This blogging and social media thing is easy, right?
Set yourself up with a free blog, have something you want to post about and off you go. Tweet about it, hook into Facebook and you’re flying. As easy as baking candy.
Whether you’re blogging about your career, your relationships or your candy-baking business, what most bloggers come up against sooner or later is how much “them” they put into their blog and their social media presence, and what they choose to hold back.
As Dan Schawbel mentions in his Generation Y personal branding book Me 2.0:
Personal branding is about unearthing what is true and unique about you and letting everyone know about it.
Trouble is, for a lot of people the ramifications of that statement are scarier than a sinister clown clutching a bag full of spiders.
In my own work with Gen Y, I’ve seen that the critical piece that’s missing from all the advice on social media and career branding is the inner game work that’s needed to throw yourself and your personal brand online.
It’s easy to start second guessing yourself — wondering who you really are and doubting your ability to bring it all together and write about it.
Here are five ways to build your confidence as a blogger, so you can confidently share yourself and your personal brand with the world.
1. Use your fear
It’s supposed to be scary. Don’t think for a second that those other people (the ones you think are doing it better or easier than you) never feel fear. Where there’s a new experience, a learning curve, a risk, or a challenge, there’s fear.
That fear isn’t there to derail you. It’s not there to stop you. It’s there to let you know that you’ll have to stretch a little bit.
It’s there to say, “Hang on to your hats and keys, we’re about to get going.”
So knowing that fear is part of the deal, the real question is — are you excited enough about your subject, your brand, and your ideas to go ahead with both the fear and excitement as allies?
2. Use your story
One of the very best assets you have is your own story.
Any branding, blog, article or social media effort becomes masterful, congruent and distinctive when you leverage your own story and your own experience.
That’s what makes you unique. Forget about “fitting in.” Use your story to talk about what matters to you, in the ways that make sense to you.
3. Use your voice
Don’t alter your voice to fit in with what you think people expect of you, and certainly don’t change your style in an effort to make yourself popular or appear to be an expert.
By all means think about your audience, but don’t fall into the trap of trying to please them all — you can’t write for every single one of them.
Instead, imagine there’s someone who’s a good friend of yours, someone who you trust and who fits neatly into the audience you’re reaching. Picture yourself talking with them one-on-one, and then write in that simple, genuine voice.
4. Use your instincts
Logic and reason can be powerful allies when going through a branding process, providing a structure to help you navigate through. But those very things can easily persuade you to follow a path that’s not one you particularly want to follow.
Trust yourself enough to use your instincts. Check in with what your gut is telling you about what you’re working on and what you’re writing.
Logic and reason are tools to help figure out some of the questions you have, but depending entirely on them is selling yourself short.
You have far more capability than you give yourself credit for, and that instinct of yours will always be there with insights that are worth their weight in gold.
You just have to trust yourself enough to listen.
5. Use your vulnerability
Your audience isn’t looking to connect with a tanned, toothy expert with a plastic veneer. While blog readers might look for authority on a given subject, it’s often just as important that they find someone they like — someone they can relate to and connect with.
Talk about your successes, but also talk about your screw-ups, your flaws, and your fears. Your vulnerability makes you human. Learn to trust it and there’s nothing that can hold you back.