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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  • 1. Blog Your Brand Trisha Okubo Disruptive Innovator, eBay [email_address] 10 Steps to Building Your Brand by Blogging
  • 2. 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!)
  • 3. By night, I’m the founder and editor of a Top 3 Fashion Blog: Omiru: Style for All
  • 4. I started Omiru in March of 2005, armed with: a desire to learn, a passion for fashion, and persistence.
  • 5. And since Omiru’s founding,
  • 6. 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 …
  • 7. 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?”
  • 8.
      • 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
  • 9. I’ve done style expert videos for Yahoo! Health/Capessa and SheZoom, Talking about things like…
  • 10. Fashion for Figure Flattery (Great for Petites!)
  • 11. How to Accessorize
  • 12. What to Wear to Work
  • 13. Through Omiru, I’ve also been recognized by mainstream media.
  • 14.  
  • 15.  
  • 16. (who gave us our Top 3 Fashion Blog distinction)
  • 17. We’ve also done radio segments for a prominent radio station in Richmond, VA. Random!
  • 18.
      • Now, three years after founding Omiru,
      • I’m a sought-after style expert, specializing in
      • real style for real people .
  • 19.
      • Today, using Omiru as a case study,
      • I’m going to share with you:
      • 10 Steps to Building
      • Your Brand through Blogging
  • 20. 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 .
  • 21. But first, I’d like to address the somewhat negative connotation surrounding personal branding (aka self promotion).
  • 22. Self promotion gets a bad reputation because it’s often practiced at the expense of others.
  • 23. We call someone “self promotional” when their message helps them— but doesn’t help others.
  • 24. But self promotion doesn’t have to be bad.
  • 25. In fact, it can be used for Good.
  • 26. And you can use self promotion for Good when you provide value to your audience.
  • 27. So let’s do just that. Provide value and spread the word. How do you do this?
  • 28. No. 1 Pick a Topic that’s Uniquely You
  • 29. Back in the day, Microsoft asked: Where do you want to go today?
  • 30. If you’re blogging to build your reputation, the first step is to focus in on an area of expertise.
  • 31. Think about where you’ve been in life. (aka your experience) Now { Experience }
  • 32. Think about where you want to go in life. (aka your future) Now { Future }
  • 33. Think about your passion.
  • 34. For me, it made sense to focus on fashion.
  • 35. I’ve always harbored a love of style,
  • 36. I went to fashion school in the evenings during college,
  • 37. And I’ve done a lot of fashion consulting. (so if you want some style tips, find me after the session)
  • 38. But fashion as a topic was way too broad.
  • 39. How broad— or how narrow to go?
  • 40. This is the Goldilocks Question.
  • 41. You don’t want a topic that’s too broad… (e.g. technology companies)
  • 42. Or too narrow… (e.g. technology companies in Mountain View that heart dogs at work)
  • 43. You want a topic that’s Just Right . (e.g. technology companies that are likely to ride out the bust)
  • 44. If you’re building reputation, the ideal topic is broad enough to be interesting
  • 45. But also focused enough so that you’re the Best at Something .
  • 46. Maybe it’s being the keeper of the Cutest Pet Photos Online.
  • 47. Maybe it’s being the most distinguished chocolate connoisseur.
  • 48. Maybe it’s being the sharpest LOST commentator.
  • 49. Whatever your topic is, you should aim to…
  • 50. No. 2 Stand for Something Real
  • 51. A blog is easy to start, but it’s hard to maintain.
  • 52. Somewhere between 60 and 80 percent of blogs are abandoned within one month .
  • 53. Why is blogging so hard?
  • 54. In between all of your other commitments,
  • 55. Job
  • 56. Family
  • 57. Friends
  • 58. … and Life
  • 59. You’re going to have to find the time and energy to maintain the blog.
  • 60. Plus, you’re going to have to find new stuff to write about every day.
  • 61. Long story short— If you don’t love it, don’t blog about it.
  • 62. { Sidebar }
  • 63. Where possible and where appropriate, create a new category .
  • 64. But isn’t it hard to create a new category?
  • 65. Sure it is.
  • 66. If it weren’t hard, everyone would be doing it.
  • 67. (But on the flip side, it’s easier to stand out if you’re in a category of one.) 1
  • 68. Tim Ferriss did this brilliantly.
  • 69. He wasn’t quite in the career category…
  • 70. Or in the work-life category.
  • 71. So he created a whole new category: Lifestyle Design .
  • 72. Not only was this a more accurate description, But it also made him a creator
  • 73. Instead of an imitator.
  • 74. But back to the main point of standing for something real .
  • 75. There are tons of blogs out there, with tons of voices .
  • 76. So do your research to explore the other blogs in your space.
  • 77. And then focus your topic so that you’re the: best (or the only) blog in your area .
  • 78. At this point, you should be able to distill your blog topic into a single short sentence.
  • 79. An elevator pitch, if you will.
  • 80. As for Omiru, I needed to narrow down the fashion topic.
  • 81. At the time, I was a recent college grad, and I didn’t have a whole lot of cash. $
  • 82. And regardless, I didn’t want to spend my entire paycheck on fashion.
  • 83. My other fashion challenge?
  • 84. I’m short! (I really wanted to be 5’9”)
  • 85. And to add insult to injury, I have no waist.
  • 86. But my financial situation and my figure flattery issues gave me my blog topic.
  • 87. Real Style for Real People Great fashion for everybody, regardless of financial situation, or personal architecture.
  • 88. Once you have your topic, it’s time to start writing great content.
  • 89. How do you do this?
  • 90. No. 3 Be Newsworthy
  • 91. I currently work at in ecommerce, but my background is in media.
  • 92. Traditional media has its challenges ahead,
  • 93. But it knows something really important.
  • 94. They know what will get your attention and what won’t make you turn your head.
  • 95. In other words, what’s newsworthy and what’s not.
  • 96. What makes something newsworthy?
  • 97. #1: Timing
  • 98. People don’t want old news. They want new news! (probably why its called “news”)
  • 99. They want the latest update in a story, a meme that’s particularly on-trend.
  • 100. Rogan Gregory for Target (May 18)
  • 101. #2: Significance
  • 102. How many people does the story affect?
  • 103. Tons of people?
  • 104. Or just a few?
  • 105. (there’s no shortage of guys who need to dress to go out) Fashion for short ppl SS
  • 106. #3: Proximity
  • 107. The closer people are to a story, the more interesting it is.
  • 108. San Francisco Fashion >> Boston Fashion
  • 109. But it’s not all about geography.
  • 110. It’s about how much you can relate to the story.
  • 111. For me, petite fashion is more interesting than regular fashion.
  • 112. #4: Prominence
  • 113. When possible, and where appropriate, write about well known personalities.
  • 114. It’s more interesting for readers to hear about the fashion from
  • 115.  
  • 116.  
  • 117. Than it is to hear about what I wore to work yesterday.
  • 118. #5: Human Interest
  • 119. Here, the key is to appeal to emotion .
  • 120. Think of things that are off the beaten path, personal stories , and profiles.
  • 121. Omiru Example: We published photos of a reader’s casual wedding (v. trendy now).
  • 122. Timing, Significance, Proximity, Prominence, and Human Interest are the standard criteria for newsworthiness.
  • 123. But since you guys are so awesome, you get an extra one.
  • 124. (#6:) News You Can Use
  • 125. This is where most of Omiru’s stories fall.
  • 126. We share How to Mix and Match Patterns, +
  • 127. What to Wear to an Engagement Pool Party,
  • 128. Everyday Casual Chic for Men
  • 129. But there are tons of other newsworthy media sources out there, both mainstream media and blogs.
  • 130. Newsworthiness is part of the price of entrance to building a personal brand via blogging.
  • 131. It’s necessary, but not sufficient.
  • 132. You need to be more than newsworthy. You need to…
  • 133. No. 4 Be Awesome!
  • 134. But how do you be Awesome?
  • 135. After all, we can’t all be Barney. Photo Credit: CBS
  • 136. Ask yourself: What Would Aretha Do? (WWAD)
  • 137. Give your audience R-E-S-P-E-C-T!
  • 138. Respect their intelligence by discussing what’s important to them.
  • 139. Respect their time by being concise.
  • 140. Respect their views by engaging them in dialogue.
  • 141. Respect them by going above and beyond the call of duty.
  • 142. A few simple ways we try to be Awesome at Omiru:
  • 143. Giveaways
  • 144. Only Relevant Ads
  • 145. Readers Help Drive the Editorial Calendar
  • 146. In order to find the awesome things that work, you’ll also find a lot of things that don’t work…
  • 147. What to do?
  • 148. No. 5 Create a Stoplist
  • 149. It’s no secret that we live in a time starved society.
  • 150. We all have stuff to do.
  • 151. Jobs to go to.
  • 152. Friends and Family to see.
  • 153. No matter how passionate you are, you only have a limited amount of time.
  • 154. So what do you do?
  • 155. Prioritize the stuff you’re doing, and create a stoplist .
  • 156. The stoplist is just what it sounds like. A list of things you stop doing .
  • 157. (Not stuff you’re doing less . It’s stuff that you cut out completely .)
  • 158. Stop doing the things that suck your time away from meaningful, effective things .
  • 159. Easier said than done.
  • 160. But you can do it.
  • 161. Write down all the things you’re doing for your blog on a piece of paper. 1. 2. 3. …
  • 162. ID the things that are actively helping you, +
  • 163. And the things that aren’t. _
  • 164. And then stop doing the things that aren’t helping you. _
  • 165. For Omiru, one of those things was actually Social Bookmarking buttons.
  • 166. Bloggers (and other publishers) often add buttons for social bookmarking sites like:
  • 167. They provide an easy way for readers to bookmark/share your posts— so your content spreads more easily online.
  • 168. I added these buttons to posts, but Omiru readers didn’t use them.
  • 169. This doesn’t mean that social bookmarking doesn’t work.
  • 170. But it depends on your audience.
  • 171. (And if your audience doesn’t like it, don’t force it.)
  • 172. Once you’ve created your stoplist (and stopped doing things that don’t matter), it’s time to look outside your blog to…
  • 173. No. 6 Build Real Relationships
  • 174. As bloggers, we don’t exist in a vacuum.
  • 175. We can be competitive and closed off, or we can choose to be open and friendly.
  • 176. I’d advocate for open and friendly :)
  • 177. If you did your homework and chose a topic that’s focused (and one that you’re uniquely suited to write about)
  • 178. Chances are, you and your fellow bloggers are writing about different enough things.
  • 179. And even if you aren’t, I still think it’s beneficial to be friendly.
  • 180. You have more to gain than you have to lose.
  • 181. Links from Blogrolls and Link Posts
  • 182. Someone to bounce ideas off of.
  • 183. Advice from other bloggers
  • 184. Introductions to people in your field. I’d like to you to meet….
  • 185. Then again, what you get is a function of what you give. f(give) = get
  • 186. So how do you build relationships? (i.e. how do you start giving?)
  • 187. A couple of best practices:
  • 188. Actively participate on other blogs. Especially before asking for a link or any favors. (Oh, and down with form letters.)
  • 189. Do other bloggers favors.
  • 190. If you know another blogger is looking to borrow a set of Pantone swatches, let her borrow your set.
  • 191. Once you’ve built those relationships, you can share opportunities.
  • 192. If there’s a paid gig I don’t have the time for, I’ll refer one of my blog friends.
  • 193. And if I’m doing press interviews, where appropriate, I’ll refer reporters to them.
  • 194. And they do the same.
  • 195. That’s how I got the WSJ interview. Elisa Camahort (BlogHer) referred the reporter to me.
  • 196. 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...
  • 197. No. 7 Meet People in Person
  • 198. Why is it important to meet people in person?
  • 199. Well, who are you closer to?
  • 200. People you hang out with online…
  • 201. Or people you see in real life.
  • 202. So whenever I get the chance, I meet up with my blogger friends.
  • 203. During New York Fashion Week, we meet up…
  • 204. Have drinks
  • 205. Dish about fashion What do you think about Marc’s Spring line?
  • 206. And blog together as the models come down the runway. (Look, florals are back!)
  • 207. Shared experiences lead to closer relationships.
  • 208. So when it comes time to refer another blogger, who am I going to call?
  • 209. That’s right. The people I hang out with in person.
  • 210. But by meeting people in person, you’re building relationships 1:1, which isn’t so scalable.
  • 211. How do you scale?
  • 212. No. 8 Make it Easy to Spread the Word
  • 213. As a personal branding blogger, you’re always looking to grow your audience.
  • 214. You can do this in two main ways:
  • 215. (1) Spreading the word yourself, or
  • 216. (2) Having your fans help you spread the word.
  • 217. For your fans to help spread the word, you need
  • 218. Something worth sharing, (but you’re already creating awesome, newsworthy content, right?) Awesomeness!
  • 219. And an easy way for fans to share.
  • 220. What are some things that make content easy to share?
  • 221. RSS
  • 222. RSS helps readers get your content wherever is most convenient for them.
  • 223. And while we’re on the subject, there’s a debate between full text and partial text.
  • 224. Full text is more satisfying for the reader,
  • 225. But partial text encourages readers to come back to your site.
  • 226. We chose full text so that readers can get Omiru articles however is most convenient.
  • 227. Why? Our philosophy is that we’re looking to build an audience , not just traffic for Omiru.
  • 228. Email Newsletter
  • 229. Again, we like to empower readers to read Omiru however they like to.
  • 230. Email newsletters still work well, especially among communities that aren’t big on RSS (e.g. fashion).
  • 231. I have to admit— Omiru doesn’t have an email newsletter yet, but it’s the next thing we’re adding.
  • 232. 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?
  • 233. A couple of Email Newsletter Best Practices:
  • 234. SAMPLE (1) Let people know what they’re signing up for. Show an example newsletter up front.
  • 235. (2) Encourage signups by giving something away free upon signup (e.g. an informational PDF).
  • 236. P.S. Social Bookmarking also falls underneath this category of tools to make content easy to share.
  • 237. It didn’t really work for Omiru’s audience.
  • 238. But the idea of social bookmarking is extremely powerful for the right audience.
  • 239. Speaking of sharing content off of your site, part of a sound blog strategy is to….
  • 240. No. 9 Create Community Wherever You Go
  • 241. Some bloggers are tweaked that community is happening around their content on other sites.
  • 242. But IMHO, that’s an old-school way of thinking.
  • 243. Sure, you don’t want your content stolen.
  • 244. Or reposted without attribution.
  • 245. But if conversation is happening around your attributed content on another site, It’s better than no conversation (or less) happening at all.
  • 246. Think about it this way. Where’s your potential audience?
  • 247. They’re a lot of different places.
  • 248. They’re on your site.
  • 249. But they’re also on similar sites.
  • 250. And related sites.
  • 251. And really, all over the Internet.
  • 252. So, why force them to come to you ?
  • 253. Why not help them out? By going to where they are .
  • 254. How might you do this?
  • 255. (1) Guest write for other sites
  • 256. I do this on BlogHer, where I serve as a Fashion & Shopping Contributing Editor
  • 257. (And in fact, some of Omiru’s writers are guest blogging to create more awareness for their own sites.)
  • 258. (2) Build Your Social Network Presence
  • 259. Create a profile on the appropriate major social networks.
  • 260. On Facebook, you can import your blog posts via Facebook Notes.
  • 261. And while you can’t edit your posts,
  • 262. You can share them easily with friends.
  • 263. And even tag people in your posts. (Don’t spam!)
  • 264. As for your profile page, populate it with extra content that’s not on your site.
  • 265. After all, if there were no goodies there, why would someone come visit your page?
  • 266. It’s even more important for a personal branding blogger to add this extra content.
  • 267. It gives you the opportunity to talk about yourself— and why you’re passionate about your topic.
  • 268. It’s an opportunity to share stories.
  • 269. Like your quest to find the Perfect Pair of Jeans.
  • 270. Or the crazy backstage interview you had at Fashion Week where you witnessed a model meltdown.
  • 271. But traditional social networks aren’t the only places to build your presence.
  • 272. (3) Participate on other Social Sites
  • 273. A couple that I use personally are FriendFeed and Polyvore. (who, incidentally, share a workspace in Mountain View)
  • 274. On FriendFeed, you can automatically import your blog posts to be shared with your friends.
  • 275. And the beauty of it is that conversations can happen around this content.
  • 276. Added bonus? They’re pretty high-quality conversations (at least right now).
  • 277. Plus, you can gain new readers …. not only friends, but friends of friends, and friends of those friends..
  • 278. Polyvore is another cool site that I use to build community around Omiru.
  • 279. It’s a web application that allows you to mashup images from around the web.
  • 280. I use it for creating outfits, mixing and matching clothes from different online stores.
  • 281. It’s great—I get feedback on the outfits I create.
  • 282. And I can dish about fashion with the community, sharing fashion advice and outfit ideas.
  • 283. You might be thinking, these tips are all well and good (common sense, even) but will they work for me right now ?
  • 284. Chances are, yes. But you have to…
  • 285. No. 10 Be Patient
  • 286. Overnight successes are very rare,
  • 287. And overnight success stories are often not overnight at all.
  • 288. I’ve been working on Omiru for three years.
  • 289. And for Omiru, community is still a work in progress.
  • 290. We have a community of regulars who are really passionate about affordable, feel-great fashion.
  • 291. Readers help each other out: they dish about fashion dilemmas, they share style tips, and they talk about their experiences.
  • 292. How did this happen?
  • 293. Shared Passion
  • 294. This goes way back to the beginning: Choosing a blog topic. If you’re passionate about something, it shows.
  • 295. And other people, especially those who share your views, are drawn to it.
  • 296. And passion breeds interaction—and community.
  • 297. My main point about community?
  • 298. Community isn’t something you do. It’s something that happens .
  • 299. There’s no secret recipe for community.
  • 300. And you don’t go out and “ build” a community like you build a product.
  • 301. It just doesn’t work like that.
  • 302. What you can do, though, is to lay the foundations for community to grow.
  • 303. And you lay these foundations by…
  • 304. No. 1 Pick a Topic that’s Uniquely You
  • 305. No. 2 Stand for Something Real
  • 306. No. 3 Be Newsworthy
  • 307. No. 4 Be Awesome!
  • 308. No. 5 Create a Stoplist
  • 309. No. 6 Build Real Relationships
  • 310. No. 7 Meet People in Person
  • 311. No. 8 Make it Easy to Spread the Word
  • 312. No. 9 Create Community Wherever You Go
  • 313. No. 10 Be Patient
  • 314. What now?
  • 315. Do you have something you’re passionate about?
  • 316. Something meaningful?
  • 317. Something worthwhile?
  • 318. (I bet you do!)
  • 319. So go on, start your own blog. Or take your existing blog to the next level.
  • 320. And then, if you care to, tell me about it.
  • 321. Find me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/people/Trisha_Okubo/201756
  • 322. FriendFeed: http://www.friendfeed.com/trisha
  • 323. Polyvore: http://www.polyvore.com/cgi/profile?id=101223
  • 324. Omiru: http://www.omiru.com
  • 325. Questions?
  • 326. 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