Successful Personal eBranding Strategies
Guest post by Dan Schawbel introduces “e-branding” concept and offers some suggestions for successfully e-branding yourself.
Since the start of the internet, the term eBranding was present, but overlooked. Commercial use of the Internet used to be all about companies building websites to promote products.
Then eCommerce websites were unearthed as a gateway for people to actually purchase products online and have them shipped.
At first, people didn’t realize they could actually promote and sell themselves online through this very same medium. Over the last five years or so, this has changed — a lot.
eBranding is everything on the internet that represents you.
You actually get to decide how people view you online. Your eBrand can be limited to a single blog or website or it can be spread thin among several social networks, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
The total sum of all your presences online is your eBrand. The more you give people to see, the more you will judged on.
Soon everyone will be expected to have their own eBrand. The cost of building one is minimal to free, and the rewards are tremendous.
So, who are you?
Before considering various e-branding strategies, you must think about who you are and what you stand for.
You need to stake out a niche, such that you are the best at something for a specific audience.
How do you describe yourself and how do others describe you?
I call this discovering your personal brand and it’s a necessity before you go through the hassle of actually creating content.
Once you’ve thought about this, it’s time to get started communicating your e-brand. You have many available online vehicles.
Let’s face it, if you want to have a successful career in the digital age, blogging is your ticket.
If you use wordpress.com you can start a free blog in seconds, and they just upgraded their systems to version 2.5, which has a better look and feel, as well as the ability to post video and sounds in a flash.
Your other options include Blogger.com, which is Google’s blog platform (free as well), Typepad.com, or WordPress.org. With WordPress.org, you must host the blog on your own domain and server space, but you have more flexibility with design.
A blog allows you to deliver value to your niche. Over time, that value translates into new business or professional contacts.
You don’t have to have a blog to participate in the blogosphere.
Commenting is an amazing way to show bloggers you care about their writing. When you comment, try and add something relevant to the discussion or direct readers to other sources.
If you have a blog, comments on other blogs will draw traffic and possibly subscribers to your blog.
The bad news is that writing on your blog only is not enough anymore. To form stronger relationships and turn the “visibility switch” on for your eBrand, you need to write for other sources in your niche.
Many of the higher-visibility bloggers are quite open to posting good material provided by others. The visibility they have creates constant pressure to post new material. By proposing a guest post, you are helping them as well as yourself.
Sure, anyone can comment on a blog, but not many people take advantage of the contact information provided by the blogger.
Commenting is about continuing the conversation, whereas off-blog networking is about actually getting to know the author.
I’m not saying call the person, but at least connect through email if you have genuine interest in the person or their topic.
And if someone comments on your blog, send them a quick email thanking them for the comment and maybe adding a few follow-up thoughts just for them.
Are you an expert? Well, it’s time to start thinking like an expert.
Guest blogging will be rewarding, but it’s not as strong for your brand as writing for traditional media sources.
By branding yourself on respected websites and having your articles link back to your eBrand, you are establishing credibility, while increasing traffic simultaneously.
Presence on Social Networks
Your eBrand needs to be where the people are.
Facebook has 63 million users, while LinkedIn has 20 million. Why not create your profile and link it to your blog or website?
When you join social networks, be sure to understand that it’s all public. Don’t post pictures of “drunken moments,” but instead have a profile that expresses your brand in a professional, yet personal, light.
If you haven’t purchased a domain to secure your eBrand, you will be at a huge disadvantage later in life.
For $6.95, you can probably buy yourname.com (or some variation) at GoDaddy.com.
The purpose of buying your domain is two-fold. First, dot-coms rank very high in search engines. Second, people remember names. By searching for you or typing in your name in the search bar, your eBrand will come up.