Lisa Barone: Creating Your Blogging Superhero

Lisa Barone may be my favorite blogger, so it was great finally getting a chance to hear her speak.

And we’re underway. Want to discuss the power of being strategically authentic instead of letting it all hang out.

Lisa Barone at BlogWorld
Lisa Barone at BlogWorld

She’s the co-founder and Chief Branding Officer of Outspoken Media. Thinks of herself as a corporate blog voice-giver. That’s her passion, giving corporate blogs a voice.

“And as you probably know by now, I stutter.”

The fact that I stutter probably means that I understand the power of voice more than anyone else. I know what it’s like not to have one, I know what it’s like to have it taken away, I know what it’s like to have something to say and no way to say it, and I know what it’s like to get your voice back.

People say that you need to be authentic, show your customers who you are. All the different parts of your personality. You have to let people know everything about yourself. I’m here to tell you that’s a lie.

Problems with full authenticity

Audiences will only remember a few things about you. Giving too much dilutes your brand.

As bloggers, full transparency makes us look crazy.

The idea of authenticity leads us to whine and complain online and look bad.

Some negative examples

National Post reporter contacted somebody for a story. The person took 2 days to get back to him. Reporter was offended and insulted the contact. Contact wrote a nasty Tweet. Nasty phone call followed by nasty tweet followed by flame war. It was embarrassing for both of them. The paper had to issue an apology.

Tom Cruise jumping the couch. Went from beloved leading man to raving lunatic because he told us how much he loved somebody.

Too much irrelevant information distracts people from their core goal and threatens the band they’re trying to build.

The audience doesn’t want the real you, they want your blogging superhero.

Your blogging superhero

The marketing version of you. Using yourself to show people their desired outcome.

Magnify your strengths and marketable traits.

Forces you to identify your strengths.

Create a marketing strategy and editorial guidelines for your brand. Stop winging it to create a more unified, focus voice.

The internet isn’t always the friendliest place to be. There are people who want nothing more than to pee in your Cheerios (OK). Creating your superhero gives you the distance you need to not take these things to heart.

Wait – isn’t this inauthentic?

People are afraid that this will make them see inauthentic. Seth Godin says that authenticity in marketing is telling a story people want to hear.

We do this all the time. When you’re home with the kids you may be softer. When you’re out with the guys you may be louder. It’s not being inauthentic.

So how do you do it?

Steve Jobs told Apple that we live in a busy market. To be remembered you need to be clear about what you want people to know. Identify your place in the market. What 3 things do you want people to associate with your brand? Once you know them, right them down.

Build a story that brings it together. I told you about my strengths and weaknesses, I told you why that’s great for you, and then I told my story to bring it all together.

Lose everything that doesn’t relate back to what you want to show. It’s a distraction.

Like a job interview

Think of it like a job interview. You’re going to tell people about all the things you want them to hear, not about that bad relationship you had in high school. You’re not going to tell them that you just had a fight with your best friend.

A few years ago I took belly dancing lessons. I loved it because the teacher only taught beginner belly dancing because that’s what she wanted to be known for. She’d show up in neon unitards. When she described a move she was crass and vulgar. I doubt she’s like that in real life. I doubt she dresses or talks like that. But it worked for the class. [In that blog post Lisa foreshadows part of this talk, except she calls it “Be the best version of yourself.” This talk takes it one step further, it’s “Be the best version of yourself for the specific context.”]


Your blogging superhero is the best version of yourself.

Allows you to hone in on your marketing strategy, heighten your personality, and connect with your readers.

Will keep you safe when things get rough.

We fall in love with people who are brave enough to be special and memorable.

Base your character on the best parts of yourself.

She ends with “I stuttered less than I expected, so we have plenty of time for Q&A.”

All the questions seem to start with “I really enjoy your blog.”

Some points from her Q&A:

  • If you wouldn’t let some intern answer your phones, don’t let them Tweet for you.
  • Define who you want to be in your market. The quick witted know-it-all? Super-helpful? Identify who you want to be. If your best friend had to pick 5 words to define you or your business, what would it be.
Q: You don’t talk down to your readers. How do you pull that off?
A: I think I’m lucky because I’m pretty dumb, so if I can understand something than I have it on a core, basic, level, and I can teach it to someone else. It’s about understanding your audience and where they are in their context.
Q: How do you identify your voice if you have multiple blogs. I’m a business owner and a consultant and a mom. I’d like to not have so many sides. The consultant part has to stay separate, but can I combine the business and mom sides?
A: What’s your company?
Q: It’s children related … And then as a mom I blog about keeping children well mannered.
A: In that case you should be able to tie those two in. It comes down to being a really good story teller.
And that’s it. Well done, Lisa!

Also see Peter Shankman Rocks BlogWorldDarren Rowse: Blogging from the Heart but Smart and Best of BlogWorld.