Branding Myself Without Losing Myself

March 28, 2011

in News,Personal

Branding Myself Without Losing Myself

Getting personal with branding

In case you didn’t notice, I am in the middle of a redesign or reorganization of my blog.

After a year or more of collecting dust with a very lazily-modified Thesis theme (basically, I just changed the link colors), I decided I needed to make my website a little bit more personal. So, this is a work in progress. I might fire up Ye Olde Photoshoppe and design a header graphic one of these days. I may add some other icons or graphics here and there. I may leave it alone. We’ll see. What I’ve done so far is a result of a few hours of work late Saturday night while chair dancing to my Keri Hilson Pandora channel. (No, I don’t want to hear your judgements.) Besides, who knows when I’ll have free time again, given my exhaustive social calendar?

Feeling Dirty

I often struggle with branding myself online. It’s not that I don’t know what to do. I know what to do–I do it for my clients all the time. It’s just that I don’t want to do it for myself. Marketing myself makes me feel dirty. I feel at odds about there being a gigantic photo of myself in my sidebar. But I know something like that needs to be there.  Even though that photo is somewhat old, it’s the only one I have of myself looking sincerely into the camera (pro-tip: eye contact builds trust with the viewer). So, up it goes until I find a new photo to replace it.

Writing my bios (short and long form) are a gruesome process for me. I have no problems writing copy for clients about themselves, their business or product. Solving these problems for my clients are always so obvious, and come naturally and easily. But for me? The negative self-talk overwhelms the sane strategic advice I use with clients. Perhaps this is because I struggle between wanting to be something society thinks I should be (typical American Rat Race at work), and being my authentic self.

That sidebar bio? It originally began with something dry and generic. I hate the idea of my job defining who I am as a person. I am so much more than a job title, self-employed or not. Yet, my bio statement opened up with what I do for a living. So, I flipped it. The revised statement is a nod to Romy and Michelle, and guess what? It’s sarcastic. But, I’m sarcastic.

The Future of My Blog

Recently I completed some blog re-organizing and SEO work for a client, BrothaTech. I had an exhaustive checklist of things I knew I needed to fix  on his blog, and I gave him a list of things to do. After checking my list twice and reviewing my completed work, I realized I don’t do half of these things on my blog. Not even close. Basic SEO strategies were being ignored. Advanced strategies as well. Meanwhile, this place is collecting dust, and my tumblr has surpassed my main blog in traffic. That’s when my wheels started turning.

One thing I’ve struggled with this blog is the idea of turning it into my “business” blog where all I do is write about tech. I love tech. I love being a nerd. But that’s not all I am. I like to travel. I like writing. I like media and entertainment. I love documenting and sharing. The idea of turning a site named after me into a blog solely about tech and social media feels like a disservice to who I am. Everyone else does it, but I can’t. It’s not me. I considered opening a new blog, and writing only about tech over there. I thought this was a good idea because then I could be a “founder” of a dotcom, since I see people being listed as founders of dotcoms. But these dotcoms are typically basic blogs (dusty ones, if you ask me). Anyway, I decided against that. I don’t want to segment myself and my audience. The title isn’t worth it, and I think this approach is somewhat obnoxious (for me).

I found a solution. Write about everything I love, and be my authentic self. Here. I’ll have a business site for business/portfolio purposes I can refer people to if I have to. But everything can coexist here, with some fancy organizing. I’ll make re-organizing my content a priority over design tasks, and I’ll work towards pumping out content regularly here. After all, being and writing as my authentic self is what brought me my original clients years ago when I had no idea what being a new media consultant was or would entail.

Hope you can keep up.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Wu Young March 28, 2011 at 11:06 AM

“I found a solution. Write about everything I love, and be my authentic self.”

Those are damn good words to live by Liz.

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Liz Burr March 28, 2011 at 11:14 AM
Allan Cole March 29, 2011 at 11:46 AM

LOVING the new design, Liz!

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Liz Burr March 29, 2011 at 12:14 PM

Aww, thanks Allan that means a lot coming from you :)

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Marc A. March 30, 2011 at 8:01 AM

I’m enjoying the new design of the blog…and I love Love LOVE the profile photo!

Be Liz, Liz B, and everything else will fall into place… :)

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Liz Burr March 30, 2011 at 11:03 AM

Thanks!

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Sherisa (L'elephant Rose) June 3, 2011 at 9:36 AM

You sound exactly like me. I just came to full terms earlier this morning that I don’t want a business blog AND personal blog, but that what I have to say in my daily life all leads up to my output in some fashion and I should embrace that.

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Miss Jenkins August 10, 2011 at 8:50 AM

Super late on this post, but I feel your struggle. A lot. I think I know what I want my blog to be, but it’s the branding beyond that point that I find myself struggling with. Almost like “Me? I deserve a brand?” Not sure what that really means. Hopefully I can figure this thing out.

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