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Learn To Blog Your Brand

This post was most recently updated on July 28th, 2016

Blog Your BrandWhen you’re ready to strut your stuff, you’ll need to learn to blog your brand.

You see, your blog may be about cooking, swimming or orange juice making.

But that’s just blogging.

Now it’s time to go beyond all that and learn, not just to give cool content about your niche, but to put yourself up front and center.  In other words, it’s time to learn to blog your brand.

Now don’t get me wrong.

I’m not saying that your valuable content is not important, because it absolutely is.

What I am saying is that your readers want your information, but most of all they want to know it from “you.”

What Is Your Brand?

So, what is your brand?

What does your brand say about you?

If you are a blogger, whether you know it or not, whether you like it or not, you are your brand.  No matter if you name your blog your own name or have a business name, it’s ultimately all about you.

People don’t come to your blog just to learn how to cook, for example.  They come to your blog to learn how to cook from you.

Let me show you what I mean.

If you have a cooking blog, you could offer a recipe for “sungold tomato and cool cucumber gazpacho soup.”  You’d probably generate some interest from your post.  But did you know that Mario Batali actually has that recipe on his blog?

Who do you think would get more buzz from putting that very same recipe on their blogs, you or Mario (Google him if you’re not a foodie… he’s a major personality in the cooking niche).

It’s the same recipe.  But while Mario Batali blogs in the cooking niche, he doesn’t just blog about cooking.  He blogs his brand… his “Mario Batali” brand.

Of course, people want to know how to make soup.  But given a choice, they’d almost certainly go to Mario’s blog before yours.  In fact, many people go to Mario’s blog just to virtually “hang out” with him and see what he’s up to.  Their visit may well have nothing at all to do with their interest in cooking.

I sometimes wonder what people think about my brand?  Do they like it?  What do they think of me personally?  Am I friendly? Helpful?

All those questions would run through my mind.

Then I had my own “blog your brand” experience.

There’s a fellow blogger I’ve known for a while.   Early on, we had visited each others’ blogs for several months, reading, commenting on and syndicating each others’ posts.

One day he PM’d me on Facebook to tell me that he loved my latest post because I didn’t seem as “aloof” as usual.  Now that threw me for a loop. I didn’t consider myself as being removed from my readers, or in any way aloof, so I asked him what had given him that impression.

He explained to me that I wasn’t sharing with passion or conviction.  I was just teaching stuff, but wasn’t putting my whole self into the process.

Hmmm…at that time I was doing many instructional posts and of course writing in my own voice as I usually do.  But to make a long story short, his perspective was that too many bloggers in our circle were just developing strings of content, without any heart and soul.  I realized that to some degree, this is what I was doing.

So I started to learn to blog, not just about my niche, but to blog my brand.

My brand already involved helping others learn about blogging and social media.  But now, I increasingly put myself into my brand.

I developed more and more exchanges about things like what works and what doesn’t for me.  Where I’ve succeeded and where I’ve failed.  I talked more about myself in the context of what I was teaching.  And I started revealing more about my life and my personality, on my blog… but also on in social media, where people came to hang out with “me,” not just my content.

So lets explore this a little bit more.

How Do You Blog Your Brand?

Your Blog:

Always write content for people, not for the search engines. Use personal stories in your content from time to time.  Stories are a great way to illustrate things you have accomplished, failures you have endured, breakthroughs you’ve made and similar things.

This will show your readers that you are a real person!  Branding yourself this way let’s you step into the context of what your blog is really about… front and center.  It offers a “real person” contrast to the steady drumbeat of great content that your readers have come to expect.


“A picture is worth a thousand words,”

It’s your story in constant evolution, in graphic images.

How are you branding yourself with the pictures on your blog and your social media sites?

Are they friendly? Do you post pictures of yourself regularly on social media?  Don’t forget, your blog is the “hub” of your online presence.  But it’s not the whole “wheel”.  The “spokes” of the wheel are your social media sites.  They are extensions of your blog, and they greatly enhance it’s ability to build relationships with your readers.

I post images and photos regularly to my Facebook profile and page.  Sometimes I’ll post a goofy pic, just to keep my image real, and avoid appearing “aloof” (I still can’t get over that constructive criticism).  I get more likes and comments on the silly ones than on any other pictures I post.

I also like to share pictures that reveal snippets of my life, real and spontaneous.

Images are a source of a growing engagement that carries over into my blog, and even into my information products and coaching community.

They show that I’m a real and approachable person, as well as an authority and leader in my niche.

Here’s one I shared recently…

Blog Your Brand



Posting videos of yourself  “face to camera,” or even screen captures with your voice-over is a great way to blog your brand.  If you’re shooting a screen capture instructional video, try inserting an intro clip of yourself, before moving into the actual tutorial.  This will personalize it, and again, contribute to your branding.

Everything I just told you about photos and images also applies to videos.

So I won’t repeat it here.

But even more, it lets people see and hear you in a way that not even photos can achieve.

Here’s the type of video you can put on your social media status, or blog, to help people get to know you.  I put this one on my Facebook Page a few weeks back… It’s less than 1 minute… but it does the job rather nicely, don’t you think?

Again, it’s about getting to know YOU, not just get information.

Blog Your Brand From The Mountaintop

The more people who see and hear you, the better they will see you as a person they’d like to associate with.  So why not post your photos and videos all over the place?

Whenever I go to a blog and I don’t see a picture of the author, it confuses the heck out of me.  If there is a logo, it doesn’t stick in my mind like a photo of the blogger does.  Does that happen to you?  I’m much more drawn into the content of someone whose face I can see.  You can rationalize this all you want, but the fact is, people simply relate better to people they can see and hear, than to an inanimate logo, no matter how good it is.

Hey I am the most camera shy person in the universe.  But when it comes to business, I know my picture needs to be out there for branding.  Don’t believe me?  Let me share a story with you, especially if you’re camera shy.

Years ago in my offline profession, I had thousands of post cards made up to send to my list of clients.

When I opened the box from the printer and saw my photo on it, I cried.  Then I got angry and threw them down into the basement.

Please…this cannot be me!  I look terrible and I don’t’ ever want anyone to see this picture.

That was my state of mind.

But it started tugging at my sensibility.

I realized that no matter what I thought of the photo, introducing myself graphically would a good move for my business  After a year of spider webs making their home on those boxes, I shook them off and hand wrote the addresses to my clients.

Not only did business increase ten fold, but everyone who received this post card just loved the photo… and told me so!

I smiled, thanked them politely while grinding my teeth.  And I got over it!

So, if you are as camera shy as me, just do it!  Don’t make the mistake I made by waiting a year for business to boom.

Get out there and blog your brand from the mountaintop, with a steady photo and video sharing strategy.

Your Business, Your Brand

So that’s it, blogger.

You need to brand yourself so people can feel comfortable with you, and want to be part of what you’re doing… whatever it is.

No matter what kind of self-conscious hang ups you have, get over them because time waits for no one!

You are your business.  You are your blog.

You need to let people see who you really are, “warts and all.”

They need to get to know you, not only through your writing and marketing, but by gaining glimpses of your life and your personality.

Start blogging your brand today.

Just be who you are and you will attract a following!  Better yet, you will attract those who will like you and want to be part of what you’re doing.  

They’ll always hold a “picture” of you in their mind.

This will not just get them to remember and recognize you, but it will go a long way to having them build trust with you.

Your Blog Is A Sales Funnel

I welcome your comments on this post.

How do you feel about this?

Did you learn to blog your brand today?

Have you given previous thought to what your personal brand is?

Do you agree with me that your personal brand is at least equally important as your content?

Go ahead and give me your honest opinion in the comments below.  I really want to know.

Then take the challenge: get out there and “blog your brand.”

Donna Merrill
Donna is a well known blogger and creator of "Blogging Magic" - an intensive guide to blogging. "Blogging Magic" is for beginners who are trying to figure out how to bring their blogs to life with tons of visits, comments and social media interaction. It's even for advanced bloggers looking to reach new levels of authority and engagement with their audience.

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120 Responses to Learn To Blog Your Brand

  1. Akash
    October 15, 2014 at 3:52 pm #

    Hello Donna,
    Its glad to be here. This is my first visit but I saw your comments but where but cant remember.
    As i m a begginer the post help me alot for my blogging feature.. Blog Bookmarked. 🙂

    -Akash Kumar Sabat
    Akash recently posted..3 Reasons Why Bloggers Need an EMail NewsletterMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill November 1, 2014 at 4:59 pm #

      Hi Akash,

      Welcome to my blog and so glad you liked this post. You say you found me through a comment and that is always good to know.

      I always teach my students to leave a good comment because people will resonate with you and eventually come to your blog.

      You are proof of that and I thank you.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..The Perfect BlendMy Profile

  2. Gillian Wright
    October 14, 2014 at 3:59 pm #

    I am so happy that I came across your blog post about having videos and images of ourselves on our own blogs Donna. This is something that I struggle with but reading this post as shown me how important it is to build your brand by posting images and videos. I will definately make it a goal to create a video for my blog even though it is way out of my comfort zone lol.

    Thanks again

    Gillian Wright recently posted..Can You Be A Work At Home Mum ?My Profile

    • Donna Merrill October 15, 2014 at 4:03 pm #

      Hi Gillian,


      You are not alone when it comes to making videos and posting pictures of yourself on your blog and social media.

      Hey, you read my story and how I just hated to do this. But business is business! We have to find ways to overcome ourselves.

      When I look at the camera, all I see is a friend now. That’s who I talk to so it can be a video on my blog for higher ranking purposes, or even a webinar….which still gives me the jitters sometimes.

      Good luck with it and make it a point to overcome that fear!

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Joint VenturesMy Profile

  3. Deborah A. Ten Brink
    October 6, 2014 at 8:32 pm #

    Donna, I have read through this post twice. You gave me quite a bit to think about! From my 30+ years in business, I find I’m at my best over the phone, or when writing to express myself. That means video is not my first “go to” tool! I’ve written and set up many videos for clients, so you’d think this would be easy for me wouldn’t you?

    But, that is not the case. I realize that it’s all in my thought process. I don’t have fear and I have plenty of experience to share, I think it’s just me feeling self-conscious. I truly think I have to just pretend the camera is a friend of mine that needs my help. That should do the trick! 🙂

    Thank you for such insightful ideas.

    Deborah A. Ten Brink recently posted..Your Recommended Branding ProcessMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill October 6, 2014 at 10:27 pm #

      Hi Deborah,

      Yes indeed! I think that pretending you are talking to a friend on camera works. It takes a while to rid yourself of that self-conscious feeling.

      The way I did it was to do a video a day for 30 days, even if I just deleted it. They can be “bloopers” at first, but it is all about getting used to the camera.

      Till this day, I can rip myself apart…My hair doesn’t look right, I should have worn different earrings, Oh that color does me no justice….but it is beyond all that.

      It is part of business. When people actually see us behind those words or a screen capture, they get a better sense of who we are and not really how we look. So dear friend, keep in mind that you are doing it for your business!

      Donna Merrill recently posted..List Building With Social MediaMy Profile

  4. Kyle Nelson
    October 6, 2014 at 2:04 pm #

    Hey Donna,

    Everyone would agree you have done a wonderful job branding your blog as your brand. I always enjoying visiting your site because you have visuals that come with your content. I need to start doing videos on my site. I am no way at all camera shy, just have a hard time getting points across at times in front of a camera. I think itll just take some practice. But once I open up on video people will be able to know me better and my brand will boast more on my blog. Thanks for the tips!
    Kyle Nelson recently posted..Are You A Morning Person?My Profile

    • Donna Merrill October 6, 2014 at 3:06 pm #

      Hi Kyle,

      Thanks so much! Yes, videos on our blogs do receive more attention and can spread out more virally.

      When you put it up, people get to know like and trust you so much better because they see the real person behind those words!


      Donna Merrill recently posted..List Building With Social MediaMy Profile

  5. Karen Peltier
    September 29, 2014 at 5:45 pm #

    Hi Donna. I definitely agree with you that you need to “put yourself” into your blog and that your brand is equally as important as your content. I also have to admit that this is something that wasn’t immediately evident when I began blogging! It is something that I began learning on my own by observing other successful bloggers. And I would say that it is something I’m still tweaking. So it’s great that you are shed some light on this important concept. I wish your article was around years ago when I began blogging. It would have saved me some struggles. 🙂
    Karen Peltier recently posted..DIY All-Natural Lavender Hand Sanitizing SprayMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 29, 2014 at 6:03 pm #

      Hi Karen,

      Every blogger comes into their “own” and it does take time. Branding is one of those things that new bloggers don’t even think about, unless they had proper training.

      Keep tweaking….that is something that never ends does it? lol.

      I look forward to see you on video in your blog!

      Donna Merrill recently posted..List Building With Social MediaMy Profile

  6. David Merrill 101
    September 29, 2014 at 5:05 pm #

    I do love the way you twisted the “brand your blog” phrase around, Donna.

    People think they start a blog, and then they have to figure out how to brand it… as if the “blog” is what’s most important. It’s not.

    Your brand should be your utmost concern. Blogs come and go. Most bloggers change their blogs completely multiple times.

    But your brand will follow you forever. What you put out on the internet seems to have found eternity.

    I’ve seen lots of different ways that people try to build their brands, and I have to agree that nothing is as powerful as video. It really puts you in the “same room” with your audience, and creates an instant bond that goes way beyond anything else.

    I’m glad you’re challenging people to start using video more. It’s probably the single best thing they can do to build the brand of they want for themselves.
    David Merrill 101 recently posted..Do You Want To Rank Page One On Google?My Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 29, 2014 at 6:01 pm #

      Hey David,

      Absolutely, Your brand will follow you wherever you go. We can change up our blogs, or even change the entire motif, but branding is what people see on our blogs and on social media.

      I do have to agree that there is nothing more powerful than videos. It is like being in the same room with your “audience.” It can only take a one minute video to do the trick!

      Donna Merrill recently posted..List Building With Social MediaMy Profile

  7. Amiti
    September 29, 2014 at 7:05 am #

    HI Donna,

    I see i am not the only to really enjoy this post. I am going to have to agree with you 1000% regarding the use of images, video, and all other types of rich media (Slideshares, infographics, etc). In today’s world, and the pace at which we live our lives, one key to successful branding is getting the message across in a clean and insightful way without making readers/clients/customers have to really think about what your message is as a brand.

    I think the right dose of passion, effort, and gut can help any blogger and online business pro. brand like a top brand.
    Amiti recently posted..6 Simple Tips to Increase Visit DurationMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 29, 2014 at 3:56 pm #

      Hi Amiti,

      It is necessary to have a short video, our own images, infographics, in our blogs and in social media.

      It sure does brand us when people are exposed several times of who we are and what our brand is.

      Yes, I agree it does take the right dose of passion, effort and especially gut to help bloggers become a pro and brand like a pro.

      When it comes to “gut” you have caught the essence of what it takes to brand yourself and get out of the comfort zone many are in.

      Have a great week ahead!

      Donna Merrill recently posted..List Building With Social MediaMy Profile

  8. Shelley Alexander September 28, 2014 at 10:41 pm #

    Donna, Your post really resonates with me because I have been rethinking tweaking the branding of my blog. When I first started my blog and company I came from the business world and felt I should create a business logo and build my brand around a company rather than me. Now that I have been blogging for several years I realize that my brand is me and this needs to be reflected in everything that I do and share. I am going to be making some major changes next year to reflect this. I also want to do videos too. I started doing live events this year and connecting with people in person and I love the positive energy and opportunity to share my passion for healthy cooking and living in a much more personal way. I am going to take your advice to heart and I have to say that I adore the personal information that you share on your blog and social media because it really allows your beautiful personality and spirit to shine!
    Shelley Alexander recently posted..Flat Belly Raspberry Lemon Detox WaterMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 29, 2014 at 12:09 am #

      Hi Shelley,

      I am so glad you are going with your name instead of a logo! I love to read your blog because you have the most fantastic healthy information about food on there. Plus…I’ve tried some of your recipies and they are fantastic.

      I even purchased your book!!! Your passion for cooking shines through all that you do.

      I would love to see some videos of you actually preparing food. What a treat that would be!

      Thank you so much for you kind words!

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Take The Next StepMy Profile

  9. Rachel Lavern
    September 28, 2014 at 7:00 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    Re: “He explained to me that I wasn’t sharing with passion or conviction. I was just teaching stuff, but wasn’t putting my whole self into the process.”

    That statement could have been written by me. I have taught for years and find that I just have a certain demeanor when I am teaching 🙂 It also explains why I do not enjoy reading most blogs any longer no feeling–just boring facts–which can be downright painful to read.
    Rachel Lavern recently posted..Are Tolerations Draining Your Energy?My Profile

  10. Andy Lockhart
    September 28, 2014 at 3:19 pm #


    What a great article about blogging for your brand. You cover it very well and brining in the need for pictures and video is excellent. Thanks for sharing this. Andy
    Andy Lockhart recently posted..Is the Urchin Annoying you?My Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 28, 2014 at 6:18 pm #

      Hi Andy,

      Bringing pictures and especially videos really helps to build your brand.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Take The Next StepMy Profile

  11. Willena Flewelling
    September 28, 2014 at 5:10 am #

    Your example about people going to a famous chef’s blog rather than reading the same recipe on my blog… makes me think of children and stories. A child would far rather listen to a story read by his mother than by a professional story reader. That’s a generalization, but true for the most part. Even though Mom is not as good at reading or story telling, hers is filled with the warmth of love, familiarity and security.

    I need to think about this some more, but I like what you said, and I know it’s true.
    Willena Flewelling recently posted..Believe You Can 100 Day ChallengeMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 28, 2014 at 11:11 am #

      Hi Willena,

      Thank you for that wonderful analogy! It has added so much value to this post! When it comes down to it, that is the essence of the message here.

      As long as people are attracted to us, we become their go-to person. We cannot have crazy amounts of numbers, but rather, good quality people that like us for who we are.

      That’s a beginning of a beautiful relationship with others.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Take The Next StepMy Profile

  12. Nathaniel Kidd
    September 28, 2014 at 1:42 am #

    Hi Donna,

    This article really hit home. Learn to blog your brand is a very catchy title and I had to see what you meant. I love it! I am a huge fan as you know and I am not sure of how far you have come over the years as it relates to your blog because I have been knowing you only a short time, but I can say I surely see your personality in every blog post I read or video I watch.

    I learned a lot today. It definitely will make me mindful of why people actually come to our blogs for information. I do get it that they really have options to get that information many different places, but if we truly “blog our brand” they will be more interested in visiting us often and receiving the information from us.

    As you stated, it is about getting to know us and not just our information. I thank you for this wonderful wealth of information!
    Nathaniel Kidd recently posted..What is Frugal LivingMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 28, 2014 at 11:08 am #

      Hi Nathaniel,

      I am so happy that you found this helpful to you. Your feedback of what you learned today is great…now you just have to apply it…that’s the hard part!

      There is so much information out there in internet land that we have to create a way to stand out of the niche we are in. Branding ourselves, to me is the best way of all.

      I like your brand “The Frugal Soldier” because it is spot on of who you are, where you have been and what you are accomplishing.

      You always give great content on “Frugal Living” and I know that when I visit your blog, I always pick up a tip or two 🙂

      I love your brand because saving money is making money!


      P.S. How is the videos coming along? ((wink))
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Take The Next StepMy Profile

  13. Donna Merrill September 27, 2014 at 9:41 pm #

    Hi Nick,

    I always love to chat with you on my blog and social media. You do always make me laugh. Thank God I met you! You always make me smile.

    Yes…you got it! He expected something else and it is not my problem he he he. But I do take things into consideration when people tell me some thing. Some times it is a good thing, but we are still friends because we talked to each other with respect.

    As for this blog..branding! You my friend are your brand. I always know that when I go to your blog there will be something for me to learn from. I loved it when you did the series about your life. If that’s not branding I don’t know what is. And you done so to teach us how to overcome things. A good lesson for all of us.

    And yes you did mix me up a bit but that is because your hands are on the keyboard and not waving in the air he he he. I’m Italian too! Sometimes when I do a video I have to sit on my hands because all people will see is my hands waving all around. You understand!

    Thanks so much Nick,

    Donna Merrill recently posted..Take The Next StepMy Profile

  14. nick catricala
    September 27, 2014 at 8:03 pm #

    Hey Donna,
    whats matter with you ? I am an artist, those are my hands gesture as a true Italian talking with his hands hahah 🙂

    Branding.. wow, what a nice topic you chosen to get all of us going.. I have no idea what the guy was thinking or what he really want to convey to you.. but I must say.. everyone has their own “ways” to see things and some how when we put down into words.. the meaning can be different all together.

    My take is that he expected something different from what he read in your blog and so he wanted to let you know, but instead of first asking you why you wrote what you wrote in that blog.. he went ahead and blobbed out whatever he did and it may have not be what he really wanted to convey to you .. yes, that is my take 🙂

    Now for your great blog that you have here.. wowoow, this is a true professional lesson that we should pay very close attention since you went into the deep needy greedy to share what truly is branding and what blogging is truly all about…

    Please do not ask me if I am branding my self… I have no idea what is that yet.. but I can only say that whatever I write is from my self and I.. and love it.. so in case anyone fb me.. he or she will get a very simple answer.. and that is.. if you do not agree or you do not like what I write or how I write, please share with me how can I do better.. love to learn 🙂

    That will end the discussion since not many who FB about this, know what really they are looking for.. if they are, they would not FB about it as they did with you.. hope I mixed you up pretty good so you keep smiling 🙂

    Thanks so much for all you do to support others in what ever way you do it my friend.
    nick catricala recently posted..How do you handle conflicts in life and business?My Profile

  15. Erika Mohssen-Beyk
    September 27, 2014 at 7:16 pm #

    Hi Donna ,
    your post is like always excellent .
    I like it ,you are right and you are
    a good example for all.
    I think people want to know
    about the person behind the blog
    and with a logo it is difficult to
    build a relationship and trust.
    It is good if we show more of our self
    and get known as a real person.
    Thank you
    Erika Mohssen-Beyk recently posted..We Are What We Think – Ways Of ThinkingMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 27, 2014 at 9:34 pm #

      Hi Erika,

      Yes, I always get confused with logos. After a while I can get accustomed to them, but they are sure difficult when I want to share content from a blogger with them. Especially, if the blogger has no connect with me buttons and a face of him/herself on the blog.

      Sometimes I have to search and search in order to share content on the social media.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Take The Next StepMy Profile

  16. David Bennett
    September 27, 2014 at 9:52 am #

    Well, unless you have had a personality change there is no way you seem aloof. And yes, your photo does make you seem much more of a person and a brand – and it’s a very friendly brand.

    The thing that helps me the most is that fact that you got a private insight from someone you know. I think there is an opening there for a group to give exactly this kind of frank feedback to each other. They don’t have to be ‘right’ – they just have to be people that trust each other.
    David Bennett recently posted..A Photo Essay: After The Scottish ReferendumMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 27, 2014 at 1:05 pm #

      Hi David,

      No, I didn’t have a personality change he he…but I do consider feedback. In fact I like it so I can be on top of my game.

      In this case, we have reached an agreement and even made closer friends with each other.

      No, they don’t have to be “right” but I like it when people make me think!

      Thanks for stopping by,

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Take The Next StepMy Profile

    • Marcel Spitz September 28, 2014 at 10:29 pm #

      I agree, while branding it is also very important to keep in mind not to over brand.
      Thanks for reminding me.

  17. Marcel Spitz September 27, 2014 at 7:01 am #

    Hi Donna.
    You are very right, one needs to do more than just blog everyone does that don’t they?
    You hit the nail on the head when you speak about blogging and branding
    Great blog you have here.
    Will be back to read more.
    Enjoy your weekend.

    • Donna Merrill September 27, 2014 at 1:02 pm #

      Hi Marcel,

      Welcome to my blog. Indeed, as we blog we need to brand ourselves all the time. Not overtly, but as long as we use our unique talents and put it on the table, it will do the trick.

      Enjoy your weekend as well,

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Take The Next StepMy Profile

  18. Enstine Muki
    September 27, 2014 at 6:55 am #

    Well, I have always heard of “How to Brand your Blog” and today I saw something difference in title and thought to read it, well, amazing, you have given the concept really well Donna, I really liked it and I am surely going to implement it all in my personal blog as well.
    Enstine Muki recently posted..Clash of Clans for PC Download available on Windows 7/8My Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 27, 2014 at 1:01 pm #

      Hi Enstine,

      So glad you liked it! It means a lot coming from you! I wrote this piece because it’s what I do and if something works for me I like to share it with the world.

      I know you are branded well already Enstine! You are one of the most fantastic bloggers out there.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Take The Next StepMy Profile

  19. Miriam Slozberg
    September 26, 2014 at 11:57 pm #

    Thanks so much for a great post Donna. You really put a lot of effort. And I agree, don’t blog just to get high search engine rankings. You need to stand out in your niche, be influential and that is what I tell my clients who are overly concerned about only SEO. Blogging your brand will help you get to that point!
    Miriam Slozberg recently posted..How you Can Turn a Competitor into a Potential ClientMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 27, 2014 at 12:58 pm #

      Hi Miriam,

      I honestly don’t know when that SEO factor is going to stop people from wasting their time. Things have changed so long ago (internet time) that just being ourselves, giving good content, and find a way to stand out in our niche is all it takes.

      Of course, we do need to have visitors to our blog, but it takes the blogger the effort to go out there and comment on blogs, Reciprocity will come back!

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Take The Next StepMy Profile

  20. Julieanne van Zyl September 26, 2014 at 7:21 pm #

    Donna, I refuse to believe that you’re camera shy! You’re a natural on the camera – seems like you are just chatting to me from next door. I agree about the branding, it makes a huge difference on a Blog.

    Whenever the subject of branding comes up, I think of a Blog that’s been hugely successful for about 10 years now – it’s called “Manalos Shoe Blog” He writes in the 3rd person, and is quite funny the way he talks about shoes. He doesn’t have a photo of himself, in fact I don’t think anyone knows the real him – he uses a persona, and does a fantastic job. Before I saw his blog, I didn’t think shoes could be so interesting!

    Thanks for a great post Donna!
    Julieanne van Zyl recently posted..Use a Sales Funnel to market your businessMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 26, 2014 at 9:50 pm #

      Hi Julieanne,

      Yes, so true, I really am camera shy, but I got over it. But..each time I have to do a live webinar I do get butterflies in my stomach. Stage fright? Hmmmm might be, but I press on and do what i need to do.

      Thanks so much for sharing “Manalos Shoe Blog” I’m going to check it out!

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Take The Next StepMy Profile

  21. Marquita Herald
    September 26, 2014 at 3:40 pm #

    You know Donna I have to say that you are the very last person in the world I would call aloof. The comment that you shared is an excellent example of perception but fortunately you were able to use it to your advantage. If you don’t mind I’d like to add my two cents in the form of an example from an author’s perspective because if there is one thing authors have an abundance of it’s opinions on how we should conduct our business.

    Last year I got my first negative review – stab to the heart! The reviewer accused me of using quotations in my book as filler. Okay so it wasn’t a horrible review but nevertheless even though I have always used inspirational quotations in my writing I took it to heart – so much so that I immediately revised the book and took out every single quotation. One day (one day!) after I republished it I received an email from a reader telling me she owns every one of my books and how much she loves the inspirational quotations. Yes, I put them back – so much stress and time wasted because I had a knee jerk reaction.

    This was a huge lesson for me – no matter what business you are in, no matter how hard you try, you will never please everyone. Yes, feedback is important but the key is to know where to draw the line. It’s a valuable skill really to learn to pick out the valuable bits and pieces and let the rest go.

    As to your point about branding. I can honestly say I am a bit anal retentive about that subject. I keep spreadsheets of my writing to make sure that everything from blog posts to articles to my books represent the brand I’ve been crafting for myself. In fact 4 times last week I was referred to in various articles and forum discussions as “The Resilient Living Coach” and I about peed myself I was so excited!
    Marquita Herald recently posted..What Have You Learned Today?My Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 26, 2014 at 9:45 pm #

      Hi Marquita,

      What a fantastic share! Only goes to show, can’t change things up just because one person said something. Those knee jerk reactions get us in trouble all the time lol.

      And only one day after you have received feedback that your quotes were loved! That only taught you that big lesson. We cannot please everyone all the time. That’s a given isn’t it?
      But we can please some of the people some of the time.

      Feedback is important, but quality feedback from someone that genuinely cares about your work. But in the end, you have to weigh decisions.

      Congratulations on your brand “The Resilient Living Coach” – only goes to show that you have done a good job branding yourself. Now run for the Depends lol

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Take The Next StepMy Profile

  22. Arleen
    September 26, 2014 at 11:05 am #

    Donna- As you know I sell promotional products for people to advertise their brand. When I first started blogging I was afraid to use my face because of having my identity stolen.The reaction to my blog was poor. I finally decided to take the leap and put up my picture and it is interesting how things change. I am not only getting comments, but I feel like I have built relationships and friends. The really is that I am my business and not just another site on the internet. How can someone relate and trust me if they can’t see me. This was a great article.

    • Donna Merrill September 26, 2014 at 11:19 am #

      Hi Arleen,

      I’m sure glad you took that leap! Never make a decision out of fear is what my motto is. If someone is going to steal your identity they will weather you face is there or not.

      I found myself on niche sites endorsing whatever product. Someone swiped my video, cut it and made it sound like I was selling a product. Dumb luck the way I found it, but when I reported it the site was down immediately.

      It is so great that you are building relationships and friends. It brands you with trust. Whoopie!

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Take The Next StepMy Profile

  23. Jenni Ryan
    September 26, 2014 at 10:07 am #

    Excellent article Donna. I love that you give so much value in your posts and that you are real and write from who you are. I am a big fan of people who are authentic and show who they are and keep it real. I find your blog a great resource for blogging. Thanks for another great post.

    • Donna Merrill September 26, 2014 at 11:16 am #

      Hi Jenni,

      Many thanks! I don’t know how to be any other person but me. I have an attitude that If you like me fine, if not that’s fine with me too!

      I try to give content to help others, and if it does I am thrilled. If not, hey, maybe they can tell me a thing or two he he.

      Thanks for your kind words,

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Take The Next StepMy Profile

  24. William Earl Amis, Jr. III
    September 26, 2014 at 4:20 am #

    Donna, once again you make blogging easier!

    I wondered when someone would give us such a clear insightful view of finding our voice. Yes, there are lots of lets say “Techie” blogs. More Social Media. Yet, I find most boring and can not keep my eyes open?

    Then, I found a couple of people from various walks of life. They, walk us through even the simple things. The way an adventure unfolds. That is how we speak when telling a story. That is what amazes me with bloggers.

    We have to be unique, like yourself. It brings us back being hungry for more. I love the way it is simple and natural. Just write the way you would tell an exciting story. You can make brushing your teeth,exciting.

    Thank you Donna for years of dedication. Keeping us on our toes, per say.
    William Earl Amis, Jr. III recently posted..Be A User, Not A Sales Person?My Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 26, 2014 at 11:14 am #

      Hi William,

      When it comes to Techie blogs, one can just fall asleep or get so interested in it because the writer will tell you their story of simple how to’s and Why!

      I like to keep things simple. If someone visits my blog and can take away something to enhance themselves..I have done a good job 🙂

      Yes, we are unique and must display that in our blogs and on social media.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Take The Next StepMy Profile

  25. Liz Delaney
    September 25, 2014 at 9:51 pm #

    Thanks so much for this terrific post Donna. I have never thought you came a cross as aloof. (just saying) When I feel comfortable reading a blog post such as yours, it makes it so much easier to settle in and enjoy the read. branding myself is an ongoing process…slow and steady as I am such a private person. However, I am ‘getting over myself’ more each day.
    Thanks again.
    Have a great weekend.
    Liz Delaney recently posted..Tuesday Tips – Positive Self-Talk Peps You UpMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 26, 2014 at 11:42 am #

      Hi Liz,

      Yes…me as aloof? he he he “not my monkeys, not my circus” It was the reader who had different expectations. I was at that time doing a tutorial series, so it wasn’t about that warm fuzzy feeling, instead it was more facts. Oh well, at least we reached a good communication point.

      Most of us like to keep our lives private, and should! But little snippets that we can share to “brand ourselves” carries a lot of weight.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Take The Next StepMy Profile

  26. Don Purdum
    September 25, 2014 at 7:10 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    Could you have said any better than this: “You are your business. You are your blog.”

    Too many are just throwing content out there, most of which is uninspiring, and just hoping it works. Sounds like you went through a short bout yourself of that?

    I have always felt that if you’re going to have a blog and brand, people ought to know what you stand for and why you do.

    That’s where you discover your voice and people then are interested and want to engage with you as a blogger.

    I always try to incorporate a story or an illustration into an article. People identify with others and when you’re educating them stories are powerful for the mind. It helps them follow your thoughts and progression.

    I remember when I was in Seminary and I was in my fourth semester of public speaking my speaking coach used to say to us; “tell a story, bring it to life, make your point through it and drive it home less they forget you before the speech is even over.”

    As critical as storytelling is in a speech, I think it may even be more important in writing. But, the genre and style of writing has a lot to do with that as well.

    I really appreciate that you brought out identifying with a person. How important and critical is that? Something as small as picture. WOW! So true.

    In addition to a picture, I will many times try to include a short video as well. Sometimes people want to hear and see it, not just read it. Video can say more faster than written words sometimes.

    Donna, your article is a HOMERUN!!!!! Thanks for making me think of myself as a brand, not just my company.

    I hope you have an incredible evening and finish to your week!

    ~ Don Purdum
    Don Purdum recently posted..Why I Don’t Worry About SEO for My Business To Business WebsiteMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 25, 2014 at 8:07 pm #

      Hi Don,

      Indeed “You are your business…You are your blog” Great title for this post! I too see many people throwing content out there with no plan in mind. “you gotta have a plan!” lol

      I did learn that the hard way years ago when I first started blogging and I do think that new bloggers face this issue all the time. The fail to realize their blog is their brand and it is them not the company they represent!

      Thank you for adding some flair to this discussion with your share of public speaking while you were in Seminary school.

      Yes indeed, people love stories. I do believe we are hard wired that way….think about it. Before people read and learned how to write, there were those “story tellers” teaching others…even the troubadour in the middle ages. Fascinating to me that we still have that genetic coding of remembering a story or a song.

      Hey, maybe I’ll sing my next blog…no…just kidding he he he

      So glad you liked this article Don, and have a great finish to your week too!

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Take The Next StepMy Profile

  27. Bruno Buergi
    September 25, 2014 at 1:19 pm #

    You are right Donna, you have to brand yourself as a blogger. When you share your personality, people can better connect with you and I also think, they start to watch closer to what you write and say.
    Bruno Buergi recently posted..The Importance Of Focus When You Start A BusinessMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 25, 2014 at 7:48 pm #

      Hi Bruno,

      How nice to connect again! When it comes down to it, no one is going to brand us but ourselves. We need to do it on our blogs as well as on social sites.

      I enjoy seeing you on Facebook sharing your wonderful pictures of where you live and travel. That brands you having a wonderful lifestyle.

      Keep up the good work!

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Take The Next StepMy Profile

  28. Donna Merrill September 25, 2014 at 12:00 pm #

    Hi Sue,

    I admire your experience in the industry. You have done so much with speaking and touring plus running other businesses. You have so much knowledge under your belt.

    Your videos are fantastic! They not only provide good content, but they are warm, genuine and inviting. When I watch you on camera, my knee jerk reaction is this is a classy woman who knows her stuff and wants to share it with her heart and soul.

    Keep up the good work!

    Donna Merrill recently posted..Take The Next StepMy Profile

  29. Sue Price
    September 25, 2014 at 5:30 am #

    Hi Donna

    You “aloof” ?? I guess I know you too well so I can only see you from my respective but I have always thought you are a fun warm person. Feedback is good but mostly it is about “them” and not us – as you know.

    Having said that I said to you recently there is a whole new layer of you surfacing in the brand Donna so I get you.

    For me I do a lot of videos as you know and I am actually very comfortable now in front of the camera. I have been in front of audiences live for so much of my life I got over myself long ago in that respect.

    Writing is different for me. Coming from a stuffy professional background to blogging has been a big shift and I think I much stiffer in my writing than my videos – but maybe that is just how I see it.

    Great advice and I love the Donna brand.

    See you tomorrow maybe??

    Sue Price recently posted..The Right Mindset for Success in an Online BusinessMy Profile

  30. Yorinda Wanner September 25, 2014 at 1:23 am #

    Hi Donna,
    I like the examples you are giving in this comprehensive post.

    Being more out there with our conten makes sense and I am sure that people will do that as they grow more confident about. You are certainly providing great encouragment along the way.

    Thank you for sharing this.
    Yorinda Wanner recently posted..Turning self-defeating Beliefs into Empowering QuestionsMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 25, 2014 at 4:07 pm #

      Hi Yorinda,

      So nice to see you again. I try to encourage people as much as I can on my blog. Glad you liked the examples given.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Take The Next StepMy Profile

  31. Alan Jenkin
    September 24, 2014 at 3:49 pm #

    You gave me a lot of food for thought there, Donna. I can see many ways to improve my blog, such as:
    . writing more personal stuff (I tend to keep this for Facebook, etc.)
    . using more personal photos (same thing)
    . using personal videos (have not taken the time to do this)
    Those three alone could keep me going for a while!


    Alan Jenkin recently posted..Increase Website Traffic and Gain Customers – Part 5My Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 25, 2014 at 11:38 am #

      Hi Alan,

      Nice to see you again. Out of the three things you mentioned, I would say that putting a video on your blog will raise your reach out there in internet land.

      You have done your series. If you do another, put in one minute videos in it and you will attract more people to your blog…just a suggestion lol

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Take The Next StepMy Profile

  32. Donna Merrill September 24, 2014 at 1:50 pm #

    Hi Erik,

    You are absolutely correct when you say that your brand and reputation should precede you!

    If you have done videos on your Youtube channel for skydiving, it would be so easy for you to do a tutorial, or a chat.

    A one minute video on your blog can do the trick plus it gets more eyeballs on your blog.

    Donna Merrill recently posted..Take The Next StepMy Profile

  33. Erik Emanuelli
    September 24, 2014 at 5:31 am #

    Hi Donna,
    great post and solid suggestions!

    You are Your brand and your reputation should precede you.

    I always tell myself I need to start recording videos, like tutorials and guide.
    I’ve a YouTube channel, but I’ve dedicated it to my skydiving videos.

    Thanks for sharing such interesting post.
    Have an awesome week! 🙂
    Erik Emanuelli recently posted..Twitter Chat : a Complete Guide for a Powerful Marketing ToolMy Profile

  34. Nanda Rahmanius
    September 24, 2014 at 3:59 am #

    Hi Donna,

    That’s my weakness, I think.
    I have not thought about my brand or something like that. I just share what I learned, something that I think other people should know. I don’t want to just myself who know about something. That’s what I think of when creating a piece of content. 🙂

    Nice article, Donna.
    Thanks for sharing this with us.

    Nanda Rahmanius recently posted..5 Easy Tips to Help You Write Great HeadlinesMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 24, 2014 at 1:44 pm #

      Absolutely Nanda,

      As we create our content we do so for others. The more we give the better. Here I address the issue of using pictures of even videos in the content.

      When using a video, even as a screen share tutorial, it will boost the content of the blog because Google loves it! 🙂

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Take The Next StepMy Profile

  35. Chery Schmidt
    September 24, 2014 at 1:07 am #

    Hello Donna, This was such a great article my friend and as you well know I do Blog My Brand.. LOL But no I haven;t always been this way either. Yeppers it did take a friend of mine to open up my eyes as well.

    Thanks for sharing.. Chery :))
    Chery Schmidt recently posted..6 Tips To Improve Your Communication Skills With Your ProspectsMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 24, 2014 at 12:58 pm #

      Hi Chery,

      I do know you market your brand very well my friend. You are effective at it as I see you on the social media platforms, never pushing, but always giving and engaging.

      Job well done!

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Take The Next StepMy Profile

      • Chery Schmidt
        September 25, 2014 at 12:01 am #

        Hey Donna, I did have to come back to comment on your comment. The main reason I have been Successful is because I have been keeping my eye on a few people with in the B3 Community the past few years and YES My Friend!!

        You do happen to be one of them.. Thanks for all you do Donna, I to see you every where and can honestly say I Love to see you engaging with me..

        Have an Awesome Weekend Coming up!! Chery :))
        Chery Schmidt recently posted..6 Tips To Improve Your Communication Skills With Your ProspectsMy Profile

        • Donna Merrill September 25, 2014 at 3:39 pm #

          Hi Chery,

          Love those people on B3! And you my friend are one of them I follow to. I too see you all over the place and enjoy engaging with you.

          Sometimes on the social platforms you bring laughter to my day and I appreciate that.

          Donna Merrill recently posted..Take The Next StepMy Profile

  36. Ravi Chahar
    September 24, 2014 at 12:49 am #

    Hi Donna,

    Brand is not just the name of any company, blog or even you. Its something you need to build your own. If you want to have a reputation as if people should recognize you and your blog with your name then you are a brand.

    I always try to find out why people are focusing at their reputation? I mean though I try the same but still you know brand matters a lot.

    When I started my blogging journey I was not aware about anything but with the passing of time I know what I should provide to my readers.

    Like you have mentioned that for branding maintain your blog as if your readers are the only priority. Writing for your readers is the best way because many bloggers think only about SEO which is not a good stuff always.

    Images and videos add extra value to any blog. Bloggers should add relevant images in their blog post so that their readers can get some encouragement.

    You have written an amazing article like always.

    Hope you are having fun today.:)

    Ravi Chahar recently posted..How To Change WordPress Category Slug And Edit Names?My Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 24, 2014 at 12:51 pm #

      Hi Ravi,

      Indeed, writing for readers is the only way to go! The SEO days are over, and I never really written for SEO purposes because the content doesn’t flow.

      Images and videos do add extra value. Especially when we put a small one minute video in our post. It does have a good effect so people can see us … how we talk, our body language, etc.
      Just another way for them to resonate with us.

      Plus it does help with Google’s pat on our backs lol.

      Thanks for coming by,

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Take The Next StepMy Profile

  37. Brittany Bullen
    September 23, 2014 at 11:56 pm #


    You’re so right, as always. It’s funny, I do so much teaching about how to make your content useful and appealing (read: less like a journal) but it makes sense that once bloggers get used to doing things that way, their content could go too far in that direction and lose the important personal touches you mention here.

    Isn’t it the worst when people don’t have a photo of themselves? I can’t stand that either. Or worse– I know some bloggers who don’t even use a real name! Let’s get real here– privacy doesn’t really exist online.

    Case in point (not that this is related all that much, sorry) but I recently heard from a friend that my name and photo had been taken and used as part of a really graphic porn site. Will that force me to take my name and photo off of the internet? Nope! I choose to ignore it and trust that no one who really matters to me or my blog will ever come into contact with that grossness.

    What do you think? Have you ever had your name and/or photo used inappropriately?

    Brittany Bullen recently posted..The Crazy-Simple Secrets to My Life’s Biggest SuccessesMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 24, 2014 at 12:44 pm #

      Hi Brittany,

      You have raised an important issue…Privacy doesn’t really exist online! So what’s the use of trying to hide? If someone wants to get your information they sure will. Happens all the time.

      Yes, the worst thing is to go to a blog, not see the name of the author, nor their picture. My oh my…my first response to this is “not a trusted site” Then if I try harder to find out who they are and cannot, I just walk away.

      And yes, I’ve heard stories about what you mentioned. People do swipe our photos and videos and will use them on other sites. A porno site? I am sure that people will see that it is photo-shopped in. I have the same attitude as you.

      I once had a friend tell me I was pitching some product which I had no idea what it was. I went to the site, seen that someone had swiped part of my video I’ve made,and used it to sell a product. Hmm…. I don’t know how I did it but I put in a complaint to Google…pure intuition, not a tech way…Within 5 minutes the site was taken down.

      I’m sure I’m out there promoting one thing or another but I really don’t care. What goes around comes around and I leave that up to God.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Take The Next StepMy Profile

  38. Barbara Charles
    September 23, 2014 at 11:06 pm #

    Hi Donna.

    Good post! You know why? Cause I’m camera shy! That’s what sticks out to me the most. I hate using video although I’ve been told a million times it brings more hits, more traffic, more interaction, however I hate it…just like you said…I hate the way Iook on video LOL! Ok, o.k., I’ll get over it. Next post. 😉

    I love that you talk about putting yourself into your post and accentuating your brand. I had the same ephiphany when Adrienne told me (years ago now) that my blog was boring. I learned to write real quick and put more of me into my blog.

    It takes a blogger to come into their own. I know I still struggle with what my brand it. I think that’s half the battle…then you can brand yourself and your blog.

    Anyway…great post.

    • Donna Merrill September 24, 2014 at 12:45 am #

      Hi Barbara,

      I remember that so well when Adrienne told you your blog was boring. Since then you have successfully changed it up.

      I just cannot image you being camera shy as we talked so much on our Google+ Hangouts lol

      Yes, it does take a blogger to come into their own. I know your struggle will be short lived as you focus on your brand. But I think it is getting closer and closer.

      To your success,
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Take The Next StepMy Profile

  39. Sherman Smith September 23, 2014 at 9:24 pm #

    Hey Donna,

    I hate to say it, but this is something I feel that I’m weak at. Yes I can teach in my blog and tell a couple of stories, but i do believe I can add a little more of myself with my blog and on social media.

    You know the sad thing is that I don’t take my own pictures whenever I go out dancing. I’m either in a group picture or I just happened to be in the background. And you know that taking selfies is the thing now, but I don’t really do that. I took one when I was at our fair drinking coconut water, but that was just it. It’s not that I have a fear of taking pictures, I just never think of it LOL… But this is going to have to change.

    Probably my biggest fear now is doing a video. I have done a couple of videos but never on a consistent basis. I told myself that I was going to do a 30 day video challenge, but that never went through. I think for now, I’m going to take more pictures and just work my way up to doing videos! This will definitely add a little “mmph” to my branding!

    Thanks for sharing Donna!
    Sherman Smith recently posted..5 Attractive Topics To Start Building Your Email Lists And Improve Sales Conversions Through Your ContentMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 24, 2014 at 1:01 am #

      Kudos to you Sherman!

      Whenever I see your pictures with you dancing I say to myself “Hey there is Sherman! He loves to dance” So the next time you are dancing give your phone to someone and tell them to take some shots of you. You just may find a good one to put up on social media.

      Who can resist someone having a good time? It will brand you as a person behind your business and I’m sure you will get tons of comments.

      Oh video…Everyone so far on this post is getting a little to shy and it is making me think to host a video challenge for 30 days! I want to see you guys have videos in your blog.

      It takes a one minute video like the example I gave above to boost your ranking, so why not do it?

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts,

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Take The Next StepMy Profile

  40. Neamat Tawadrous
    September 23, 2014 at 8:19 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    Absolutely love how you explain things here and you keep me hooked to the end of the post!! I never get bored here.

    You are so right about sharing ourselves as our brand. I am trying to put myself out there more as I am guilty of that myself.

    I am a big camera shy too and I need to face that challenge. To make the introduction video on my home page, it took me several takes to just contain myself. LOL!!

    Thanks Donna for a great lesson and I sure took some notes and I need to move outside my comfort zone and put myself out there more. Have a great week ahead.

    Be Blessed,

    Neamat Tawadrous recently posted..How Powerful Is The Impact Of Words?My Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 24, 2014 at 12:41 am #

      Hi Neamat,

      Lovely to hear you don’t get bored and you are hooked to the end of the post! What a great compliment..I thank you.

      I know that feeling quite well. Take after take, and then boom… The good thing is that you have taken action.

      I suggest you do a video a day…only one minute will do. Do it for 30 days straight…and no worries..you don’t have to post them. Just get used to the camera.

      It worked for me..I know It can work for you too. It is so difficult, especially for women because we need to do our hair, make up, etc. But when you get used to it, you won’t be so self conscious.

      To your success!

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Take The Next StepMy Profile

  41. Mark
    September 23, 2014 at 5:41 pm #

    Really great and practical advice Donna!

    After all, if our readers don’t first buy into us, what the heck are they going to buy into!

    I really like your story about the way you initially felt about having your picture on your cards.

    Who can honestly say they haven’t had the exact same feelings about initially including their picture on something as an individual or doing an in front of the camera video of some kind.

    But as you pointed out,simply by adding that personal (human touch) element to both our blog posts and whenever we do any type of in front of the camera video.

    We tend to connect to our target audience on a much deeper and far more personal level! As opposed to those marketer/bloggers that do not!

    You’ve shared (as usual) some extremely powerful and practical real world (positive results generating) advise! Thanks!
    Mark recently posted..Ever Notice How Really Successful Entrepreneurs Seem To Have These Same Seven Critical Traits!My Profile

  42. Karmakar
    September 23, 2014 at 3:52 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    Really amazing article… You have just reminded about my MBA classes on Branding… 🙂 it was 9 years back and frankly speaking I have almost forgot about them.,.

    I have worked in Fortune500 companies… Believe me… Now, people do NOT talk like this during the annual meeting… It was always “Numbers”… If you have higher numbers then you are “Branding” properly…

    At least that is how it goes in India… 🙂

    For example you always get 100+ shares for your posts… So the question I should ask myself:

    1. Is higher social shares creating Donna’s Brand?


    2. How her efforts to make her Brand increasing her social shares?

    I think I have got the answer in this post…

    Karmakar recently posted..GASP is a must have WordPress PluginMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 23, 2014 at 5:26 pm #

      Hi Karmakar,

      It is all about number here too in the US….the more numbers the more brand when it comes to those Fortune 500 companies.

      Did they catch on yet? I do see that some have. I watch them closely because I like to see how those big companies are doing things.

      I do see many mistakes and it just makes me laugh sometimes. Then I see a huge company making a big hit on twitter! For example look what the new apple 6 phone has done. People flocked the marketplace to buy a phone they probably could have done without.

      Even I got the urge to run out of my home and trade in my Iphone5. But wait..why? I’m a fan of their brand and when they do a launch I don’t want to miss out. But hey, realistically do I really Need that new phone? Not at all. But I did learn a lot from their strategy!

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Take The Next StepMy Profile

  43. Adrienne
    September 23, 2014 at 2:26 pm #

    Hey Donna,

    That guy said you were aloof? Really? Now that’s surprising to me too because I’ve never felt that you came across that way at all and not even before I really knew you. It’s it funny how others perceive us to be?

    I of course agree with everything you’re sharing here and even will all the people who have come online today and those making a name for themselves, they had do it from coming from behind the computer and sharing more of who they are with their readers. That’s how we connect with people and that’s where we are the ones to decide if they’re someone we want to learn from.

    It really irritates me still to this day when I land on a blog and there is not only no picture of the owner of that blog but no name either. I’ve come to the conclusion finally that I can’t save the world so I don’t waste my time sticking around there. If they need help then I hope they’ll ask but if not then I’m moving on.

    I got a big chuckle on you and not liking your picture taken. I would have never thought you were like that at all. Now as you know, I really have no one around me to take my picture plus I sit behind my computer a lot so there isn’t a lot of sharing pictures going on. The only ones I do have taken are usually of the entire family and they aren’t too keen on me sharing all of those all over the web so I try to respect their wishes. Mom isn’t the best picture taker anymore, she can’t seem to take a clear shot these days and as we both know, Scott’s no longer here to do that and he was my picture taker. Oh well, such is life.

    I haven’t shot a video in awhile and I know I should do more. Maybe I’ll consider doing more of those but it’s not like I don’t have plenty online at least.

    Thanks for those recommendations and for the lessons. Great ones by the way and we all should be taking notes.

    Enjoy your day my dear and thanks again.

    Adrienne recently posted..How To Get 1,000 Shares Per Blog PostMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 23, 2014 at 3:06 pm #

      Hi Adrienne,

      Aloof…I never considered myself to be that way, but when a person tells me something in a nice way, I do have to stop and consider what I am projecting. In the end, I realized that he was “expecting” less information from me and more personal stuff.

      The personal stuff I choose to share is all over Facebook lol. Me, my dogs, sometimes even being goofy like the picture above. I was scared climbing that rock, but I just had to do it. It was a “Ta Da” picture because I have overcame my fear of falling down he he.

      I’m glad you got a chuckle out of how I’m really camera shy… I am, but whenever I’m in front of a camera or video, I do it for business.

      And I do agree, when I go to a blog with no picture, no name, it makes me crazy!!! How the heck do I know who I’m talking to so I move on also.

      I think you share plenty of great personal pics Adrienne. I just love seeing your dog! I’ve seen some videos you made with screenshots and I am in love with your accent as you well know! Now all I need to see is your delightful face and beautiful smile. Just go in front of your camera of your computer and start. A one minute video of you would be a pleasure to see on your blog.

      Just say’n ((wink))

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Take The Next StepMy Profile

  44. Carol Amato
    September 23, 2014 at 12:32 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    Very nice article, and I feel it’s helpful to beginners because a lot of folks don’t understand branding and the different kinds, and how to go about establishing themselves as an authority.

    I think being transparent and sharing our personalities in our content is essential if we’ve chosen personal branding, and even for those that have chosen company branding or product branding.

    I agree wholeheartedly that putting yourself in the center (not as main topic but as ‘coming from my personal perspective’) of the content being shared is critically important in establishing brand and increasing engagement with readers. People connect with people, not companies.

    Pictures DO really help in allowing people “in” where they can really connect, and videos are the absolute best! I love to do videos, and will be doing more – absolutely!

    I think videos allows the most engagement and folks really get to know us, like us and this build reliability and trust. I couldn’t agree more! 🙂

    I had to chuckle at your example of using a postcard with a picture of yourself you didn’t like. I do this every time I have a face-to-face camera video. LOL

    We definitely need to keep our brand front and center, and I appreciate your article – it’s valuable and will be sharing with my friends.

    Talk soon,
    – Carol
    Carol Amato recently posted..Add Style to Your Content with Skitch by Evernote and PixlrMy Profile

  45. Tim Bonner
    September 23, 2014 at 12:25 pm #

    Hey Donna

    I’m grown into blogging my brand. It’s not always easy but I’ve definitely found my blogging voice over the past year or so. It’s almost like you have to let go of your anxieties and just go for it.

    Now the big problem for me is video. It’s a big fail on my part. I bought a camera and meant to start doing videos over a year ago but never have done. I’m planning to put a video on my Start Here page when I finalise it. That’s where I’m going to start as I mean to go on.

    I have used a few images of myself and kids on my blog, particularly on my About page but I generally don’t put them up on social media other than my personal Facebook account.

    I definitely don’t blog for search engines but I do try my best to get them to come and have a look at my blog :-). I sometimes use personal stories but more so in my email marketing these days.
    Tim Bonner recently posted..Tools I Use To Improve Search Engine RankingMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 23, 2014 at 2:24 pm #

      Hi Tim,

      I have seen the changes you have undergone, especially during this last year. You sure have found your blogging voice!

      When it comes to videos they are so important for people to see. As you know, I am camera shy, but no one picks that up. It is because I do it for my business and have had to remove all self conscious emotions.

      I think a video will work so well on your “Start Here” page for branding purposes.

      I too don’t blog for search engines but rather for my readers. I do use Yoast to see if my post is ok and it gives me some kind of push to change words around. If that green light doesn’t go on and I am satisfied with my post I just put it up anyway lol.

      I too, have been writing more for my email list than my blog so I do know how that feels.

      Love the changes you have made!

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Take The Next StepMy Profile

  46. Nisha Pandey
    September 23, 2014 at 7:59 am #

    Hi Donna,

    Wonderful post indeed.

    Yes, you are very true. Image can speak more about our brand and can grab more attention, keep us engaged everywhere. I love to post me and my family’s picture to facebook. Facebook is more user friendly than other social networks.

    Videos makes vital role in branding. Videos can boom our brand and online visibility. Yes, I am agree with your point that my personal brand is at least equally important as my content.

    Thanks for the wonderful tips. It makes me learn the importance of my brand today.

    Have a great day ahead!
    Nisha Pandey recently posted..10 Best Blogs that will Make You a Tech EnthusiastMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 23, 2014 at 12:24 pm #

      Hi Nisha,

      Yes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Putting up your post of you and your family on Facebook is a great idea.

      People see who you are, how important your family is to you and will be able to resonate with who you are. It is so helpful when people can see that and know who you are behind your brand.

      You are spot on when you mention that your personal brand is as equally important as your content.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Take The Next StepMy Profile

  47. Jackson Nwachukwu
    September 23, 2014 at 7:24 am #

    Hi Donna,

    You are at it again! Another wonderful post to read over and over again. Branding is a great way of standing tall in a crowd. It’s what most successful bloggers have used to distinguish their blogs from every other blog.

    I really like your strategies of doing a better branding. Starting with ones’ blog is a great way of doing branding. They type of content you write, how you write and format it and so on. I have a couple of bloggers whose content have a unique appearance in terms of formatting. The font they use in most cases spells things out even before reading.

    Coming down to images, it’s one of my best when it comes to branding both my blog and the content on it. For instance, I blog about worth blogging which means I need to expressly position myself as a brand to the people I am teaching or sharing knowledge with. They need to see this guy both in image and in writing to determine at first hand if he is worth their readership.

    The very first impression I want to create is to make sure every single visitor or reader that stumbles or visits my blog will feel at home and also get to know who they will be interacting with. This produces faster result in terms of blog engagement coupled with the quality and reader compelling content you produce on your blog.

    I have not really been into video blogging, but it’s one of the options I am willing to invest in soon.

    About the question you earlier on asked “I sometimes wonder what people think about my brand? Do they like it? What do they think of me personally? Am I friendly? Helpful?”

    The answer is very simple – you are awesome, you are friendly and above all you are helpful!

    Thanks for this wonderful article on branding Donna, I will be sure to share this.

    Have a wonderful week ahead.

    Jackson Nwachukwu recently posted..Traffic To My 3 Weeks Old Blog In One Step ~ No Google, No Social Media!My Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 23, 2014 at 12:16 pm #

      Hi Jackson,

      You have done a great job with your blog. When I first came to it, I did have the feeling that I “will feel at home” You have crafted your blog this way and the first impression I got was an emotional response to it.

      Sparking an emotion for your readers is a very difficult task to do, but I think you are a natural. You write not only helpful content, but most of all you write For People! I can see that your heart is in the right place all the time because you sincerely care about others.

      This is the essence why I became a follower of your blog. It was more about my emotional reaction! My first impression was “Here is a guy who really wants to make a difference in people’s lives” Now that is fantastic!!!

      Thanks so much for answering my questions. I wanted to get some response to this post. Even if it was a negative one…I wanted my readers to give me feedback.

      Thanks for being so helpful!

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Take The Next StepMy Profile

  48. Angela McCall
    September 23, 2014 at 12:36 am #

    Hey Donna,

    Beautiful post. 🙂

    I could never imagine you being the camera shy. You look beautiful on the camera. Also you look great on videos!

    So guess me putting my personal photos on my About Me page, just being honestly ME sharing my failure as much as my success is okay then. I thought I was being too personal.

    That’s how I am with Facebook, I posted a lot of personal photos of me and my family. I’d rather post my own photos than other images. I notice many times when I post my own personal photos, more people are commenting on my Facebook. However, on Google+ it is strickly just business. I don’t really engage much there as much as in FB.

    Anyway, thanks for posting an awesome article. Have a great week!

    Angela McCall recently posted..What is Blogging?My Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 23, 2014 at 12:08 pm #

      Hi Angela,

      Yes, putting your personal photos on your About Me page is a fine idea. Sharing your failures and how you overcame them is something people resonate with…so yes..it is a good idea.

      I see you on Facebook all the time and it is screaming branding! You are doing a great job with it. I love seeing you there and yes, when we post personal photos, we do get more engagement.

      I do it all the time myself and see that reaction also.

      I remember when you first started your video challenge…now you are a pro! I just makes me happy to see you.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Take The Next StepMy Profile

  49. Moumita Ghosh
    September 23, 2014 at 12:30 am #

    Hello Donna,

    Indeed a nice post. I am big fan of your blog, because of your writing style. I always find a new solutions of my queries from your blog. Our blog is our voice. We need to blog what we learn, but without rehashing. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful article.
    Moumita Ghosh recently posted..5 Super Solid Tips to Make Your Content More SharableMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 23, 2014 at 12:05 pm #

      Hi Moumita,

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I would love to see a real picture of you instead of the cartoon one! lol

      I don’t mean any disrespect, nor do I want to be critical. But the reason I say this is because many bloggers won’t allow a gravatar of a cartoon figure on their blogs. Yep…its true. Having your own real picture of yourself will further brand who you are and build the trust factor to others.

      Just a thought….

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Take The Next StepMy Profile

  50. Reginald
    September 23, 2014 at 12:24 am #

    Hey Donna,

    Excellent the write. For me I think it is very important to have a brand. If you want to be successful, you got to build a brand.

    It doesn’t matter what name it is but it is always good to have one from the beginning.

    You don’t want to be chicken running without heads when you are up there in the charts!
    Reginald recently posted..9 Social Media Marketing Failures You Must AvoidMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 23, 2014 at 12:02 pm #

      Hi Reginald,

      Yes, we need our brand and have to stick with it not only on our blogs, but take it out to the social media.

      We need to have a face behind our brand. People like to engage with other people…just human nature. This is why it is important to brand ourselves!

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Take The Next StepMy Profile

  51. Sylviane Nuccio
    September 22, 2014 at 8:53 pm #

    Great post Donna,

    I have to tell you that within the past few months I have indeed noticed an improvement in your posts. The quality and the involvement of you in them, so I see what that reader meant.

    Your post is a great reminder that just writing stuff is not enough, we need to be involved fully in what we write.

    For example me, I’ve hardly written anything but 2 or 3 posts since Sophie passed away, because my heart is not fully in it, so, when I feel this way, I’d rather skip it. That’s why last week I skipped my personal development post, as this type of posts need me to be totally in it.

    The way we express ourselves, really brands ourselves, indeed, and we need to pay attention to that.
    Sylviane Nuccio recently posted..5 Top Ways For Writers To Make Big Buck Online And OfflineMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 22, 2014 at 9:44 pm #

      Hi Sylviane,

      It is so difficult to put your heart into writing a post especially while mourning Sophie. I rather back off than share content that my heart and soul wasn’t into.

      Yes, writing stuff is not enough…we need to put ourselves into it as well. I’m wishing you a good recovery because I know how well that feels. I still miss Sheba!

      Although it has been months since I lost her and I know it was her time, there are moments when I just loose it.

      It takes time and you need to take some time out to grieve. We will all be here when you get back into action.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Take The Next StepMy Profile

  52. Nile Flores September 22, 2014 at 7:01 pm #

    I definitely blog my brand. I remember when I first went to WordCamps, people were saying, “oh, I recognize her, she’s Blondishnet.” Others would say my name. I kind of got stuck on it and eventually even though I do have my name, it’s 301 re-directed to Blondish.net. Would it make a difference if I changed it? Maybe consider the years I’ve built it and have links in the WordPress Codex too.

    The important thing is to be solid in who you are and what you want your brand to stand for.
    Nile Flores recently posted..When Leaving the Internet Marketing Lingo At the Door Is BestMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 22, 2014 at 8:36 pm #

      Whenever I see Blondish.net I think Nile!

      Please don’t ever change your hair color lol! It really brands you so well. I wouldn’t change it if I were you because of the years we are all used to it.

      Also, I see your pictures on Facebook and know who you are, what your blog is all about and that brands you well.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Take The Next StepMy Profile

  53. Susan Cooper
    September 22, 2014 at 6:36 pm #

    This is a popular subject lately. I wonder if it is a shift in thinking of late that people don’t just want advice, but want to feel as if they have a relationship with the person from whom they are getting that advice. It’s no longer enough to be spitting out great content while using a logo or avatar. Kind of reminds me of the wizard behind the curtain in the Wizard of Oz. You just wonder who is back there behind that blog anyway. We want to know the real person.

    • Donna Merrill September 22, 2014 at 7:50 pm #

      Hi Susan!

      Great point! It does feel like the wizard behind the curtain in the “Wizard of Oz” when there is no picture of a person.

      It makes it so difficult to engage with a business name, rather than a person. I like to see who I’m connecting with and the more I see them in pictures and especially videos, the better I can resonate with that person.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Take The Next StepMy Profile

  54. Sue Bride
    September 22, 2014 at 4:54 pm #

    Talking about images and branding is timely for me as I just found a blogger on two social networking sites because of his image on his blog. Doing a search showed up multiple people of the same name (with different additions at the end). Without knowing what he looked like I wouldn’t have known which ones to choose.

    I’m trying to follow your example and personalize my blog posts more as I do a lot of tutorial type posts, which I know could get tedious. Just because I’m enthusiastic about my topics it doesn’t mean that others will be unless I bring in my own enthusiasm.

    I tend to be on the wrong end of the camera and don’t get many of me but I’ll try and get more taken in various locations – although then you’d see how silly I can be 🙂
    Sue Bride recently posted..PAC Power Into Your Blogging BuzzMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 22, 2014 at 7:41 pm #

      Hi Sue,

      I know what you mean when trying to find someone and many come up with the same name. If it was not for his image on his blog, you would never know who to choose.

      That happens over and over again with me too. I want to connect with someone and they don’t have a gravatar or picture anywhere….just a logo. I cannot find the person so I can properly syndicate their information on social media Grrrrrr

      Good to know you are bringing in your enthusiasm on your blog. I read your last post and it screamed “I’m enthused!” Great job.

      I would love to see some silly pics of you! When I post silly ones on Facebook, I sure get a lot of conversation going on!

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Take The Next StepMy Profile

  55. Andrew
    September 22, 2014 at 4:39 pm #

    Hey Donna,

    Great post. While I agree that blogging your brand is good and especially the use of pictures, I’m very hesitant when it comes to sharing so much photos online and on so many social media platforms.

    Only for the reason that someone took my image before and created a whole new identity with it. They were me but I didn’t know it. So that aspect of the thing you talked about is very dicey for me.

    What advice would you have to someone who’s faced that type of situation before? I mean I’m not afraid to do videos, even though I haven’t done it before but it’s just the whole personal pictures thing.

    What do you think?

    – Andrew
    Andrew recently posted..7 Actionable Tips You Should Use Today To Improve Your BlogMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 22, 2014 at 7:36 pm #

      Hi Andrew,

      The same thing happened to me a while back. Someone snapshot my picture and said they were me. Luckily I found the culprit in time… I reported them to Facebook and in minutes they were torn down.

      I had so may different “looks” of myself on every platform due to all the different hair styles I have I recently got professional shots done and now they are all in conformity.

      I slap my pictures all over the pace and it is a risk we do take in social media, but we are who we are and it is better to have people see me as I am, than not. Its all part of branding.

      If someone is going to create a new identity with our pictures they will, but the people who know us will come to our rescue quicker than they can get away with it.

      I just wouldn’t want anything like that to get in my way. I have a saying “never choose anything out of fear!”

      Hope this helped!

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Take The Next StepMy Profile

  56. Corina Ramos
    September 22, 2014 at 4:22 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    Oh my goodness I am definitely camera shy. That’s why I don’t do you tube videos although I have two great ideas for doing them. I know I just have to do out there and do it but I tear myself down with ‘I hate my voice’ I hate the way I look” tendencies.

    Thanks for putting this post together for us. I took some great notes here. I love the idea of sharing video updates on social media! I really need to get over my issues…I’m missing a lot of opportunities here!

    Great post as usual Donna! Seriously, aloof??? 😉

    Hope you’re having a great day!
    Corina Ramos recently posted..The Top Ten Types of Work-from-Home JobsMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 22, 2014 at 7:00 pm #

      Hi Corina,

      You sound like I was a few years ago. Yes, If I were you I would face the issue at hand. I had the same thoughts….I hate my voice…I hate the way I look….

      It is a woman thing more than anything else. Lets face it we see supermodels and anorexic women everywhere on TV to the grocery store magazines when we are waiting on line.

      If you can’t get over this hump, keep this in mind: You are not getting in front of that camera for you…rather you are doing it for so many other people. They need you and if you are on video, you will have a greater impact on those you want to help.

      Just do a one minute video…practice practice practice….it doesn’t have to be perfect! It can be a Facebook one just saying Hi, and when you do…I want to see it!

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Take The Next StepMy Profile

  57. Monisha Kapur
    September 22, 2014 at 2:23 pm #

    Hi Donna

    You’ve done it again, fabulous advice!!!!
    I don’t mind pictures of me and passing out my business card that has a picture of me. But videos? Yikes!!! However, you are absolutely right, what better way to communicate your brand to your customer than by video… I’m going to make it a point to add more videos to my blog!!

    Thanks Donna!
    – Monisha
    Monisha Kapur recently posted..What to Wear on A First Date (The “Non-Cosmo” Version)My Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 22, 2014 at 6:45 pm #

      Hi Monisha,

      Well that’s good news! As a suggestion, why not do a video a day for 30 days? It will help you get used to being relaxed in front of the camera. You don’t have to put them up on Youtube for all to see.

      Start with doing a video with your daughter…reading to her or doing a craft. You can even start by shooting a video for her…that will be relaxing.

      Then, start making videos for your customers. Look into that camera, introduce yourself and give us your fabulous smile…a one minute tip will do the trick.

      Hope this helps,

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Take The Next StepMy Profile

  58. Cararta
    September 22, 2014 at 2:12 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    Always get your shares in my Facebook News Feed.

    Blog yourself is a missed opportunity for most bloggers and “Wanna Be Entrepreneurs.”

    Since I don’t have a video camera or even a web cam (mine broke..not replaced) have a
    built in excuse for not putting ‘Me” in videos or on my blog pages unless I use the gravatar that I am using on this comment.

    But the real truth is, you are absolutely right about Blog Your Brand.

    Even if you haven’t yet developed your own product and are endlessly spinning your wheels trying to do Affiliate Marketing,

    I have found that most of the sales I do generate are from people who are “friends” on Facebook who have gotten acquainted with me from my comments on their posts and conversations on Facebook.

    Some have even liked my Fan pages where I tend to post videos and links to new things I have found.

    So,…guess I’d better get a webcam at minimum…cause my phone doesn’t make videos!

    Your reminders and Tips are always right on and this is another one!

    The page on my blog I have linked to isn’t a “Sales Page” but a talking to myself post about what needs to be done by a Blogger (me) to change direction and do something productive for a change!
    Cararta recently posted..Review: Dave Nicholson Says What are the Simplest and Best Ways to Make Money OnlineMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 22, 2014 at 6:42 pm #

      Hi Carata,

      In marketing, the more we “brand” ourselves the better…for the most part. It gets to the know like and trust factor.

      When people find us via our blogs and/or social media and we have an offer for them they are interested in, they will want to know who we are. So we share things about ourselves on social media…bits and pieces of our lives. What we have overcome, if we like gardening, and stuff like that.

      We can write all about it, but when someone sees us on a video, there is a different connection. We get to see more than words, but a real live person, with a little humor, some body language. It’s like being with a friend, talking over something with a cup of tea.

      Yes, I would get that webcam up! Even a one minute video is all it takes on your blog or on social media that will help you brand who you are.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Take The Next StepMy Profile

  59. Christi Johnson September 22, 2014 at 10:18 am #

    Donna…THANK YOU!! So many times, I go to blogs and just feel like I want to die of boredom. I don’t know if some bloggers are using outsourcers to write for them or what…but I LOVE to see some personality and passion when I am reading. Now…I’ll say that I never found that you had little or no passion when writing…

    …but your recent articles do stand out a lot from your previous ones. I haven’t found you aloof, either…but if you were and you have taken your friend’s advice, YAY! I love the change. It’s tangible, and I love it. But I have ALWAYS loved your work. 😉

    Keep it up, lady!! Great article!
    Christi Johnson recently posted..I Am A Mom Before I Am Any, Other RoleMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 22, 2014 at 12:41 pm #

      Hi Christi,

      Thanks so much for your kind words. You and I go back a while so you can see the growth over the years…yes just a few years, but online it equates decades!

      I too feel the same way as you do when I go to a blog that bores me to death! Even if I go to a techie blog, there is some personality to it and it makes it so friendly and easy for me to understand.

      But..when I go to a blog and it is like sitting in third grade, it is a task to keep my attention span and takes me a longer time to get through it.

      Thanks my friend,

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Take The Next StepMy Profile

  60. Harleena Singh
    September 22, 2014 at 5:29 am #

    Hi Donna,

    Awesome advice indeed 🙂

    You are SO right about all that you mentioned – YOU are your brand and your blog is what matters most to you, so put in your voice there! I know it doesn’t come easy for most people, especially newcomers, as we all have gone through that phase. But with time, once you start getting comfortable with your blog and yourself, you need to make that shift.

    We all love you for the way you brand yourself, have no doubt about that! I think it’s so important to have your voice in your posts, without which people, especially your readers won’t be able to relate to you. Yes, write for your readers, they want to hear the real YOU, not the Wikipedia kind of text (though sometimes we need that if it’s a research kind of post, but you can always add your own experiences to such posts too) – that’s what makes you unique and stand out from the rest.

    People best relate to the person behind the blog. Yes, the blog is there, but who is the voice behind it is what they seek. I am glad and so happy with the little community I’ve made at my blog, over time, and I am SO proud of all of them. I don’t have anything much to offer or give them, yet they come and share my posts, I remain so grateful to them for that as well.

    Loved your example of the cooking blog – yes, the way you put up your posts and interact with your readers is what makes you the real YOU, person behind the blog – that is YOUR brand. Ah…I still have to start with audios and videos, and have just got a lot more busy with the new growing community forum that it’s tough to take away time, unless I slow my pace or make it to once a week post schedule…but on my agenda for sure. And I love the way you are managing your Facebook – that’s your brand too 🙂

    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice week ahead 🙂
    Harleena Singh recently posted..The Aha!NOW Chat With Carolyn Nicander Mohr [Interview]My Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 22, 2014 at 12:37 pm #

      Hi Harleena,

      As you first mentioned, it doesn’t come easy for beginners. It takes time for us to be comfortable with our videos and pictures to brand ourselves. When a new client comes into my fold that is one of the first things I try to get them working on if they are a new blogger. Do a 30 day video challenge!

      What do I say? How can I do this? I just tell them to say anything, talk about your dog…it doesn’t matter…just do it as an exercise to get comfortable in front of that camera. They can always delete goofy videos!

      I wouldn’t recommend it if I didn’t do it myself years ago. Video is important especially on our blogs. And seeing someone talking…looking at their expressions and body movements will surely get people to resonate with them. Plus it is a great way to reach Google’s attention!

      We are our brand on our blogs and on social media. We need to share a bit of our lives with our readers and followers.

      I would love to see videos of you Harleena! But I know you are so busy with the fantastic growth of your blog and the community forum you have on it. You are doing such a fantastic job helping people. When I see AHA now I immediately see your face! You have branded yourself well my friend.

      Thanks for all you do,

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Take The Next StepMy Profile

  61. supreeth bharadwaj
    September 22, 2014 at 4:33 am #

    hey donna
    sorry i am late on your blog which already passed two blog posts because i had mid term exams,coudnt focus on blogging
    so coming to the point ,logo is the first thing you might want to do to brand your stuff, actually as you have said pictures depict everything we can type in a 1200 word post
    ok obviously the vip memebership is awesome but i dont have the bucks so coming week i will surely click on that button
    nice to see you again!
    you rock
    regards supreeth
    supreeth bharadwaj recently posted..5 Great tips to gain more email subscribers by your blog postMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 22, 2014 at 12:27 pm #

      Hi Supreeth,

      Your mid terms come first, so no need for apologies my friend. I just don’t know how you do it all! Classes and then blogging…you will go far I just know it in my soul.

      Using logos is great, but putting your own picture up around that logo many times will help your readers recognize who you are.

      It is a pleasure to see you again too!

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Take The Next StepMy Profile

  62. Ryan Biddulph
    September 22, 2014 at 4:01 am #

    Hi Donna,

    You are doing an AWESOME job of branding yourself.

    Ditto on this post. Dead on advice!

    I intend to do my best to blog my brand. I started Blogging from Paradise with a clear vision. I want to bring everybody with me. People who love traveling, and folks who don’t know they love traveling, but who’ll love it after being exposed to my brand.

    I want folks to feel they’re here with me, now, in Savusavu, Fiji, overlooking the bay and Pacific Ocean, 50 meters high on a jungle cliff.

    I inject my writing voice, my passion, my soul, my travel images, and my videos, and my eBooks into my brand/blog, and so far, so good. People are responding well so far.

    You saw and Liked on FB Donna – thanks for that! – that Chris Brogan just endorsed my 2nd eBook in the BFP series.

    Yes, he endorsed #1 and #2, which is so darn humbling for me, but it makes sense too as I know that nobody quite has a blog like mine, on earth, as it screams ME, and my brand, and because of this I am popping up on some big dawg’s radar.

    Thanks so much Donna 🙂

    Tweeting soon.

    Ryan Biddulph recently posted..9 Bloggers You Should Hire TodayMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 22, 2014 at 12:23 pm #

      Hi Ryan,

      You are the “Poster Boy” when it comes to this! You have accomplished so much with your “Blogging from Paradise” and bringing people to those exotic places you travel.

      I feel as though I’m in Fiji when I visit you these days. You show people where you came from and how you changed to live the life you want! You discuss how you overcame so many things in your life.

      You just about everywhere on the internet and it is well deserved my friend.

      Now following your example of doing this on your blog, writing your books and getting noticed by Chris Brogan who has just endorsed your second book….That’s the reward you reap when you are out there being your own brand.

      Don’t forget us when you are with those big dawgs lol.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Take The Next StepMy Profile

  63. Deborah Tutnauer
    September 22, 2014 at 1:09 am #

    Very very nice Donna!

    We are so beyond the age of soul-less content. Reader are savvy and overwhelmed by the “noise” both online and offline.

    True heartfelt authenticity shines like a beacon regardless of the topic of the content.

    When I decide to take the time to read something on a blog, I am looking for emotion and connection, personality and passion. (Wonder I’ve been landing here a lot lately!!)

    Though we are constantly connected in so many virtual ways, we tend to be even less CONNECTED than in days of yore. When I read something that is deeply real – from someone who clearly has stepped outside the walls and is sharing their essence – I feel touched, honored, and certainly interested.

    I’ve spent the past 5 years getting more and more clear on my personal brand.
    Who am I and why should you care? LOL!

    Honestly it took me awhile to get past the idea of needing to uphold a certain professional persona – due to all the fancy letters after my name and years of work in the very professional realm of hospitals and medicine.

    But when I finally let that go and began to write and portray all of myself – my depth, my humor, my growth experiences, even my sarcasm – people came. Clients can laugh at and look at themselves more easily when they see that I make mistakes – I have bad days – I am skilled at many things that can help them create an authentic entrepreneurial business AND I am real person just like them too!

    This is such an important topic Donna, and as you can see, one I could expound on for a long time! We’ll have to add it to the list of things we are going to talk about over that cup of tea.
    Deborah Tutnauer recently posted..How Does Your Business Garden GrowMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill September 22, 2014 at 12:16 pm #

      Hi Deborah,

      Yes, it does take time to go beyond that business persona and let ourselves just go and share who we are with the world.

      I can see how it took a while to get beyond your professional persona because you have done so for a long time. But you have those awesome skills and that can be put to good use in the internet world.

      So you let go…expressing your humor and growth experiences. And that my friend only makes our clients more comfortable seeing that we are equals…we all have growth experiences, but the only difference is if we act upon them or not.

      I’m a gal of action. I can write a book on how much therapy, hypnosis, and all other modalities I have been through to grow into my SELF. To be able to express who I am and even can post a goofy picture of myself for the world to see. Years ago, I could never do that!

      When I think back of the old Donna, I go into a belly laugh because that old Donna would NEVER post a picture of herself, and never do a video.

      But, through taking challenges, here I am! I took a 30 day video challenge and after that, I’m even comfortable to shoot a video without make up on. I do give myself a pat on the back for that one and it is well deserved.

      Each and every step we take to brand ourselves and break out of an old mold has to be reinforced. I used to keep stickers on my desk with stars. Each time I did something I was afraid to do I put a sticker on myself like a kid in pre-school.

      Hey, it is neuro-linked and it worked for me! I do get silly with myself, but it is all good.

      Thanks so much for your wonderful input on this topic and yes….lets add this to our list over that cup of tea!

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Take The Next StepMy Profile

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