The first thing I teach my new blogging students is “Blogger Branding.”
Most new bloggers are taught a process that looks something like this.
Choose a niche you want to blog in because it is meets one of these two criteria:
It is (1) profitable, or (2) it is a personal passion of yours.
Sell things on your blog that are related to your niche topic.
This is basically sound advice, but not something you can rush into.
Things are not always what they seem at the outset.
Blogging For Profit
Too often, I end up coaching someone who has been blogging for 6 months about something they have little interest in, only because they thought they could make money from it.
The assumption is that the money will come fast and furious and only requires a minimum of effort.
Why would anybody think this?
Because that’s what a lot of the guru bloggers teach them.
If you’ve been blogging a while, like I have, you know the truth.
Blogging is a dedication.
It takes work, time and a bit of money, though not much, really.
If you’re not prepared to work hard over a sustained period of time, or you think everything you need will be absolutely free, you’re going to get fed up.
Sure, you want to make money with your blog, but not if you have to do all that!
Blogging For Passion
The other common advice is to blog because you’re passionate about something.
The idea, here, is that if you’re really loving what you’re writing about, you’ll work harder and longer than you would on something you have no interest in.
I totally agree with this.
When things get tough, you have to work late one night, or your links get corrupted, or someone hacks into your site…
You’ll get past those things if you’re really loving what you’re doing.
If you don’t, the slightest obstacle in the road will probably have you doing an instant U-turn.
That said, you can get pretty silly about this, too.
I had a client who built a really nice blog about knitting hats.
She did video trainings on her blog and wrote feverishly about all the minutia involved in the craft.
She had a robust following, lots of comments and folks that liked her on Facebook and loved her on Instagram.
After working this angle really hard for about 2 years, she asked me why she wasn’t making money with her eBooks and paid training courses.
I didn’t even have to look at her blog.
I knew the answer to that immediately.
There’s just not a real big market for her products.
No matter how passionate she was about it (and she was), it didn’t change the reality of the marketplace.
I find that “blogger branding” is usually the most important aspect of blogging.
Unfortunately, it’s not something that new bloggers are properly taught.
All the focus is on what to sell, how to sell, positioning in the marketplace, getting seen in a crowd and all
The most critical thing for new bloggers to wrap their minds around is the personal brand that they’re developing.
This is not the same as choosing a niche.
For instance, you could be blogging in the dog training niche without ever working on developing your personal brand as an authority on the topic.
Just giving people information about dog training, or selling them affiliate products to help them train their dog is not blogger branding.
Blogger branding is when you focus on who you are, and bring a crowd of people into your fold who want to follow you first, because they like your style, your slant and your swag.
I think of it this way.
You watch the weather and hear it will rain tomorrow.
Is that interesting?
Are you enamored to the weather forecaster giving you that report?
Do you want to know more about him/her and read their bio and get on their YouTube channel?
Because most weather forecasters just tell you the weather.
They give you the information you want, but they don’t work to build their own personal brand.
When they do, they cross an invisible line from being the bearer of information, to becoming somebody people will follow into a dark tunnel with a train rolling in from the other end.
The Washington Post recently published an article titled “Celebrating Jim Cantore’s 30 years at the Weather Channel.”
He’s a weather man.
Who cares about some run of the mill weather man?
That hits at the heart of what blogger branding is all about.
The author of the article gives you some glimpse into the answer when it calls Jim Cantore “arguably the most talented and passionate weather broadcaster alive.”
It was in an article celebrating his 30 years of meteorological forecasting.
Sounds kind of boring, doesn’t it?
Yet, the article goes on that Cantore “has inspired an untold number of young weather enthusiasts… to become meteorologists.”
That’s because he didn’t just tell his audience if rain or shine loomed for the day.
He connected with them in a personal way as he developed his unique personal brand.
This is what blogger branding is all about.
Forget the niche, forget the profit, forget the cause.
Blog as a passionate person who wants to engage an audience longing for personal engagement in an age of metric, digital likes and social media “friends” they don’t even know.
What do you think?
Are you just starting to blog?
Have you been blogging for a while?
Do you think you might like to do some blogger branding for yourself?
I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.
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