Is There a Right Way to Brand Your Blog?
I’m just back from our Aussie Problogger training events where we ran masterminds with around 40 bloggers per city. In those days speakers spent time with small groups of attendees in round table discussions where attendees could ask us any question they liked.
One of the questions that I got asked repeatedly through both masterminds was around whether it is better to give a blog a personal brand or more of a business brand?
In one case the questioner was about to start a new blog and was wondering if they should set it up on a domain that was their own name or if they should choose a name that was nothing to do with them.
Another blogger asked what to do when they felt trapped on a blog with a personal domain – but they wanted to introduce other writers onto the blog.
Yet another blogger had the opposite issue – they had set up their blog on a domain and with a brand that was very niche specific but now felt trapped because they wanted to change their focus and evolve the blog beyond what the brand might allow.
I’ve been pondering these questions a lot since our event so wanted to explore it today in this episode.
There is right way to brand your blog – there are extremes where you can go one way or the other and also there are ways of doing both a personal brand and a business brand – and that’s what we’re going to explore today.
Examples Mentioned for Personal Brands vs Business Brands for Blogs
Personal Business Brands
Doing Both Personal and Business
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Hello there. My name is Darren Rowse. I’m the blogger behind ProBlogger, a blog, a podcast, event, job boards, series of ebooks and other resources all designed to help you as a blogger to grow your audience, to produce great content and to make money from your blog. You can learn more about what we do at ProBlogger over at problogger.com.
I’m just back from our Australian ProBlogger event where we ran a couple of masterminds this time around for the first time ever. We did two masterminds, one in Brisbane and one in Melbourne and we have 40 bloggers who have come to each of those sessions.
As part of the day, we had some teaching from our speakers like Pat Flynn and James Schramko and Laney Galligan and then Kelly Exeter. We also spent time, as speakers, circulating through the tables, around tables, around the room. We, each, got to spend about 30 minutes being peppered with questions by these small tables. Something made me a little bit nervous because I’m not the fastest thinker but I love that.
What I found really interesting over the day was that I was asked some questions on almost every table that I went to. That may have been partly because people thought I could answer those questions but also, some of the questions were quite random. One of the questions that I got asked a lot over both cities, multiple times in each day, was around how to brand a blog in terms of whether it should be a personal brand or whether it should be more of a business brand. I’ll get into some examples of both of those types of options later on today. It was a question that I got asked repeatedly in different ways.
One person asked, they were thinking about setting up a new blog, whether they should set it up on a domain that was their own name or whether they should choose a name or domain name that was nothing to do with them personally at all. That was a question I got asked a couple of times.
Another blogger was asking questions around how they felt trapped on a blog with their own personal domain. They’d set up a couple of years ago on their own name and now they wanted to introduce other writers unto their blog, they were questioning, “How do I do that?” I feel like it has to just be me. My readers, every time I introduce another voice, push back. They’re wrestling with it in hindsight wondering what they should have done and wondering about how they should transition that brand.
Another blogger had almost the opposite issue, they’d set up their blog on a domain that was more of a business brand. It was very niche specific. Now they felt trapped on that domain because they wanted to change their focus, they felt that they had personally evolved in what they believed, some of their values and their interests. They wanted to pivot their blog but now they felt trapped on this other domain that was not personal, it was a business brand. They wonder whether they should go to a personal domain.
We got the same question from different angles and I’ve been pondering these questions ever since. Because I heard that same question over and over again, I wanted to do a little more thinking about it both for those people so that they could have some further thinking on it but also because I know many others of you probably would be thinking the same thing.
There is no right way to brand your blog and there are extremes. You can personally brand it to the extreme, you could put your face all around it, you can call it your name or you can go the other extreme and not have your name on it at all and purely make it a business brand or a niche specific brand. They’re the two main options but there are other options in between.
Episode 206 is an opportunity to explore some of the different options, to talk about the pros and cons and ask the question, “Which one is better for you?” That’s what we’re gonna do. I hope you find it valuable.
You can find today’s show notes over at problogger.com/podcast/206. You’ll also be able to find the link to where you can comment on that show notes to our Facebook group as well. Thanks for listening and let’s get into some exploration of this topic, Personal Brands Versus Business Brands.
Personal brands or business brands, which one is better? That’s the question I get asked a lot. Of course, there is no right answer to this particular question. The answer will depend upon you, your goals, your personality, and I guess ultimately, the way that you’re gonna blog and the type of mediums that you want to use as well. All of these things can come into finding the right answer for you. Of course, as I hinted in the introduction, there are two extremes but there are plenty of other things between those two extremes that we could do as well and you can transition through that process as well.
To explore today’s topic, I thought I’d be interesting to start off by looking at some of the pros and cons of each different approach. The pros and cons of a personal brand versus the pros and cons of a business brand and then we’ll get into some of those other options between the extremes as well.
Let’s start off by talking about personal brands. These are brands at the extreme where everything is about you. You would go to these blogs and you’ve seen them, they’re usually on the person’s domain, the domain is their name. It might be darrenrowse.com if I was to set one up and it would probably be a very personal blog in terms of my face on it, branding might be my head which I kinda do on Prologger as well. But ProBlogger, I would say, is somewhere between the two extremes. It’s very personal.
There are some definite benefits of a personal brand, let me run through some of them. Firstly, it can bring some flexibility to what you offer. If you want to start out offering advice on bird photography and then your interests changed and then suddenly you wanna give parenting advice, a personal brand may be one way to do that. We, as human beings, evolve in what we’re interested in, what we think, what we believe, and the way that we live our lives.
Having a more personal brand can offer you some flexibility in that as opposed to a brand like ProBlogger where you start talking about probloggerish type of things, blogging type advice. Most of the business brands don’t give you that type of flexibilities. If you’re the type of person who thinks that you’ve got lots of interests that you might wanna pivot in what you focus upon, a more personal brand might be one option for you.
Another benefit of a personal brand is that they are great if you have a goal of selling yourself in some ways. If you have the goal of becoming a speaker, a writer, an author selling books, an artist, a consultant, a coach, or some kind of freelancer, a personal brand could be one way to do that because people in each of those cases are buying you. If they come to your blog and they see you, they see the brand of you, that’s gonna speed up the process of them making that leap to hiring you, to buying you in some capacity. That’s not to say that you can’t sell personal services on a more business related brand but I think it could speed up the process a little bit.
They’re also great if you want to be seen as an expert or an authority or a thought leader in an industry, if you want people to see you personally as the authority, having it on your own domain, your own name domain and having your face there and branding it as you and your ideas is certainly going to help with that. Personal brands are certainly great if you personally want to be involved in serving your audience, in making personal connections with your readers and customers. They are great if you really enjoy that personal communication, if you want to use mediums that are very personal as well. Live video, podcasting, these are mediums that probably lend themselves to it, or they’ll have a more personal aspect to them.
Again, it’s not to say that you can’t explore those mediums and you can’t be personally engaging with your audience on a business brand but it certainly lends itself to that type of thing. I guess it builds the expectation that you, personally, are going to be the one who’s going to be producing that content and you, personally, are the one who’s going to be engaging with your readers. If you’re the type of person who likes to get your hands dirty, you like to do the engaging, you are a very personal kind of person, then a more personal brand might work for you.
Personal brands are also great for helping your readers feel more connected to your brand. People do business with those that they know, like, and trust. My suspicion is that people are more likely to go through that process of know, like, trust if there’s a human being on the other side rather than a logo. It’s certainly possible to know, like, and trust a business but I think it probably is going to be sped up if it’s a more personal brand, if you yourself are very present in your brand as well.
You can probably think of examples of brands that are not personal that you feel very invested into that you know, like, and trust. Apple is a brand that many people are raving fans of but even that, has over the years, used personality and people to help grow that brand as well. That’s probably an example of a more gray area in some ways. If you want to build a blog that is about community, is about people feeling like they belong, then a personal brand might be one way to speed that process up.
Personal brands are also really great if you have lots of interests that you think might evolve over time as I mentioned early on today. If you look at someone like Gary Vaynerchuk, he started out using his Gary V social media accounts to talk about wine and today he talks about entrepreneurship. He’s been able to pivot using that more personal brand. If he’d set himself up purely using the Wine Library TV, I think that’s the brand, if he purely gone with that and that had been all his social media accounts, then that pivot would’ve been much harder. But right from day one, he used Gary Vaynerchuk and Gary V as his personal brand to promote his businesses, it enabled him to pivot in some ways as well.
They’re some of the pros of using that more personal domain, that personal brand. On the flipside of that, there are some negatives of going that more personal brand route as well. For example, your brand, if you use darrenrowse.com, doesn’t say anything about what you do. This can have an impact upon the early days of building your brand. People are going to take longer to start associating your name with the industry or topic or field of expertise that you’re talking about.
If I started darrenrowse.com instead of problogger.com, it would’ve taken longer for people to arrive on darrenrowse.com and to work out, “Oh, he’s talking about blogging.” It wouldn’t be immediately apparent to people that this is a site about blogging whereas if people arrive on ProBlogger, right from the first moment that they’re there, they see the hints, they’re seeing the name itself, this is about blogging. If you do have more of a niche that you’re interested in, an industry that you wanna talk about, a personal brand can sometimes slow that down, the building of that brand.
It’s not to say that you can’t achieve becoming a thought leader in a particular topic using a personal brand but it may take longer. It can also have an impact upon your search engine optimization, certainly having keywords in your business name, in your domain, can help. It’s harder for darrenrowse.com to rank for photography tips than Digital Photography School having that brand with photography in it. Photography school helped us to rank very highly for that particular term. I don’t think I ever would’ve been able to rank as highly for photography school using darrenrowse.com. Again, another impact, another negative of going with that personal brand.
It’s also potentially harder to sell your business down the track if you’re a personal brand. If I set up darrenrowse.com instead of ProBlogger, I don’t think I could’ve ever have sold that particular domain to people. I can think about a handful of examples of personal brands that have sold themselves down the track and you probably can think of some too but it’s much harder to do that. If you have an exit strategy in mind, then perhaps you want to go more for a business brand.
It can also bring some challenges to have a personal brand to scale your business. It can be done but customers and readers will come to your site if it’s a personal brand with the expectation that they want to connect with you, that they want to hear your thoughts, they want to have access to you. That can be a challenge. If you are on darrenrowse.com, people are gonna wanna show up expecting to hear from Darren Rowse. If you wanna bring in other authors, there can be some tension there, there can be some pushback from your readers around that as well.
If you want to scale what you do, if you wanna step back from what you do, either to sell or to allow others to take on aspects of that business, it can be a little bit tricky if you are stuck on a personal domain. You may be able to bring in team members to do aspects of your business but certainly with the content, with the community, with the engagement, people are going to expect you.
The last thing I would say as a negative of a personal brand is that it can bring a lot of scrutiny upon you, it puts you in the spotlight. You need to be on, you need to be able to respond to things that go wrong. If you mess up, you will be held personally accountable. If your business brand screws up, you, personally, are going to have less of the spotlight upon you and it enables your business to respond.
Some people really like being in the spotlight, some people really like being on all the time, that’s just their personality, they’re a charismatic kind of person. Other people, I met a few of these at our event last week, really don’t want to be in the spotlight at all. It would be pretty obvious that they probably wouldn’t wanna set up their domain that is their name. Many bloggers don’t even like to use their real name on their site at all and like that anonymity. Again, there’s another factor to consider, do you want to be in the spotlight, do you not wanna be in the spotlight? That will help you make that decision.
Let me give you a few examples of personal brands, particularly in this blogging online entrepreneurship space, the most obvious one to me is Seth Godin, sethgodin.com. Seth’s site is all about Seth. He is known as an authority in marketing but his brand is all about him, it’s his ideas, it’s his books, it’s his courses, it’s his speaking. He has used sethgodin.com to launch some of the business brands that he has launched and he has launched a number of those over time. But essentially, if you go to his site, it’s all about him and he’s used it to build his authority in the marketing space. Seth is a great example.
Amy Porterfield, many of you know Amy Porterfield. She is on amyporterfield.com. If you go there, you’ll see that she uses the tagline Amy Porterfield-Online Marketing Expert. She’s a great example of someone who uses her name, her face, her personality, her voice with her podcast, her face in her live videos to build a business. She has evolved her focus over time, this is a really good example of someone who has changed, they have pivoted over time and have been able to do that because it’s been a personal brand.
Amy started out very much focusing upon Facebook. She was the Facebook person, she would train you how to use Facebook. But over the last few years, she has really broadened what she has done to teach about webinars, email lists, courses, and much more. She has been able to evolve and has been able to evolve much more than if she registered the Facebook Expert. She would never been able to talk in this much depth about the things that she now talks about today. She’s not hampered by the brand itself, she’s got freedom to explore what she wants to teach.
She also uses personal mediums like podcasts, video, and events, live events to teach as well and it’s a really highly engaged audience, people really respond to her. If you see her speaking at an event, you normally will see her speaking to a packed, highly engaged audience as well. I think that’s because people really feel connected to Amy, that flows from that personal brand.
Similar to Amy would be Michael Hyatt, michaelhyatt.com. He’s been able to use his personal brand very effectively over the years. He, too, has evolved his focus over time as trends changed and as his passions and interests changed, he has changed the focus of what he does on michaelhyatt.com and has been able to evolve the mediums he uses and the income streams he monetizes as well. I think just having that very flexible brand has enabled him to do lots of things over time.
Also, in both Amy, Seth, and Michael’s cases, these highly engaged audiences, they come to the site to connect with those people rather than because they’re just talking about a topic. There’s some real advantages, I think, you can see them in those examples of having that more personal brand. But it does take a certain type of person. Again, you need to be comfortable being in the spotlight and you need to be comfortable using some of these more personal mediums and putting yourself out there. Although interestingly, Seth doesn’t put himself out there a lot in terms of engaging in comments or social media. You don’t have to take that route as well.
Personal brands, they are some of the pros and cons. That’s one extreme. On the other end, we’ve got business brands. In business brands, there’s a definite pros and cons as well. You might be thinking, “I’ve gotta do a personal brand.” Wait, there’s a few things that you need to consider for personal brands as well. A business brand can be much easier to scale. Again, you can scale personal brands, Amy has done it, she’s got a team working with her now.
Michael’s done it, he’s got a team working there but those brands really do rely upon Amy and Michael and Seth. If went away, if they wanna take a year off, it’s gonna be tougher for them to continue. It also does bring some tension around scaling, there is an expectation with the personal brand that you show up all the time. In the business, there is an expectation that a business is run by more than one person.
One of the advantages of having a brand that is not personal is that people probably are going to be expecting that there’s gonna be different voices and different team members who are prominent within that brand. There’s less of an expectation that you have to do everything. This means that you can build a true business that doesn’t rely upon you, it can be built upon the team, the systems, and I guess the products that you have as well.
The best example I can give you of this is Digital Photography School. I started out Digital Photography School by doing everything, I did it all but I didn’t promote the fact that I was doing it all. I used my name in the posts that I was writing but that’s about all, there was no photo, there was no expectation that it was about me. It enabled me to add authors, it enabled me to an editor, it enabled me to use community managers, it enabled me to get setup a customer service person. There is no expectation amongst our readers that I show up on that blog at all.
There are periods, depending upon where we’re at with our team, where I do almost nothing on that site. It is run, many times, many weeks without me at all, occasionally adding in my advice or my ideas but that’s all. If you want to scale and step away from your business in some way then a business brand is definitely one way to go.
They’re also much easy to sell. This is not something I’ve had personal experience with because I’ve never sold any of my businesses or any of my blogs to this point. If you wanna make me an offer, feel free. Down the track, I think, Digital Photography School is a great example of a business that I could sell because it’s not reliant upon me at all.
On the flipside, if I setup darrenrowse.com, it would’ve been impossible for me to sell that down the track, very few exceptions to that. If you do want to extract yourself from your business down the track, you want to set it up so that other people can run it for you or you wanna sell it, then definitely, a business brand is a better way to go.
A business brand can also tell your customers, potential readers what your business is about and who it serves very well. Digital Photography School, ProBlogger, they immediately communicate something to those who show up or to those who even hear about it in conversation, it immediately becomes apparent. Of course it has the advantage of helping with search engine optimization as well.
A business brand also takes some of the pressure off you in terms of the day to day running of the site as well, we’ve kind of touched on this already. But for me, on Digital Photography School in the early days or ProBlogger, it enabled me to take time off and there was less expectation that I had to show up as well. That certainly helps in sustainability of the business as well.
I’ve talked to a number of people who are on personal brands recently, one of the things that they do feel that is really tough for them is that when they wanna take an extended break, it’s very apparent that they’re not there on the site and they’re not doing live videos. Having a business brand, you can have one of your team do the live videos, you can have one of your teams send the emails, you can have one of the team write the blog post. In terms of looking after yourself, it can take its toll on a personal brand unless you can spread that load on a business brand.
Some of the negatives of having more of a business brand, they may not be as flexible if your interests change, you may find it tough to pivot. This is one of the things that I heard from a number of people at our masterminds these year is that they had started out their brands too narrow. In one case the industry evolved and the niche that they had chosen was less relevant than it used to be. In another case they had evolved as a person, as a blogger, and they wanted to talk about other things and they were not able to do that because of their very narrow business brand choices that they had made in the early days.
Again, it may not be as flexible if you have a business brand. If my interests change and I don’t wanna talk about blogging anymore but I wanna talk about Instagram or I wanna talk about live video, I can do that a little bit on ProBlogger but I couldn’t pivot ProBlogger to be just a live video blog. Having something that is a little broader and less focused as a brand may be a better choice. That’s one of the negatives of a business brand.
Another one is that business brands will generally need to work harder to get people to feel a personal connection with the business. This is the flipside of the advantage that I talked about earlier of a personal brand being one that people are much more ready and able to connect with.
When a reader comes to Digital Photography School for the first time, they don’t immediately imagine that there’s a person on the other side of that brand. People come to Digital Photography School and imagine that we’ve got a school somewhere. We get emails saying, “Where is your school? Where is the facility?” That is what they imagine, they don’t imagine a person, a teacher. A more personal brand will speed that up.
Of course there’s a gray area here, ProBlogger is a good example of one that sits in the middle. ProBlogger is a business brand, it signals that it’s about blogging. Because it’s the word ProBlogger, you imagine there’s a pro blogger there as well. Because I brand it personally, it’s got a bit of both, I’ll talk a little bit more about that in the moment. But if you go to business brand, you may need to work a bit harder to personalize that brand in some way. It can definitely be done, you can show your team, you can show yourself or you can tell your stories, all of these things help to personalize that business brand but you might need to work a little bit harder.
Let me give you a few examples of business brand blogs. I’ve already mentioned Digital Photography School, my main site. I wrote a lot of that content in the early days but I was very careful not to personally brand it because I, from day one, knew that it was something that I wanted to extract myself from partly because I didn’t see myself writing on that topic for the long term, I enjoy photography but it’s not something that I could see as a lifelong thing that I wanna write about. It’s not my vocation, it’s not my calling by any means. I also knew that my expertise would take me to only to a certain point, I needed to get other people in to teach at a higher level. I, from the early days, worked really hard to keep my brand out of that, to keep my face out of it. It allowed me, as I said before, to really pull back, to set my team up and maybe, down the track, one day sell it.
Another example would be a blog called Nerd Fitness whose founder is Steve Kamb started quite some time ago. Steve, if you go and look at the site, you’ll see that he is a big part of it. It’s not a purely business branded blog but he’s not the face of it. His face is on it, there’s photos there with him on it, there’s content that he has written but he has other authors. He has got a team of ten people working full time on his blog now, he runs events and the team is running the events. Steve has personally branded it to an extent but it’s not reliant upon him. I can imagine that Nerd Fitness is the type of brand that he could get setup and running with a team down the track or that he could sell at some point.
There’s plenty of other examples, blogs from my early days of blogging like Mashable, GoKa, TechCrunch and Gadget, Lifehacker, Gizmodo, even SEO Moz, Smashing Magazine, these all started in a more personal way than they are today. For example, Mashable was started by Pete Cashmore and he wrote a lot of the content in the early days. TechCrunch was started by a guy called Michael Arrington, SEO Moz was started by Rand Fishkin. But because they were not setup on their domains as their names, they were set up as sort of a business brands, they were able to grow, they were able to scale, they were able be setup as businesses with teams of people running them and writing them.
In each of those cases, they have enabled the founders to step back. In some cases, they’ve enabled the founders to sell the business. I think TechCrunch, Michael Arrington sold that. They’ve enabled the founders to step back out of the business in different ways like Rand with Moz, still involved in the business, still there adding content but now being run by other people as well. Some good examples there of more business brands as well.
The last one that I wanna talk about, last option that I wanna talk about is where you do a bit of both. I think most blogs probably fit more into the middle category. These two extremes, personal, all on domain, all personally branded, and then there’s the business where the author really isn’t there or the founder really isn’t there at all like Digital Photography School. But between them, there are many personal business brands, that’s what I would say.
Most bloggers I come across have a blog that is not called their name but where they are present and where their readers feel a connection to them. This is where most bloggers fit, this is how I would describe ProBlogger. It’s got a name that is more about the topic of blogging than anything else. But if you land on ProBlogger, you’ll see my face straight away, you’ll see my name, you hear my voice, you see videos with me as well. It’s very intentional from day one to be a better topic but also to include my story and to build a personal connection with me. This is a bit of both.
There are some pros and cons of this model as well. In some ways, on the positive side, it brings you some of the best of both worlds. It means that I can make that first impression with people, I can communicate what the site is about very quickly, it’s got the personal connection but it also communicates what the site is about, it’s good for SEO but it’s also good for connection. I get a bit of both on that. Someone landing on my site sees very quickly what it’s about but also hears my voice. Again, both of those things.
It’s also enabled me to bring some other voices in. ProBlogger, there is an expectation that I am present. If I withdraw for too long from ProBloggers, readers say, “Where’s Darren?” But it also enabled me to bring other voices unto the blog. We have many posts that are written by other people and there’s no pushback on that as long as the quality of the content is good, that’s fine. I’ve even given this podcast over for a few episodes, purely to other people. I introduce them, here’s Kelly to talk about blog design. We had an episode on that. It enabled me to bring in other voices without that tension. If I was on darrenrowse.com, I would have to work harder to introduce those voices. It could still be done but it is certainly easier on that more personal business brand.
On the negative side, though, it does sometimes feel like I’m a bit trapped in terms of topics. I can, from time to time on ProBlogger, talk about other topics of interest. I’ve talked about broader topics of entrepreneurship, I have done a podcast on luck, I’ve done a podcast on health, but I’ve always had to work hard to tie those things back into blogging. If I go off topic for too long, my readers would push back. I can’t go too far off topic for too long.
I think the advantage is that I can go a little off topic because my readers forgive me if I go off and explore a topic of passion. If I had a purely business blog, it’s harder to go off topic. Again, it’s a bit of an advantage but it does sometimes mean I feel a little bit trapped by having ProBlogger. There is some tension there in terms of bringing other authors on as well. Whilst I can bring some other voices on, if I bring too many other voices on, there’s a pushback. It’s a fine line to walk, it’s an advantage but also a disadvantage.
Sometimes I wish I started ProBlogger not personally branded at all. There’s other blogging tip sites out there that are not personally branded and I look at them sometimes and I go, “I wish I could do that because I wouldn’t need to be there, I could take six months off.” That’s a negative, I’ve personally branded to some extent. It’s a fine line that I try to walk.
It also means that I, on Problogger, need to be part of everything that I do. I couldn’t get a team member to this podcast 100% of the time, I couldn’t stop writing on the site 100% of the time, I couldn’t not show up at my events, I couldn’t let someone really moderate all my comments and do all my social media, I need to be there at least to some extent. Again, you can see that there’s some advantages of this middle ground but still there’s some tension, there is no perfect model here.
Some other examples of people who I think have done a good job of building a business brand that is personal, the most obvious one to me is Pat Flynn, I just spent two weeks with Pat at our event Smart Passive Income. It’s setup as a topic, you look at Smart Passive Income and you think, “I know what that’s about.” But then you go to that site and you’ll see Pat Flynn all over. You hear his voice, you see his videos.
Another good example from a recent podcast is Nikki Parkinson from Styling You, Aussie blogger, fashion blogger. Styling you, it’s very much a business brand but again you see Nikki all through that site. It kinda spans both of those options.
I don’t want people to come away from this podcast thinking I have to have purely a personal brand or I have to have purely a business brand. There is some gray are in between.
The last theory that I wanna talk about is where you do both, where you actually, actively build a business brand but you actively also build your personal brand, you do both. You use that personal brand to build the business brand. This might sound like it’s double the work, in some ways it can be, you might need to get your personal social media accounts and maintain your business ones as well, that can add to the work. It can also add a bit of confusion from your readers on where should I be following this person.
A few good examples of people who do this, Chris Ducker would be one. Many of you will be familiar with Chris Ducker, he’s on chrisducker.com. If you go and look at his site, you’ll see that he’s all over it, it’s very personal, his face is there, his videos are there but he uses it to promote his businesses that he started over the years. His businesses have changed, his topics of interest have changed. He has had a couple of different types of events, Tropical Think Tank, In Days Gone By, and now he’s got Youpreneur which is an online community for people who wanna have a personal brand but he’s also doing events with that.
It’s allowed him over time to evolve what he is known for. In the early days he was known very much for giving advice on outsourcing, on virtual assistants. These days he is more known for talking about personal branding. By having chrisducker.com, he’s able to change his focus and they launched different businesses offered back of that. In some ways, it’s similar to the way Seth Godin has done it. Seth has set up this personal brand but he used it to launch different businesses over time.
Another good example of this would be Gary Vaynerchuk who has used his personal profile brilliantly. He’s got a personal blog and he uses it to launch his businesses. In the early days, he used his personal profile to launch his wine business or build his wine business. More recently, he uses it to promote VaynerMedia which he has as well.
Richard Branson would be another example, very high profile example. He does do some blogging, he uses Richard Branson to promote Virgin. He’s actually building both of those brands simultaneously, or his team is.
Syed Balkhi is another good example. Syed speaks at events regularly. He’s building his personal profile as he speaks but he’s using that personal profile to promote his businesses. He owns WPBeginner, a WordPress site, OptinMonster, a tool for bloggers to collect email addresses. He uses that personal brand to build his businesses.
Lastly, Neil Patel is another person who does this very well. He writes prolifically, he has got his own blog on neilpatel.com but he uses his personal profile to build the businesses that he owns. Crazy Egg, KISSmetrics and other businesses as well.
You can do that as well, you could have a personal business brand like Nikki Parkinson or Pat Flynn or you could have both. You could build that personal brand, be in the spotlight but use that spotlight, use that profile to build the different businesses that you have. That’s particularly useful if you do think that you’re going to evolve your interests. If you’re that type of person, a little bit like me who does have lots of different passions that you think over time, your interests are gonna change, that might be one good way to go.
Just to wrap it up, a few things to consider. Firstly, are you comfortable being in the spotlight? Are you comfortable being the face of your business through the good times where you’ll get praised and through the tough times where you’ll get critiqued, or do you prefer anonymity and being behind the scenes? That’s probably the first question you wanna ask. Are you comfortable being a personal brand? If you can’t answer that in the affirmative, don’t set yourself up as a personal brand.
Do you wanna be locked into the day to day running of your business long term or do you see yourself stepping back out of it to allow it to run itself or to sell it down the track? Another good question to ask, in the early days of your blog, if you don’t see yourself for the next 20 or 30 years being hands on in that business, you probably wanna choose more of a business brand rather than a personal one, particularly if you wanna sell it down the track.
Do you enjoy getting involved in the nitty, gritty of engaging with readers and being involved with meeting them and building community? Do you wanna be the person who’s gonna create all of the content? If not, you will probably wanna bring some element of a business brand in it as well because it will enable you to step back a little bit but also introduce other voices as well.
Another question, are you the type of person who has lots of interests and might wanna evolve your business over time? Again, that was a hint to you that you maybe you want more of a personal brand or at least building that simultaneously as you build your business as well.
Last question is what kind of a business model do you wanna grow? Is it based around services that you yourself will offer? Freelancing, speaking, writing, particularly speaking and writing, you can’t really outsource those things easily. If your business model is built around you selling yourself, again, it could be an advantage to have more of a personal brand. Or is the business model that you’ve got, will it need to scale? Maybe your goal is to run events but not show up at those events, maybe you wanna have events running around the world, in lots of different places. That kind of business model is gonna give you a hint that you probably need more of a business brand.
These are some of the questions, I’m gonna summarize those five or six questions for you on today’s show notes. I would love to hear a little bit about your brand. If you’re an established blogger, what have you done? Have you got a personal brand? Do you have a business brand, or do you do both or have a personal business brand? They’re the four options that I talked about today.
Tell us what you’ve done over on the show notes at problogger.com/podcast/206 or head over into the Facebook group and tell us a little bit about your brand there as well. We’ll have a discussion setup for you where you can do that. The Facebook group is at problogger.com/group. Love to hear what you’ve done. I’ll learn from you and hear about some of the frustrations of the choices that you made, some of the advantages of the decisions you’ve made as well.
Thanks for listening today, I look forward to chatting with you next week in episode 207 of the ProBlogger podcast.
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The post 206: Personal Brands vs Business Brands for Blogs appeared first on ProBlogger.