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Branding

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 javacia@seejanewritebham.com.

Can I overcome stage fright?

See Javacia Speak
Here I am speaking at this summer’s Bloganista Mini-Con.

If you are a writer, blogger, or entrepreneur you also need to be a good public speaker. Sharing your expertise through speaking engagements can be a great way to promote your blog, brand, book, or business.

But for some of you the idea of speaking in front of a crowd may make you sick to your stomach.

Last month I organized a special members-only See Jane Write event on public speaking featuring Attorney John Saxon, who is not only a highly successful lawyer but has also done speech writing for several big name politicians.

Saxon gave us a wealth of information on how to compose a captivating talk and keep your audience engaged.

Here are tips on how to overcome your stage fright:

1. Be confident. Remember you are the expert in the room. Whenever you start to feel insecure remind yourself that the organizers of this event invited you to speak for a reason.

2. Be prepared.The more prepared you are the more confident you will be. This doesn’t mean you should type out and memorize every word you’re going to say. But have at least three key points outlined. Know what you want your audience to take away from your talk. And be sure to practice.

3. Be passionate. Show that you have a sincere, overwhelming desire to convey this information to your audience. Your enthusiasm will most likely be contagious.

4. Be personable. Maintain eye contact. Use humor. Tell stories. Move around a bit to help dispel some of your nervous energy. Establish common ground with your audience.

5. Be yourself. Saxon says that “the presence of dynamism need not suggest the absence of sincerity. ”

What tips do you have for better public speaking?

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 javacia@seejanewritebham.com

Does Your Website Need a Makeover?

Extreme Makeover
Extreme Makeover Blog Edition (Image by Patrishe via Flickr/Creative Commons)

Did you notice?

Jane got a makeover!

That’s right, SeeJaneWriteBham.com has a new look! I hope you like it. Take a look around and let me know what you think.

Have you been wondering if it’s time for you to give your website or blog a makeover? Here’s how I knew it was time to revamp this website:

Are you bored? If you feel unmotivated and stuck in a blogging rut, revamping your site could give you the push you need to get back in the groove of posting regularly. Now that Jane has a new look, I’ll be updated the See Jane Write blog twice a week — every Tuesday and Thursday.

Does your website reflect your brand? People often refer to See Jane Write as a blog, but it is meant to be so much more. See Jane Write is a network and it’s a business. Our website needs to reflect that. Thus I moved SeeJaneWriteBham.com from Blogger to WordPress so it would have a more professional look. Also, SeeJaneWriteBham.com now has a static homepage and the blog is just a component of the site. And since a business’ list of contacts is one of its most important assets, the e-mail list signup form is one of the site’s most prominent features. I’m currently working on revamping SeeJaneWriteMagazine.com as well so that it will look more like a magazine than a blog and I’m hoping the new look will give me new inspiration.

Has the mission of your blog or business changed? This year I decided that See Jane Write will not only seek to serve women writers, but female entrepreneurs, too. A new look is a great way to signify this new focus.

Redesigning a website can be very expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. While I did spend a pretty penny on on getting help with the move from Blogger to WordPress, I only spent $79 on the design. I simply purchased a theme from Blu Chic , which specializes in WordPress themes for female entrepreneurs, and then I customized it.

Next, I plan to embark on a social media makeover. And then, I’m giving myself a makeover, too! Stay tuned!

 

6 Game Changers For Your Blog, Brand or Business

At See Jane Write’s Bloganista Mini-Conference our closing keynote speaker Megan LaRussa Chenoweth of Southern Femme talked about things that were game changers for her blog and her business – things like better promoting her newsletter, getting a new logo, and moving into an office space.

For those of you who attended, my hope is that the Bloganista Mini-Conference was a game changer for you. I hope you left with the information and the inspiration you needed to take your blog, business, or writing career to the next level.

If you want to review some of the highlights from the conference, check out my recap post.

Here are six additional game changers for your blog, brand, or business.

1. Join See Jane Write. Over the next several months, most See Jane Write events will be for members only. If you don’t want to be left out, became an official member of See Jane Write today. Basic membership is only $25 per year. Click here for details.

2. Learn the game of golf. You may be thinking, “What on earth does golf have to do with my life as an entrepreneur?” Plenty. We all know that men make business deals out on the green. It’s time you join the boys club by picking up some clubs and learning to golf. Shella Sylla of SisterGolf is offering a $50 discount off her upcoming Introduction to Business Golf for Ladies Class.  

Click here to register. The promo code is SJW14.

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Why Writers Need a Professional Head Shot

One example of the many photos my hubster has had to take.

“I need you to take a picture of me.”

I say those words to my husband about once a month and not because I’m a fashion blogger or incredibly vain. Whether it’s for an article I’m being featured in or an advertisement for a conference at which I’m speaking, about once a month someone asks me to send them my head shot.

But I don’t have one.

So I make my poor husband play photographer, which is not fun for either of us because I hate having my picture taken.

“The more work you do and the more exposure you get, the more people will ask you for one,” said Alison Lewis, founder and editor of Healthy Travel Magazine and Ingredients, Inc. “It’s great to have in your back pocket!”

Writers may need a head shot for a book cover or blog or for speaking engagements.

“Even if you don’t need one regularly for work, your LinkedIn profile photo should be professional,” said Birmingham-based blogger Tanya Sylvan. “That’s people’s first impression of you, and you don’t want it to be negative.”

In addition to blogging, Tanya works in advertising and contributes to See Jane Write Magazine. She a busy and popular woman who probably needs a head shot. In fact, I even asked her for one when putting together the See Jane Write Magazine contributors page.

Sherri Ross Walters, a writer and the founder of Birmingham Girls Club, is another person whose portrait is probably in high demand.

“I have never had one, but the more connected and exposed people get and become, the more I’m finding a single, universal head shot is super helpful and convenient in recognizing people…myself included,” she said. “I need one!”

I need one too!

Enter Lynsey Weatherspoon, one of Birmingham’s best local photographers.

Lynsey has generously offered to meet with the women of See Jane Write for brief headshot sessions for the cost of only $75. She normally charges $350 for a head shot session, so this is the deal of a lifetime. The sessions will be held the afternoon of Sunday, July 21 on Morris Avenue in downtown Birmingham. (You’ll be sent more details on the location.)

You can sign up for your slot here.

Now go pick out your outfit!

My hair is my brand and other epiphanies

In addition to the change-your-life, Oprah-like sessions I’ve written about, the skirt! Creative Conference also offered very practical workshops on how to promote your writing, including one on social media. Session leaders Taryn Pisaneschi and Desiree Scales echoed a lot of the things I’ve heard at similar seminars, which was reassuring.

Social media is like a hearing aid, they said. You can use it to find out what people are talking about. You can also use it to find events you might want to attend, position yourself as expert and to build your brand.

Something that Twitter rookies always wonder is What should I tweet about? I even know some people who haven’t tried Twitter simply because that question has paralyzed their efforts. Taryn and Desiree reminded the audience that Twitter is just a way to start conversations and really is no different from starting a conversation at a bar or a networking event. You listen a bit to what folks are talking about and jump in when you can with what you have to contribute.  You can make connections through Twitter by simply starting conversations with people tweeting about things you’re interested in, conversations that can sometimes lead to business opportunities.

While we can use Twitter to promote our writing that shouldn’t be all we do.  With that bar conversation model in mind, remember that no one likes to talk to the person who won’t shut up about herself. Your Twitter posts shouldn’t have that “Look at how cool I am!” vibe. Instead focus on others. What information can you share? How can you help others find the contacts they need? This may seem counterintuitive but it will pay off in the long run. In that same vein, they added that the best way to increase traffic and comments on your own blog is to comment on other blogs and feature other bloggers on your site.

Taryn and Desiree then gave a session on brand building. In addition to recommending that we all purchase the web domain for our name and use it as a landing page with links to our blogs, Twitter accounts, Facebook accounts, etc., they also discussed things I’d never considered. You are your brand, they stressed, which means your physical appearance is essentially your logo. This sounded scary at first, but not so much after they explained. Basically you need some simple signature. Desiree, for example, has on a stylish necklace in every photo on her websites and therefore always sports one when she’s networking or at speaking events. Taryn usually wears something pink to match the dominant color of her website.

So I got to thinking: what could be my signature? My husband is community manager for an advertising agency and I instantly knew what his signature would be: his tie. He’s known for wearing colorful and stylish ties and he wears a tie to work every single day even on Fridays when his co-workers are sporting jeans. But I had no idea what my signature could be. 

When I told my husband that I had to sit and think about this, he actually laughed at me. It didn’t take me too long, though. In between sessions I kept meeting women who would come up to me and say, “You’re WriteousBabe!” which is my Twitter handle and the name I use for the blog I write for skrit.com.  “Yeah, that’s me,” I’d say. Then they’d say, “I knew it was you as soon as I saw the hair.”

Of course! My big curly coif is my signature! Ironically, as I type this I’m rocking straight hair, which I do only about three times a year. But don’t worry, I’ll be sure to bring back the curls before my next networking event. 

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