Personal Branding for Writers by Kayla Hollatz

Welcome to #FriendFriday, an interview-style guest post series every 1st and 3rd Friday of the month. Want to be the next interviewee? Send me an email!

Welcome back to #FriendFriday! This week, I interviewed my friend, Kayla Hollatz, an amazing poet and PR guru who runs not one, but two blogs. She's in the self-publishing club, and I couldn't be happier to have her visit us today to talk about personal branding for writers.

Take it away, Kayla!

Here's your intro question. Tell me about yourself in less than 70 words. (It's tougher than it sounds.)

I’m Kayla Hollatz, a twenty-something blogger with a fierce love for writing. By day, I’m a PR professional and by night, I’m a short-form poet. I’m self-publishing my first poetry collection, Brave Little Bones, this spring. I’m passionate about helping others make a killer impression online and tell their stories. I value creativity, adventure, authenticity, transparency, and most importantly, community. Hot chocolate is my fuel.

I love your Twitter party, #createlounge. Tell us about your blog and how you got started.

Thank you! #createlounge is a community of inspiring creatives that come together every week on Wednesdays at 7 PM CT to chat about topics that affect our creative process. We talk about community building, collaboration, blogging, social media, branding, and more. It’s a really fun group that lights me up all throughout the week. I’d love to have you join us.

Let's put you to the test. You're a PR master and a poet. How do you combine both of your creative interests in your blog?

This is one test I know I’ll ace. I started my poetry blog in my sophomore year of college before my PR blog. My poetry blog is a mix of my original poetry and an online inspiration board with a myriad of beautiful photos, quotes, and writings from other sources. Simply, it’s my happy place.

With being in PR, I knew having an established blog with a personal brand to match would be instrumental in my success in the field, and it has been. I love creating content on blogging, branding, social media, and my personal favorite, community building.

My blogs truly come together on social media. On Instagram, I’ll post excerpts of my poetry as well as what’s happening with the blog and in my professional life. On Twitter, I’ve created hashtags like #thehaikuproject and more recently #kaylawrites in order to segment my poetry on a platform where my audience is predominantly PR and blogger base. The response has been incredible.

It’s important to me to include both poetry and PR in my personal brand online because I wouldn’t be me if I left one out. I also enjoy connecting more with other professionals who have side hustles and practice their passions outside of work. My final words would be to share all of what you do. People will admire (and love) you for it.

If you could be the author of any novel in history, which novel would that be and why?

This question gets the award for being the most clever question I’ve ever been asked in an interview. My answer would be either 1984 or To Kill A Mockingbird. I love the classics for highlighting social change within each time period. 1984 showed the dangers of big government and having virtually no privacy, and To Kill A Mockingbird was (and still is) one of the most influential stories of the civil rights movement.

Also, The Great Gatsby would be on my list just because of the incredible symbolism. All of the imagery is so unbelievably smart. The green light? Breathtaking. Kudos, F. Scott Fitzgerald.

And finally, before we let you go, what's the best advice you've received and how did it get you here today?

My mum has always had great nuggets of wisdom throughout my life and uses many of them frequently. One of her most popular is “You can’t make decisions based on other people.” This has always stayed with me, even though sometimes I need reminding. I think it’s important to go after what you desire regardless of what others think.

I’m a natural people pleaser, which is hard for me to admit, but I try to combat those tendencies every day. You can either be buried in the “shoulds” of your life and let them control what you do or you can rise with the “musts” and follow what you need to do. The only one who lives your life is you, so live it well and to your own satisfaction. Cheers!

Thanks to Kayla for spending some time with us! If you’re interested in being interviewed for the next #FriendFriday, send me an email