I’ve got a worksheet for you try out today, the Online You Sharing Spectrum. We developed it while working on our Personal Branding Braid ECourse – but I’m sharing this one exercise out of all the others – well, partly as a sneak peek into the course, but also I think this exercise in particular really helps creative entrepreneurs work through two things I’ve been noticing from our clients more than ever lately:
1. They all have this deep desire to more accurately and authentically share who they really are
2. But they’re scared
It can be confusing and overwhelming knowing what to share and how to share it when you’re at a dinner with friends – much less when you have the entire world at your fingertips. But I think nothing is more beautiful or powerful than getting to create an online space that’s so perfectly you, where you can capture, shape, and share who you are and what you’re all about.
I do believe getting clear on your boundaries and creating within your limitations will make you more comfortable, and creative, with genuinely sharing who you are online. Read on for the downloadable worksheet to start defining those boundaries, along with takeaway tips to begin more confidently sharing within those parameters.
Downloadable Worksheet PDF: The Online You Sharing Spectrum
Straight from our Braid ECourse Personal Branding: Blending Who You Are With What You Do, from anonymous, to all out there – see where you land on the sharing spectrum now, and where you’d like to be in the future. Then list out some specific boundaries – the things you absolutely will not talk about online, the things you’re perfectly comfortable posting about, and finally the things you would like to talk about but feel a little scared.
8 Tips on Sharing (and Shining) Online
You might even consider reading through these before you fill out your worksheet if you’re feeling stuck!
1. Sharing takes practice. Start small. You’re not immediately going to feel comfortable putting much of anything out there if you’ve never done it before. So test the waters with a Tweet or Instagram pic. Touch on topics before you dive into a full-blown essay on it. Sometimes a photo and one sentence will say more about who you are than a novel.
2. Find your tone. Lots of people tell you to find your voice but I’m betting you already have a voice. I think you should focus on finding your tone. Is it sarcastic, dry, sweet, rough around the edges, funny, serious, sincere, vulnerable, bold, sassy, quiet?
3. Learn how to listen. The great thing about sharing online is the instant feedback you get from your community. That feedback can come in the form of enthusiastic comments, “likes”, or even chirping crickets – those responses are valuable for helping you assess and calibrate what you’d like to share more or less of accordingly.
4. Your corner of the internet will evolve and change as you evolve and change. I think part of the fear of sharing online is how permanent it can feel when you hit that “publish” button. I find fascinating about the internet is how ephemeral and temporary, yet archival, it is.
5. It doesn’t always have to be deep. One of my most popular posts, to date, over at my personal blog was about my armpits. But guess who else is blogging about their armpits? No one. So even the little stuff can reveal lots about you and have readers thanking you for “keeping it real” without getting too terribly deep.
6. Your goal is to attract or repel readers. I think we get most scared of sharing when we are afraid of offending someone. But if you’re everything to everyone you’re probably watering down who you really are and what you really have to say. Jasmine Star won me over at Alt Summit when she said this about building a personal brand: “My goal is to either attract you or repel you”. When you share your authentic self (the big stuff and the little stuff), the online tribe you were meant to have will not only be attracted to you and like will feel like they belong in your space.
7. Share elsewhere. You don’t always have to share in your own space. For example, I’ve felt the urge to write about my starter marriage – but my blog, a place where I celebrate the life I have created with my husband Jeremy, is clearly not the appropriate venue to talk about a failed relationship with my ex. So I’ve considered writing about the topic elsewhere – at a place like The Equals Record – a blog full of contributors who dig deep into the more complex issues of life. A place where a conversation about getting married (and divorced) young would be appropriate. And on the flip side – if I want to indulge in my consumer side I can curate a gift guide with a blogger like Meg Biram.
8. Be consistent. At the heart of any brand is setting expectations and then delivering on that promise. What do you promise to share? How often? And where?
Lastly, here are some rad bloggers who all share who they are and what they do in very different ways (from private to all out there):
• Danielle Krysa of The Jealous Curator – I didn’t know the author of The Jealous Curator was a woman until she emailed me on my birthday with a list of reasons why she was jealous of me. We’ve been friends ever since. But even before we got to know each other I learned a lot about Danielle just by getting to know what kind of art she liked, and why she liked it, every single day.
• Sandra Juto – Sandra shares daily details from her walks, fika (that’s what Swedes call their coffee breaks) and work. She keeps her words brief but you feel like you’re in her whole world when you go to her blog.
• Liz Fabry of EXACTLY – Liz is our Braid brand director and her blog captures the minimalist beauty (and mystery) that she exudes in real life. People live for her Weekend Breakfasts series – and on that note sharing what you’re eating is always a brilliant way to connect.
• Megan Gilger of The Fresh Exchange – If you are wanting to share more and on a variety of topics Megan is the perfect example of how to do that with style and grace. She’s really great at keeping it real and making us all feel like we’re in it together but what I really admire is how she captures her content offline and then brings it to us as a beautifully packaged gift.
If you want to know more about personal branding check out our Braid ECourse Personal Branding: Blending Who You Are With What You Do. This $75 ECourse is in session from this Friday, February 15th – 24th. You have through tomorrow to register! Pssst... Check out our guest post over at Freelancers Union for more personal branding tips and a discount on the course.