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How to Keep Your Personal Brand “Popping”

tanesha and tiffany

One of my favorite Birmingham-based businesses is Naughty But Nice Kettle Corn Co. I’m a fan of this company not just because the popcorn is delicious and not just because the company has been supportive of See Jane Write, signing on as a sponsor for our Scandal watch party and for our upcoming 5th anniversary party. I also admire Tanesha Sims-Summers and Tiffany Turner, the women behind Naughty But Nice Kettle Corn, because they’ve done such a great job developing their brand.

If you’re not familiar with Naughty But Nice Kettle Corn, don’t worry. You will have plenty of chances to get to know them (and taste that delicious kettle corn). This weekend on Saturday, March 12, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, they will debut a new flavor at Shamfest at the Red Shamrock Pub in Mt. Laurel. What will the new flavor be? You’ll have to be there to find out!

Also you’ll find Naughty But Nice Kettle Corn Co. at Oak Mountain State Park on March 26 for its 9th Annual Easter Egg Hunt and they’ll be back at the Pepper Place Farmers Market starting April 9.

And if you attend the See Jane Write 5th Anniversary Party on Saturday, March 19 at aloft Hotel’s wxyz bar, you’ll have a chance to win a Naughty But Nice Kettle Corn Co. variety snack pack (which will include the new flavor).

But before you go to figure out what you’re going to wear to the party, here are four tips I think we bloggers and writers can take from Naughty But Nice Kettle Corn Co. as we’re building our personal brands.


Why You Need a Logo for Your Website or Blog

you need a logo

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Laura Vincent Printing & Design, presenting sponsor for the 2015 Bloganista Mini-Con, but all opinions are my own.

At last year’s Bloganista Mini-Con afternoon keynote speaker Megan LaRussa Chenoweth said that getting a new logo for her blog was one of the game changers that helped take her business to the next level.

Could this one day be your story, too?

When Dionne Love of Laura Vincent Print and Design signed on to be the presenting sponsor for this year’s Bloganista Mini-Con I was so excited. I knew her talent and knowledge about designing logos would be invaluable to the women of See Jane Write.

“A logo will help your business become more recognizable, but it also establishes credibility with potential customers,” Dionne says. “It is the fundamental component of branding and marketing that reflects your personality, your values and principles.”

And this doesn’t just apply to big-name businesses like Nike or Apple. As Megan’s story shows, this applies to bloggers, too.



Here are five things Dionne recommends you keep when mind when creating a logo for your blog or personal brand — whether you’re working with a company like Laura Vincent or designing the logo yourself:

1. Keep it simple. Consider again logos like that of Nike or Apple, or even McDonald’s. They are some of the most popular logos around but yet also the simplest.

2. Make an impression. “The ultimate goal of all businesses is to have their logo image imprinted in your memory and to make a lasting impression,” Dionne says. So be sure your logo is memorable.

3. Find a font. “Selecting the right fonts is one of the most important steps in logo creation,” Dionne says. Choose a font that’s easy to read but distinctive. Also, Dionne says you shouldn’t use more than two different fonts in your logo.

4. Get color coordinated. When choosing colors for your logo remember that color can create an emotional response, Dionne says. Also keep in mind all the different places you’ll need to display the logo such as across your various social media networks.

5. Be versatile. Remember that your logo will not only be used on your website or blog and social media accounts but also on stationery and business cards. You may even decide to sell merchandise with your logo. Be sure that your logo looks great on any medium.

“So invest the time in developing a great logo,” Dionne says. “You and your business will reap the rewards!”

Dionne Love of Laura Vincent Printing and Design will be available at the Bloganista Mini-Con to chat with attendees about logo design and more. She’ll also be giving a discount on her logo design services to one lucky attendee. 

Tips for Your First TV Appearance

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Today I was on Talk of Alabama discussing our upcoming events The Bloganista Mixer presented by Collage Designer Consignment and The Bloganista Mini-Con presented by Laura Vincent Printing & Design.

I always encourage the writers and bloggers I coach to pitch a segment idea to local TV media. And, not to brag or anything but… after using the tips I give them on how to pitch their idea they usually email me saying “I’M GOING TO BE ON TV!” (Click here to check out those tips.)

But about five minutes after sending that email they send another that reads something like this: “OMG! I’M GOING TO BE ON TV! WHAT WAS I THINKING?!?! I CAN’T DO THIS! I’M FREAKING OUT!”

If you’re a few days away from your first TV appearance and you’re having similar anxious thoughts, here are a few tips to help things go smoothly:

Practice, but not too much. Write down five questions you think a reporter might ask based on the topics you presented in your pitch. Now write down your answers to these questions. (Some TV stations will actually request that you do this and ask that you send your questions and answers to their producers.) Read over what you wrote a few times. Now get your spouse, significant other, best friend or blogging or business buddy to interview you using the questions you wrote, but also get them to throw in a few questions that aren’t on your list so you’ll have practice responding to questions off the cuff. WARNING: Don’t try to memorize every word you’ll say. If you do that you’ll sound too rehearsed and come off as inauthentic.

Choose your outfit the night before. You don’t want to feel rushed and frazzled the morning of your big television debut because you couldn’t figure out what to wear. So be sure you have your entire outfit prepped and ready to go the night before your segment. Not sure what to wear? Bright colors are best, but avoid white. Wear something that makes you feel both comfortable and confident. And remember — you have to look the part to get the role. So if you’re going on TV to give tips to aspiring entrepreneurs because you want to be a business coach, you need to look like you run something! If you’re giving fashion tips, that should be obvious the moment you walk on set and you better be the most stylish person in the room.

Arrive early, but not too early. Leave your home and head to the station early enough that you will be on time even if there’s a wreck on the road and you get stuck in traffic. But don’t get there so early that you have 90 minutes to stew in your nervousness before your segment begins.

Make small talk… or not. I’m an extrovert so talking to other people at the station — whether folks who work there or other people waiting to be interviewed — calms me. But the idea of talking to even more strangers may make you want to puke. If that’s the case, head to the restroom for some alone time before your segment. Figure out what works best for you based on your personality. And if you’re a spiritual person be sure to wake up early enough that you can get in your daily spiritual practice. This will also help you feel more centered and calm.

Forget about the cameras. OK, stop laughing. I know this sounds impossible. But try your best to just pretend you’re having a conversation with the person interviewing you and forget that you’re on TV. Most likely your segment is on something that you’re very passionate about, something you probably talk to people about all the time. Just pretend this is another one of those times when someone has shown interest in this passion of yours and wants to know more because actually that’s exactly what this is!

What tips would you offer to folks preparing for their first TV appearance? 

PS – If you’d like to see my segment on today’s Talk of Alabama, the video will be available here for a limited time.

How to Land Your First TV Appearance


Set your DVRs! Tomorrow morning I’ll be making my fourth appearance on Talk of Alabama, a daytime talk show on ABC 33/40 that focuses on entertainment news and features local events, organizations and various businesses in and around the state. I’ll be on discussing See Jane Write’s upcoming event the Bloganista Mini-Con presented by Laura Vincent. This is See Jane Write’s annual one-day blogging conference for women and is set for August 1.

If you haven’t purchased your ticket visit to do so today.

Whenever I work with writers on building buzz for their blogs or books I always encourage them to pitch a segment idea to local TV media. It’s a great way to get out of your comfort zone and, obviously, a great way to spread the word about what you’re doing. The last time I was on Talk of Alabama to promote a See Jane Write event a viewer drove to Birmingham from a city more than an hour away to attend the event I discussed.

Here are a few tips on how to land a TV appearance of your own:

Be sure you’re pitching to the right person. Writing a great pitch for your segment idea is pointless if it ends up in someone’s email trash folder. So ask around and find out the name and email address of the person in charge of booking for the show that you’re interested in. Usually, it’s the show’s producer handling such decisions, not the folks you actually see on TV.

Remember it’s not all about you. Unless you’re Beyonce, don’t email a show’s producer saying they need you on the show because you’re awesome.  In your pitch stay focused on the value you’re bringing the show’s viewers. The last time I was on Talk of Alabama it was to promote my time management e-course. But in my pitch I didn’t write, “Hey, put me on your show so I can promote my awesome e-course.” Instead I discussed the importance of having good time management skills when trying to accomplish goals. I made this pitch in February, the time of year when people’s enthusiasm about their New Year’s resolutions is starting to wane. I presented four tips for good time management to help people make the time to work on their goals. And, of course, I mentioned my course as a way that they could get additional help.

Check your calendar. Always be mindful of what time of year it is just as I was when making my time management pitch. If you can tie your topic to a holiday — no matter how obscure that holiday  may be — do it! If you’re a food writer, for example, you need to have things National Hamburger Day or National Ice Cream Day on your radar.

Do cool stuff. Tomorrow’s Talk of Alabama appearance and an appearance I made in January were both unsolicited. In both cases the producer reached out to me. Last year I exercised every single day and wrote about it at One of Talk of Alabama‘s producers read my blog and asked me to come on the show to talk about how I managed to exercise 365 consecutive days.  Of course, whenever I’m on Talk of Alabama I want to promote See Jane Write so I found a way to tie this all back to writing and blogging by discussing how this fitness challenge of mine actually helped me become a better writer because it showed me that no matter what excuses I may have in mind, I do have time to write and blog. If I could find time to exercise every day, I can find time to work on my life’s great passion. For tomorrow’s appearance someone from the show actually reached out to me asking if I was working on anything I’d like to come on the show to discuss. At this point I’ve established a reputation as someone who’s always up to something!


And remember to tune in to ABC 33/40’s Talk of Alabama tomorrow at 9 a.m.

Tomorrow afternoon I’ll be posting tips on how to make sure your first TV appearance is a success.

Why Writers Must Be Entrepreneurs

Pen, Diary and Glasses
Image by via Flickr/Creative Commons

Writing and personal branding coach Nikki Woods believes that writing a book is one of the best ways to build your business as it gives you credibility. However, she also believes that writers must be business-minded.

In a recent blog post she writes, “Let’s face it, most creative people expect someone else to handle the business side of their operations. But it’s a new day.”

Even writers with book deals and especially those who self-publish must learn to market their own work. And this isn’t just about trying to sell a single book. This is about creating a long-lasting career.

Woods writes: “Royalties and book advances are great if you can get them but you can’t depend on them to sustain you. The sooner you begin to promote your book through speaking engagements, conventions, seminars, etc., the sooner you can build up an audience, your brand and your bottom line. ”

Not sure where to start? See Jane Write is here to help.

Join us at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, June 16 at the Books-a-Million in Brookwood Village for D.I.Y. Marketing for Authors. Learn how to be your own publicist and promote your book and your brand. This free workshop will feature author A.D. Lawrence and See Jane Write member Chanda Temple, who is the co-author of the Birmingham’s Best Bites cookbook.

Get more details here and RSVP via Facebook.

How can I build an authentic brand for my blog?

your brand
Your voice establishes your brand. (Image by Ricardo Bernardo via Flickr/Creative Commons)

Your blog is your brand.

We writers hear this a lot. But sometimes viewing our blog as a brand can feel limiting.

For example, let’s say you have a style blog that focuses on chic, work-appropriate fashion for young professionals. But you’re also inspired by creative, avant garde fashion shows. Because you’re trying to build a brand you may feel it’s not OK to write about both. But here’s why I think it is.

Establishing a brand for your blog isn’t solely about deciding the focus of your content. Building a brand is mostly about your voice and your values.

Whether you’re writing about runway looks or office party attire, your voice is the same. (Or at least it should be.) Your unique writing voice is much more important than what you’re writing about because it’s your voice that makes your blog stand out. Your readers aren’t just coming to your site because you’re giving suggestions on how to dress well for their 9 to 5. There are probably thousands of other blogs out there on this same topic. Your readers are coming to your blog because it’s your blog! They’re coming because they’re drawn to your voice and your style of blogging.

Your values also help build your blog’s brand. Why do you blog? What’s your mission statement? Yes, you blog to help young women feel both posh and professional, but why? Why do you think this is important? If your goal is to empower women and to help them feel more confident then simply make sure that everything you post — including a review of an avant garde fashion show — does exactly that.

For marketing purposes, it is smart to make sure that most of your posts center on your blog’s primary topic (unless you’re trying to shift the focus of your blog). Thus, consider creating a weekly or monthly feature that lets you go a bit off topic.  So Monday through Thursday you’re blogging about what to wear to work, but at the end of the week you have “High Fashion Friday” and on this day you showcase the looks you’d love to rock the runway in.

Remember the thing that makes your blog unique isn’t its topic. Your blog is special because the woman writing it is. 


Each day in November for #bloglikecrazy I’ll be publishing a blog post that answers your questions about blogging, social media, writing, wellness or women’s empowerment. Send your questions to

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