I think I’m going to ramble a bit…
As a professional blogger and consultant, I take pride in my brand. My name, Deborah Ng, is my brand. My brand is also this blog network, Freelance Writing Jobs. I hope it doesn’t sound like a big load of ego to say that many people equate my name and my brand, with the freelance niche. Though I didn’t set out to have a heavy web presence, once I my reputation began to build I realized the importance of my name and my brand. I worked hard to get to this point and I’m very proud of my brand and what it’s become.
As much as I will do everything in my power to help them succeed and make names for themselves, the bloggers who write for FWJ aren’t as well known as the “Freelance Writing Jobs” brand. This has nothing to do with them or me. When you write for someone else, you’re paying more attention to their brand than your own.
In the past I wrote for many brands including b5Media, Oxygen Media and About.com. It wasn’t my name that stuck in everyone’s minds when they read my work, it was the brand. That’s not a complaint, I was happy to get my start with some well-known names. However, if you want to make money as a blogger, it’s important to think about whose brand is more important – yours or the people you’re blogging for. If the answer is you, think about how you can build your own brand while still earning money elsewhere. If you’re happy building someone else’s brand without being well-known, that’s OK too.
If you want to build up your name as a writer for someone else’s brand, you’re going to have to think about ways for people to remember your name above or in addition to the name of the brand. The last thing you want to do is overshadow the brand you’re being paid to promote. You’re also going to have to consider how your employer feels about you building up your own brand while being paid to build up his. I recently experienced that very conflict.
Very few bloggers make a name for themselves on someone else’s blog. I’ve blogged for enough people and businesses to know this is true. Blogging for other people pays the bills, blogging for you builds your brand (and can also pay the bills). Blogging for other people enables you to earn some of the money coming in from that blog. Blogging for yourself allows you take control of all of your blog’s income. Blogging for myself allows me to take this blog/network in any direction I’d like. Blogging for someone else has me going someone else’s route, and I may not always agree with where we’re headed.
This blog is called (and about) “Blogging for a Living”. I’d be doing you a disservice if I told you you’ll become a household name blogging for someone else. However, you can earn very good money as a blogger for hire. Not all bloggers make thousands of dollars each month with their own blogs. Not all bloggers for hire are “A Listers”. If you want to make money as a blogger, the first thing you’ll have to determine is whether or not you want to do so building up your own brand or someone else’s. You can do both, but then you’ll also have to be prepared the people who pay you to blog won’t like you spending so much time on you. Knowing where you want to take your name or your brand will help you to determine where to exert most of your energy.
If you want to spend more time building up your own brand, think about how you’re going to reach the people you want to reach and how to create trust and build a good reputation. Just as you want your clients to trust you, you’ll also want your community to trust you. Trust breeds success. When you blog for someone else, you’re working more to create trust with your client than your community. Hopefully as a professional blogger, you’re also building trust in your byline, but the community’s happiness is secondary to your client’s happiness. I once had a client who felt comments were too distracting and turned them off. She didn’t care about community, she cared about content. You’ll work for all kinds as a blogger for hire. Some bloggers enjoy letting an employer handling all the sordid details so they can just write. I prefer having the best of both worlds.
Tell us about your brand. Is your brand important or is it your preference to build up someone else’s brand? Do you want to be famous or are you happy enough to do your job, earn your check and enjoy the incognito life?