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How to Build a Personal Brand With a Blog

Have you ever heard of the blogger Nate Silver? He made a name for himself with his blog FiveThirtyEight, which gained the attention of The New York Times. In 2010, they signed him up for a three-year blogging deal.

When that deal expired this summer, ESPN and ABC News outbid the Times for access to his franchise – and not only bought the content, but the name and domain, too.

So, just what does Nate Silver do? He uses statistical analysis to predict stuff – politics (elections, really) and sports (baseball). With this new platform, he is aiming to expand to business, economics, weather, health, education, technology and culture.

As he said during a conference call with reporters announcing the deal, this is his dream job (you can read more about the story here). So, how did Silver build such a large, powerful, and personal brand with his blog – and how can you?

Start with your expertise

Some of the blogs I follow have turned their authors into brands, like Young House Love and These blogs focus on an area of expertise (DIY home design/ improvements and customer service/marketing, respectively), and it shows in the quality content.

Be niche

How many blogs out there are focused on U.S. politics? A lot – more than 14 million. So how do you make a name for yourself with so much competition? You go niche.  Because Silver is good at analyzing numbers, he merged his interests and kept at it.

Spot trends

To make a big impact with a blog, you can’t be like a weatherman who gets it right sometimes and wrong sometimes. You have to get it – trends, predictions, how-to – right almost all the time. Silver correctly predicted every single race during the 2012 elections. Young House Love often provides step-by-step guides on how to do something – and it works.

Disrupt your space

Because numbers don’t lie, Silver has angered a lot of political reporters and talking heads whose subjective predictions couldn’t keep up with a statistician’s careful analysis. Shankman writes about horrible – and sometimes excellent – customer service, and because of his clout, companies listen.

What are your favorite blogs to read? How have they turned their authors into brands?

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Monika Jansen

Monika Jansen

Monika Jansen is a freelance copywriter and editor who helps with companies of all shapes on sizes kick their content up to the next level. You can find her online at
Monika Jansen
Monika Jansen

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Monika Jansen


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