Archive for August 21st, 2010

Blogging + Twitter = Personal Brand

That about sums it up doesn’t it? Well, almost. It’s a starting point, and I doubt one equation adequately encapsulates the full dynamics of a personal brand.

Now, you ask, “Why would I care about a personal brand?”

The age of online networks
The Internet is growing exponentially. Proliferation of online activities are giving way to highly interactive behaviours, creating many social circles (communities)—circles which in turn affect and influence real life individuals and communities.

Establishing a recognized personal brand permits you to navigate through different communities fluidly. You are easily recognized for who you are and what you represent. Your brand is proven and trusted. In effect, your network expands and your relations and reputation become more robust.

A healthy and extensive network not only bodes well for you, but also for those with whom you are associated.

So what does it take to develop a personal brand? My experience to date tells me a lot of it has to do with staying true to yourself and letting things happen naturally, almost by chance.

Branding your own person not persona
Knowledge, expertise, charisma and useful insights make up a successful personal brand.

Although I would add that a trusted personal brand is organically cultivated—not contrived—and emerges as a result of a fine tuned, transparent voice.

What does that mean? In my view, it means a number of things. And they all occur or come together simultaneously, at times serendipitously, including:

  • producing content that’s largely inspired instead of canned pieces churned out of an editorial calendar
  • inciting productive dialogue through constructive opinions that attempt to examine what’s beyond the obvious
  • sharing a variety of topics and news that reflect your interests and viewpoints, e.g., in what you tweet (granted, I’m a bit biased with my interest in technology..just a bit)
  • conversing with and listening to your online follows; being helpful, encouraging and getting to know their voice (who  are they? what are their interests and concerns?)
  • showing a sense of humour (sometimes sarcastically—yes, marketing snark can be entertaining), at best for comic relief, worse, to express displeasure and/or concern; although I would advise that resorting to wit and intelligence is more effective than the shock value of words fueled by raw emotions
  • being sincere and genuinely interested in the ‘man/woman/logo behind the avatar’; earning their trust/respect and encouraging an opportunity to connect offline
  • staying real and being yourself instead of overworking what it takes to be perceived as unique. The natural development of your voice alone will define your identity.

Your personality, knowledge/expertise, the content you create and critical thinking you offer, are core ingredients that the determine the quality of your personal brand.

Blogs should not only serve to be useful to others but also provide a view into a host of personal perspectives including your creative and philosophical predispositions. Concurrently, your tweets should amplify certain tones that echo your personality and reflect whether or not you choose to nurture your identity online and reveal how approachable you are.

How you help connect others online as well as the connections you yourself make offline are proof of your serious investment in online interactions. The success of these interactions and connections close the loop and attest to the effectiveness of your own sociability and the visibility and reach of your personal brand.

This is the stuff of networking today.

Can you imagine how it will further evolve? Do you chase after opportunities or allow your personal brand to draw them out?

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