The pitfalls you should be aware of when using your name as the brand for commercial blogging.
What Does Your Name Mean
Drawing interest in a blog, driving traffic, and standing out in a crowd are huge problems that you’ll face. By far the biggest challenge I’ve seen with mgmtnow.com has been drawing eyes, and this would have been even worse if the blog had been called nickbrackney.com.
The problem is until people know you; there isn’t any association they can possibly make with your name. Focusing on a brand that plays off words that your audience knows and have a positive association with makes your job that much easier.
Beware the risks of endorsement
Everyone should be familiar with the case of Michael Vick, and therefore aware of the dangers to a brand based on a person. Endorsements utilizing famous people are a great way to push a product; but most bloggers are not going to have the fame necessary to actually capitalize off their name for branding. They will however still be able to share in the risk of infamy.
Not that I ever plan on crossing the law, but say I did get arrested for something terrible, not only would it plunge my career into the toilet it could then additionally destroy my blog. Distancing oneself from the brand reduces this risk and could enable you to keep a revenue stream going in the event something detrimental happened.
Scaling Out Your Blog
If your brand is so closely tied to your name then you are the product. I look at sites like Gizmodo, Kotaku, and TMZ these are sites that went from small blogs to corporate money making machines, I don’t think they would have had as much success if they’d been named after the founders. As you scale out your business and reach more and more people the need for content goes into overdrive; the need for more content creators then because a key requirement for the business.
Quite simply if people associate the content with you and not with a centralized brand there’s no ability to take off, go on vacation, introduce new writers, or transition the business without facing the uphill battle of your customers’ skepticism.
Selling Your Blog
Mergers and acquisitions are fraught with peril, why make it even more of a challenge. The days of the multi-million dollar blogging acquisitions may be on life support these days due to the economy, but it can’t hurt to prepare for better times.
If you’re the brand, the content, the intellectual property; you’re the reason for the traffic coming to the site. Any movement away from you runs the risk of alienating the entire audience. Large companies are going to be aware of the risks and would have to plan accordingly, which removes some of the opportunity in the investment. A brand based around you will likely reduce the asking price or ability to close a deal with a suitor.
I’m not saying that people who create a blog utilizing their name can’t be successful as there are plenty of examples of this; but I feel very strongly this is not the best path to follow in your branding if you seek to run a successful blog-business.