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Title: Blog Your Brand


1
Blog Your Brand
10 Steps to Building Your Brand by Blogging
  • Trisha Okubo
  • Disruptive Innovator, eBay
  • tokubo_at_ebay.com

2
Hi, Im Trisha Okubo. By day, Im a Disruptive
Innovator at eBay, where my work focuses on
social commerce.
(If anyone wants to chat about social networking
and eCommerce, lets dish after this session!)
3
By night, Im the founder and editor of a Top 3
Fashion Blog Omiru Style for All
4
I started Omiru in March of 2005, armed with a
desire to learn, a passion for fashion, and
persistence.
5
And since Omirus founding,
6
What to Wear for Girls Night Out at the Club How
to Wear Fishnet Stockings without Looking
Trashy How to Fit Jeans into Knee-High Boots How
to Fly in Style How to Wear a Short Sleeved
Blazer Professional Style 101 5 Questions with
Constance White, eBay Style Director Street
Style Boston Ready Made Outfit Trenchcoats for
Every Occasion Men's Trend Alert Summer
Plaids Fashion over Fifty Five Style Tips What
to Wear to a Casual No-Tie Wedding QA Whats
the Ideal Shirt Length for a Man? QA What to
Wear to the Company Holiday Party How to Stop
Static From Ruining Your Outfit
Weve written well over a thousand posts,
7
What should I wear and where can I find clothes
for a summer, European Honeymoon?
Helped hundreds of readers who write in with
style questions,
8
I just found out Im pregnant, and Im excited
about buying clothes to fit my growing belly.
Can you give me some inspiration? - Vickie
Target has a fabulous line of clothing from
designer Liz Lange. In fact, Im jealous - I wish
they made some of her designs for us non-pregnant
women! - Kate
and built a loyal community of readers who trade
fashion tips.
9
Ive done style expert videos for Yahoo!
Health/Capessa and SheZoom, Talking about things
like
10
(Great for Petites!)
Fashion for Figure Flattery
11
How to Accessorize
12
What to Wear to Work
13
Through Omiru, Ive also been recognized by
mainstream media.
14
(No Transcript)
15
(No Transcript)
16
(who gave us our Top 3 Fashion Blog distinction)
17
Weve also done radio segments for a prominent
radio station in Richmond, VA. Random!
18
Now, three years after founding Omiru, Im a
sought-after style expert, specializing in real
style for real people.
19
Today, using Omiru as a case study, Im going to
share with you 10 Steps to Building Your
Brand through Blogging
20
Im going to share the story of Omiru from
picking a topic, to creating and enhancing
content, to relationship building and
distribution, and finally to fostering community.
21
But first, Id like to address the somewhat
negative connotation surrounding personal
branding (aka self-promotion).
22
Self-promotion gets a bad reputation because its
often practiced at the expense of others.
23
We call someone self promotional when their
message helps them but doesnt help others.
24
But self-promotion doesnt have to be bad.
25
In fact, it can be used for good.
26
And you can use self-promotion for good when you
provide value to your audience.
27
So lets do just that. Provide value and spread
the word. How do you do this?
28
No. 1 Pick a Topic thats Uniquely You
29
Back in the day, Microsoft asked Where do you
want to go today?
30
If youre blogging to build your reputation, the
first step is to focus in on an area of expertise.
31
Experience
Now
Think about where youve been in life. (aka your
experience)
32
Future
Now
Think about where you want to go in life. (aka
your future)
33
Think about your passion.
34
For me, it made sense to focus on fashion.
35
Ive always harbored a love of style,
36
I went to fashion school in the evenings during
college,
37
And Ive done a lot of fashion consulting. (so if
you want some style tips, find me after the
session)
38
But fashion as a topic was way too broad.
39
How broad or how narrow to go?
40
This is the Goldilocks Question.
41
You dont want a topic thats too broad (e.g.
technology companies)
42
Or too narrow (e.g. technology companies in
Mountain View that love dogs at work)
43
You want a topic thats just right. (e.g.
technology companies that are likely to ride out
the bust)
44
If youre building reputation, the ideal topic
is broad enough to be interesting.
45
But also focused enough so that youre the best
at something.
46
Maybe its being the keeper of the Cutest Pet
Photos Online.
47
Maybe its being the most distinguished chocolate
connoisseur.
48
Maybe its being the sharpest LOST commentator.
49
Whatever your topic is, you should aim to
50
No. 2 Stand for Something Real
51
A blog is easy to start, but its hard to
maintain.
52
Somewhere between 60 and 80 percent of blogs
are abandoned within one month.
53
Why is blogging so hard?
54
In between all of your other commitments,
55
Job
56
Family
57
Friends
58
and life
59
Youre going to have to find the time and energy
to maintain the blog.
60
Plus, youre going to have to find new stuff to
write about every day.
61
Long story short If you dont love it, dont
blog about it.
62
Sidebar
63
Where possible and where appropriate, create a
new category.
64
But isnt it hard to create a new category?
65
Sure it is.
66
If it werent hard, everyone would be doing it.
67
1
(But on the flip side, its easier to stand out
if youre in a category of one.)
68
Tim Ferriss did this brilliantly.
69
He wasnt quite in the career category
70
Or in the work-life category.
71
So he created a whole new category lifestyle
design.
72
Not only was this a more accurate
description, But it also made him a creator
73
Instead of an imitator.
74
But back to the main point of standing for
something real.
75
There are tons of blogs out there, with tons of
voices.
76
So do your research to explore the other blogs
in your space.
77
And then focus your topic so that youre the
best (or the only) blog in your area.
78
At this point, you should be able to distill your
blog topic into a single short sentence.
79
An elevator pitch, if you will.
80
As for Omiru, I needed to narrow down the
fashion topic.
81

At the time, I was a recent college grad, and I
didnt have a whole lot of cash.
82
And regardless, I didnt want to spend my
entire paycheck on fashion.
83
My other fashion challenge?
84
Im short! (I really wanted to be 59)
85
And to add insult to injury, I have no waist.
86
But my financial situation and my figure
flattery issues gave me my blog topic.
87
Real Style for Real People Great fashion for
everybody, regardless of financial situation, or
personal architecture.
88
Once you have your topic, its time to start
writing great content.
89
How do you do this?
90
No. 3 Be Newsworthy
91
I currently work at in ecommerce, but my
background is in media.
92
Traditional media has its challenges ahead,
93
But it knows something really important.
94
They know what will get your attention and what
wont make you turn your head.
95
In other words, whats newsworthy and whats not.
96
What makes something newsworthy?
97
1 Timing
98
People dont want old news. They want new
news! (probably why its called news)
99
They want the latest update in a story, a meme
thats particularly on-trend.
100
Rogan Gregory for Target (May 18)
101
2 Significance
102
How many people does the story affect?
103
Tons of people?
104
Or just a few?
105
Fashion for short ppl SS
(theres no shortage of guys who need to dress to
go out)
106
3 Proximity
107
The closer people are to a story, the more
interesting it is.
108
San Francisco Fashion gtgt Boston Fashion
109
But its not all about geography.
110
Its about how much you can relate to the story.
111
For me, petite fashion is more interesting than
regular fashion.
112
4 Prominence
113
When possible, and where appropriate, write
about well known personalities.
114
Its more interesting for readers to hear about
the fashion from
115
(No Transcript)
116
(No Transcript)
117
Than it is to hear about what I wore to work
yesterday.
118
5 Human Interest
119
Here, the key is to appeal to emotion.
120
Think of things that are off the beaten path,
personal stories, and profiles.
121
Omiru Example We published photos of a readers
casual wedding (v. trendy now).
122
Timing, Significance, Proximity, Prominence,
and Human Interest are the standard criteria
for newsworthiness.
123
But since you guys are so awesome, you get an
extra one.
124
(6) News You Can Use
125
This is where most of Omirus stories fall.
126

We share how to mix and match patterns,
127
What to wear to an engagement pool party,
128
Everyday casual chic for men
129
But there are tons of other newsworthy media
sources out there, both mainstream media and
blogs.
130
Newsworthiness is part of the price of entrance
to building a personal brand via blogging.
131
Its necessary, but not sufficient.
132
You need to be more than newsworthy. You need
to
133
No. 4 Be Awesome!
134
But how do you be awesome?
135
Photo Credit CBS
After all, we cant all be Barney.
136
Ask yourself What Would Aretha Do? (WWAD)
137
Give your audience R-E-S-P-E-C-T!
138
Respect their intelligence by discussing whats
important to them.
139
Respect their time by being concise.
140
Respect their views by engaging them in dialogue.
141
Respect them by going above and beyond the call
of duty.
142
A few simple ways we try to be awesome at Omiru
143
Giveaways
144
Only Relevant Ads
145
Readers Help Drive the Editorial Calendar
146
In order to find the awesome things that work,
youll also find a lot of things that dont work
147
What to do?
148
No. 5 Create a Stoplist
149
Its no secret that we live in a time-starved
society.
150
We all have stuff to do.
151
Jobs to go to.
152
Friends and Family to see.
153
No matter how passionate you are, you only have
a limited amount of time.
154
So what do you do?
155
Prioritize the stuff youre doing, and create a
stoplist.
156
The stoplist is just what it sounds like. A
list of things you stop doing.
157
(Not stuff youre doing less. Its stuff that
you cut out completely.)
158
Stop doing the things that suck your time away
from meaningful, effective things.
159
Easier said than done.
160
But you can do it.
161
1. 2. 3.
Write down all the things youre doing for your
blog on a piece of paper.
162

ID the things that are actively helping you,
163
_
And the things that arent.
164
_
And then stop doing the things that arent
helping you.
165
For Omiru, one of those things was actually
social bookmarking buttons.
166
Bloggers (and other publishers) often add buttons
for social bookmarking sites like
167
They provide an easy way for readers to
bookmark/share your posts so your content
spreads more easily online.
168
I added these buttons to posts, but Omiru
readers didnt use them.
169
This doesnt mean that social bookmarking
doesnt work.
170
But it depends on your audience.
171
(And if your audience doesnt like it, dont
force it.)
172
Once youve created your stoplist (and stopped
doing things that dont matter), its time to
look outside your blog to
173
No. 6 Build Real Relationships
174
As bloggers, we dont exist in a vacuum.
175
We can be competitive and closed off, or we can
choose to be open and friendly.
176
Id advocate for open and friendly )
177
If you did your homework and chose a topic
thats focused (and one that youre uniquely
suited to write about)
178
Chances are, you and your fellow bloggers are
writing about different enough things.
179
And even if you arent, I still think its
beneficial to be friendly.
180
You have more to gain than you have to lose.
181
Links from Blogrolls and Link Posts
182
Someone to bounce ideas off of.
183
Advice
other
from
bloggers
184
Id like to you to meet.
Introductions to people in your field.
185
f(give) get
Then again, what you get is a function of what
you give.
186
So how do you build relationships? (i.e. how do
you start giving?)
187
A couple of best practices
188
Actively participate on other blogs. Especially
before asking for a link or any favors. (Oh, and
down with form letters.)
189
Do other bloggers favors.
190
If you know another blogger is looking to borrow
a set of Pantone swatches, let her borrow your
set.
191
Once youve built those relationships, you can
share opportunities.
192
If theres a paid gig I dont have the time for,
Ill refer one of my blog friends.
193
And if Im doing press interviews, where
appropriate, Ill refer reporters to them.
194
And they do the same.
195
Thats how I got the WSJ interview. Elisa
Camahort (BlogHer) referred the reporter to me.
196
OMG! I did not just see that...
But in order to build real relationships, you
need to do more than email and chat with them
online
197
No. 7 Meet People in Person
198
Why is it important to meet people in person?
199
Well, who are you closer to?
200
People you hang out with online
201
Or people you see in real life.
202
So whenever I get the chance, I meet up with my
blogger friends.
203
During New York Fashion Week, we meet up
204
Have drinks
205
What do you think about Marcs Spring line?
Dish about fashion
206
And blog together as the models come down the
runway. (Look, florals are back!)
207
Shared experiences lead to closer relationships.
208
So when it comes time to refer another blogger,
who am I going to call?
209
Thats right. The people I hang out with in
person.
210
But by meeting people in person, youre building
relationships 11, which isnt so scalable.
211
How do you scale?
212
No. 8 Make it easy to spread the word
213
As a personal branding blogger, youre always
looking to grow your audience.
214
You can do this in two main ways
215
(1) Spreading the word yourself, or
216
(2) Having your fans help you spread the word.
217
For your fans to help spread the word, you need
218
Awesomeness!
Something worth sharing, (but youre already
creating awesome, newsworthy content, right?)
219
And an easy way for fans to share.
220
What are some things that make content easy to
share?
221
RSS
222
RSS helps readers get your content wherever is
most convenient for them.
223
And while were on the subject, theres a
debate between full text and partial text.
224
Full text is more satisfying for the reader,
225
But partial text encourages readers to come back
to your site.
226
We chose full text so that readers can get Omiru
articles however it is most convenient.
227
Why? Our philosophy is that were looking to
build an audience, not just traffic for Omiru.
228
Email Newsletter
229
Again, we like to empower readers to read Omiru
however they like to.
230
Email newsletters still work well, especially
among communities that arent big on RSS (e.g.
fashion).
231
I have to admit Omiru doesnt have an email
newsletter yet, but its the next thing were
adding.
232
Hey, I love Omiru! Do you guys have an email
newsletter?
We get requests for email newsletters all the
time. Its the second most requested feature.
233
A couple of Email Newsletter Best Practices
234
(1) Let people know what theyre signing up for.
Show an example newsletter up front.
SAMPLE
235
(2) Encourage signups by giving something away
free upon signup (e.g. an informational PDF).
236
P.S. Social bookmarking also falls underneath
this category of tools to make content easy to
share.
237
It didnt really work for Omirus audience.
238
But the idea of social bookmarking is extremely
powerful for the right audience.
239
Speaking of sharing content off of your site,
part of a sound blog strategy is to.
240
No. 9 Create Community Wherever You Go
241
Some bloggers are tweaked that community is
happening around their content on other sites.
242
But IMHO, thats an old-school way of thinking.
243
Sure, you dont want your content stolen.
244
Or reposted without attribution.
245
But if conversation is happening around your
attributed content on another site, Its better
than no conversation (or less) happening at all.
246
Think about it this way. Wheres your potential
audience?
247
Theyre a lot of different places.
248
Theyre on your site.
249
But theyre also on similar sites.
250
And related sites.
251
And really, all over the Internet.
252
So, why force them to come to you?
253
Why not help them out? By going to where they
are.
254
How might you do this?
255
(1) Guest write for other sites
256
I do this on BlogHer, where I serve as a Fashion
Shopping Contributing Editor
257
(And in fact, some of Omirus writers are guest
blogging to create more awareness for their own
sites.)
258
(2) Build Your Social Network Presence
259
Create a profile on the appropriate major social
networks.
260
On Facebook, you can import your blog posts via
Facebook Notes.
261
And while you cant edit your posts,
262
You can share them easily with friends.
263
And even tag people in your posts. (Dont spam!)
264
As for your profile page, populate it with extra
content thats not on your site.
265
After all, if there were no goodies there, why
would someone come visit your page?
266
Its even more important for a personal branding
blogger to add this extra content.
267
It gives you the opportunity to talk about
yourself and why youre passionate about your
topic.
268
Its an opportunity to share stories.
269
Like your quest to find the perfect pair of jeans.
270
Or the crazy backstage interview you had at
Fashion Week where you witnessed a model
meltdown.
271
But traditional social networks arent the only
places to build your presence.
272
(3) Participate on other social sites
273
A couple that I use personally are FriendFeed
and Polyvore. (who, incidentally, share a
workspace in Mountain View)
274
On FriendFeed, you can automatically import your
blog posts to be shared with your friends.
275
And the beauty of it is that conversations can
happen around this content.
276
Added bonus? Theyre pretty high-quality
conversations (at least right now).
277
Plus, you can gain new readers. not only
friends, but friends of friends, and friends of
those friends..
278
Polyvore is another cool site that I use to
build community around Omiru.
279
Its a web application that allows you to mashup
images from around the web.
280
I use it for creating outfits, mixing and
matching clothes from different online stores.
281
Its greatI get feedback on the outfits I create.
282
And I can dish about fashion with the community,
sharing fashion advice and outfit ideas.
283
You might be thinking, these tips are all well
and good (common sense, even) but will they work
for me right now?
284
Chances are, yes. But you have to
285
No. 10 Be Patient
286
Overnight successes are very rare,
287
And overnight success stories are often not
overnight at all.
288
Ive been working on Omiru for three years.
289
And for Omiru, community is still a work in
progress.
290
We have a community of regulars who are really
passionate about affordable, feel-great fashion.
291
Readers help each other out they dish about
fashion dilemmas, they share style tips, and they
talk about their experiences.
292
How did this happen?
293
Shared Passion
294
This goes way back to the beginning Choosing a
blog topic.
If youre passionate about something, it shows.
295
And other people, especially those who share your
views, are drawn to it.
296
And passion breeds interactionand community.
297
My main point about community?
298
Community isnt something you do. Its
something that happens.
299
Theres no secret recipe for community.
300
And you dont go out and build a community
like you build a product.
301
It just doesnt work like that.
302
What you can do, though, is to lay the
foundations for community to grow.
303
And you lay these foundations by
304
No. 1 Pick a Topic thats Uniquely You
305
No. 2 Stand for Something Real
306
No. 3 Be Newsworthy
307
No. 4 Be Awesome!
308
No. 5 Create a Stoplist
309
No. 6 Build Real Relationships
310
No. 7 Meet People in Person
311
No. 8 Make it Easy to Spread the Word
312
No. 9 Create Community Wherever You Go
313
No. 10 Be Patient
314
What now?
315
Do you have something youre passionate about?
316
Something meaningful?
317
Something worthwhile?
318
(I bet you do!)
319
So go on, start your own blog. Or take your
existing blog to the next level.
320
And then, if you care to, tell me about it.
321
Find me on Facebook http//www.facebook.com/peopl
e/Trisha_Okubo/201756
322
FriendFeed http//www.friendfeed.com/trisha
323
Polyvore http//www.polyvore.com/cgi/profile?id1
01223
324
Omiru http//www.omiru.com
325
Questions?
326
Id love to hear from you Trisha
Okubo Disruptive Innovator, eBay tokubo_at_ebay.com
/ trishaokubo_at_gmail.com Liked this
presentation? Find me next at eBay Developers
Conference June 16-18 in Chicago www.ebay.com/dev
con
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