 14, 2010 at 5:52 am
Hmmm, my blog started with a focus on writing and hypnosis and spiritual stuff. Now it’s gratitude and writing and photos and whatever. Yeah, that’s my brand: Whatever.
Miz saysApril 14, 2010 at 5:52 am
Fitness and PERSONAL OR BLOG BRANDING they’re not all that different huh?
Same six tips transfer for life and fitness success!
Stacey saysApril 14, 2010 at 5:54 am
I saw your tweet to Problogger this morning and he does need to recognize (as your brand would say 😉 I use many MizFitisms in my dailytalk now and always recognize).
dragonmamma saysApril 14, 2010 at 6:06 am
When are you coming out with your physical “brand”? I’m talking about a branding iron, so we have the option of burning “…because fitness isn’t about fitting in” into our butts. (Would be an interesting addition to your Seuss tattoos!)
South Beach Steve saysApril 14, 2010 at 6:14 am
After you determine your brand – use it! Don’t leave comments with simply your name as the identifier (i.e., Steve), but instead, use your brand (i.e. South Beach Steve). Granted, my brand doesn’t carry a candle to yours! 🙂
Lizzie saysApril 14, 2010 at 6:16 am
LOL at #17.
Or temporary tattoos?
Kat saysApril 14, 2010 at 6:20 am
Very interesting. Lots for me to chew on. I think I may ask friends and readers and see if they ‘get’ what I am trying to convey.
Slimmin' Sam saysApril 14, 2010 at 6:30 am
I have to be perfectly honest and never thought about these aspects of blogging. I mostly just wrote and commented without thinking of the expectations and such. Not that I am going to let that dictate me now, but I will start implementing a lot of these just to try and reach more people. Thanks… you are pretty cool… well not bad at least 🙂
Jody - Fit at 52 saysApril 14, 2010 at 6:35 am
Thank you so much for this post! Really, I am just blogging to help & pass info on & who knows what may come of it. Yes, there are hopes & dreams & I guess if I want my blog to help me, I should start thinking about what you wrote…. I just sort of write or past what comes to me or I want to share & I don’t try to be all perfect writing & that.
You have given me lots to think about… and as always, thank you for sharing yourself!
Kyle saysApril 14, 2010 at 7:46 am
I say…try not to try so hard to brand yourself. I’ve read (and subsequently stopped reading) blogs that seemed more about transparent efforts to become branded rather than just to put out honest, personalized content for their readers. There is a very popular blog out there by a guy who seems to have gained all his original weight and then some, but has links to his site for guest posts including fees, advertising fees, etc. Perhaps he got his brand when he was getting healthier, but he isn’t much of an inspiration now (to me anyway) and seems to be riding his “brand” for the sake of marketing.
Sagan saysApril 14, 2010 at 7:58 am
Great advice. I especially like what you’ve said about how all of us ALREADY have a brand… and I think that it’s important to understand who we are and how others see us by looking back at past posts and the responses we’ve received to gain a better understanding of that.
'Drea saysApril 14, 2010 at 8:07 am
In a lot of situations, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s quote comes to mind: be sincere; be brief; be seated. I will say that brevity sometimes eludes me though. What can you say? Some topics need more consideration…
Jen Gordon saysApril 14, 2010 at 9:00 am
You are so helpful and humble. No wonder people love you! You rock! 🙂
Thanks for the tips!
Ryan Sullivan saysApril 14, 2010 at 9:11 am
OK this is my second comment on this post.
Round 2: One of my the most important things I can think of as far as branding is concerned is something that you do better than anyone else I read but that you failed to mention in your own post (probably because you may not even be conscious of it because it is who you are. Reference: Play to Your Strengths) is to be unique. Be Real. Be a little weird. But don’t be real weird.
Tom saysApril 14, 2010 at 9:13 am
You are so giving to your tribe.
Happy Fun Pants saysApril 14, 2010 at 9:36 am
I don’t think I have ever thought about myself or my website as a brand…
I wrote two blogs (technically, I WRITE two blogs – when I remember to update the other one) and with my Happy Fun Pants, I was often worrying about what I could write that was new and fresh. I worried about my readers enjoying themselves far more than I should’ve.
The I started writing Smaller Fun Pants and haven’t has as much of a problem. It’s so much more “me” – about me and my own journey that I tend to not worry (as much) about what people like or what they don’t like.
The thing is, if I worried about branding, I would probably do better at it – and I’d have more followers. I’m happy with my stats and my readership. I’m happy with the commenters that my blog has. And I’m happy with the content that I write about.
And that has to be enough, no?
Lori (Finding Radiance) saysApril 14, 2010 at 9:37 am
Great tips. I think honesty is part of branding, too. Because that builds trust.
Donna Bush saysApril 14, 2010 at 9:58 am
Excellent tips, thanks for the share. I guess I need to work on the patience part. (Hey, it IS just like exercise!)
POD saysApril 14, 2010 at 10:04 am
I came by to cut and paste your content onto my site today.
Joyce Cherrier saysApril 14, 2010 at 10:15 am
Great Tips Miz! Made me really search my heart & think about things. I need to revisit these daily because I find it so easy to lose focus and sort of *wander* around if that makes sense. On the subject of patience..I find that the hardest thing. Lack of it breeds discouragement for me. Thank you so much for this! You’re awesome!
Lauren @ Eater not a runner saysApril 14, 2010 at 10:45 am
Great tips! Thank you 🙂
Quix saysApril 14, 2010 at 10:47 am
I started thinking “pffft, I don’t have a brand, I just talk about random sh*t and hopefully amuse people when I open up my brain and let it spill into my blog, and wax neurotic way too often…”
…but I guess that IS my brand. Unapologetically me, right? 😉
Rob Dyess saysApril 14, 2010 at 12:48 pm
The thing that I do most is to just be myself. It really is that easy. Now- that probably speaks volumes about my personality…. that it is not very good. I don’t have that many readers yet…. but I am working on it.
I don’t really plan my posts that much. I usually just come up with something a few minutes before I “go on”.
BTW- listened to a couple of the pod casts yesterday while I was driving. Good job!!
Blake saysApril 14, 2010 at 2:16 pm
Thanks for sharing these. Much needed. : )
Mary Meps saysApril 14, 2010 at 3:16 pm
Ah, the platform thing. Been working on that. I think I’m improving at tweeting … maybe. I rock at e-mail & blogger.
But, you’re right, it’s personal interaction that farms the largest rewards.
charlotte saysApril 14, 2010 at 3:16 pm
I love your #5 tip. It is so very very important. People don’t come to blogs to be spoon-fed, they come for interaction. I’m not always the best at this though so I appreciate the reminder! You are amazing!
Renee saysApril 14, 2010 at 6:51 pm
I don’t have a question, I think your blog post says it all. Love this post.
love2eatinpa saysApril 14, 2010 at 7:05 pm
as always, you have great info to offer. thanks for sharing with us, it’s much appreciated.
sian-girlgetstrong saysApril 14, 2010 at 7:05 pm
Copying is a great form of flattery…..you are a very well written blogger!
BUT, shame on the peeps that can’t come up with their own materials…
Skyler Meine saysApril 14, 2010 at 7:40 pm
Branding is the name of the game and understanding yourself and your message seem to be at the root of branding. So many people get confused about who they are and what they are trying to accomplish with blogging. This has definitely been a struggle for me. My purpose needs to be clearly defined and it needs to drive all of my interactions. I don’t want to be commercial but I definitely want people to know what I believe. Check my site out and give me feedback if you get a minute.
Thanks for showing us the way MizFit. I am a huge fan to say the least.
Cindy Schulson saysApril 14, 2010 at 9:02 pm
These are great tips! Thank you for sharing.
As Michael Port says, there are two components to your personal brand.
1. Your WHO and WHAT statement, which is the specific problems you solve, who you solve them for, and what the results are.
This is really your NICHE.
2. Your WHY you do it statement, which is based on who you are at your core and why people should work with you.
Finding your niche is central to creating your brand. I’ve written a step-by-step report to help you identify your niche. It is called “Ten Steps to Finding and Attracting Your Ideal Niche”, and its available for free at http://www.attractyourniche.com.
Thanks for allowing me to share that and I wish you all the best.
Ben (@benjamteal) saysApril 14, 2010 at 9:11 pm
Branding, branding, branding…
I am me. And that is the only me I can be. Problem is there is nerd me and meat head me and in between me.
The trick is to be all me all the time.
Branding is all about finding what about me is different than you. What is my niche. In fitness, we have meat head pretty well covered… 😉
Be you, but allow your “character” to be a caricature of yourself. Highlight those things that make you different in the world, whether it be you belief that your body is simply a small econonomic system (me) or you have an awesome whole leg tattoo! :-p
Lisa Claudia Briggs saysApril 15, 2010 at 7:42 am
Carla- you are my idol in all things social media/branding. It’s been amazing to watch you unfold all of this with such grace and lack of fuss. It all seemed organic, which is so appealing to me. The more I’ve tried to “figure it out”, the more artificial and risky it gets. But the ideas you listed here provided helpful guidance.
Look at the wise woman at 40-
Breaking The Spell of Overeating
The Energy of Weight Loss (f*ree)
Jack Sh*t, Gettin' Fit saysApril 15, 2010 at 2:53 pm
Great post! I constantly get hit up for tips from people who seem frustrated that their blog isn’t blowing up the way they’d like, but I think this sums it up in a nutshell. If you have a memorable brand, you have a much better chance of standing out and achieving some blogging success.
Linda at Bar Mitzvahzilla saysMay 18, 2010 at 12:58 am
I always ask myself when I’m writing “Is it true? Is it kind” – especially if I get a somewhat snarky comment, which is rare but does happen. I try to remember that “real” writers also meet up with opposition in the world and it’s important to have a way to deal with it positively and remember that not everyone can like my work. I’d prefer they just moved on but sometimes they don’t!
I’m also venturing on to Twitter and to “brand” myself I’ve changed my twitter name to my blog name. Whew!
Property in India saysJune 4, 2010 at 1:16 am
Thanks dear for your thoughts.
Naomi(onefitfoodie) saysJune 14, 2010 at 7:49 am
great tips!! def patience is HUGE…people dont realize how long something can take, but witha ll the hard work and dedication, the patience will pay off BIG time!
Me So Hongry saysJune 22, 2010 at 1:55 am
Thanks for clearing up this branding thing for me. Can’t wait to hear more about it a bloggy boot camp.
Jo saysJune 24, 2010 at 5:33 am
I can learn a lot from this. Thank you for posting it.
Lisa saysJune 29, 2010 at 5:01 pm
That’s crappy that someone is stealing!!! I always link back to stuff on the web that I got from someone else. There’s a lot of good information out there, but as bloggers we should not just steal it and make it our own. 🙁
Fat Loss Cheetah saysJuly 23, 2010 at 5:31 pm
I think in a blog, brand is a reflection of your writing style. Turns out mine is smart and sarcastic so luckily my branding is consistent
karen@fitnessjourney saysAugust 11, 2010 at 10:13 am
I liked what you said about it being okay to repeat things. Sometimes I forget that the majority of those reading my posts don’t leave comments so new readers could stop by at anytime and they may not have been introduced to my perspective.
Sunny saysOctober 25, 2010 at 12:51 pm
I think it’s also important to keep your brand simple.. The more simple it is, the more people can “get” it. I always think way too much into mine and half the people I ask really don’t get it at all. So I’m working on keeping it simple. Kudos to you!