Being a business blogger isn’t always so easy. Aside from having to produce quality content and build up a dedicated following within a saturated business blogoshere, once you decide to express yourself online you are taking a risk. You are constantly opening yourself up to criticism and maybe even harassment, and that can be disconcerting, especially since your potential audience may either be close to home or be difficult to estimate or predict.
Some business bloggers choose to separate their personal and professional lives online using a pen name, alter-identity, or even an anonymous blogging voice. Not only does this feel much safer, but it may also allow the blogger more freedom of expression.
That said, there are several reasons why it still pays to keep your blogging persona as real as possible. Here are six of them:
Reason #1:You’ll Never Outgrow Your Real Name. It may seem a little funny to put this as the first reason to use your real name, but it often happens that a blogger reaches a point in his or her life where the original moniker just doesn’t fit any more. If that does happen, then you may find yourself in a difficult position. If you later decide to reveal you real name (or change your pen name to another one) you have to consider all those links that you’ve made along the way that mention your old name as well as all those relationships you’ve built on it.
Reason #2: You Can Establish Credibility with Your Readers. This is a another big reason to stay true to yourself as much as possible. You can build a brand around yourself and your real life skills, talents, experience, and other credentials, a fake name won’t allow you to do this as easily. These days, this kind of transparency is very important as more online users become discriminative in order to avoid being conned or misled. After all, many people can write a passable article or post, some can even write extremely well. But not everyone can offer expert advice based on experience or education.
Reason #3: You are Building a Career Portfolio. You have to think about your blog and other online writing in terms of the future. Your work online will not help you offline if you are not using your real name. It may be very hard to use your blog and social media presence as examples of your skills and experience when communicating to future employers since everything is under a different name. You will also need to be prepared to explain your pen name…
Reason # 4: Avoid Those Sticky Situations. Which brings me to the fourth reason why you should consider using your real name when blogging: you can avoid a host of awkward situations. You might think that you can successfully network using a blog through a fake name, but it may prove to be harder than you realized. If you later go to all of your connections and reveal your real identity, these people may feel betrayed and disappointed. They might even be distrustful and less willing to continue the relationship.
You also have to consider how you will explain your pen name to people outside the blogosphere as well as how you will introduce yourself when attending blogging or social media-related events. Finally, certain business transactions may require the use of your real name. For example, what will you do with advertisers, and under which name will you get paid?
Reason #5: You Can Mix Your Real and Online Life. Your blog will become a part of your life and as such, you will want to share some of it with your readers. This is a natural integration that happens with any portion of our day to day lives, such as speaking to a colleague about something at home, or vice versa. It is no different when your work space is a computer and the world is a digital one.
The problem with having a pseudonym is that this natural process is undermined. You are no longer one person but two, and it is very hard to combine these two identities. You may then begin to feel like one is disingenuous.
Furthermore, when using a pseudonym you are hiding who you really are. People want to know who you are, and the more honest you are from the beginning, the more likely it will be that your blog will lead to bigger and better opportunities. Just imagine a media source attempting to contact you…do you want them calling you by a nickname, or your real name?
Reason # 6: In the End, It May Not Protect You… Much. Though it may not be so pleasant, using a fake name will not stop harassment, nor is it a guarantee that someone won’t figure out your real identity. If a person really wants to find who you are it is often only a matter of an intensive search to follow the loose threads. Privacy can be hard to come by on the Internet, unless you put in a lot of effort.
Moreover, it may be hard to prevent the people who know your true identity from inadvertently blowing your cover when linking posts or promoting you on social media.
In the end, each business blogger really needs to consider the implications of using a pen name when blogging; sometimes it’s just best to leave the mask behind.
Jessy Troy is a frugal entrepreneur and writer for the Mobile Phone Finder, a free, money-saving tool based in Australia.