Too Many Hats

HatsHow do you brand yourself when you contain multitudes?

This question comes up all the time when I’m teaching, in discussions online, and even in my own life. For instance, I’m a pitch consultant, I write fiction, I have a mommy blog, and I’m about to launch a podcast. Should I brand myself as a fiction-writing mommy podcaster Pitch Goddess? It’s a small niche, to be sure, but there may be a reason for that…

What I do — what most people do, and what I primarily advocate — is focus on one thing at a time. I have this website for all things pitch-related, a separate one for my mommy blog, another for my podcast. The one place where I cop to my multiple personalities is at LauraBrennanWrites.com, but it’s not an active site. It’s more like a directory with links to all the possible destinations: which Laura are you looking for?

This approach is simple and clean, but it requires maintaining multiple sites, jumping from one identity to another. That’s the big drawback, in time and energy. But when your different facets are that divergent, lumping them all in one place is counter-productive. Someone looking for me as a television consultant doesn’t want to stumble across my mommy post on building leprechaun traps. There’s very little overlap.

Your other option is to claim all of your identities in one place. If you’re a writer of both fiction and nonfiction, it’s a little less of a stretch that someone might be interested in both of your endeavors. Even if your interests are more distinct than that, as long as you have only two hats, there is probably a way to combine them: a dentist who runs a dog rescue, or an antique appraiser/CPA. But you have to own it, either with humor or by being able to show how expertise in one field makes you better in the other.

You can do anything as long as you do it with intention. If you haven’t yet built a site — or if you have, and you’re confronting what I like to call Identity Sprawl — take a step back. Evaluate. Does the new personality line up with your brand or distract from it? Should you redefine yourself to incorporate it, or should you splinter off that facet into its own site, or (third option!) should you simply not mention it at all?

Some things are not enhanced by being online, and I don’t just mean naughty pictures. You may be a crackerjack office temp or movie extra, but those aren’t assets employers or casting directors search for online. Who is the audience you want to attract? What do you want them to do when they get to your site?

Tell them what they need to know about you to get the result you want, and nothing more.