Before You Brand, Write

From left and right you are hearing that you need a brand. And not only that you need a brand but that you need a killer brand if people are ever going to come to your site.

Before you brand write

But there is an important part that is missing here for those of us that are writers who blog. It’s bigger than creating a logo. It’s bigger than selecting a few brand colors and throwing some product up on a site. The product in this instance, takes a little more time to develop.

You want to write and you want people to read your writing and I get that. But so many times I have one-on-one sessions with writers that are essentially lost about what they actually want to write. They have just been writing with no direction and all of a sudden they want to connect with an audience. Well, if you don’t know what you write about, neither does your audience.

In my own experience, I couldn’t hone in on my “brand” until I had actually been writing for some time. What were the themes? But see I had to put in the work first to even be able to go back through and see “oh, these are the things I seem to talk about all the time.” Once I got a grasp on that, I was able to clarify my online presence and say that here at WriteLaughDream you will learn to dream bigger, love harder and write like your life depends on it. It didn’t start out that way.

I wrote about whatever I felt like writing about on any given day in the beginning. But as I noticed the themes, I was able to weed out the things that didn’t necessarily fit into the narrative I was trying to build with WriteLaughDream. And it doesn’t mean I still don’t get to write those things. Sometimes I just find other outlets for them whether it is pitching them to another site or simply writing them in my journal. I’m going to let you in on a secret. Everything you write may not be that great. Everything you write is not necessarily blog-worthy. And I’m learning not to sacrifice my writing for a posting schedule by just throwing up anything to say I posted today.

Click to Tweet /// I'm learning not to sacrifice my writing for a posting schedule by just throwing up anything to say I posted toady. 

Look, as personal bloggers, I get it. You may be thinking, well, personal bloggers get to share all their random stories, but I bet you if you really paid attention other personal bloggers’ posts are not that random. And whether they realize it or not, they are writing about the same types of things. Things that draw in an audience interested in those themes. Sometimes we get real ornery as personal bloggers but guess what? Our work still takes strategy as well.

Related: Top 5 Mistakes We Make as Personal Bloggers

Take someone like GG Renee who is completely one of my faves. Her blog is allthemanylayers.com. She is a personal blogger that writes tons of personal essays and does features, but her blog still has a very concise theme. Creative self-discovery, shameless self-expression, natural beauty and authentic living. Guess what? No matter how many different angles she approaches her posts from, they all kind of fall into these themes. There is still some type of direction. Even if she got up and posted what she ate for breakfast that day, I promise it would feel like her.

And I’m sure it didn’t start out that way for her. She has built a following based on folks knowing what they are going to get from her. Is she up and going to write a gossip post? Probably not. Not to put her in a box, lol, but I’m just saying, I highly doubt it, is all. When you write what you know, authentically, that I think is where you will find your point of connection. Not grasping for what seems popular or what has garnered another person success.

I also think about another popular blog, Very Smart Brothas. When I first started reading their blog their platform was SIMPLE! But it was the writing and the engagement that they got that made their blog a top contender. They re-branded only about 2 years ago to the site they’re on now which is all fancy with headers and such. Sometimes we just start out focused on the wrong things.

If you are thinking that you want to start a blog, read some of your writing. What are the themes? What are you talking about the most? What are you always complaining about in your journal? Ha! That is where you start when it comes to building a brand. Because contrary to popular belief, a brand is really just the presentation of your story. It’s not this fancy thing. You should not approach your blog asking what can I write that will appeal to an audience. You should approach your blog saying, this is what I write, and where are the people that want to read this? You see the difference there? I always say that a brand is not something that you manufacture as a personal blogger, it’s something that you amplify because it’s already there.

Click to Tweet /// A brand is not something that you manufacture, it’s something that you amplify.

Tune out the noise. Especially as writers, it’s easy to get caught up in other people’s brands that have very little to do with writing and everything to do with fashion, style, brand partnerships, branding, etc. Take what information you need from those people, but learn how that applies to you as a writer, because they are VERY different things.

You want to write? Write. That’s the thing. You do not need permission to write. The work comes in how to package that writing and deliver it to the world in a way that is authentic. The branding part of things WILL come. And it IS important. I’m big on things being attractive so people will actually read it. But all I am saying is that you cannot skip the important step of writing.

You can have the most beautiful site and fonts and logo, but I promise you, the success you are looking for is in the writing.


In June, GG Renee and I hosted a 3-hour workshop that covered Storytelling, Style and Strategy for writers that blog. The recording as well as workbook and free resources are now available through Teachable. Click the photo below for details.


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