Branding Myself Without Losing Myself

Personal Branding
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.

Vote for my SXSW Panel! Please. Maybe? YES! NOW!!

Here’s my obligatory SXSW Panel picker post, so listen up.

My BFF Panama Jackson and I have submitted a proposal to host a panel at SXSW this year. But in order to make it to the finals, we need YOU to vote for our panel.

What’s our panel about? Glad you asked!

Hater Blocking 101: Your Blog, Your Rules

Do you author a blog that has engaged in its fair share of controversy resulting in a lot of negative attention and hateration? If so, you’re not alone. “Hate” is a good problem to have. How you deal with the hate can determine if you sink or swim. Join us for a panel discussion on hateration, how to make the most of it and make it work for you with guests who are no stranger to controversy.

On the low we plan to talk about the following:

  • The drama that goes on behind the scenes at VerySmartBrothas.com (yeah you ain’t know about all of that, now did you?)
  • A smorgasboard of ways you can go about handling drama on your blog
  • Why you should and shouldn’t care about haters
  • Why Liz had to call the FBI on one of our haters (and how to track, document, and report illegal behavior coming from a hater)
  • And more!

Once we get picked (if we get picked!), we will invite others to join our panel and talk about their experience online.

Sooo. Go vote for us! Please! Voting ends 11:59 CDT on Friday, August 27.

HOW TO VOTE IN 5 STEPS OR LESS:

  1. Register using this link:  SXSW Panel Picker Sign up
  2. After registering you will get a confirmation e-mail. Click the link in the email.
  3. Go to our Panel page: Hater Blocking 101http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/view/5815
  4. Click the thumbs up picture right under the title at the top of the page
  5. Take a victory lap on behalf of me, Panama, and VerySmartBrothas.com

Thanks for voting and for reading 🙂

Quick trip to LA, Black Weblog Awards, and #BlogHer10

I really need to slow my life down a bit. I am back to feeling perpetually 72 hours behind on my life. Sigh.

The rundown, in bullet point formation:

  • Went to LA last week for a wedding. This was by far the most expensive plane ticket I have ever paid for. Annoyed. But, I spent time catching up with my friends while in LA and I must say it was one of my more happier weeks as of late.
  • I also got to go to the GRAMMY Block Party at the Recording Academy in LA. It was cool. I had a Media Pass and brought one of my new favorite people, Josh, with me. I got there kinda late so I missed Chuck Wicks performing (he’s superfine, and I did see him mingling about backstage), but I did get to see Raphael Saadiq perform AND I got to interview him backstage. He was very friendly and had the nicest teeth ever!
  • One of my projects, VerySmartBrothas.com, has been nominated as a finalist for 4 Black Weblog Awards this year. Pretty awesome and surprising, I think? We were nominated for 4 awards last year too, but it’s always nice to get recognized. Go vote for us.
  • I’m at BlogHer this weekend! I don’t know if I should be excited or not. I went to pick up my registration stuff today and everything in our swag bag seems to be geared towards moms. I mean what am I supposed to do with a Jimmy Dean alarm clock? And a Play-Doh set? Umm, yeah. I think part of the reason why I never attended BlogHer in the past was because it always felt overrun with mommybloggers. NTTAWWT. I’m just not a mommyblogger so it seems like it would be of less value to me. I am a female blogger though, which is why I am giving it a chance.

Some great stuff has been happening in life lately. I just need to like….be rested so I can enjoy and participate.

Helping You Get to BlogHer '10 and Blogging While Brown

Just a quick note to brag tell you about some blogging conferences I am excited to be attending, and a little bit of help on how you can attend, if interested.

Blogging While Brown

First, there’s Blogging While Brown, a conference for bloggers of color. I’ve never been to this conference before, but decided to give it a try this year. Plus, I sweet talked Panama into going with me, since it’s in DC this June.  Registraton is currently $150.00 (it will probably go up soon, I just don’t know how soon) but I found a 10% discount code on Mashable’s event listing. Give it a try: BWBMASH2010. Don’t say I never did anything for you!

BlogHer ’10

Second, there’s BlogHer ’10 taking place here in NYC this August 6-7. I  remember the dark ages of the Internets before BlogHer  first started, and we were asking “where are all the female bloggers?” BlogHer has since blossomed into this large network with a full blown conference.  While I have wanted to go for quite some time, I never made it to a conference because I was a broke grad school student who couldn’t afford the trip. This year, the conference is in NYC, on my turf, so there’s almost no excuse for me NOT to go.

Actually, there is a teeny excuse. The conference is sold out. But don’t fret, there is a ticket swap thread on BlogHer.com that you can query and/or stalk those who have tickets to sell. I know, you’re probably thinking it’s not worth trying in a big public forum, but try it out. I found the thread weeks ago but I kept forgetting to check it for new posts. Last Friday I added the RSS feed of the comments thread to my  feed reader (and put the feed at the top of my list so I could easily see when it had new items) and by Sunday afternoon (after about 3 failed attempts) I had myself a ticket! It was transferred over to me by the wonderful folks at BlogHer by Monday and now I am all set! So, give it a try. I have noticed a lot of early bird ticket holders are having to cancel, so you might even snag yourself a good rate.

Anyway that’s my helpful blogging conference tips for today! Good luck!