My personal brand. As a Health Activist, you are a front-facing leader. What do you imagine you look like to your readers? What qualities do you possess. It’s ok to toot your own horn today – you have full permission to indulge. And don’t hold back.
If you found this blog through twitter, or are linked to me through any type of social media and have received more "updates" about blog posts than you would ever want to receive from any single person, then you know already about National Health Blog Post Month. Today's prompt is to consider your personal brand...what you imagine you look like to your readers, what qualities you possess, what you promise to your readers, and what you think makes your blog great.
If you are not a blogger or are a new blogger like I am, this may sound either self-serving or non-applicable. I am just staringt to see exactly why this matters, especially if you blog about health.
I mentioned in the last day or two (in one of the two blogs I'm participating in NHBPM with) that most of the health blogs I've gained the most from are ones with authors who have learned to get their work "out there". If they hadn't taken the time to do that, I'd be missing out on recovery tools.
These have been emotional tools, blogging tools, writing tools, specific health tools, and helping-me-remember-there-are-other-sick-people-in-the-world tools. Patient networking is invaluable, but probably becomes all the more essential the more rare your disease is. Although patients know best with common illnesses, too.
There is information posted by patients on-line that you will not find anywhere else. Really, truly, anywhere. I may over use this example, but if not for a Bell's palsy forum, I would never have known to be elated the day I woke up feeling like I'd been punched in the face. It was excruciating, but it meant I would probably soon be getting some movement in the paralyzed side of my face, which I did. I also may very well have needed pain medications, because I would not have known how miraculous moist heat is with Bell's related pain.
Networking is the next step that evolves as you realize you will get more out of all of this blogging and searching-on-the-internet time as you progress beyond lurking. And its OK to look at your numbers over and over and wonder who's reading as you try to decide what it is you're trying to accomplish. Are those hits all spam-bots? Real people? Patients? Real life friends?
The rest of the question
If you think of your online community, your blog, your site, your “presence” as a brand – what qualities and components do you present to your audience (your consumers)? What is your mission statement, your individual lexicon, your own style? What do you imagine you look like, as a brand, to your readers? What do you promise your audience and what should new readers expect? It’s ok to talk about yourself today and share what you think makes your message and your blog great – you have full permission (granted to you by the all powerful NHBPM) to indulge and get creative.
If you don’t think your brand really exists yet – what would you imagine it to be? If you could be a professional Health Activist, what would your business cards say? Why should patients or members of your health community read you? What makes your blog special and what makes you unique? What topics do you write about often and what major themes do you address?
Message: Healing can come from anywhere at any time. It can't be sold to you and it's not mind over matter in the pull-yourself-up-by-your bootstraps, just-tough-through-this way that soooo many people can't help but advocate to sick people. Paradoxically, healing can be miraculous and positive thoughts do make a physical difference. In that regard, we can sell healing to ourselves and to each other as patients.
I sold (or gave or foud) myself a slice of recovery through sea turtles....somewhere in me I believed that finding a sea turtle was going to be a first step in my recovery. I didn't say this out loud or even consciously realize it until I was with my kids beside turtles. Since then, finding in literature and in historical accounts the significance turtles have held in healing traditions for eons is really not any kind of a surprise.
I'm more than a bit scattered so far in tying all of that into broader topics and making my blog useful. But that is partly newness as a blogger and partly the pace of my recovery. Living life each day is part of recovery and I blog about that. I overlap more and more lately between my blogs but that's a good sign because it means the gap between what I see as my 'regular' life (Montana Momma blog), my sick-person life (Turtle Medicine), and my stuck-in-the-EEO process life (Bread and Roses) are gradually starting to become less seperate; less divergent.
I envision moving on in my life and getting to let Bread and Roses sit idle or mostly dormant, becoming documentation of something I dealt with in the past. The other two could probably meld now, but they would meld most smoothly if I were transitioning into writing about my life after illness. But even considering how positively I have reason to be viewing the future right now, coping with life as a sick person has to stay high priority.
Branding: I just don't know if I'm structured enough to build in that direction. I want to keep blogging as recreational as I can, but still find ways to evolve and grow. I like it that people look at my blog. But I don't know what to make of it. There aren't "followers" but there are people looking. I don't know how hard to work on changing that prior to knowing what it is I have to share.
Favorite Brands? Questions for the rest of you
If you have a brand, how long did it take you to really get going? What brands to people look to the most as patients? Are you mostly looking for human stories or expertise? What are the names that pop into your head first?
This post was written as part of NHBPM – 30 health posts in 30 days: http://bit.ly/vU0g9J
I am also participating in my Bread and Roses Blog