By Jamie Smith, Miss April 2015
In our blogger world we talk about a specific kind of renewal and that’s rebranding or resetting our blogs. When I talk to business clients about their brand, I usually encourage them to examine their brand at least every three years to make sure that it still fits, is still fresh, and is still identifiable. But also to remember that they need to re-examine their branding if they have any major shifts or changes in the company.
I think the same should be true for our blogs, even if we aren’t doing sponsored posts. Even if your blog is solely for personal expression, it’s still something you invest time, probably money, and definitely energy into doing. It only makes sense for it to fit, right?
My blog has gone through multiple transitions and some of what I would call outright, total rebranding. I see it as part of my own personal renewal and how I’ve renewed and refreshed my personal brand.
The early years
My first blog was on Xanga and was designed to keep family and friends apprised of my progress towards and after gastric bypass surgery. I called that blog Gingerbreadnewslady because it joined together people who knew me online as GingerbreadBBW and the people who I knew in real life knew the online moniker Newslady72712. My tagline (I had no idea that’s what it was at the time) was “where Gingerbread meets Newslady.”
Eventually, I joined MySpace and started blogging there a little bit. It was my “other stuff” blog where I talked about all things not gastric bypass related. I kept the two blogging worlds very separate and private from each other.
I decided it was time to join the worlds and for several years blogged on a subdomain of my business website (before I knew that was bad for SEO and branding). My blog didn’t really have a name.
Then a couple of years ago, I realized the importance of having a blog with its own name, its own URL and its own identity. During this time I was going through that identity crisis and I didn’t want to be known by a strange name or by my roles. I wanted to just be Jamie.
Creating a blog home
It was during this time that I was also creating different Twitter accounts for my business followers and for my own ramblings. I changed my main account to @JamiesNotebook for my business since that was already established. I then created a personal account that was supposed to just reflect my own thoughts. At the time, I couldn’t get @JamiesThoughts because it was too long. I decided on @JamiesThots and that brand was born.
I eventually purchased the JamiesThots.com URL and transferred all my blogs there. I created an About Jamie page like we’re supposed to do but also created a page for About Jamie’s Thots where I explain that the blog name is where I express myself on my own terms and it’s a place where I can feel comfortable. Jamie’s Notebook is my collection of writing services where I give others a voice with the written word. Jamie’s Thots is where I express my voice.
I’ve learned to never say never but I have a hard time imagining me going away from my Jamie’s Thots blog. It’s purposefully designed to morph as I change and that feels empowering to me.
What’s your story?
I’ve shared my thought processes in renewing my blog and would love to know your story. I recently asked my friends in the Arkansas Women Bloggers group to share how and why they rebranded. I loved their stories and wanted to share a snippet here. What I found fantastic is how they have found a way to stay true to their personal stories and use that to inspire others.
Tiffany had this to say:
“What I really wanted was for my readers to feel about my blog the way that I feel about my favorite blogs. My favorite blogs make me feel like they GET ME. They make me feel like they get in my head and that they are intent on providing me with content that I will not only love, but get some use from. And even if they are not the ones who provide useful content, I felt like I could relate to them. I could relate to their goals, the things they go through, and the things that they talk about. Now I have given a lot more thought to my ideal reader and what would keep her coming back to my blog.
I feel like I finally have a REAL mission and vision for my blog and that I am actually working towards it.”
Sarah had this to say:
“I rebranded to focus my blog and give it a theme. I rebranded as Love Letter to Adventure after Alison Chino‘s talk in storyliving for storytelling. I blog mostly about the same things, but frame it all as adventure now. It’s also inspired some new ideas like my free Adventure Generator printable and the Weekly Venture challenge. Really loving my new direction!
Now I’m focused on inspiring readers to put more adventure into their lives”
So I ask you again, what’s your story? Do you need to renew your blog, your focus?