Advice from the author of The Million Dollar Blog

Do you have a friend who has always dreamed of being a blogger? Or perhaps it is something you have always wanted to try but have no idea where to start?

Getting started can feel really scary – especially as there are so many other blogs already out there. But it doesn’t have to be! In this extract from The Million Dollar Blog, Natasha Courtney-Smith explains why discovering your personal brand will really help you stand out and take the first step in your blogging career.

The new year is the perfect time to start making your dreams come true. So stop delaying that blog and take the first step whilst you are on your Christmas break.

the million dollar blog

It’s a busy and noisy world . . . . and you’re about to become just one blogger in a sea of millions. Not just that – we all live in a culture defined by limited time and focus, in which we are constantly distracted by endless messages coming from all our social media feeds, our emails and all our messaging apps.

 

How are you going to stand out? How will you compete for and earn attention?

If it wasn’t for your personal brand, you probably wouldn’t. Your brand is part of what sets you apart and gives you your own edge, your own story, your own message and your own distinctiveness. To some degree, we’re talking about niching right down on who you are, rather than your topic and audience.

Brands influence almost every part of our lives – leisure, health, lifestyle, business, investments – and create loyalty, emotional buy-in and especially the desire for more of the same. In the world of personal branding, the same thing can be achieved. The bloggers with great personal brands have fans waiting for their video uploads and buying every product they endorse.

It’s what makes you memorable, striking and defined. It’s all the little things about you that give others the feeling that you are one-of-a-kind. It’s what makes your audience connect with you and become loyal to you.

So your personal brand is what will really set your blog (or business blog) apart and that is why having a clear idea is so important. Your personal brand is what will make you be seen as highly visible, credible and valuable and what will bring you more money, opportunity, fun and success.

 

So what is branding?

In the world of business, a brand is anything that you identify to distinguish one product from another – a symbol, a colour scheme, reputation, employees, etc. Marketing uses it to differentiate a product and give it a perceived competitive edge. But a business brand also tells a story and includes the good – the experience your customers have and your amazing products – and the bad – the PR disasters a company suffers. Brand is inseparably linked to loyalty, and brand is something that has to be managed as well as created.

 

And what is personal branding?

We already each have a personal brand even if we don’t always realise it. Think of the way you choose to dress and the interests you choose to share on social media. But your personal brand creeps into the tougher parts of life too. Just as with business, we need to be mindful of our own branding when we’re interviewing for a job, climbing up the corporate ladder or looking for freelance work online – and it’s especially true when you are a blogger and looking to stand out online.

Branding is very powerful. Just as we can learn to like, trust and understand big brands such as Apple and Nike, so we can develop similar emotions, feelings and understanding about people. Those with great personal brands are influencers, almost casting a spell over their devoted audience. We buy their products, listen to their wisdom and follow their advice. So, as a blogger, your personal branding is essentially what you are known for and why people seek you out.

 

Your personal brand mission statement

Fill out the below to figure out your personal brand mission statement which will help you pinpoint what your personal brand could be.

I am a:

(lawyer, hairdresser, dog walker, etc. – how you see yourself professionally or your blogging niche, i.e. beauty blogger, lifestyle blogger)

Who:

(describe your unique talents and viewpoints and how you use them)

For:

(describe who your target audience are)

So they can:

(describe the desired experience or results you want to give to your audience)

You’ll end up with one or two sentences defining you, what you’re good at, who you’re serving and the unique experience you are giving your audience.

You don’t necessarily need to publish this anywhere – it’s just for your own reference, a personal brand statement that is distinctive to you and you alone. If you think of the strapline or catchphrase that famous household products have, then this is your own personal equivalent.

 

Blogging can feel like a tough thing to start doing but you simply just need to begin and write as often as you can. Before you know it you’ll be in a routine and have forgotten what it was like not to have a blog.

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