Certainly personal branding isn’t a new concept, but the future of personal branding could be in at your fingertips—with a blog.
One of the first steps in creating a brand for yourself is to make your blog visible. Post meaningful entries, comment on your industry’s top blogs, or simply gain a regular readership. “Visibility creates opportunities,” says Schawbel, a social media specialist at EMC Corporation. He believes that when you brand yourself, the competition becomes irrelevant. “The goal of personal branding is to be recruited based on your brand, not applying for jobs,” Schawbel says.
“You are the chief marketing officer for the brand called you, but what others say about your brand is more impactful than what you say about yourself,” says Schawbel. While branding yourself is one thing, building credibility is another challenge.
Maria Elena Duron, a certified personal brand strategist recommends knowing what makes you unique, and what you have to offer. Once you know what you can bring to the table, she recommends promoting your brand. “Actively ‘buzz’ your brand. Doing that will develop credibility; credibility will lead to influence; and influence will lead to leadership.”
Bloggers can build credibility through the content listed on their blog. For example, on Dan Schawbel’s blog, he mentions that he’s available for speaking engagements and interviews. By listing that he is available to speak, as well as posting where he has spoken, he is building credibility. People want to hear what he has to say and must think he’s worth listening to enough to enlist him to speak at their events and establishments.
Another important quality on his blog is a section dedicated to all the publications he’s been featured in. Having a press section allows the reader to see his credentials, and gauge for themselves what his brand is all about. Again, credibility is being built, especially when visitors to the blog see that you’ve been quoted in some of the top publications within their industry.
Additionally, comments help. Comments show that people are engaged with your content and want to respond. Another small but important detail is to list any industry or web awards your blog has earned, even if it was “readers choice,” or “top 100 recruiting blogs.” Awards can help promote your brand and build credibility.
Eric Sink, founder and software developer at SourceGear, a company based in Champaign, IL, regularly blogs about software development and business. He is also author of Eric Sink on the Business of Software, a collection of essays from his blog.
When Sink started his weblog, creating a brand for himself and his company wasn’t his initial intention. “I just wanted to write. I drew some of my inspiration from Joel Spolsky’s early blogging efforts,” says Sink.
Sink’s weblog gained credibility when SourceGear’s customers started reading and caring what he had to say. “Over time it became clear that a brand was happening. SourceGear's customers started to care about what Eric Sink was saying. The transparency was something they valued. Today we very often hear customers say that part of their confidence in our products comes from the opportunity to see a somewhat personal glimpse of what the company founder is thinking,” says Sink.
While Sink’s weblog has led to many job opportunities, no one has yet to offer him a job that made him want to stop working for the company he founded.
He advises those who are looking to brand themselves or their companies through their blogs to keep it real. “The only advice I can give is my belief that starting a blog with a specific set of commercial goals can decrease your chance of success. Blogging for money compromises the authenticity of your voice, and readers can discern that kind of stuff very easily. Think hard about whether you can be really objective and truly real, because that's what readers want to see.”
All in all, creating your own brand isn’t as complex as it sounds. All you have to do is take advantage of the opportunities, make yourself visible, and earn credibility.