Today's Economy Makes Personal Branding a Requirement

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This week I will be consulting with two friends who are being impacted by the economic upheaval. In both cases, I will probably recommend that they start developing a personal brand online.

The first person is my brother who was downsized after working nearly two decades for a major corporation. He has a very good resume, great references and excellent work experience.

The other person is a self-employed freelancer who wants to get more traffic to her website and convert more of those visitors into clients.

Both are finding that the old rules of marketing oneself, either in the form of a job search or marketing one’s services, have changed dramatically. Yet even though the goals of both are different, both efforts can be viewed through the lens of establishing a personal brand.

Adam Singer, in an excellent article called The Rise of Personal Branding, poses the question of who would you rather hire?

  • Person A, who has an excellent resume, work history and references, or
  • Person B, who has all of the above, plus a blog that has gathered an audience of readers because she has produced a body of work on her field. When you Google this person, it is easy to find links and references that demonstrate this person has established a noteworthy online presence.

The answer, of course, is obvious. Person B is a thought leader and has established a personal brand within his or her industry. This person has demonstrated an interest in her industry that does not cease when she goes home for the day.

One of the coaching services I offer is to work with professionals who want to establish themselves as experts in their fields. In every case, we begin with a blog and why creating a blog is an essential tool for anyone wanting to create a personal brand identity.

But also in every case, I hear the same resistance that my client either hates to write, does not have time to write or doesn’t know what to write about.

To which I reply, “horse feathers” (or something along those lines).

You can create a very useful blog simply by becoming a “news gatherer.”

Think of Paul Harvey, who passed away this weekend. He was not a journalist in the classic sense of the word, he was a news gatherer who sought out news items and brought them to the attention of his audience.

You can do the same thing. Simply find useful information on the web that would be of interest to your target audience, and post links to that material on your blog. Then you can write a brief, one-paragraph comment on the material you are linking to just to add your own thoughts and personality to the piece.

And that’s it.

Yes, you can also write at length on certain topics if you feel like it. In fact I encourage you to do so because your whole purpose in blogging is to establish yourself as an expert.

Where do you find material to blog about and link to? Here are a few sources to try:

  • Google, of course. Look up your topic and you will no doubt find thousands of pages full of material.
  • Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia that covers most topics and provides you with many links to other sources.
  • is an article bank that permits you to reprint thousands of articles as long as you give proper attribution to the author.
  • Social bookmarking sites like or
  • Google Alerts. As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, with Google Alerts, you can do a one-time search for a topic and anytime new results appear on the web, they are sent to you by email. This is a very good way to stay on top of breaking news that may impact your field and keep you current on the latest developments. Of course the purpose here is to keep your readers up to date on these developments by blogging about them.

So don’t be intimidated by the thought of creating a blog. If your mission is to establish a personal brand, either to get a job or to attract business, nothing could help you more than to become a recognized authority in your field.

I firmly believe that a blog is the engine that runs any modern personal branding effort. It is a place to showcase your knowledge, your ability to solve problems and to transcend the normal, “hey look at me” approach to job searching or marketing.

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COPYRIGHT © 2009, Charles Brown
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