When I first started this blog, I didn’t have a clue. About anything really.
I was on Blogger at the time, with a stock standard background and text for a title, and that’s how I thought all blogs were. Until I found a whole community of bloggers with different themes and graphics and buttons. I got totally confused with buttons for a while, but somehow I made it through. 🙂 (Don’t even ask what happened the first time I tried to navigate Twitter!)
When I finally decided that I needed to upgrade my look to something that wasn’t bright pink with a left aligned graphic of a woman on a typewriter (at that point I had moved on from my initial beginning), it became time to think about tag lines. A blog would not be a blog without a tag line.
Or maybe it would, but mine wouldn’t.
I don’t know what point I came up with ‘Authentic. Hopeful. Crazy.’ Or why it was even in that order, but it seemed to fit and that was all that mattered.
Anyway I’ve been thinking about that tag line lately. I still really like it, and have no plans to change it, but I wonder if I’m living up to it? The crazy bit I’m pretty sure is covered. The hopeful bit, I like to think comes through. But the authentic bit? I think I could do better. Not that I’m on here lying or exaggerating anything, (although to be honest, if I say something happened a hundred times, it probably is an exaggeration. Just so you know), but I do think I’m not entirely one hundred percent me either.
I read an article the other day about millennials being a generation that is in the pursuit of authenticity above all else. They’ve grown up with the falsehood of marketing, and know when they are being sold something, so all the bells and whistles actually mean very little to them. They want people to be real.
And it got me thinking how when I started blogging I just wrote and no one read it and that was kind of good because I could just be me. And then I learnt about marketing and how you must have ‘a brand’ and make yourself ‘useful’ and all these other blogging rules that exist so that you can become the next big thing. And I think that generally speaking, those are good rules. There’s nothing wrong with marketing yourself well, and providing content that has meaning. The latter is essential to good blogging.
But when marketing becomes the thing that drives you, it can be easy to lose the authenticity in there; it can creep out without you even noticing.
I don’t market myself well as a blog, because generally speaking, I don’t want to. But I do hold back from sharing things because I sometimes feel like this brand I have, has got me wedged into a corner, and if I was to actually be me, I might inadvertently destroy myself. Somewhere along the line the need for user-friendly content overran the need for authenticity, and while the latter hasn’t died completely, it hasn’t thrived either.
I hold myself back. A lot. And not in a good way; not in a necessary ‘you shouldn’t share that kind of information’ way. More in a ‘scared to be real’ way. One that holds backs opinions because she doesn’t think they count, or that doesn’t share stories because they might not be what people expected to hear.
I’ve become a victim of my own brand; a brand that somewhere along the way morphed away from being me, to being a cheap copy of who I actually am. Authentic enough that not even I realised it.
Not authentic enough to do either of us any justice.
So I am left with one of two choices: change my tag line, or change my brand.
And I really like my tag line.
Do you feel like your blog is what you want it to be?
Do you struggle with authenticity?