Bob (no url provided) asks – “I want to know how blogging can be used in personal branding. I want to be considered an expert in a topic, how best can writing a blog get me there? I do not care about adsense or CJ.com, I want to know how to use a blog to get consulting and freelance work in my field.”
Glad to hear you’re wanting to use your blog in this way Bob, you’re not alone as more and more people are doing it too.
Really what you’re saying here is that you want to use your blog to ‘sell yourself’ instead of to sell a product or ad space.
Here are a few things to work hard at:
- build trust - increasingly marketers are finding that people want to know and be in some sort of trusting relationship with those that they buy products or services from. This is particularly true for a personal service like consulting. Be open about your agenda and about what you do and don’t know. Talk both about your successes and failures. If all you do is use a blog for ‘spin’ you’ll present as too good to be true.
- be personal – building on the last point – one way to make a deeper connection with potential clients is to show something of who you are. This doesn’t mean blogging about your personal life, but show you’re human injecting humor, a photo or two of yourself and showing your personality.
- use story – I find readers respond very well to story on blogs. Stories of my own experience, stories of other clients (shared with permission as case studies) etc. Using relevant stories can help build credibility in your niche.
- establish expertise – people won’t give you the ‘expert’ label without you earning it. Show what you know (without being arrogant), show how you apply it (it’s one thing to know a lot – but can you translate your knowledge into something constructive and useful) and be a thought leader in your niche (ie break some new ground and show people that you’re capable of original thought).
- be generous – some consultants use their blogs to talk very abstractly about their field of expertise but don’t actually give their readers much in the way of practical and applicable content. My approach is to give away quite a bit of information and to be quite generous with what you share. If you help someone for free I find that the next time they need something they’ll quite often be willing to pay for it. You might not want to give everything away for free but free reports, ideas and tips should feature pretty heavily on these types of blogs.
- establish relationships in your niche – while building relationships on your own blog with potential clients can be very effective – when another blogger recommends you it can be even more powerful. Get to know other bloggers in your niche and you’ll find they will add to your credibility with their links and mentions on their blogs.
- be consistent – while there’s no problem with changing, growing and developing in your ideas over time you do need to present some consistent messages over time. If you’re constantly chopping and changing what you’re on about and focusing on you’ll find that readers find it hard to connect with you and build a ‘relationship’ over time. Remember that every time you post you have the opportunity to add to or take from your reputation and brand (I’ve written more about being consistent in your messages here).