Building your Brand with a Blog by Chris Lema

Notes from  Chris Lema‘s talk at WordCamp SF 2014 on “Strengthening your Brand with a Blog
Official description:

Contrary to popular beliefs, blogging is neither dead, nor difficult. But it does require a few strategies to help you know what to write about – as a blank screen can be intimidating. The takeaway from my own story, and the stories of others, will help you feel much more confident about starting or refreshing your blog to drive results.

BloggingMy notes:

  • Example of African ex-slave who published his own story. Ultimately resulted in the abolishment of slavery
  • A fifth grade teacher loved teaching. In 1975 she was asked to do a kindergarten class. She told him (Chris) that she couldn’t help being a 5th grade teacher. She wanted them to be able to read and to read books. You are part of the growing community that read this book. Words gave impact.
  • Democratize publishing! Why? Because words matter and you have an impact.
  • TV in 1975: the band was what they said it was: Nike about Nike. That was the voice, no other.
  • In those days it was all about the money.
  • His brother broke his ankle when at 10. At growth rate, didn’t know how much it would grow. Specialist suggested to cut the good leg to have both at the same length. 3 years later they were the same size and did cross-country running.
  • Ads told which shoe to buy. In those days it was Nike at the Shoe locker.
  • Today you can search for “best running shoe”
  • Three quarters of Amazon is user generated content. Only two of the top ten shoes are now Nike there. There are other shoes that are better. they may not spend the same amount of money on ads.
  • Today a brand is what we say it is. Because of the web and social media.
  • Your words can count
  • This requires a completely new strategy. Smaller, more powerful voices, distributed.
  • Content marketing/management. WP is perfect for this dynamic.
  • We’re going to look at building your brand with a blog.
  • Six things to worry about: Audience, needs, answers, content, tone, sharing.
  • Fame is a result not an action. Brands work the same way.
  • “I want to SEO this” – doesn’t make sense. I don’t control what the search engine does. Not fame either. It is in your and others’ hands.
  • You get famous because of what you do. That;s how you get brand equity.
  • Audience: start narrow/small, be as specific as you can be. Then grow. Narrow niche: “Moms with left handed daughters who like to write poetry in the dark”. Everyone wants to be famous and successful.
  • If you know how to find them, need to know where to look for them
  • Needs: Collect the questions you hear. Figure out what they need. “Advanced WordPress ” Facebook group is not advanced.
  • Someone’s question is their leading indicator for their intent and their desired action. If you understand their question, you can predict their destination. Then you can create content from there.
  • Don’t blog about bad restaurant. Nobody will search for that.
  • Answers: Have an opinion. It’s what makes you unique. Bring who you are. Nobody wants to read another blog entry about 12 themes for photographers on Themeforest. Have the voice/tone, add value, establish your brand.
  • Buffer is a tool that helps pushing out content. Their blog has nothing to do with them. They do it because they know their audience (who is all about efficiency). They write well. People tweet it. Then people know about Buffer and start using it.
  • Content: Consistency is critical. But so is variety. He missed a day or two of blogging. He got an email complaining. “Calm down, bro.” Consistency develops rapport and relationship with your audience.
  • Our moms and grandmas all want us to call them more often. Audience is the same, they are used to something.
  • Write one blog, build one brand, that is exhausting enough. Variety is key.
  • Tone: Finding your voice takes time. Tiger Woods interview, Friday night after a competition. He was still hitting, kept working at it. He said: “There is no way you get good anything just by doing once or twice a week.”
  • Keep writing. You will find your voice.
  • Sharing: Use every channel where you’ll find your (growing) audience. Pinterest, twitter, linkedin… The more sharing happens, the more your audience grows. The comments allow you to find new topics and new channels.
  • His Blogging Results starting with <90 views/day. Generosity series resulted in dropping views. September 2014: 178K
  • Twitter follower result also goes up steady.
  • Work on it every day. For years. Accumulated effects compound interest.

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