One blogger that I think has done a good job of positioning himself as an expert on social media is Neil Patel. I’ve previously linked to quite a bit of Neil’s blogging at Pronet Advertising but in the last few days he’s also started a new blog called QuickSprout – a blog on personal branding.
In his latest post Neil writes about using blogs (both starting your own and commenting on others) as a tool for branding yourself (something most of us as bloggers are familiar with to some extent). I’m looking forward to seeing more and more of Neil’s posts as personal branding is a topic is continues to grow.
My Personal Branding Tip
My own philosophy on personal branding is that it needs to be approached on two fronts – a big picture and a little picture one.
On a big picture front one needs to think about the larger ‘picture’ that you’re wanting to paint of yourself. You might do this by thinking about the words that you want associated with your name for example. So someone like Guy Kawasaki you might associate the word ‘entrepreneur’ or Michael Arrington it might be ‘Web 2.0′. Most bloggers attempting to build their personal brand think about this and generally do a reasonable job at it.
On a smaller picture/micro level I think bloggers need to consider that every action that they take has the ability to add to or subtract from their personal brand.
- Every Blog Post
- Every Comment
- Every Instant Message
- Every Email
Particularly the public actions (posting and commenting) can have a profound impact upon how you are perceived – particularly when viewed cumulatively over time.
Don’t just think about ‘what’ you write either – it’s about ‘how’ you do it also. Your style, tone, language as well as they way in which you interact with others all have an impact upon how people will perceive you and the words that they’ll associate with you.
It’s on this micro level that I see some bloggers break down and prove to be inconsistent in their branding by having a big picture branding that says one thing but a small picture branding that is quite different from their overall goal. These mixed messages can confuse and even aggravate readers.
This inconsistency can come in any number of ways – for example:
- presenting as an expert but proving to have little knowledge of the topic at hand
- presenting as a relational person but with an unwillingness to interact on a one on one level
- presenting as a reasonable, diplomatic person but with a history of personal attack
- presenting as an honest person but being found to consistently attempting to pull the wool over other people’s eyes
- presenting as an aggressive blogger but in personal interactions being gentle, meek and mild
The list could go on (and you’re welcome to suggest others). The problem with such inconsistencies is that over time they become quite obvious (particularly in a medium like blogging) and they can eventually lead to the creation of anything but a positive personal brand.
So as useful as thinking about the big picture that you want to portray is – a more useful question to continually be asking is – ‘do my actions back up the brand that I’m attempting to portray?’
This is a question to be pondering in the daily grind of blogging, commenting and interacting with others.