- Catch My Party Instagram
- MiloTree Instagram
- Jillian Tohber Leslie
Welcome to The Blogger Genius Podcast brought to you by MiloTree. Here’s your host, Jillian Leslie.
Jillian Leslie 0:11
Hello, friends. Welcome back to The Blogger Genius. Today, I’ve got my friend and MiloTree community manager back on the show, Paula Rollo. And we are talking all things branding.
Question is, do you brand yourself? Do you brand your business? Where should you focus your energy?
We get into how we both have thought about it for our own businesses. I think you’re going to really like this.
Before we launch in, I wanted to let you know that I have a Facebook group called the MiloTree Mastermind Group. And if you go to Facebook and join, I would be super psyched.
I share our newest episodes, I share blog posts and articles that we write about stuff like this. I also share any new features that we’re rolling out. So join, I’d love it. And also you can, you know, message me, I’d love to hear from you.
Okay, so without further ado, let’s talk branding. Paula, welcome to the show.
Paula Rollo 1:11
Thank you for having me.
Jillian Leslie 1:13
I love this. So today we are talking all things branding. And even before I pressed record, we were talking about do you brand your business, do you brand yourself, how do you think about branding. And we were talking about how branding goes way beyond going to Fiverr and hiring somebody to create a logo for you.
Paula Rollo 1:35
Yes, that’s like step not even one yet with branding.
Jillian Leslie 1:39
Exactly. Right. To go, like, Ooh, I could pick some colors and figure out, you know, what kind of font I want. And there are even sites like Logojoy, where you can have like an AI create a logo for you.
There’s another one called Tailor-Made that I’ve used. They’re really fun, if you’re just kind of wanting to play around. Go to Logojoy or Tailor-Made, and you type in the name of your business or your blog, or your own name, and you get all these different images with logos. And it’s pretty cool.
Paula Rollo 2:10
That is so neat. I love playing on there. Even when I’m not creating something new, just seeing what could be is just fascinating.
Jillian Leslie 2:17
Right. And there is something too on Shopify, where it’s like also like a name creator. I’ll link to it. Where if you want to come up with a name for a blog or a business, it’s this really cool tool. And I think we used it when we were… no, I don’t think we used it for MiloTree.
Oh, I think we used it for The Blogger Genius. That’s what we did. We like put in some words. And ‘blogger’ and ‘genius’ showed up and the URL was available. And boom, like it was awesome for brainstorming.
Paula Rollo 2:51
Jillian Leslie 2:52
Yeah, those basic things. I definitely play around with them and they’ll be linked in the show notes. But when we think about… let’s talk about back in the day, when we started, like how did you think about branding. And I’ll tell you how we thought about branding.
Paula Rollo 3:06
I did not when I started. But I started 12 years ago, I’m not great at math. I’m not great for math.
I started in the days of online journaling. So it was just whatever I wanted to say in that moment, I said, and there was no vision of who I’m talking to. It was just kind of like I hope somebody on the internet finds me at some point.
And I was like, I remember I was thinking about this the other day because I’m so interested by Google. I remember in WordPress and Blogspot both would show you like someone got to your blog by searching this on Google. And I was just amazed. I was like, this is magic.
And I was, like, thrilled that one person found me through Google by searching, you know, some random term, I don’t even remember what. But like, I was like, wow, the search engine found me. But was like one search term.
So that’s when I started. So branding was not a thing at all.
Jillian Leslie 4:13
Now, what about coming up with the name ‘Beauty Through Imperfection’?
Paula Rollo 4:18
That was still like… I hate that name.
Jillian Leslie 4:20
You don’t like it? Really?
Paula Rollo 4:21
I hate it. I hate it
Jillian Leslie 4:23
Okay, why? Why do you hate it?
Paula Rollo 4:25
That was an era in blogging when we were all trying to be extremely poetic and clever. And you wanted people to go, ‘ooh, what is that?’ Which is the exact opposite of what you should be doing in branding. You don’t want people to go, ‘ooh, what is that?’ because they’re not going to care.
You don’t want to make them think twice, which is why future sites that I made, like I have one called Traveling Family Blog. I don’t have to explain that.
It’s like I don’t need to tell you any more information about that. That’s my elevator pitch. It’s Traveling Family Blog.
Jillian Leslie 4:59
That’s so interesting.
Paula Rollo 5:01
And that’s way better. And that’s way better for SEO. That’s way better for branding, both in communicating to my readers. Like if somebody finds me on Pinterest and just lands on my site, and there’s a travel post, and it’s on a site called Traveling Family Blog, someone who’s planning a vacation is going to click around.
Versus someone who finds me on Pinterest lands on Beauty Through Imperfection, and it’s a travel post, they’re just going to click off when they’re done. Because they’re like, ‘what is this? I don’t know.
Jillian Leslie 5:29
Interesting. Okay, we kind of came at it differently, like the inverse. So we came up with Catch My Party. And remember, I shared this, our initial vision was this was a site for teen girls to share photos of their parties. And we came up with the site, Catch My Party, and we thought that was super cool.
And then once we locked into that, then we felt really limited because we started buying URLs, like ‘Catch My Room’ or ‘Catch Our Design’ or ‘Catch My Food’, because we’re like, oh, no, if we’re just Catch My Party, then that’s all we are. We are part like, you know, you can’t do like ‘Catch My Interior Design’ and ‘Catch My Party’. And that was very confusing for us.
In hindsight, I am glad that we are Catch My Party because you kind of get what it is. It’s a little confusing in that people are like, is it my party or your party? Like what is this?
But that a lot of companies, you know, were coming out with names like Google where you go, “Ha! I don’t know what that is,” and it could be a whole host of things. And maybe we’re too limited.
So when we decided to name ‘MiloTree’, MiloTree, A, we were in Hawaii. And the story was, I was going to do a yoga class at the hotel we were staying at and they said “Meet under the milo tree.”
And it was a beautiful tree. And I thought, well, that’s really cool: the whole idea of me under the milo tree. And of all places in the world, Hawaii is like my special place.
And so I think was my daughter who’s like, “you could call it MiloTree.” And therefore, instead of calling it like Pinterest pop-up company, especially because we had started with a Pinterest pop-up, and then we built the Instagram pop-up and we thought well, that’s true, you know, what if we named… you know, like how would we name it Instagram, Pinterest pop up, or social media pop up, then we wanted to be able to do email.
And so in that respect, I’m really glad that we named it MiloTree because you don’t exactly know what it is, but you do have to educate people to say, Oh, this is what it is.
And MiloTree in and of itself is a slightly complicated product because you can do all these different things with it. And I would say that, therefore, in terms of our brand, we do struggle with messaging. You know, we are constantly going back to our homepage and reading it over and going like “We’re so close to it. Does this make sense?”
In fact, if anybody goes to MiloTree right now and reads it and has some thoughts about how we could make it, make our copy easier to understand, I am so open to that because again, we are so close to it.
So in that respect, we started with something very specific, Catch My Party. And then we went to something kind of general with MiloTree and so we’ve been straddling both.
Paula Rollo 8:30
Yeah. And I think that there is value to both and it depends on the type of business that you’re running. And for a more tech thing, you are dealing with people who are coming to you with a specific problem, and they’re willing to ask questions.
Where for a parenting blog reaching the general public, they don’t know that they need me. They didn’t come out today looking for a new parenting blog. And that’s not a burning desire in their heart, but I could convince them to stick around if I had really good branding, and I could convince them that I was solving a problem that they had.
Jillian Leslie 9:10
Paula Rollo 9:10
But they aren’t necessarily coming to my site with a problem already the way that they do with MiloTree.
Jillian Leslie 9:15
Got it. Okay. But if you’re on Pinterest and I see an image for a blog post that you wrote about big sisters, right, like introducing a baby, that kind of thing, which is what you’re known for. And then they land on Beauty Through Imperfection. Do you feel like there is a story there to go, “Oh, wait, this woman knows what she’s talking about. I should stick around.”
Are there paths in your blog to help people stick around?
Paula Rollo 9:46
Yes. So I’ve created the paths. And in my copy, in the things that I write, there’s photos. It’s very clear what you should do next, if you’re in this position.
But if I had my business to do over again, I would have narrowed in more at the beginning to toddlers or babies, and built something out around that instead of a little bit of everything.
Because there was a time in our industry when a little bit of everything was good, and that was much stronger. But as the industry has evolved, as Google has gotten smarter, as consumers have been overwhelmed with content, I’m now in a position where I overwhelm anyone and everyone with content because I have thousands of posts. And I could trim them down, I could do a lot of things to fix this problem. I just personally don’t want to because it’s my baby, and I like my baby how it is.
Jillian Leslie 10:46
And by the way, because you’ve been at it for a while, you do have Google authority in certain realms, you know.
Paula Rollo 10:54
In certain realms.
Jillian Leslie 10:56
I was just going to say, I feel like if you were a lifestyle blogger 10 years ago, and you’ve been around creating posts, Google understands you more than say, today, if I were to say, “I’m going to start a lifestyle blog,” I’d be like, “No, you might want to focus in on something.”
Paula Rollo 11:14
But my authority is still lower in certain things, even things that I’m very knowledgeable about, because now the competition isn’t with another person who’s all over the place. Like if I put up a birthday party, I’m not just competing with other mommy bloggers who have birthday parties. I’m competing with Catch My Party.
And Catch My Party is always going to have more party juice because Google’s going to know well, if they decide they didn’t like that Moana party, Catch My Party has 15 other Moana parties. But Beauty Through Imperfection doesn’t. Beauty Through Imperfection has one and it might be the best Moana party ever, I don’t actually have a Moana party.
Jillian Leslie 11:54
Right. Right. Right.
Paula Rollo 11:55
But it might be the best one on the internet, but Google still may give Catch My Party a little bit more weight there because Catch My Party is focused in on parties, and you have the one for three-year-olds and the one for 10-year-olds, and you have the one that’s outdoor and the one that’s indoor. And you answer that so completely. It’s a lot more about authority now than it was before.
Google’s not just looking at the one post; it’s looking at the whole site, which can help you if you’ve been around for a long time or it can hurt you. And sometimes it’s doing both at once.
Jillian Leslie 12:31
Hey, are you a blogger or entrepreneur who loves their business but is a little overwhelmed with all that you have to do in a day? Well, you are not alone. We all feel this way.
So I want to share a pop-up tool that will increase your social media followers, grow your email list, build your traffic, and it is called MiloTree. MiloTree is a pop-up app that my husband David built for our first site, Catch My Party.
In the four years that we’ve been using the MiloTree pop-up on Catch My Party, our Pinterest account has grown exponentially to over 1.1 million followers and our Instagram has grown to over 160,000 followers — and these social networks now drive millions of page views to our site every single month.
MiloTree works to grow followers on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube. It’ll grow your sales on Shopify or Etsy. And it will even grow your email list. You can focus on growing one platform at a time or switch between several. The choice is yours.
MiloTree — it’s easy to install and you can do it in under three minutes. It’s completely optimized. Right now, you can get your first 30 days for free. Just go to MiloTree com to sign up for your free trial.
If you are not converting your site visitors into followers, subscribers, and customers, you need to change your strategy. So take the first step, head over to Milotree.com and start your free trial, there’s no risk. And you’ll be joining thousands of other professional bloggers who are already using MiloTree to grow their businesses.
As a bonus, once you sign up, I’ll send you valuable business tips each week to help you continue to accelerate your growth. You can’t be everywhere all the time, so let MiloTree work for you. It’s fast, it’s easy, and it gets results.
So what are you waiting for? Head to MiloTree and start your free trial.
Let’s talk about personal branding versus blog branding or company branding, that kind of thing. And that is something that you and I talk a lot about.
So I just started Jillian Tohber Leslie, my own Instagram account, and I have resisted doing this forever for a whole host of reasons. One, do I really need three accounts? You know, I’ve got Catchy My Party, I’ve got MiloTree. And do I really need to manage another one?
Two, I weirdly haven’t really wanted to put myself out there. I don’t think… just mostly I’m an introvert. And two, I don’t think my life is that interesting although my mom begs to differ.
And three, it just it just felt like more overhead. However, I have launched it and I’m really liking it.
But what I did before launching Jillian Tohber -Leslie — and it’s T-O-H-B-E-R if you’re looking for it — is I thought about what is the intention behind this in terms of my part. What happened was, if you go back into the archives, I got shamed by a guest who’s like an Instagram expert who looked at Catch My Party and was like, “What are you doing with this?” because I had put some MiloTree stuff on it.
And she’s like, “You need to have a personal Instagram account. And you need to have other business accounts.” And that’s what she does is, she has a personal account and a business account. And I thought, Oh, it’s a lot.
But even people like Brit Morin from Brit + Co has her own Instagram account and then she has her company Instagram account.
So what I decided to do was, as an exercise for myself to challenge myself, to kind of come out and say here is who I am; two, to not be so siloed in my businesses because yes, I’m the person behind Catch My Party, yes, I’m the person behind MiloTree, but I’m doing all this stuff, it’s like my one life, and I should share it.
And three to just like build trust with my audience so that they get to see different sides of me, I thought it was really valuable to do.
But when I set out to do it, I thought about it, and I thought, Okay, I have a daughter who is 12 and the last thing she wants to do is be on my Instagram account, so I made a deal with her. And I said, you know, “I’m going to start an Instagram account, but I’m not going to put you on it. If you want to be on it, great. But it’s not like I’m going to be like ‘and here we are on vacation.'”
So I thought I would focus on three things, which are one, how I two very different businesses and a podcast. And how it looks kind of messy, but it kind of works. And two, we just moved to Austin, and I think Austin’s really cool.
So I want to show what I do here because we’re discovering stuff. So if I’m discovering it, I want to share that. And to show that it’s a really interesting, cool city with great food.
And then three, I try very hard to focus in my own way on my own wellness. So, ooh, in fact, I forgot to post today that I’m doing this boot camp, and it’s really hard and I don’t like it but I also really love it. And it’s a struggle.
And I want to show that because it does make me feel better. So anything that I’m doing for my own sense of self and health, I also want to show that.
So if my daughter shows up or my husband shows up, great, but it’s not going to be focused on my family. But if we’re traveling and I see cool stuff, I want to share that. But really, I just want to let people in that I weirdly eat a ton of chocolate, and I do, and I eat it for breakfast. And I just kind of want to share these quirky things about me.
Paula Rollo 18:33
That humans do.
Jillian Leslie 18:35
Right, and there really is a person. I don’t know if anybody eat, it’s funny.
So on MiloTree tree you can talk too, there’s like a little talk button thing, you know, like a little pop-up and it says, Hey. And I’m the person on the other end of that, and it’ll say like, hey, it’ll say, Hey, I’m Jillian, can I help you set up your pop-up? So, whatever.
And somebody will talk to me, and they’ll be like, “This isn’t really Jillian. This is like a bot.” And I’m like, “No, it’s really me.” And they’re always so surprised that it’s me, and that I’m they’re just trying to help people answer their questions or help them install their WordPress plugin or whatever it is. Because I’m really here just doing the stuff to run business. There’s no big team, you know. So it’s just humanizing the whole thing.
Paula Rollo 19:26
It does, it does. It allows us to feel like we know MiloTree. And that’s what goes back to deciding at what point in your business you want to be a brand with a personality, which is a really strong strategy or to be the brand yourself, which is another really strong strategy. But I think a lot of bloggers and brands get stuck trying to be both and and trying to be both are really neither,
Jillian Leslie 19:57
Okay, so share more about how you think about… like, what brands do you think have a personality?
Paula Rollo 20:04
So I think one that a lot of people know about is Wendy’s, right? If you go to Wendy’s Twitter, if you’ve never been on it, like go to it, it is the most entertaining thing ever. You could just spend an hour reading Wendy’s tweets because they’re so funny. But I don’t know who’s behind Wendy’s tweets. Because the point of Wendy’s tweets is to make me think about Wendy’s all day and then go buy a burger.
Jillian Leslie 20:29
Paula Rollo 20:30
It’s not to be like, Oh, you know that Dave Thomas was a great guy. He seemed like a great guy, I don’t know if he was or not. But like, nobody really cares about that at the end of the day. That the Thomas Foundation does cool stuff, whatever, they’re not talking about any of that. They just want you to go buy a burger, and they want you to buy their burger instead of somebody else’s. And they shade other burgers, they’re so funny.
But it’s asking that question of is this going to be you, or is this going to be a brand with a personality, but you can’t also, because then brands will also go the other direction, if they don’t want there to be a face. If they don’t want it to be Jillian out front or Paula out front, then they just lose all personality.
Jillian Leslie 21:15
Paula Rollo 21:16
Which is not good either. People want to connect with something, even if it’s not the other person. They need to be able to connect with what is going on on this site, which Traveling Family Blog is actually this way. My face is not front and center of Traveling Family Blog. There’s a lot of contributors on it. There’s various things happening on there all the time.
I don’t even know if my name is on it anywhere honestly; it might be, it might not be. But there is still a personality of fun, adventurous, talking about doing things with kids, getting out there that reflects the Traveling Family Blog brand, even though it’s not Paula Rollo.
Jillian Leslie 21:55
interesting. I was coaching two women who have a very, very popular wellness site, and they too have contributors. And we were talking about their business and the first thing that I did was I went to their site, and I’m looking desperately for the about section, like why — why does this site exist, like who’s behind it?
And they really hid all of that information. And when I talked to them, I said, “Where are you guys?” and it turns out that one of them had dealt with breast cancer, and they’ve really been dealing like really incorporating wellness into their lives. And that was the motivation.
And I said, “Where’s that story?” Because I don’t know how… I need to know the why of why this blog or this site exists, even if you have contributors and stuff. Well, our goal is to one day sell this. And so we then want to keep it kind of faceless and nameless. And we think that that’s the better strategy.
And I said, Well, ultimately, you might be that you can sell this, but I do think if you want to grow it in the short-term, you might want to at least put that. It was a really touching story about how a health crisis led to this journey of wellness. And I said that is so compelling, that immediately you can attract so many women who are struggling with this, or that you found a way out, or you found a direction that has led you to more health.
Because you hoping to sell this eventually, don’t hide behind that. Who knows how your business will change?
And it’s funny, because I could say that to them. But it’s like, I’m now trying to figure out how to put myself out there in a way that is authentic. And the one thing that I would say, and we talked about this too before we pressed record, is how to position your brand where it isn’t all about you. But it’s how your brand, even if it’s a personal brand, can be of service to other people.
And I think that that is a tricky thing to think about. Because again, you go “Well, what makes me special?” and you can use it as a way to like, feel good about yourself or put yourself, you know, humble brag or do whatever it is, like “oh, my god, I’m like the best person ever.”
Instead of saying, well wait a second, I’m just a person who is kind of stumbling through life trying to find solutions in my own life, and maybe I can be of service by helping you along the way just by sharing what I’m doing.
Paula Rollo 24:45
Right. And I think the starting point for branding has to be knowing where your business is going and knowing what you’re trying to accomplish in the world. Because for health and wellness, I would say unless you’re WebMD or you have you know ‘.gov’ or something along those lines, you do have to be more transparent.
Because what you’re asking me to do is, is change something in my body, in my personal health. And you need to prove to me why I should trust you to do that. And your personal story will help, your credentials will help. There’s a lot that can go into that. But I need to know that you know more than me about health and wellness.
It’s similar with building a brand for business tips. Anybody could put up a businessadvice.com but they could be some 20-year-old in their mom’s basement for all we know. I need to know that you built a successful business for me to go ahead and follow your path and follow your advice.
But then going back to the travel example, that’s a little bit different. Someone comes to a travel site, they don’t care about me and my story. What they want from a travel site is “where should I go when I go to Orlando? I don’t care that your kids had fun.”
Jillian Leslie 26:11
Paula Rollo 26:11
I just want to know where my kids are. And so I did remove myself from the narrative because people want to picture themselves. And so when you go to that travel site, it’s specifically for people to picture their family there and not to just see pictures of my family there.
Jillian Leslie 26:30
No. And in fact–
Paula Rollo 26:31
There are travel sites who work a different way than this. People live vicariously through people, through the travel blogger and the travel family upfront, and that is their purpose. But mine was kind of on the other end where it’s, you need to see yourself here, not my kid, or not my body in front.
Jillian Leslie 26:51
And there are times like on Facebook, I think I might have mentioned this, when I see people I know on vacation, it makes me feel bad Even if I don’t want to go there.
And even if I do love to travel with my family or who knows, I don’t know why I cringe every time I see the picture of the family going like “And we’re in Rome!” I don’t know what it is, but something about that “We’re in Paris. Yay! We’re hiking Mount Kilimanjaro.” I don’t know what it is.
Paula Rollo 27:33
Those are from friends, first of all.
Jillian Leslie 27:35
I know, I know. I know, I know. But again, I think that it’s like you don’t hear from them for like three years, is they’re saving up for this trip. And then boom, there they are on this, you know, the vacation.
But I think that’s it. I think it’s all about the signaling that turns me off. And so that’s the thing that if you focus your personal brand on how you can be of service to others, I think it helps keep you more honest and gives you a direction.
I like what you said that when you’re branding, you need a goal in mind. They talk about now, let’s say you’re a millennial and that you need your own personal brand, everybody’s got their own, you know, Instagram, and there’s a downside to that because it does lead to lots of inauthenticity of like, “Look, how great my life is.”
But there is something to the fact that I am an employer and I’m going to go hire somebody, chances are, I will Google them. And I will end up, let’s say on their Instagram and I will see what they’re about. So you do need to be mindful that people it’s too easy, you know, for you not to be leaving some sort of trail and that you need to be aware of what that looks like.
Paula Rollo 29:00
Yes, because even if you do brand, your brand as the main thing, you’re still there, and you’re still findable.
Jillian Leslie 29:08
And people want to know who’s behind it. How many times do you go to a site and you’re clicking around going to the About Us section?
Paula Rollo 29:15
Yeah, just curious.
Jillian Leslie 29:16
I want to know like what the deal is. And so anyway, so I think that, A, being mindful that we all on some level, our own personal brand, to see what shows up when we Google ourselves and see whether we like that messaging.
And two, the other thing is to be aware that if you really want to build a business, you think about what kind of business you want to build, and you figure out then what kind of brand you want to build for that business. And if you can focus on helping others and solving other people’s problems, you’re much more in the right direction.
Paula Rollo 29:53
And I think a good exercise, you know, people talk about looking at your competitors to kind of get ahead or to “mimic” what they’re doing right. But I think that there’s a lot of value in looking at your competition to help you understand how different you are, that you go to their site.
And, you know, maybe it is a better-done site than yours because they’re a big company, and you’re a little blog. But looking at: What am I doing that this big company isn’t doing? How am I positioned differently? How could somebody who was dissatisfied with what company X or site X was doing, come to me and find what they were looking for.
And it can really help you with your positioning in being unique, and being a unique site or blog or brand in a very saturated market because the internet, there’s just so much here now. And even if you aren’t narrowing in on an extremely specific…
I write for parents of blue-eyed two-year-olds type niche, you can position yourself with personality and with a specific spin that only you can do by looking at your competitors and critiquing them and see what they’re missing.
Jillian Leslie 31:14
Absolutely. And one place to go is Pinterest because you as a food blogger, you’re competing directly with Kraft, or Kellogg’s. And actually, the playing field right now is pretty even. I’m sure of course Kellogg’s and Kraft are putting money behind their pins. But all that means is they’re showing up next to your pin. So if your pin is good, people will click on it. And there is room for that.
So I like that idea, which is look at what the big brands are doing or look at what your competitors are doing and see is there a way for you to differentiate yourself, whether it be through your sense of humor, or your photography, or whatever it is that you really care about. Those are the things that will separate you.
Paula Rollo 32:08
And I would say look for cohesiveness because a lot of times, brands solve pieces of problems but they don’t look at a problem from a whole cohesive angle and from a whole life angle. And so Kraft may have one recipe but do they have the whole meal plan? Probably not.
So try to take people from A to Z or fill in the blanks that those big brands are missing because there’s not enough money, there’s not millions in it. But you don’t need millions, you’re a single person. Probably Kraft is looking for billions and trillions of dollars, but you can fill in blanks that are not lucrative enough for that big brand, but are absolutely lucrative enough for you.
Jillian Leslie 32:54
Now, what about the idea of authenticity?
Paula Rollo 32:56
What about it?
Jillian Leslie 32:59
And what I mean about that is, we want to be authentic. But there are, like, for example, you know, I’m not sharing my daughter who is 12, and she’s a big part of my life, because I recognize that she needs her own space and all of that stuff.
Or let’s say I have a fight with David, I’m not going to share that. But I do, no joke, eat chocolate in the morning, and I want to share that. So it’s like how do you find that line?
Paula Rollo 33:38
I think that there was a cultural moment in which people wanted to know everything about each other a couple of years ago, and it got to be too much, and then we kind of realized that we didn’t like each other that much.
And I didn’t really care what, you know, Susie, from down the street was having for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And I didn’t understand why she was Instagramming it, because she wasn’t a food blogger, but wasn’t… I’m friends with her because she’s my neighbor.
There were people publishing everything about their breakups and it was just like, I don’t need that.
But I appreciate that society has moved past that cultural moment. And people want you to be honest, but people understand that there are boundaries now. And people understand that those boundaries are going to look different for different people.
My kids’ faces are all over my Instagram, and my Instagram is public, so my kids are out there. They’re excited about it right now. They’re much younger than yours. The awkward stage. My son’s kind of getting there some days he wants his picture up and then other times he’s not about it. So I totally let him decide if a photo is published or not.
But I think people understand that those boundaries are going to be different. But what I was saying, so my kids photos are up but I don’t post their names. And so that’s a boundary that I draw, even if one of my friends comments and is like, “Oh, so and so my child’s name looks so cute. I delete it,” because I don’t want their names to be public. And that’s just a weird boundary line that I’ve drawn.
But there’s a certain understanding that people can tell if you’re trying to feed a narrative of, “Oh, look at Jillian, her life’s perfect.” Or if you are just drawing boundaries, because honestly, I don’t want to know when you fight with David. I don’t want to know when your daughter… I can’t remember if you used her or not.
But I don’t want those things on social media. I want to hear about your successes. And I want to hear about maybe some of your struggles. But I don’t want to feel awkward that you shared with me somebody else’s story.
I want to know that you struggled today to get up to go to boot camp. But not that you are annoyed because your husband’s alarm went off early or something. I don’t think that occurs in your house, that’s just an example.
But I think I think that there’s a difference between authenticity and over sharing. And for a while, we were all over sharing on the internet. And that’s over, thank goodness.
And now it is about creating, like you said, even millennials who are not influencers, they have their personal brand that they share online. And, you know, if you’re friends with me on Facebook, you know, I post jokes. That’s all I post on my Facebook, sometimes I post pictures of my kids, but it’s just jokes. And that’s my Facebook brand. I didn’t intentionally do that. It’s just that I have to be online all the time.
And so when I’m on Facebook, I want to laugh. But that is a brand that I’ve created for myself on my Facebook page. And if I posted something really Debbie Downer, even my friends would be like, “Whoa, you feeling a little dark today?” Off brand. Why is this not a joke? Why am I not laughing on your profile.
So I think that there’s an understanding. No one assumes that I’m happy all the time because I post all these jokes. They just know I wanted to post a joke today. And so for our brands, I think as long as we’re not lying, as long as we’re not manipulating, because people can tell when we’re manipulating, when we’re saying, “Oh my gosh, being an entrepreneur is so easy, everything about my life is easy and good because I’m an entrepreneur.” People can smell that a mile away.
But I had a good day. I did a quirky thing, I ate my chocolate — that’s being authentic, that’s being honest, even though you didn’t share that you’re really mad at a brand contract right now or you’re stressed out about if the lights are going to stay on next month. You don’t have to share that much. But being authentic and being honest about what you do share is the key, I think, online in this current cultural moment.
Jillian Leslie 37:56
Right. And I like that. I like that discrepancy or that you can be authentic in what you share and you don’t have to share everything.
Paula Rollo 38:05
Jillian Leslie 38:06
But I do think that people sniff out when we are trying to present ourselves in ways that aren’t truthful. And, again, I don’t like it when, you know, I smell when people are doing things like ‘virtue signaling’ like “oh my god, I’m so modest” or “I’m so this” or what.
And again, I think that the way to get out of ourselves, even in personal branding, is to be of service; is to focus on the other person.
Having a tween, the one thing that I say to her all the time is nobody is thinking about you. At this age, you think everybody is just so focused on you, and nobody is because everybody’s so focused on themselves. So if you are actually less focused on yourself and more focused on other people, you’re the rare person. And that I think is really powerful when it comes to branding and to growing businesses. Absolutely.
Paula Rollo 39:26
I would say that the other thing is to be authentic about the emotion that you’re feeling in the moment. And what I mean is this, like when you said, people are basically humble bragging, or whatever, that always irritates me. Because when people are like, “Oh, I got this award, I feel so humble,” I’m like, “No, you don’t. You’re proud of your site.” Don’t act like you’re not. If you felt so humble, you wouldn’t be posting this on Instagram.
But that’s okay. It’s okay to post and be like, “Wow, guys, I’m really proud that I did this.” And this was really neat.
And 10 years ago, I never would have expected that this would be possible, and this is a really cool moment, celebrate with me. And then people can pile on and they’re not like, “Oh, Jill’s fishing for compliments.”
Jillian Leslie 40:14
Paula Rollo 40:16
They’re like, “Wow, Jill! That’s amazing. I’m so excited with you.” And I feel like I can feel an emotion with you instead of “well, I feel excited for her but she feels all like humble and weird and awkward about it. So I’m just not going to comment.”
Jillian Leslie 40:29
And then I don’t like her!
Paula Rollo 40:30
Jillian Leslie 40:31
And then I do not like her.
Paula Rollo 40:32
She thinks she’s tricking us like she’s this perfectly humble, abased person, when it’s okay to be like, “you know what, I did something cool, and I’m proud of that.”
Jillian Leslie 40:42
Paula Rollo 40:43
If it was every post and I was like, “Guess what, I’m the best mom ever,” that would be irritating. But being true and authentic about “I’m feeling down in this moment.”
And the opposite is true too like, “Oh, this, and this, and this went wrong. But I’m just so excited about life, guys.”
No, you’re not. You’re having a bad day, and that’s okay. Be honest about that emotion that you’re feeling and then people can connect to it, and can share in whatever emotion that is, instead of feeling like they’re so drastically different from you because they wouldn’t be excited that they got laid off, they would be a little bit freaked out.
Jillian Leslie 41:21
Paula Rollo 41:21
Or they wouldn’t be humbled that they got an award. They would be excited and proud. Allow people to share in those emotions with you. And that’s a level of scary vulnerability. But that is, again, the moment that we’re in this cultural social media thing that we’re all figuring out.
Jillian Leslie 41:38
And in fact, there was an article in The Atlantic maybe a month ago, and it was talking about how all of those bubblegum colors on Instagram, all those feeds that are just so beautiful, how that has become exhausting.
And now there are actual filters that will turn your photos into images that look like they’re out of the ’90s.
Paula Rollo 42:01
Isn’t it insane?
Jillian Leslie 42:01
So it’s just interesting how the pendulum is swinging and not that you don’t appreciate a good bubblegum feed on Instagram, but that stories are really taking front and center now over your beautiful curated feed. So that’s just something again to keep in mind. People want to see you. They want you to show up.
And again, i am really trying to show up just to push myself and to show who I am and what we’re about, what I’m about as a way to be authentic, or share my authenticity, and to share the warts and all.
Paula Rollo 42:47
Yes, because I think one of the things when you were sharing that Instagram that you and I had had a conversation about, was your heart always being to make female entrepreneurs not feel so alone.
Jillian Leslie 43:00
Paula Rollo 43:01
And we talked about how a brand can’t do that, that you as Jillian…
Jillian Leslie 43:07
A female entrepreneur. A female entrepreneur who sometimes feels alone.
Paula Rollo 43:12
Exactly. And I love MiloTree, but MiloTree tree doesn’t make me feel not alone. Talking to Jillian, my friend, makes me feel like I’m not going crazy. Like we were just talking about prepping for summer and the kids are going to be home.
As much as I adore MiloTree, it MiloTree that helped me in that moment, it was Jillian. And so putting that face forward of we’re in this together, you’re not alone, because I’m here. And here’s my face. And here I am doing this with you, is an important part of your brand and what you’re trying to do in the world, which is help female entrepreneurs like me and like the people who listen to this podcast to feel like there’s another person on this road, who’s ahead of us and is brilliant, and is paving the way for us.
We don’t feel like we’re alone in the dark. There’s somebody else who has a match when we don’t have a match. And that’s so important.
Jillian Leslie 44:08
Oh, I love that. And by the way, it’s not like I’m so ahead. I share our struggles and my struggles and what we’re doing as we, you know, it’s like the internet today is a little bit like the Wild West.
And so for example, just when it comes to branding, as I’ve shared, you know, when we started Catch My party, for example, I wasn’t thinking about my own personal brand. And now I’m coming to that party late, because Oh shoot, I gotta catch up here and do this, because that’s not my comfort zone. And that’s not how I built my businesses.
And it is about saying like, Hey, I’m going to be vulnerable like everybody else, and show all of it. And again, from a place of service, which is if I can make your day feel a little more inspired or that you’re not alone, or I’m not alone, the reason why I love the podcast is because I get to go talk to people like you.
And I get to connect with people like you because I find in my day in and day out life, people don’t really understand what I do. So the fact, Paula, that you understand what I do, and that this audience understands what I do makes me feel connected.
So cool. All right. Well, if anybody out there has some ideas about branding, how they think about their own brand, what has worked for them, what hasn’t worked for them, please email me at Jillian@Milotree.com. I’d love to continue this conversation as we dig in and as we continue, as the internet and our businesses continue to evolve.
And again, follow me Jillian Tohber-Leslie on Instagram because you’ll get a little slice of, you know, what kind of chocolate I’m eating.
Awesome. Well, Paula, thank you so much for doing this. And we’ll be back with another topic.
Paula Rollo 46:10
Yes, thank you for having me.
Jillian Leslie 46:12
Hopefully, this episode will help you think about branding for your own business. And if you liked the episode, please share it. If you have a friend who’s an entrepreneur and you think that he or she will benefit, tell them about The Blogger Genius, I would so appreciate it. And I will be here again next week.
What Type of Online Entrepreneur is MiloTree Right For?
Are you serious about growing your online business (advanced beginner and above)? Have you got some traffic but you know you need more?
Let your MiloTree pop-ups help you get to that next level by converting your visitors into email subscribers and social media followers on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and YouTube. Sign up today!
Install your MiloTree pop-ups on your site in under two minutes.
Sign up for MiloTree now and get your first 30 DAYS FREE!