Should building your brand require human sacrifice?

In trying to build my brand I’ve been grappling with SEO, growing more confused by the day,wondering if perhaps finding my people would require me to sacrifice a live chicken or something. All that changed this morning when I saw a tweet by Scott stratten  @unmarketing with a link to a post entitled how-scott-stratten-kicked-my-ass by a woman named Amber Naslund , who I immediately followed on Twitter after reading her post!

Why are we writing & for whom?

Amber talks about her real self, her passions, she candidly shares how getting one single negative comment caused her to start altering her presentations, she stopped joking, picked safe topics, never let a curse word fly, in short she conducted herself so as to not offend & in the process she stopped having fun! She’d made a human sacrifice of herself in order to avoid offending others!

Building a brand or an altar to the Google Gods?

As I read Amber’s words I felt like she’d clubbed me with a baseball bat! In my quest to  find my people, to build my brand  I’ve fallen into the trap of writing to not offend, to please as many people as possible. The result? a pleasant enough little blog just like thousands of other pleasant little blogs ! Boring inane pap written to appeal to the masses & totally devoid of the snark that wins me friends in real life & on Twitter! In the name of building a brand, of trying to get a bit of Google page rank I’ve made a human  sacrifice of my personality .Depriving myself of the company of real people who I can really relate to !

I don’t think we’ve met yet

I’m Jean, I’m a card carrying, Boston Irish ,tree hugging liberal who cares deeply about a lot of things, if protecting kids, showing compassion for the mentally ill, caring for our environment  bothers you probably won’t like me. If you don’t like computers and think Geeks are boring you’ll  want to click your back button now. If you hate cats, dislike scented soap and get your panties in a bunch over the occasional use of a well placed curse word this site isn’t for you! If you hate chocolate & gourmet foods (you need a CAT scan) then the ShoppinQueen isn’t for you either! What good is building a brand, a community filled with people if you don’t like them and fear they wouldn’t like you either if they ever saw the real you?

Starting again

Thank you Amber Naslund ,your post really hit me hard today & has probably rescued me & this site from drowning in a never ending stream of  self produced bland vomit . No more human sacrifices from this gal!

Who are you writing for?

Are you writing totally for you? Are your posts aimed at reaching like minded people or are you guilty of sacrificing yourself all in the name of building a brand? I’m eager to hear your thoughts & experiences with this issue!

About Jean Parks

Jean Parks is a chocolate & cupcake loving, computer & gadget addict from Boston, MA


  1. abitnerdy says:

    my blog is my outlet. My place to share all the wonderful things I stumble upon finding people who enjoy what I enjoy is just the bonus. Ultimately my blog is mine and I don’t believe it should be work.

    I know how hard it is to juggle several jobs at once especially with family and life. Please let me know if there is anything you may need from me. ever.


  2. shoppinqueen says:

    Nerdy! I think we’re kindred spirts, I started this site as an outlet, a place I could freely talk about all the stuff I love, cause let’s face it you can’t walk around in real life reviewing products 24/7 & expect to still have friends!

    The bonus for me here has been in connecting with people like you, who totally get where I’m coming from :)

  3. I love it! If you can’t be real on your blog, where you don’t meet 90% of your readers in real life, where can you be real? Always a great reminder!

  4. Ofelia says:

    I’ve been wondering about how to delicately say what’s on my mind – now thanks to your post I’m prepping to do a mind dump and let it out. My mom didn’t birth a Stepford robot, why try to be one? Thanks for posting this! <<>>

  5. Mia says:

    Hi Jean , thanks for making me laugh aloud at this particular hour of the morning , it was refreshing to read your article . I can probably say that this was the ” Real-est Spunkiest ” article I’ve encountered within the past year ! woot !!!

    I have often pondered the questions you have raised here , and I would have to agree with you entirely : Yes , you should be writing for yourself and not compromising who you are as a person in order to attract the right visitors and be approved by Google ! .

    When one is maintaining a personal blog , I dont believe there should be a statute of limitations & protocols which they have to adhere to ; however , when one is maintaining & running a niche blog things take on different proportions ( whereas : one cannot be themselves entirely , and must cater to the masses ) and this is where the difference lies .

    In my humble opinion – I believe you should always tell it from the hip and be yourself always – even if you are maintaining a niche blog , you should allow a part of your personality to show . If a user likes your site and your content – then fine ; if they dont ….well as you pointed out in your article here : there is always the Back Button !

    Again , thanx for bringin a smile to this code geeks face :) Great post !

  6. shoppinqueen says:

    Mia, I am blown away by the considerable thought you’ve put into this comment! This is a personal site that does reviews & welcomes select sponsors but it is my site & I’m not Betty Crocker! The thought that I can just be me & if I’m patient that I will find my people, folks like you & all the others who follow me makes me feel 50 pounds lighter :)

    Thank you so much for taking the time to visit & give such an awesome comment!

  7. shoppinqueen says:

    Andrea, How the heck are you? I’m glad you stopped in to see me get struck by the lightening bolt! thank you so much! :)

  8. I’m not for everyone. I’m NOT squeaky clean. I use the word “ass” daily on twitter. I need lots of exercise every week or I go mental. I have an eating disorder (overeater)…there are SO many things about me that you would think would make sponsors go somewhere else. But I think what I have in my back pocked is genuineness, a real following of people who accept me and follow me because they know I won’t bullshit them. I can’t. It’s not in my nature. And even with all that. I still work with sponsors. They overlook my eccentricities because it makes me ME. They are okay with it.

    When I first started, I was scared about the sponsors not accepting me, but trying to fit into what other want me to be is very mentally painful for me. So I don’t bother. I am what I am. And because of my confidence, they still come. So I think you can be yourself. But I think what you have to do is be supportive of other people and not about yourself all the time. Because people who are all about themselves get really old really fast. And that is when the sponsors look for other people.

    Just my two cents…

  9. Great post! And yes, I am drawn to the non-squeeky clean – in my book, it’s the human part that makes this all fun. Dang – I wonder if I should cuss more? Hmmm – it works for @RedHeadWriting LOL


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Amber Naslund, Mike Young, geekbabe, geekbabe, geekbabe and others. geekbabe said: @AmberCadabra you inspired me truly! […]

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