Crafting Your Brand Story
When I first started my blog in 2011, it was out of a simple desire to write and share the life lessons I was learning at age 19. I picked a little theme on Blogger and began to share my wordy posts with the world. Both my blog and I have evolved quite a bit throughout the last 6 years, and in early 2017, I decided to make my blog a valuable piece of my career by investing in a photographer, monetizing my content, and honing in on my voice.
It was in the midst of this "honing my voice" step that I had a bit of a setback. What kind of blogger am I? I don't know if you've paid attention, but bloggers are supposed to be able to fit in a category. There are fashion bloggers, food bloggers, travel bloggers, and the ever-elusive "lifestyle blogger" for those of us who dare to edge our way outside of the box. It feels pretentious to call yourself an "influencer" without a real claim to fame or hefty following. Sadly, that's the only category that's currently given the freedom to post both professional pictures and iPhone photos without being deemed amateur. Filtered life and unfiltered life. Instagram and reality.
But here's the thing - I'm not trying to build a niche. I'm trying to craft my brand story. I'm trying to market myself and my influence to my corner of the world. If you want to grow quickly, just pick a category, and get comfortable. Share the same content, over and over again, in different photos and posts. In her interview with Julie Solomon on the Influencer Podcast, Sophie Jaffe talked about this concept and how she was unwilling to compromise her beliefs and her real life in order to establish a greater level of success in the digital world. She said,
Your level of influence is based on your level of authenticity.
I believe that your brand should be clean and well-designed and full of quality content. I will never propagate building a brand that is sloppy or unprofessional for the sake of authenticity. However, I believe that it is possible to build a multifaceted brand when the base layer is built on authenticity and honesty.
I own a Pure Barre studio, but I will never be a fitness account that shows you pictures of my abs and nothing else. I am studying functional medicine nutrition, but I love a good bowl of ice cream. Sometimes, I really just want to share a selfie with one of my closest friends at her wedding, but other days, I'll show you a beautifully styled photo captured by my photographer.
Crafting your brand story is about giving your audience a consistent voice amidst a wide array of experience and topics.
After all, aren't we all looking for a little bit more consistency and realness in the world of social media? I'll let you in on a secret - niches are great, but they don't tug on your heart strings. You can only see so many cute pairs of booties or delicious meals on your feed before you check out because you know nothing about the person behind the blog. That's never been my heart for this site, and truthfully, the best influencers are the ones that have shared a little bit extra with their readers. That way, you get a double dose of content and the heart behind it. That's how you build a relationship, both on and offline.