There have been moments in the past year that I wanted to quit my blog. My inner critic would tell me I wasn’t good enough to play with the big bloggers out there and I would tell myself over and over again the blogging world is oversaturated and in particular the mom blog niche. Instead of quitting, I took breaks, started blogging for Yoast and found my love for my blog and my writing style again. And it’s safe to say: people start to recognize my personal brand. How I did this and how you can achieve this too, is something I want to explain today. And the good news is: you do not need 10,000 followers on Instagram and 100,000 visitors on your blog!

Background and statistics

Before we dive into the world of personal branding, let’s go back to the article I wrote a few months ago about my goals and statistics. Maybe you remember me saying I wanted to reach 100K of unique visitors a month at the end of 2018. Although I still want to grow to these numbers, I am not working on growing that rapidly anymore. As a blogger, you do not (yet) need an audience that’s in the very high numbers. You need to make sure your base is strong and your engagement is high. How I came to this conclusion? Last week I was at a blogging event where I spoke to Cassandra, a blogger in my niche. She talked about micro influencing and about the importance of becoming a brand, instead of focussing on reaching the mighty and powerful 10K on Instagram ‘just’ for the swipe up function. And my head started spinning.

Personal brand – what is it?

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One of the most hyped, but also important, expressions currently is ‘personal brand’. In short, it means presenting yourself as a brand to the world. It’s what people see when they look at you, read something about you or hear from you. You want this image to be positive and true to who you are. I know that I’m seen as someone who works at Yoast, knows a lot about the plugin and SEO. But there’s more to that. As I give talks and workshops about SEO to bloggers, I’ve received comments about how people see me. And most of the time people know me for my love for Disney, my advocacy for self-care for mothers, Yoast, SEO, my sense of humor and the ability to explain things.

My personal brand is more than just my blog or my Instagram, it’s everything. On my blog, you won’t find many hints to Yoast, but on Instagram, you will. On my blog, you will find a lot of hints towards Disney, less so on my Instagram. Yet either platform is completely true to who I am. I mock motherhood and being an ‘influencer’ both on Instagram and on my blog and I definitely portray the importance of self-care on both platforms.

You should ask the same feedback from the people around you. Someone might say something you don’t particularly agree with, but it’s how they see you. Be sure to know what you want to be known for. If you do not receive that from anyone or not from everyone, then that means you’ve got work cut out for you!

Your personal brand helps you stay focused and unique

You might wonder where I’m going with my explanation about personal brand. There’s an important reason for it: knowing how the world sees you and how you want to be seen, will make sure your blog will stay or become more focused. If you know what you and your blog stand for, you know what your audience expects from you. If you, for example, wish to do a collaboration with a company, you should make sure it is in line with your brand’s values and reputation. For example, if you usually only share vegetarian dishes, it would be a bit strange to suddenly do a collaboration with a company that’s not vegetarian. Although you might still eat non-vegetarian products in your daily life, if your audience is not aware of this fact, your followers will be confused. Do this too often and you might lose your credibility.

The importance of micro influencing

I currently have a little over 700 followers on my personal Instagram. Although I too wish to grow my following, I’d find it more important to interact with my followers. My average engagement rate is 12.45%. According to Influencermarketinghub, the average engagement rate for accounts with less than 1000 followers, is 8%. I’m well above that and I take pride in this. It means my Instagram followers represent the people I wish to reach. Less is more and this is definitely the case in the world of online influencing. Although it might look awesome to have thousands upon thousands of followers, if your engagement rate is low and your following does not represent your blog’s audience, it might be even harder to be considered an influencer than someone with fewer followers, but a higher engagement rate. Because it means that the latter knows where his or her audience is ‘hiding’ and knows how to reach them.

So how would you grow?

Does it mean I don’t want to grow my blog anymore? No, not at all. I still want to reach a big audience. But I realize now that won’t last if I don’t take the route of commitment. If I don’t want to be forgotten in a few months, it means people should really feel connected to my brand: to me. By knowing what I stand for, I know how I should grow, not how I can grow. If this is a little too vague, let me make it a more clear with an explanation.

The kind of blog posts I write, are:

  • Blog posts about self-care, in particular, self-care for mothers;
  • Blog posts about motherhood with a personal twist, think of: things I can say at home, but not at work, the laws of motherhood outdoors and a tutorial on how to avoid changing diapers at all cost.
  • Blog posts about Disneyland Paris;
  • Inspiration interior blog posts, for example: Halloween decorations or an Ikea Hack;
  • Vegan recipes that are easy to make, because I hate to cook;
  • DIYs that are easy and fast done and still steal the show, in case it’s your mother in law’s birthday and you haven’t made a gift with your toddler yet.

I know I could reach a lot more visitors by competing with the bigger bloggers out there. I could write ‘how to’s’ and informational articles that have been written over and over again. This could be a business model or a part of your brand, that’s totally fine. But it’s not mine. I would lose my current following and would gain a new following. My current blog posts wouldn’t fit into that strategy and people will become confused about my personal brand.

By staying true to your brand with your articles and on social media, people will eventually recognize you and your brand. Although your biggest source of traffic might not come from Google for a very long time, your brand will be strong and depends on people rather than on algorithms.

I’m curious how you are maintaining your brand. Are you already working on your personal brand and if so, how?

Read more: Blogging: the ultimate guide »

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