38 Rules For Creating a Personal Branding Blog

  1. First, understand that a blog is absolutely essential for 99% of us who want to build a personal brand. Unless you already have the kind of visability and celebrity that enables you to freely pesent your ideas to the world, a blog is the only platform that will allow you to create and present information to your target audience. And even if you already have noteriety, a blog is the only platform that you can have complete control over.

  2. Build your entire personal brand so that your blog is the hub of all your online activities. Everything you do online should link back to your blog. This is the ultimate place you want to lead readers to gain exposure about you and what you have to offer prospective clients or employers. This means that when people find your blog, they will find you.

  3. Identify your niche by asking yourself "What problems am I very good at soliving?" Your answers to this question will determine the brand you present to the world. Define yourself as a solution to certain problems.

  4. The reason this is an effective way to define your brand is because no employer or client ever hires anyone because of what they do, or how much experience they have. Ultimately they only hire people because they have problems that must be solved.

  5. What do you write about? Keep a notebook or voice recorder with you and make note of any ideas, solutions or tips you think of. Set a goal to come up with 5 of these ideas per day. If you do this for a few months, you will never run out of things to write about.

  6. Get used to thinking of yourself as an expert. If you are a solution to the problems you defined earlier, and you have a notebook full of ideas, solutions and tips, you are most certainly an expert. Don't be shy about it.

  7. Create a minimum of 3 to 4 posts per week. No one said personal branding will be a walk in the park. It will take some effort and a commitment to the project to get it done.

  8. However, your posts need not be lengthy or difficult. You can post short, 2 to 3 minute videos of yourself (a Flip camcorder costs under $150, and you can often find them for much less) discussing your ideas. In fact, your entire blog can be a video blog and you need not ever write a single article.

  9. Other easy blog posts can be list articles (like this one), Frequently Asked Questions, or you can simply post a link to an article you found on the web with 2 or 3 paragraphs of your own thoughts on the subject. Don’t make your posts difficult, just make sure you add new posts regularly and consistently.

  10. Don't make coming up with new blog posts an onerous job. Think like the late Paul Harvey. He was more a "news aggregator" than a traditional journalist. He came into the newsroom early every morning and pulled stories from the newswire services (this was before the internet). Then he selected the stories to talk about on his broadcast and added his own brief commentaries to them.

  11. Study your targeted audience. What information do they need? What problems do they want to solve? What pain do they want to get rid of? What goals do they want to accomplish? What changes do they want to make in their businesses or their lives? What changes are impacting them that they must adapt to (or even be made aware of)?

  12. What do you write or talk about? Don’t just talk about what you do or what you sell. That is a sure way to turn off your audience. Instead, look at the previous point about what your audience wants and needs. Draw from those questions for your material. Put the focus on your target audience, not yourself.

  13. Don't worry that you are giving too much of your knowledge away. You can never over-educate your audience. All that will happen when you share your ideas and information is that you gain more credibility in their eyes.

  14. Make your blog a resource of useful and actionable information for your audience. Give readers a reason to bookmark your site and keep coming back again and again.

  15. In keeping with the previous point, create a recommended list of quality resources. This goes way beyond a simple blogroll. Single out specific articles and videos created by others that you think would be useful to your audience.

  16. Have you noticed that I keep referring to your audience? This is deliberate. Stop thinking of them as prospects, customers, clients or potential employers. Think of them as consumers of the content you produce. And get used to thinking of yourself as a publisher.

  17. Once you have a new article of video posted to your blog, tweet about it. Use Twitter to help people find your blog and drive traffic to your individual posts. With Twitter, you blog need not languish in obscurity. You can get readers in a matter of weeks rather than months and years.

  18. When you send out a tweet, make it simple. A good personal branding tweet will consist of two things: a headline to offer a benefit and grab attention, and a link pointing to your blog post.

  19. Use a “URL shortner” like bit.ly or tweetburner.com when you tweet that allows you to track how many people actually clicked on your link and visited your blog post.

  20. With Twitter, there is no reason your older posts should ever stop working for you. If these older posts are still relevant, recycle them with tweets driving more traffic to them. If you took the time to write them in the first place, never let them lose their usefulness for you.

  21. Always have an opt-in form prominently displayed on your blog to capture your readers’ email addresses. The main purpose of your site is to build an opt-in email list. One-time visitors do you absolutely no good. But with an opt-in list, you can induce them to be regular readers.

  22. Entice readers to opt into your list by offering a newsletter or “Tip of the Week.” For example, financial planners and accountants can offer a “Money Tip of the Week.” Other professionals can offer a “Safety Tip of the Week” or “Wellness Tip of the Week.” You can also offer a free ebook or other digital product in order to get subscribers.

  23. Once you have a list, keep them in the loop. Send them an email at least once a week and make your newsletter informative and useful.

  24. Use your blog as a platform for networking. You can take the strategy of “informational interviewing” to a new level by asking experts if you can interview them for your blog. Although informational interviewing is typically taught to job seekers, you need not be looking for a job to use this approach. It not only gains you new contacts, it elevates you as a peer in their eyes. Plus, it also gains you access to that person’s audience and followers as well.

  25. Use great headlines for each blog post. Here are some great resources by Brain Clark's Copyblogger.com: How to Write Magnetic Headlines.

  26. Use great opening sentences for your posts as well. Another great post from Copyblogger is 5 Simple Ways to Open Your Blog Post With a Bang.

  27. Provide links to the other places you hang out on the web: Your Facebook page, your LinkedIn page, your Twitter username, your Google Profile, etc. Become interconnected on the web.

  28. Don’t regard other bloggers in your field as competitors. When you find a great article on someone else’s blog, praise it on your own and link to it. You will quickly find that bloggers are a generous and supportive crowd if you treat them with respect.

  29. Look for ways to meet these other bloggers in the offline world. Attend events or organize one of your own. If nothing else, create a free teleseminar in which you can have an exchange of ideas for both of your audiences to listen in on.

  30. Leverage your blog as a way to get speaking engagements to various offline groups and organizations.

  31. Comment on other blogs with links back to your own. Not only is this a great way to gain new readers, it is also another way to network with that other blogger. Sometimes you will write your own post based upon a post you found on another blog. When you do, trackback to that blog and build a conversation on the topic.

  32. When you disagree with another blogger, do so without becoming disagreeable. Be polite, but make your own point. Establish your own, unique point of view.

  33. Find material to write about by subscribing to the RSS feeds of other blogs, Digg.com, YouTube, Delicious.com, or alltop.com, to name a few.

  34. Also, set up Google Alerts feeds to have new material emailed to you on your topic each day. Once you set up a Google Alert for your keyword, Google will notify you when a new item appears on the web under that search term.

  35. Put your blog and Twitter URLs on your business cards and resume.

  36. Use a service like blog2print or to compile some of your best blog posts into a hard copy booklet. Send this out with your resume, letters asking for speaking engagements or consulting proposals.

  37. Make sure your Twitter and Facebook personal brands are consistent with the one you are building on your blog. Tweet about the same kind of information. Update on Facebook with the same audience wants and needs you address on your blog. I'm not one who says you cannot have family photos on the same Facebook page you do business on (people like to see who you are before they do business with you), but keep these things in the background, in good taste and make sure they do not detract from your personal branding efforts.

  38. Even if you have never aspired to writing a book, you may find that your blog is writing a book for you. Just write your 3 to 4 new posts every week and before long you may have a publishable book on your hands. In addition, you blog will be creating a platform or readership for your book before you ever get it written.

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COPYRIGHT © 2009, Charles Brown
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