(www.inkthinkerblog.com) — If you’ve been an Inkthinker reader for any length of time, you know I’m all about the strong online presence as a key component of your personal and professional brand. But what happens when you spread yourself too thin online? And what can you do about it?
I found myself in this very same dilemma recently. Well, let’s back up a minute. I’ve had this dilemma for a while, but I didn’t realize it until recently. My writer pal Anne Wayman invited me to participate in Problogger’s 31 Days to Build a Better Blog project in April, and I quickly realized that I just did not have the time to keep up with it. But before that hit me, I tried to complete the first couple of exercises first, and Day 1 was my revelation moment.
My response: Panic.
See, here’s the thing. At some point in my blogging career, I went from blogging with a purpose to blogging to blog, and blogs with no purpose don’t really lend themselves to elevator pitches. So I decided to table the elevator pitch until after SOBCon09 in the hope that I’d reach some new level of clarity afterward like I did last year. (Read: I fell into glorious, glorious denial.) And I did, but it wasn’t the moment I was expecting.
At SOBCon, I decided that I’d take the four weeks after my return from Chicago to write a one-page business plan a week, one for each of my four active blogs (Inkthinker, Sass Pants, Meow/Bark/Blog, and Richmond on the Cheap). The plans would include the following components:
- Purpose and “elevator pitch”
- Content strategy (type, frequency, style, etc)
- Monetization strategy
I did okay with Inkthinker and Richmond on the Cheap (which, for the record, you haven’t really heard about because it hasn’t formally launched yet but in brief it’s about finding free and cheap stuff in Richmond, VA, which has nothing to do with me at all and is irrelevant to this discussion). But for Sass Pants and MBB, forget it. I didn’t really have a purpose, and I think it showed in my content.
When I stepped back from my blogs and thought about what I was doing, it became clear that Sass Pants and MBB weren’t really supporting any of my goals (except, you know, stroking my ego, which is more of a side effect than a goal). What I really wanted them to do was to give me a place to have a strong personal voice and brand. I wanted blog properties where I could be snarky and funny and just talk about life and relationships and my pets (without taking Inkthinker totally off track), and maybe make a few bucks here and there on advertising . Instead, I overanalyzed, overcategorized, and basically just overbooked myself into not wanting to deal with any of them. No fun, I tell you.
But I don’t want this post to be all about what I did wrong. I want it to be about how I’m turning it around.
When I stepped back and asked myself what I was trying to accomplish with these blogs, I realized that fragmenting myself was decidedly not the way to develop a strong personal brand. Sounds obvious when you see it in black and white, doesn’t it? Yeah. That was more of a moment of DUH than a moment of clarity.
Anyway, here’s my solution: I combined MBB and Sass Pants into a single blog at KristenKing.com (brilliant concept for personal branding, no?), posted updates for my feed subscribers, and redirected both pages to the Kristen King URL. Easy-peasy. Inkthinker’s still about my take on writing and business, and KristenKing.com is about, well, me. See the connection? I was so busy trying to blog to blog that I forgot to blog for me.
This has been a bit of a circuitous way of saying that I was trying to be too many things to too many audiences and lost track of what I really wanted in terms of blogging and branding. My pal Jen Knoedl (aka Jen Chicago) put it perfectly at SOBCon09:
It’s better to blog for yourself and have no audience than to blog for your audience and have no self.
The awesome thing I’ve realized through this process is that you can have an audience and a self — but the self has to come first, and strong loyalty to yourself makes for a strong brand and an even stronger audience.
What do you think?
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