I took a four month break from blogging, and I’m back and better than ever. Not only have I restarted my blog, I have completely rebranded it as well. Here’s how and why I completely started over.
My Blogging Beginnings
I’ve been in the blogging game for quite a while, but, before now, I never quite found my niche. I stated out blogging back in 2008. At the time, I was working as a teacher. Even then, I wanted to be a writer. But, I took a safer route. Instead of writing about writing, I wrote about other people’s books. My first blog became a book review blog, where I also shared a few writing tips that I was sharing with my students. It was eventually supposed to become a resource for my students, but I stopped teaching and headed to law school.
I continued to review books, and I worked with authors to review their manuscripts, and review their completed works while I was in school. Law school is pretty challenging, so it was hard to keep up with the blog, and I became really inconsistent, and only posted occasionally. While I was in school, I also became obsessed with hair care, and I watched tons of YouTubers create both videos and blogs. I was too scared to start a YouTube channel because I thought it would hurt my chances with employers.
A couple of years out of law school, I finally started a beauty blog, and a beauty-related YouTube channel. It was going quite well before I shut everything down for personal reasons. The blogging bug never left me, though. I started blogging about legal topics, but really, I wanted to write about writing. I took a few months away from social media and blogging to think through the direction that I wanted to go in, and I finally decided to follow my spirit and blog about my journey towards growing my career as a writer.
I had been cultivating the online handle “attorneydebra” for quite some time. It seemed scary to start over, not just online, but everywhere. I started a new Instagram page that was more sleek and professional, with less personal posts, and I changed my social media handles to bydebrajohnson. I chose that name because it represents what I want to see – my name as a published writer. It’s also general enough that it can cover many interests, instead of defining me as an “attorney” or any other title.
Starting over hasn’t been as easy as 1-2-3. I lost some followers on my first Instagram page, who were following me for legal tips and advice. I still get inquires for legal services, and I have had to decline them, as I’ve shifted my focus away from 1:1 legal services. I know that some of these people were waiting to hire me, and I know that I may take a hit for trustworthiness, as some people may think that rebranding, or shifting focus is “flaky.” But, at the end of the day, I have to do what’s best for me, and for my brand.
New Blog Focus
Yet another challenge has been figuring out exactly what to focus on. Literally every day, I have a new idea or set of ideas about what will work for my new blog. I know that there are certain topics that I want to tackle, but it’s seems scary to talk about topics like life and love. It’s much safer to talk about business topics, and the law, but there is so much more to who I am. I do plan to share blogging and writing tips, but it won’t all be strictly business.
Whenever I read about bloggers starting over, they always talk about branding as logos, colors, WordPress themes, and marketing. Those things are important, but when you have a personal brand, you have to first and foremost make sure that your brand speaks to who you are. You can change your logo, your colors, and the arrangement of your blog. The one thing you can’t change is what’s important to you. Make sure that your personal brand speaks to who you are, and what you have to offer to readers.
I know that my focus may shift and change again, and I’m okay with that.
Planning Ahead & Setting Goals
The main thing that I’m doing differently from the blogs that I started before is actually planning, and thinking ahead. Although things may change, I am planning out what I plan to write about, how I plan to connect with others on social media, and how I can sustain this blog over time. I’m stepping up my photography and videography game to offer quality content that really conveys the essence of my messages.
I’ll be doing a separate post about my blogging goals, and how to set your own blogging goals for the rest of the year. My primary goal can be summed up in one phrase: connect with others. I also have more specific goals based on metrics, and targets that I want to hit for my blog, and each type of social media that I use.
I’m not putting too much pressure on myself because it’s just plain hard to start all the way from scratch. If I can get my writing out in the world, be consistent, and persist through the challenges, I know I’ll consider my new blog to be a success.