I participate in several LinkedIn groups, and one question that caught my eye the other day was whether journalists should have a blog as a way to promote their personal brand.
I answered the question by pointing out that by developing a personal -- yet professional -- blog, I've been able to make some really cool connections and find wonderful sources.
Still, I've seen other "journalists" who make a real hash of their personal brand. They think being rude and nasty makes them more popular, and sharing their most intimate personal details on a blog is a good idea.
Read this column I did for Gannett/USAToday on the right way to go about establishing your personal brand and online presence to help your career, not sink it....
It sometimes can feel intimidating to be told you need to be more active online to promote yourself professionally.
You may feel uncomfortable with the thought of calling attention to yourself by blogging or jumping onto Twitter. Who cares, after all, about what you had for lunch?
But Michael Hyatt says it's not about ego or being the center of attention when you direct notice your way. It's more about finding ways to add value for others.
As the author of the popular blog, Intentional Leadershipand chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishers, Hyatt says many authors have been turned down for publication because they didn't have a "platform." He says that got him to thinking about the lack of online presence and personal brand many people lack in the workplace today and how that can affect a person's ability to succeed overall.
Still, he acknowledges it can seem difficult to get attention with all the different communications channels. Many people try to write a blog and give up after a while because they fail to garner any attention.
Or, they don't know how to participate in online conversations and soon feel discouraged and quit using Facebook or Twitter when no one responds.
The result is that they've lost the chance to become a voice in their industry or make valuable connections that can help them find a new job or sell their product, he says.
In his new book, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, (Thomas Nelson, $24.99), Hyatt says he tries to break down the idea of participating online into smaller parts so it doesn't seem so overwhelming.
Among his suggestions:
• Give 30 minutes a day. You may believe you don't have time to chat on Twitter or Facebook, or comment on other blogs.
But just a half hour a day is enough to devote to this effort and can reap rewards over time with critical connections.
"Success today is not so much about what you know. It's about who you know," he says.
• Blog. Hyatt says his blog has more than 400,000 visitors a month, and while not everyone may be able to see even a fraction of that, he says a blog is the only way that you have complete control over your brand and your message.
That can be especially important if you are criticized online or in other forums, he says. Your blog can be a way to directly defend yourself or communicate your message.
• Participate in Twitter. Don't use this 140-character medium to post inane comments like what kind of coffee you're drinking, but rather as a way to engage others in a conversation or promote a product.
A note of caution: People will quickly unfollow you if you over-promote a product or post when you're angry or frustrated. As many celebrities have learned, posting emotional responses before thinking them through can garner an immediate backlash.
• Set up a Facebook fan page. These public pages enable you to keep your Facebook profile pages private and still have a way to interact with others on a professional level.
Hyatt says as least 5 percent of his blog traffic comes from Facebook.
• Write guest posts. Maybe you're not ready to launch a website and blog with your name attached, but you admire others' blogs.
Study the content and look for a way to contribute. Maybe you start out commenting on a blog post. In time, you can approach the blog author with an offer to submit a post. Then help promote the post through your networks and let it build your connections.
Any platform has to begin with taking personal responsibility for it, Hyatt says. No one knows your product better than you do or has more passion for it, whether it's a book or a blog.
It's your job to become chief marketing officer of your brand.
What are some ideas you would add to this idea of developing a personal brand?