Blogging for Personal Branding
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Blogging for Personal Branding

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10 Steps to Building Your Personal Brand via blogging, using nationally-recognized fashion blog Omiru: Style for All (www.omiru.com) as a case study. Omiru has been featured by the Wall Street ...

10 Steps to Building Your Personal Brand via blogging, using nationally-recognized fashion blog Omiru: Style for All (www.omiru.com) as a case study. Omiru has been featured by the Wall Street Journal, Lucky Magazine, and Real Simple Magazine.

These slides are for Web 2.0 Expo, for a workshop on Blogging and Social Media Marketing.

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Blogging for Personal Branding Blogging for Personal Branding Presentation Transcript

  • Blog Your Brand Trisha Okubo Disruptive Innovator, eBay [email_address] 10 Steps to Building Your Brand by Blogging
  • Hi, I’m Trisha Okubo . By day, I’m a Disruptive Innovator at eBay, where my work focuses on social commerce . (If anyone wants to chat about social networking and eCommerce, let’s dish after this session!)
  • By night, I’m the founder and editor of a Top 3 Fashion Blog: Omiru: Style for All
  • I started Omiru in March of 2005, armed with: a desire to learn, a passion for fashion, and persistence.
  • And since Omiru’s founding,
  • We’ve written well over a thousand posts, What to Wear for Girls Night Out at the Club How to Wear Fishnet Stockings without Looking Trashy How to Fit Jeans into Knee-High Boots How to Fly in Style How to Wear a Short Sleeved Blazer Professional Style 101 5 Questions with Constance White, eBay Style Director Street Style: Boston Ready Made Outfit: Trenchcoats for Every Occasion Men's Trend Alert: Summer Plaids Fashion over Fifty: Five Style Tips What to Wear to a Casual No-Tie Wedding Q&A: What’s the Ideal Shirt Length for a Man? Q&A: What to Wear to the Company Holiday Party How to Stop Static From Ruining Your Outfit …
  • Helped hundreds of readers who write in with style questions, “ What should I wear and where can I find clothes for a summer, European Honeymoon?”
      • and built a loyal community of readers
      • who trade fashion tips.
    “ I just found out I’m pregnant, and I’m excited about buying clothes to fit my growing belly. Can you give me some inspiration?” - Vickie “ Target has a fabulous line of clothing from designer Liz Lange. In fact, I’m jealous - I wish they made some of her designs for us non-pregnant women!” - Kate
  • I’ve done style expert videos for Yahoo! Health/Capessa and SheZoom, Talking about things like…
  • Fashion for Figure Flattery (Great for Petites!)
  • How to Accessorize
  • What to Wear to Work
  • Through Omiru, I’ve also been recognized by mainstream media.
  •  
  •  
  • (who gave us our Top 3 Fashion Blog distinction)
  • We’ve also done radio segments for a prominent radio station in Richmond, VA. Random!
      • Now, three years after founding Omiru,
      • I’m a sought-after style expert, specializing in
      • real style for real people .
      • Today, using Omiru as a case study,
      • I’m going to share with you:
      • 10 Steps to Building
      • Your Brand through Blogging
  • I’m going to share the story of Omiru: from picking a topic, to creating and enhancing content, to relationship building and distribution, and finally to fostering community .
  • But first, I’d like to address the somewhat negative connotation surrounding personal branding (aka self promotion).
  • Self promotion gets a bad reputation because it’s often practiced at the expense of others.
  • We call someone “self promotional” when their message helps them— but doesn’t help others.
  • But self promotion doesn’t have to be bad.
  • In fact, it can be used for Good.
  • And you can use self promotion for Good when you provide value to your audience.
  • So let’s do just that. Provide value and spread the word. How do you do this?
  • No. 1 Pick a Topic that’s Uniquely You
  • Back in the day, Microsoft asked: Where do you want to go today?
  • If you’re blogging to build your reputation, the first step is to focus in on an area of expertise.
  • Think about where you’ve been in life. (aka your experience) Now { Experience }
  • Think about where you want to go in life. (aka your future) Now { Future }
  • Think about your passion.
  • For me, it made sense to focus on fashion.
  • I’ve always harbored a love of style,
  • I went to fashion school in the evenings during college,
  • And I’ve done a lot of fashion consulting. (so if you want some style tips, find me after the session)
  • But fashion as a topic was way too broad.
  • How broad— or how narrow to go?
  • This is the Goldilocks Question.
  • You don’t want a topic that’s too broad… (e.g. technology companies)
  • Or too narrow… (e.g. technology companies in Mountain View that heart dogs at work)
  • You want a topic that’s Just Right . (e.g. technology companies that are likely to ride out the bust)
  • If you’re building reputation, the ideal topic is broad enough to be interesting
  • But also focused enough so that you’re the Best at Something .
  • Maybe it’s being the keeper of the Cutest Pet Photos Online.
  • Maybe it’s being the most distinguished chocolate connoisseur.
  • Maybe it’s being the sharpest LOST commentator.
  • Whatever your topic is, you should aim to…
  • No. 2 Stand for Something Real
  • A blog is easy to start, but it’s hard to maintain.
  • Somewhere between 60 and 80 percent of blogs are abandoned within one month .
  • Why is blogging so hard?
  • In between all of your other commitments,
  • Job
  • Family
  • Friends
  • … and Life
  • You’re going to have to find the time and energy to maintain the blog.
  • Plus, you’re going to have to find new stuff to write about every day.
  • Long story short— If you don’t love it, don’t blog about it.
  • { Sidebar }
  • Where possible and where appropriate, create a new category .
  • But isn’t it hard to create a new category?
  • Sure it is.
  • If it weren’t hard, everyone would be doing it.
  • (But on the flip side, it’s easier to stand out if you’re in a category of one.) 1
  • Tim Ferriss did this brilliantly.
  • He wasn’t quite in the career category…
  • Or in the work-life category.
  • So he created a whole new category: Lifestyle Design .
  • Not only was this a more accurate description, But it also made him a creator
  • Instead of an imitator.
  • But back to the main point of standing for something real .
  • There are tons of blogs out there, with tons of voices .
  • So do your research to explore the other blogs in your space.
  • And then focus your topic so that you’re the: best (or the only) blog in your area .
  • At this point, you should be able to distill your blog topic into a single short sentence.
  • An elevator pitch, if you will.
  • As for Omiru, I needed to narrow down the fashion topic.
  • At the time, I was a recent college grad, and I didn’t have a whole lot of cash. $
  • And regardless, I didn’t want to spend my entire paycheck on fashion.
  • My other fashion challenge?
  • I’m short! (I really wanted to be 5’9”)
  • And to add insult to injury, I have no waist.
  • But my financial situation and my figure flattery issues gave me my blog topic.
  • Real Style for Real People Great fashion for everybody, regardless of financial situation, or personal architecture.
  • Once you have your topic, it’s time to start writing great content.
  • How do you do this?
  • No. 3 Be Newsworthy
  • I currently work at in ecommerce, but my background is in media.
  • Traditional media has its challenges ahead,
  • But it knows something really important.
  • They know what will get your attention and what won’t make you turn your head.
  • In other words, what’s newsworthy and what’s not.
  • What makes something newsworthy?
  • #1: Timing
  • People don’t want old news. They want new news! (probably why its called “news”)
  • They want the latest update in a story, a meme that’s particularly on-trend.
  • Rogan Gregory for Target (May 18)
  • #2: Significance
  • How many people does the story affect?
  • Tons of people?
  • Or just a few?
  • (there’s no shortage of guys who need to dress to go out) Fashion for short ppl SS
  • #3: Proximity
  • The closer people are to a story, the more interesting it is.
  • San Francisco Fashion >> Boston Fashion
  • But it’s not all about geography.
  • It’s about how much you can relate to the story.
  • For me, petite fashion is more interesting than regular fashion.
  • #4: Prominence
  • When possible, and where appropriate, write about well known personalities.
  • It’s more interesting for readers to hear about the fashion from
  •  
  •  
  • Than it is to hear about what I wore to work yesterday.
  • #5: Human Interest
  • Here, the key is to appeal to emotion .
  • Think of things that are off the beaten path, personal stories , and profiles.
  • Omiru Example: We published photos of a reader’s casual wedding (v. trendy now).
  • Timing, Significance, Proximity, Prominence, and Human Interest are the standard criteria for newsworthiness.
  • But since you guys are so awesome, you get an extra one.
  • (#6:) News You Can Use
  • This is where most of Omiru’s stories fall.
  • We share How to Mix and Match Patterns, +
  • What to Wear to an Engagement Pool Party,
  • Everyday Casual Chic for Men
  • But there are tons of other newsworthy media sources out there, both mainstream media and blogs.
  • Newsworthiness is part of the price of entrance to building a personal brand via blogging.
  • It’s necessary, but not sufficient.
  • You need to be more than newsworthy. You need to…
  • No. 4 Be Awesome!
  • But how do you be Awesome?
  • After all, we can’t all be Barney. Photo Credit: CBS
  • Ask yourself: What Would Aretha Do? (WWAD)
  • Give your audience R-E-S-P-E-C-T!
  • Respect their intelligence by discussing what’s important to them.
  • Respect their time by being concise.
  • Respect their views by engaging them in dialogue.
  • Respect them by going above and beyond the call of duty.
  • A few simple ways we try to be Awesome at Omiru:
  • Giveaways
  • Only Relevant Ads
  • Readers Help Drive the Editorial Calendar
  • In order to find the awesome things that work, you’ll also find a lot of things that don’t work…
  • What to do?
  • No. 5 Create a Stoplist
  • It’s no secret that we live in a time starved society.
  • We all have stuff to do.
  • Jobs to go to.
  • Friends and Family to see.
  • No matter how passionate you are, you only have a limited amount of time.
  • So what do you do?
  • Prioritize the stuff you’re doing, and create a stoplist .
  • The stoplist is just what it sounds like. A list of things you stop doing .
  • (Not stuff you’re doing less . It’s stuff that you cut out completely .)
  • Stop doing the things that suck your time away from meaningful, effective things .
  • Easier said than done.
  • But you can do it.
  • Write down all the things you’re doing for your blog on a piece of paper. 1. 2. 3. …
  • ID the things that are actively helping you, +
  • And the things that aren’t. _
  • And then stop doing the things that aren’t helping you. _
  • For Omiru, one of those things was actually Social Bookmarking buttons.
  • Bloggers (and other publishers) often add buttons for social bookmarking sites like:
  • They provide an easy way for readers to bookmark/share your posts— so your content spreads more easily online.
  • I added these buttons to posts, but Omiru readers didn’t use them.
  • This doesn’t mean that social bookmarking doesn’t work.
  • But it depends on your audience.
  • (And if your audience doesn’t like it, don’t force it.)
  • Once you’ve created your stoplist (and stopped doing things that don’t matter), it’s time to look outside your blog to…
  • No. 6 Build Real Relationships
  • As bloggers, we don’t exist in a vacuum.
  • We can be competitive and closed off, or we can choose to be open and friendly.
  • I’d advocate for open and friendly :)
  • If you did your homework and chose a topic that’s focused (and one that you’re uniquely suited to write about)
  • Chances are, you and your fellow bloggers are writing about different enough things.
  • And even if you aren’t, I still think it’s beneficial to be friendly.
  • You have more to gain than you have to lose.
  • Links from Blogrolls and Link Posts
  • Someone to bounce ideas off of.
  • Advice from other bloggers
  • Introductions to people in your field. I’d like to you to meet….
  • Then again, what you get is a function of what you give. f(give) = get
  • So how do you build relationships? (i.e. how do you start giving?)
  • A couple of best practices:
  • Actively participate on other blogs. Especially before asking for a link or any favors. (Oh, and down with form letters.)
  • Do other bloggers favors.
  • If you know another blogger is looking to borrow a set of Pantone swatches, let her borrow your set.
  • Once you’ve built those relationships, you can share opportunities.
  • If there’s a paid gig I don’t have the time for, I’ll refer one of my blog friends.
  • And if I’m doing press interviews, where appropriate, I’ll refer reporters to them.
  • And they do the same.
  • That’s how I got the WSJ interview. Elisa Camahort (BlogHer) referred the reporter to me.
  • But in order to build Real Relationships , you need to do more than email and chat with them online… OMG! I did not just see that...
  • No. 7 Meet People in Person
  • Why is it important to meet people in person?
  • Well, who are you closer to?
  • People you hang out with online…
  • Or people you see in real life.
  • So whenever I get the chance, I meet up with my blogger friends.
  • During New York Fashion Week, we meet up…
  • Have drinks
  • Dish about fashion What do you think about Marc’s Spring line?
  • And blog together as the models come down the runway. (Look, florals are back!)
  • Shared experiences lead to closer relationships.
  • So when it comes time to refer another blogger, who am I going to call?
  • That’s right. The people I hang out with in person.
  • But by meeting people in person, you’re building relationships 1:1, which isn’t so scalable.
  • How do you scale?
  • No. 8 Make it Easy to Spread the Word
  • As a personal branding blogger, you’re always looking to grow your audience.
  • You can do this in two main ways:
  • (1) Spreading the word yourself, or
  • (2) Having your fans help you spread the word.
  • For your fans to help spread the word, you need
  • Something worth sharing, (but you’re already creating awesome, newsworthy content, right?) Awesomeness!
  • And an easy way for fans to share.
  • What are some things that make content easy to share?
  • RSS
  • RSS helps readers get your content wherever is most convenient for them.
  • And while we’re on the subject, there’s a debate between full text and partial text.
  • Full text is more satisfying for the reader,
  • But partial text encourages readers to come back to your site.
  • We chose full text so that readers can get Omiru articles however is most convenient.
  • Why? Our philosophy is that we’re looking to build an audience , not just traffic for Omiru.
  • Email Newsletter
  • Again, we like to empower readers to read Omiru however they like to.
  • Email newsletters still work well, especially among communities that aren’t big on RSS (e.g. fashion).
  • I have to admit— Omiru doesn’t have an email newsletter yet, but it’s the next thing we’re adding.
  • We get requests for email newsletters all the time. It’s the second most requested feature. Hey, I love Omiru! Do you guys have an email newsletter?
  • A couple of Email Newsletter Best Practices:
  • SAMPLE (1) Let people know what they’re signing up for. Show an example newsletter up front.
  • (2) Encourage signups by giving something away free upon signup (e.g. an informational PDF).
  • P.S. Social Bookmarking also falls underneath this category of tools to make content easy to share.
  • It didn’t really work for Omiru’s audience.
  • But the idea of social bookmarking is extremely powerful for the right audience.
  • Speaking of sharing content off of your site, part of a sound blog strategy is to….
  • No. 9 Create Community Wherever You Go
  • Some bloggers are tweaked that community is happening around their content on other sites.
  • But IMHO, that’s an old-school way of thinking.
  • Sure, you don’t want your content stolen.
  • Or reposted without attribution.
  • But if conversation is happening around your attributed content on another site, It’s better than no conversation (or less) happening at all.
  • Think about it this way. Where’s your potential audience?
  • They’re a lot of different places.
  • They’re on your site.
  • But they’re also on similar sites.
  • And related sites.
  • And really, all over the Internet.
  • So, why force them to come to you ?
  • Why not help them out? By going to where they are .
  • How might you do this?
  • (1) Guest write for other sites
  • I do this on BlogHer, where I serve as a Fashion & Shopping Contributing Editor
  • (And in fact, some of Omiru’s writers are guest blogging to create more awareness for their own sites.)
  • (2) Build Your Social Network Presence
  • Create a profile on the appropriate major social networks.
  • On Facebook, you can import your blog posts via Facebook Notes.
  • And while you can’t edit your posts,
  • You can share them easily with friends.
  • And even tag people in your posts. (Don’t spam!)
  • As for your profile page, populate it with extra content that’s not on your site.
  • After all, if there were no goodies there, why would someone come visit your page?
  • It’s even more important for a personal branding blogger to add this extra content.
  • It gives you the opportunity to talk about yourself— and why you’re passionate about your topic.
  • It’s an opportunity to share stories.
  • Like your quest to find the Perfect Pair of Jeans.
  • Or the crazy backstage interview you had at Fashion Week where you witnessed a model meltdown.
  • But traditional social networks aren’t the only places to build your presence.
  • (3) Participate on other Social Sites
  • A couple that I use personally are FriendFeed and Polyvore. (who, incidentally, share a workspace in Mountain View)
  • On FriendFeed, you can automatically import your blog posts to be shared with your friends.
  • And the beauty of it is that conversations can happen around this content.
  • Added bonus? They’re pretty high-quality conversations (at least right now).
  • Plus, you can gain new readers …. not only friends, but friends of friends, and friends of those friends..
  • Polyvore is another cool site that I use to build community around Omiru.
  • It’s a web application that allows you to mashup images from around the web.
  • I use it for creating outfits, mixing and matching clothes from different online stores.
  • It’s great—I get feedback on the outfits I create.
  • And I can dish about fashion with the community, sharing fashion advice and outfit ideas.
  • You might be thinking, these tips are all well and good (common sense, even) but will they work for me right now ?
  • Chances are, yes. But you have to…
  • No. 10 Be Patient
  • Overnight successes are very rare,
  • And overnight success stories are often not overnight at all.
  • I’ve been working on Omiru for three years.
  • And for Omiru, community is still a work in progress.
  • We have a community of regulars who are really passionate about affordable, feel-great fashion.
  • Readers help each other out: they dish about fashion dilemmas, they share style tips, and they talk about their experiences.
  • How did this happen?
  • Shared Passion
  • This goes way back to the beginning: Choosing a blog topic. If you’re passionate about something, it shows.
  • And other people, especially those who share your views, are drawn to it.
  • And passion breeds interaction—and community.
  • My main point about community?
  • Community isn’t something you do. It’s something that happens .
  • There’s no secret recipe for community.
  • And you don’t go out and “ build” a community like you build a product.
  • It just doesn’t work like that.
  • What you can do, though, is to lay the foundations for community to grow.
  • And you lay these foundations by…
  • No. 1 Pick a Topic that’s Uniquely You
  • No. 2 Stand for Something Real
  • No. 3 Be Newsworthy
  • No. 4 Be Awesome!
  • No. 5 Create a Stoplist
  • No. 6 Build Real Relationships
  • No. 7 Meet People in Person
  • No. 8 Make it Easy to Spread the Word
  • No. 9 Create Community Wherever You Go
  • No. 10 Be Patient
  • What now?
  • Do you have something you’re passionate about?
  • Something meaningful?
  • Something worthwhile?
  • (I bet you do!)
  • So go on, start your own blog. Or take your existing blog to the next level.
  • And then, if you care to, tell me about it.
  • Find me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/people/Trisha_Okubo/201756
  • FriendFeed: http://www.friendfeed.com/trisha
  • Polyvore: http://www.polyvore.com/cgi/profile?id=101223
  • Omiru: http://www.omiru.com
  • Questions?
  • I’d love to hear from you: Trisha Okubo Disruptive Innovator, eBay [email_address] / [email_address] Liked this presentation? Find me next at eBay Developers Conference June 16-18 in Chicago www.ebay.com/devcon