Brand yourself through blogging: Basic lessons
Last week I commented on Alan Collin’s Blog, Success in HR. The article was Blogging to Advance your HR Career: Part One.
I was excited when I read the title hoping to find some pearls of wisdom that Alan would share with his readers. After all, I have only been blogging a little more than a year and if Alan has the secret, I want to hear about it.
Here is the comment I wrote after reading that post:
Sorry Alan, I am not with you on this article. I think it was premature to highlight Ms.Boier-Jennings as an example of raising brand creditability through blogging. Her blog has been up only a few months with six of her own posts. If the thrust of the article was getting started, I might buy in. There are a number of remarkable HR bloggers who would have brought home the lessons of making the blog work to your advantage more clearly.
To Alan’s credit, he wrote back:
Lynn – thanks for checking out the article and for your comments – much appreciated! While I disagree with your point about featuring Andreea, I do agree that I need to make the intent of this article a lot more clear and specify what is significant about it. I’ve added comments at the end of the interview to address these points. Appreciate the feedback. Love Elephants at Work – I’m a regular reader. Best, Alan.
Alan, I still stand by my comment. I do not think you made the case for how blogging helps someone to advance his or her career. My comment is by no means a bash on Andreea (read her blog here), as I applaud anyone who has the confidence to put his or her opinion in the public’s eye. It takes a lot of courage.
However, making a blog work as a career enhancer is beyond establishing a blog. Personally, I was looking for lessons from a veteran who has experienced some of the hard knocks.
What your article did do, was to jump start my evaluation process. My blog has undergone some significant changes in a year. I am just starting to see things percolate.
Why am I writing this article? For two reasons:
- To share resources
- To share lessons learned
Starting a blog does not catapult your career. If you want to build a brand, expect to write and post constantly. One of the best series I found on what it takes was by Dragos where he wrote about The First Year of Blogging – The Series.
His experiences will give you the reality check of the commitment to be known as a blogger and IMHO the basics on how to build a brand. Alan, this is where I thought your article was addressing how to advance your career, essentially brand management.
Spend hours looking at other sites. I learned more about aesthetics and writing styles from looking at the best blogs sites. There is no right or wrong answer – only what works for you. If you are looking for succinct and short posts, Seth Godin is the master of it. He leaves you thinking about his message the rest of the day to the point you want to quit reading him.
A couple of other resources for benchmarking blogs can be found at 33 Blogs to Read in 2010 or at Learn-gasm – grab some coffee for this one – there are Top 100 Personal Development Blogs to keep you busy. Topics range from Must Reads, Work Development, Get Organized, Financial Development, Coaches and Consultants, Self Improvement, Productivity, and that catch-all Miscellaneous category.
Develop a personal connection with your readers. One of the best examples I have found is Penelope Trunk. She has a way of being real by sharing her successes and failures. Why is it so popular? Because she talks about what people experience but do not have a safe place for discussion.
There is more to blogging than writing. The basics include designing a blog that people like to visit. The next step is to build readership and following. There are many tips and tricks to learn about; finding the ones that work with your blog is an important part of successful branding. How to Make my Blog. com is packed full of information.
You may hire out someone to do the technical part of your blog. It is still important to gain some basic familiarity with design (css and photoshop) to make decisions on enhancing your site. Now you can have an intelligent conversation with your techie person. Noupe is easy to read with tutorials and lists of ideas to consider.
Figure out the right formula. There are many parts of the formula and deciding what works for you takes time and experimentation.
- How often should you publish? I opted to write 2-3 times a week. Readers sign up for content that is fresh and frequent. If you already have a brand or following, you can write less frequently.
- How to write great blog content – most of my content comes from real life experiences, reader questions and searches.
- How to grow your audience – some basics from Chris Brogan. I use Feedblitz as my RSS feeder and newsletter manager.
- How to measure a blog’s success. Getting feedback regularly tells you if you are making progress in building your community.
Building a brand through blogging takes a lot of dedication and perseverance. It is a journey with many rewards, despite the twists and turns. The greatest joy I have is connecting with the community, hearing about their issues, concerns and successes. Along the way, people learn about me and know what they get when they work with me.