Rahna Barthelmess is an expert in branding and personal branding and today’s guest blogger. She is a client of mine; I helped solve some technological issues with her WordPress site. She is celebrating the launch of her new book, Your Branding Edge: How Personal Branding Can Turbocharge Your Career with a virtual blog tour, and I am happy to host her next “stop.” Read on to find out what she said about blogging as an activity that builds your personal brand.
Expressing Your Personal Brand on Your Blog
My daughter is a digital native, but I am not. I have had to learn about technology because I understand the power of technology to drive our brands forward–particularly our personal brands. If you want to strengthen your personal brand and advance your career more quickly, then you need to embrace technology. The Internet has become a critical career-builder and a vital part of any personal branding plan for several reasons:
- It offers a vehicle for self-expression through blogging and social media.
- It offers a way to find others interested in what you are interested in.
- It allows others to find you.
Those who contribute to the digital world benefit from its rich rewards. The number of technological tools available to us today to help us manage and stay current with all of our various networks is staggering. Social networking sites, the blogosphere—all these tools facilitate ongoing connections that help us deliver our brand to myriad audiences.
If you already have an established digital presence, take a hard look at your various social media and blogging profiles. These are areas that have a dramatic impact on your personal brand. As a good brand manager, actively manage your personal brand on the worldwide web.
That means you need to be mindful of what you post…anywhere. There really is no such thing as a separation of “public” versus “private” anymore (even with privacy settings!). Realize that if you are interviewing for a job, being considered for selection by a prospective client or just meeting a new networking connection for lunch, the first thing they are probably going to do is type your name into a search engine and see what they find. It may feel “stalker-esque” to you, but it’s how many people are making judgements today, so actively manage what they are going to see.
If you want to be known as an expert in your field, post something about that activity on appropriate social media sites. Write a blog or LinkedIn post to tell someone what you are doing. The beauty of social networking is the power of leverage, the power of one-to-many. You post something once, but it goes out to everybody that likes your Facebook fan page or those following you on Twitter
Consider starting a blog: If you don’t have a blog currently, you may want to start by posting a comment on someone else’s blog. Eventually, you are probably going to want to have your own blog.
If you are going to blog, you need to do so on a regular basis (or set up a system where others have joined you in creating content on a regular basis). You can’t let the blog go “stale.” That doesn’t mean that you have to blog every day; once or twice a week would be sufficient (at least to start).
The content doesn’t strictly have to be your own; sometimes just sharing an interesting article or post by someone else is just as helpful as writing something yourself. If you pass a long a great article, you are still seen as being a purveyor of interesting information. Anytime you add value, you build your personal brand.
You don’t have to have a technical degree to manage the blog. You can hire someone (like Donna!) to set up the initial blog and then just add words and pictures to your blog as you go along. That’s what I do…I know it’s important, but I don’t have the patience or interest in learning every little nuance or coding command needed to set the blog up in the first place. Many blogging/website systems are so easy to manage that you don’t need to know specific coding languages to manage the blog…they’ve made it rather idiot-proof (once it’s set up).
Whatever you do, infuse your own personal brand into everything you post. Relate things from your family life to your professional life. Yes, you need to be judicious about exactly what/how much to share (you probably don’t need to share the details of your “guys night out”), but your blog will be stronger if you talk about your frustrations, your celebrations, your fears and most of all, your passion. Many people think they need to be super-buttoned up and “corporate,” but the truth is, the more of you that you bring to your blog posts, the more interesting your blog posts will be and the more it will strengthen your personal brand.
Rahna Barthelmess is a branding and personal branding consultant and the author of Your Branding Edge: How Personal Branding Can Turbocharge Your Career. Rahna consults with small businesses and entrepreneurs and coaches professionals across the globe to help them make more money and have more fun by leveraging their personal brands. To receive your own special guide to personal branding and access the full virtual book tour schedule, visit www.YourBrandingEdge.com
4 indie-published books
3 degrees (MCert, Web Design & Development, University of Denver; MLS, University of Alabama; BA, Art, University of Alabama in Huntsville)
17+ years professional experience in university web design and editing