In today’s digital world of business, establishing a personal brand for your work is more than recommended. It’s unavoidable. Your tone, art direction, and content start to meld together before you even begin the formal branding process. Building a personal brand and establishing yourself as a thought leader in your industry is a rewarding (and necessary) journey for every entrepreneur. But however successful you become, your personal brand is not the same as your personal journal.
It’s okay to divulge pieces of your personal story. In fact, they’re part of what makes your brand unique! The debate over getting personal is less about what you’re doing and more about why you’re doing it. That’s what can make or break you in the land of the internet. To avoid cringe-worthy blogs and fleeing clients, ask yourself these three questions before drafting that deep, dark post.
1. Do I have a solution for this struggle?
For most freelancers, entrepreneurs, and creative businesses, the struggle is real. We’re all navigating the same internet and trying to be found by the right people. Simply sharing your hard times will certainly bring you empathy, but the attention won’t last and you’ll still be lost in limbo. Don’t just complain about what’s not working for your business.
Instead, keep working toward your goals until you’ve come out on the other side of a challenge. You’ll be able to share insights, details, and pitfalls with your readers. And they’ll love you for it. Not only will you stand out as a helpful guide for others, but you’ll also rack up major points toward becoming an industry leader. Hit publish, brush off your shoulders, and do it again.
2. Am I hurting a business relationship?
It’s tempting to come out of a rough client project and begin to vent. It happens. We’ve all dealt with troublesome employers or clients, but there is one thing that’s a no-brainer: If and when you name drop on your blog, leave the gory details out of the story.
There’s rarely a need to even mention names. And even if you keep it anonymous, keep it professional. Your blog is both a training ground for readers and a personal portfolio for future clients. They want to see how they will be treated and negativity only reflects poorly on you. Help your business by saving those more colorful conversations for your close friends, mentor, or journal.
3. Are my loved ones on the same page?
Our personal is mixed in with our business. We can’t help it. Things fall apart at home and at work and sometimes both at the same time. But, first things first. Family members, friends, or loved ones involved in this about-to-be-public drama deserve a heads up. A quick coffee date or phone call can clarify why you’re sharing an intimate moment with a crowd of readers. They’ll understand that it’s not about them; it’s about the life or business lessons.
If they don’t understand, don’t push it. There is plenty of material swirling around your creative brain to come up with another post and another way to share that learning moment. Put your loved ones first, and your followers will, well, follow!
Katy is a Denver-based writer and film creative. She helps brands, businesses, and filmmakers bring their stories to life. Read more musings on her blog bykatypalmer.com or take a coffee break with her on Twitter @bykatypalmer.