Branding yourself has become a more complicated task with the rise of each new social site and indexing company. Online personas spread to servers far and wide, leaving long-lasting imprints of old college photos and high school rants.
Via Talking Teenage
Being a professional, online presence today requires diligent research into your own past, hard work creating a persona that others connect to, and a never-ending effort to manage what others see about you online. Here are tips and insights for bloggers who hope to become industry thought leaders with recognizable, well-branded names.
Creating personal continuity depends upon every aspect of style, from fonts to headshots. Remember that whatever you choose as part of your personal brand should always be used consistently.
Pictures of You
Wherever pictures of you are used, especially as icons for popular sites, there should be immediate recognition for strangers from one picture to another. Using one professional headshot for every site is a good idea, but using two-three different shots that are very similar would suffice.
Blog Images Used
Each blog should have similar imagery selected. That doesn’t mean the images should all be of computers or cars: rather, it means that they should all seem to be chosen by the same personality. This can be achieved by choosing all saturated, close-shots, or by using images that all have predominantly white backgrounds. Whichever style you choose for imagery, try to be consistent: it will make every article feel more like ‘you.’
For your personal blog and guest posts where you have a say in style, try to choose one consistent font family that’s professional.
Personality VS Persona
If you’re using a heady persona for blogging and your normal personality for social sites, users will pick up on the schism. Choose one voice for yourself and use it everywhere. No one wants to follow Cybil.
Try to keep all of your usernames, across all social and professional sites, similar if not the exact same. This coupled with recognizable images and personal pictures will help people to recognize you immediately.
Via Flickr by Victor1558
The goal of your outreach efforts is to make contact with others. This is all about taking initiative and being sociable.
Make those first contacts and start guest blogging. Most blogs will allow you to link back to a personal blog, which will help the Google spiders to piece together who you are as a blogger.
Get out there (IRL) and meet people. Attend conferences and shake hands. Pass out your cards, and make notes about the people you meet for future contact.
By answering forum questions and establishing yourself as an expert in the field, you can gain a following that will trickle-over to your personal blog. Don’t forget to link to your personal blog in the signature field of your answers.
Everyone appreciates a comment, as you should know if you’re a blogger. That’s why getting out there and commenting on others’ blogs is a surefire way to make friends and gain influence. Only submit thoughtful, interesting comments to blogs you’ve actually read or you’ll look like a fisher.
To Tagline or Not to Tagline
“Good night, and good luck” was the tagline to end all taglines. Having a sign-off phrase or recognizable tagline in all posts can make you more searchable. However, taglines can seem old school and annoying if they’re done badly.
Reach Out to Others
If you see others within your industry asking questions or struggling with concepts, reach out to them and answer their questions. Becoming a mentor is fun, and could gain you notoriety as a helping hand.
Via Flickr by Victor1558
Hopefully the social networking aspects of being a blogger go without saying, but here’s a refresher!
Claim your own URL and create a consistent voice. While your self-marketing efforts might be annoying to friends and family, hopefully they’ll support your dreams and toss you a ‘like’ here and there.
Create a bulletproof page that’s consistent with all of your other social pages. Consider listing your LinkedIn page above other social sites on Google.
Check your Klout score periodically and review it for tips on areas where you’re stronger or weaker, such as sharing or commenting.
Tweet and re-tweet things that others really want to read. Build friendships by commenting thoughtfully.
Google allows users to manage their reputations: you should have this set to direct searchers to your most valuable social links.
Create a Portfolio
Whether it’s your personal blog or a portfolio on a paid site, remember to manage it frequently so that contact information is up-to-date and helpful. A personal portfolio is a great way to tie together all of your various guest blogging articles, social site profiles, and more.
Via Flickr by Martin Cathrae
If you’ve done everything else on this list, the last thing to do is the behind-the-scenes legwork to make sure all of the dots are being connected.
Even if you forego the portfolio and personal site ideas, remember to own your own domain name. It will prevent others from creating awful sites with your professional name.
Reach out to industry sites and networks and ask to be syndicated. Lots of people are happy to accept free content.
You should be listed in RSS directories, industry sites, and in relevant blogs. These kinds of listings take time to establish, but they’re incredibly helpful in building a strong, lasting personal brand. Continue to create high quality content to hold your audience’s attention.
Fill In Every Bio, Everywhere (Consistently)
Never miss the opportunity to further spread (good) information about yourself. Fill in every bio, everywhere. Make it known that you are an industry expert who can help.
Once branded as a professional blogger your name will bloom within the industry, popping up in social aggregates and comments, forums and others’ blogs. A branded blogger must still work to stay relevant, but the heavy lifting is done when a name is finally commonplace and synonymous with “expert.”