BlogHer U: Positioning -- The Intersection of "You" and "Brand" with Erica Lee
Positioning: The Intersection of You and Brand
I don't blog a lot but I do help people with their blogs. Here's what I'm talking about in 20 minutes.
1) So, why "the intersection of personal and business branding?"
2) Evolving and what that means
3) Carving out space for yourself
4) Make a lot of mistakes. Everything can be fixed. Feel your way.
1 - WHY. The first thing about everything you do, especially external communications and building your brand, is figure out why you're doing what you're doing. So if you decide to throw, say, your personal life into your blog or tweets, ask "How does that help? Does it solve something for your clients?
When was the last time you looked at your first post? Your first 100 followers? Your last growth? Do you know why you gained followers? Usually it's a personal passion. So how does your personal passion play a role in what you do for your brand. I love shoes; my clients don't care. I love soccer; my international clients LOVE IT. Measure these things. Decide how much and why these things will propel your network to engage with you.
2 - EVOLVING. When I started out in tech PR, there were 2 black women. I was the other one. I cut off my dreadlocks in January. "Who's Erica? She's the one with the locks." When I cut them off, people Samsonned me, "Who are you without your locks?" I am the person that's inside. Nobody really cared. I was an international politics major. There are people from countries I've never been to -- we have great conversations on Twitter. Constantly becoming a new you just like you do in life? You can do that in your blog. You can insert your personal experience into your blog.
3 - CARVING OUT SPACE FOR YOURSELF. Preparing for this, I realized my website hasn't changed since 2006. I'm mostly Twitter; people don't call me Erica Lee; they call me @strategiclee. I also realized I wasn't on Pinterest so I started it. That was really, really personal. I was pinning my hair. I love skulls! I was pinning skulls. That's weird. Why would my clients care? Maybe for me, Pinterest is personal and not part of my brand. So tomorrow it's on my list to create a StrategicLee Pinterest account. The flip side, if you're personally pinning stuff like housewares and you're a design blog, that makes sense to share. And finally, make sure to do something that doesn't have to do with your blog. I'm OK when people in the tech industry call me StrategicLee; I'm not OK when my boyfriend does it. Have your own things.
4 - MAKE MISTAKES. I've introduced the wrong person; responded to the wrong person. I've caused a Twitter storm by saying the wrong thing. It's a natural part of life but it also helps you understand people. "I am sorry; please explain" is the best thing you can ever do to your audience. So if you bring in your bunny slippers and wine Sunday tradition and you see your audience is offended, scale back, apologize if necessary and try something else.
The line between personal and professional is you deciding what you're comfortable, why it matters to your network, how you're going to bring that to your network, and not being afraid to make mistakes.
Question: What if you grow your blog to more people?
Answer: It's still your blog. Map out your contributions of very voicey opinion pieces that remind and remind your audience your perspective and why they value and why they should engage. And YOU need to engage -- talk to people as much as you can!