Should Brand Influencers Feel Guilt?


Dino Dogan owns Triberr shirts in every color; psst, he also owns Triberr.

Professional bloggers toil day in and day out to develop a brand and solid content people want to read. My blogiversary is this month; we’ve been married four years, this blog and me.

In the life of a blogger, that’s nearly a lifetime. Along that journey, the word monetization pops up and there begins the need to get paid for these smarts.

Thanks to Triberr’s new direction offering bloggers an opportunity to join campaigns, write a few blog posts and get paid, we now have that option.
Bloggers apply, the application is reviewed, a blogger is selected, blog posts are written and published, and a fee is exchanged. Cool, eh?

So, why is there guilt associated with that?

Anyone else feel a twinge?

Dino Dogan said it best to me, “When bloggers rep for a brand, it’s not congruent with self perception.” What he means is we all have worked for free for so long that when the opportunity to get paid comes along there’s some concern about “Am I worthy? What will my community think?

I think he’s right…if I get paid to put up a post and have to add the disclaimer, “hey, this is a sponsored post!” there’s some discomfort about that, like I should feel badly I’ve been hired to write for a brand that needs help.

What I’m here to say and help each of us get over that hump of “am I worthy?” is this:

Bloggers work harder than anyone I know and we’ve done it FREE for years. For we who do it well, there are now opportunities to showcase smarts and do some really neat writing. For those who are feeling upset on the sidelines, jump in! There’s opportunity for all! For bloggers who don’t trust they’re worthy, carpe diem! This is finally where your hard work pays off!

Thanks, Dino and Dan!

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The Dark Side of Blogging

BSteel-Girl.jpgack in my Chicago agency days, public relations was the dark side. When journalists crossed over, they took a big ribbing.

Bloggers have a dark side, too.

It’s oriented to the lightness of writing tone and levity. If there isn’t any, then a blog post can turn into a complete whine with negativity rampant.

Other times, life happens. Some people choose to push through the negativity and write like normal. Others, like me, can’t find the inspiration to be light and informative because personal emotion gets the best of that.

Another reason there may be a dark side is due to transition. Did you know I’m in digital marketing hell? Getting a crash course in the world of auto-responders and email campaigns. Not too fun for me, as it’s a completely different way of life than what I’m used to. I’d rather hire the experts!

So, there are a few reasons why I’ve put aside the pen awhile, but I didn’t want to leave you hanging not knowing why.

See you sooner than soon.

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Authenticity On The Path To Professional Blogging


By Jayme Soulati–”The Bean”

Authenticity is at risk. There is too much pressure as a professional blogger to monetize, engage, develop a brand, be a leader with unique content, and utilize digital marketing for lead generation and search marketing. When you’re making the climb from newbie blogger to professional, there are many bloggers ahead of you to follow and heed their examples.

It’s not hard to see that all the tools of the trade to create the largest professional brand are right there for the plucking; but, at what expense?

Are you risking your own identity as a professional by changing it up too fast or too much? How do you feel as a blogger when you sit down to write?
These are questions that need asking on your path because there’s one thing about blogging I want to instill with you:

  • Genuine and authentic persona as a blogger are traits that will always be critical to success; always.
  • If or when you become mechanical about the journey, it’s time to take a break.
  • If or when you put more strength on analytics to tell you what to write and determine your success, it’s time to re-visit your original goals.
  • If or when you lose focus of your personality and are writing without verve, think about your core.

I have always written content from my circles of inspiration; rarely if ever have I written content based on analytics or key words. Perhaps that’s short-sighted; perhaps not.

I realize there are solid reasons to write more content based on how people come to visit; however, I also realize that’s not the goal of my writing, either. Even if I was to put up a ton of posts oriented to message mapping, for example, people would probably get tired of seeing the same thing, and I would get pretty bored with it, too.

When you write, be sure to keep your personality in the story. It doesn’t have to be written in the first person to do that; it has to have your spirited delivery.

The thing about analytics I’ve always pondered is whether it would pirate authenticity. We know Google continues to adjust its algorithm to wreak havoc on everyone’s crazy-ometer. If you depend on analytics every day to determine what to write, then you’re risking authenticity. That’s my view, any takers?

I Married My Blog

wedding-bouquet.jpgThis is a true story. I finally found my soul mate, and it wasn’t the opposite sex or even the same sex for that matter. It is my blog; hands down.

This blog, named ever so rightly as Soulati-‘TUDE!, is approaching a birthday in March. It is turning the big 4, not the big 4-0, but the big 4. I’d hasten a guess that four years of straight blogging as a professional is akin to the big 4-0. You know, something like cats have nine lives or dog years are longer than one human year.

My blog has become:

  • My obsession (it tells me to write without even speaking)
  • My OCD (I have to write or else I succumb to the next bullet)
  • My guilt
  • My happiness (I’m thrilled when I know I’ve written a winner)
  • My sadness (I’m gloomy when I need a break and then force myself to write)
  • My investment (Uhmm, yeah, time is money)
  • My professionalism (It defines my read next bullet and competency)
  • My brand marketing (Indeed)
  • My influence building (Writing gives me influence, right?)
  • My authority (The content I write builds authority, authenticity and thus creates influence)
  • My emotion (Agony, pride, laughter, happiness as above)
  • My daily activity and neglect (It’s a totally consuming)
  • My love (Right?)

I am totally immersed eye-deep in this blog after 650+ posts, 10,000+ comments and four years of lessons to navigate the complexity and rewards of professional blogging. Add all the guest posting I’ve done and NOT captured here, and that post tally is likely up to 700 now.

Is It Time For A Divorce?

Do you think all marriages end in divorce? There’s a great piece of data somewhere that supports something like that, I’m sure. For a blogger to divest herself from blogging, the outcome would be much like a divorce – extreme sadness, too much time on hands, where to write and about what, how to keep the brand front and center and alive, and how to share with a community that’s invisible yet not.

After four years of blogging, I’ve learned this:

• I have mastered the content strategy – my content is my craft, and it’s NOT an echo chamber at all, ever.
• Data and analytics continue to plague me because I’m a creative, presenting creations via words for everyone to see.
• Digital marketing is more challenging than one thinks, and I’m unhappy having to make it happen.
• I write my best work for others and love guest posting for the ability to showcase talent in another’s house or use a different voice than how I pen for me.

Rocky Start to 2014

I’ve not been posting much; first time ever, and can’t say the guilt has consumed me…yet. This break was unplanned and it was necessary. As I continue to ponder what it means to be married to my blog, I came to the understanding that MY BLOG OWNS ME. It is in charge, top dog, drives the ship, dictates decisions and eats my money. But, with every unbalanced marriage where one partner holds the upper hand, there is some balance of give and take and partnership, too.

In this partnership of four years that is truly 10, I married my blog and continue to work through the kinks and experience every growing pain and emotion, whether happy or sad. One day soon, we will make money together (we’re already making music) and add more variations of bread for the table loaf by loaf. As blog and blogger continue to evolve, inspiration comes from bread crumbs and eventually loaves are baked until it becomes a bakery.

You know, If You Give A Mouse A Cookie.

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Your Blog, You and 2014

Confidence-Thermometer.jpgBet you didn’t notice this blog had nearly a two-week hiatus, or maybe you did. There wasn’t a day that went by I wasn’t guilty to not be writing despite the lowest-trafficked periods of the year.

What I continued to tell myself is that this holiday break was critical for my need to rejuvenate and refresh my moxie while getting inspired to write about a whole bunch of new topics.

You see, blogging becomes part of you; it gets under your skin, and courses through your blood. There’s never a conversation or interaction in which I don’t identify a topic or two to write on. It makes me a better listener; it’s inherent now with easy thought to add to the endless stream of ideas.

How about you?

If you’ve been blogging on nigh a year, perhaps this sort of topical instinct isn’t happening yet; no worries! Trust me when I tell you it will!

If you’ve been blogging three years, you should absolutely have blog topics written all over the place on scraps of paper. Maybe you’re truly an electronic wizard (which means you use the other side of your brain a tad more than creatives), and you can organize your thoughts into a list. Does have private list-building?

It’s A New Year

What I’m trying to say is that a new year is always psychologically, well, new. You know? The ball drops at midnight, and the pressure is on to be more…you know, more.

Let me try to explain.

As the years go by and blogging becomes part of your inner psyche, you want to grow. Your blog has to change with the times and become more exciting in parallel to your own growth journey.

As you transform, so, too, does your blog.

This morning, I just read a friend’s post about taking a huge hiatus and coming back to find fewer folks who’ve stayed the course, fewer comments, and fewer success stories with nil banter. Indeed. Bill Dorman is right; it’s a tough road blogging. That’s why you need goals and aspirations.

Have you thought about how you want your blog to grow and what you’d like to see happen in your house? Do that; it’s time.

Used to be we blogged more for the fun of it and to have a party in the comments; maybe a good old Team Blog Jack, too. Now, though, that’s pretty much dried up; you’re gonna need to reach deep within and find the divining rod into your heart. Then? Let the floodgates open and turn it up a notch; pour out your passion like never before aligned so closely with your business goals. You need your blog to make that happen; it’s the only steady you have on the social sphere.

Blowing Up Your Business

In 2013, I successfully blew up my business. I’m told that’s what entrepreneurs do; they reach a brick wall and rather than go over, they dynamite. Perhaps they get to the other side, or perhaps they drown in TNT. I’m the latter, and here’s the good news. I KNOW IT. I know I blew up my business (and only I can define internally what that means), and I also know that 2014 is critical to regroup and rebuild.

What that also means is the blog is part of the larger plan, too.

Want to know something really simple? There’s nothing like blogging to showcase smarts, expertise, personality, and to give gifts.

Soulati-’TUDE! Is Turning Four!

My blogging birthday is coming up; we’re gonna be FOUR! That is HUGE! It’s so #RockHot I can’t even tell you.

I’m seeking ideas for how to celebrate Soulati-’TUDE! IS FOUR.

Perhaps I’ll plan a virtual party; perhaps I’ll launch 4 guest posts on the same day, perhaps I’ll donate to four charities, or…what? What shall I do to celebrate?

My journey has been so rewarding, and here’s a secret. Without this blog and you, I never would’ve made it (I am not kidding).




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