Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Ashley Coleman: Branding? "It's Really Kind of The World Today."

Ashley Coleman started out as a journalism major at Drexel University.

"I had to peace out," she recalled. "It cost too much money."

So she came to Temple and focused on learning about the music industry as a BTMM (now known as MSP) major. She graduated in 2008, during the height of the recession. She waited tables while looking for the perfect job and made music on the side. And she started blogging.

"I met a lot of characters in the music industry," she said.

The Central High School graduate eventually found her way to The Recording Academy, where she now serves as the membership and project manager in the Philadelphia office. She runs events and generally serves as a liaison between the local chapter and the national office.

She stopped that original blog but in 2011, she launched Write.Laugh.Dream, which she has turned into her very personal brand. She writes about love, inspirations and other positive ideas. Over the past four years, she has developed a loyal following.

Blogging began as an exercise in developing her portfolio, having a place to show off her best writing. But there is greater potential there.

"I want to be paid to be me," she stated. "I want to be a leader of thought."

So, she has the blog and she is constantly on social media, interacting with her community.

"I thought talent speaks for itself," said DJ Dilemma, Ashley's boyfriend. "But that's not really true."

You have to stay connected, she said, in order to be successful.

"If you want people to read your stories," said Ashley, "you have to brand yourself. Nobody is going to know about you unless you social media it."

Her blog led to her writing a book, with another in the pipeline. She holds events regularly and she has a new clothing line.

"It's really kind of the way of the world today," she said of her branding strategy.

Here are a few other things she said that stood out:

• The difficulty with being a brand is that you have to stay on point. You can't stray or you could lose your audience. For instance, you can't rant on Twitter (unless that is your brand).
• "Be authentic," she said. That way, you are consistently you.
• On Twitter, she tries to be witty. Instagram is for visuals. And Facebook is a way to reach older people.
• She holds events that people pay to attend.
• You have to blend cyber interaction with physical connections. "Sometimes you have to have a real life to go back to the social media," she said.
• After she self-published her book, she sent copies to Oprah.
• Is there a television series in here? She's thinking about that ...

What stood out for you?


Tracy Yatsko said...

I am currently building my own website for a class, and having Professor Miller and Ashley Coleman talk about how important it is to start blogging and branding yourself is really helping me go beyond and above in my class because I know once this semester is over, I have a great head start for the creation of my own blog...

Iman S said...

Ashley Coleman advocates the importance of branding in the blogosphere. Branding and successful PR stints advance one’s online following, which leads to successful opportunities in real life. As an active (though admittedly sometimes dormant) participant of blogging, Twitter and other social media venues, I have seen the successful results of easily gaining a following by channelling your persona into an online presence, but this is only rendered successful by bridging the prospects found online with social networking in real life, which Coleman in fact noted when she said, “Sometimes you have to have a real life to go back to the social media.” Being a "leader of thought”, blogger and self-functioning brand moreover sounds like building a strong profile, but how does one account for changes in interest, identity crises and other liminal stages of life? That’s why initially, it’s hard to brand oneself because it’s hard to be totally familiar with what you want to do in life. Social media is forever; it reifies what you felt and thought even if your mind has since changed from whenever you posted what you did. It’s also important to be strategic in what you communicate, particularly when audience criticism can hijack privacy or attempt to undermine the validity of your personhood, which can sometimes implement real-life consequences.

Anonymous said...

Adriana Vela

What stood for me is how important branding and finding the right target audience. Professor Miller has mentioned that previous students have created blogs and I think I will create one of my own. I have always wanted to have my own business and love organizing so I need to start somewhere. I also like how she has events and people attend. I think thats a great way to build your brand and network.