• Learn How to Build a Powerful Personal Brand That Will Differentiate You and Allow You To Compete in the Global Marketplace.
  • 10 Step Beginners Guide to Blogging Your Personal Brand

    1) Learn about blogging

    Before you even start a blog around your brand, introduce yourself to the concept. It helps to know what you’re getting into before you rush in and “only fools rush in” as they say.

    If you want to know the difference between traditional media and social media, check out this New York Times article (static), followed by a New York Times blog post (dynamic) on the same topic. Notice the difference in formatting and how the blog has comments open but the regular article doesn’t. The blog is more opinionated, while the traditional news article is straight fact. They both have sharing features, such as the ability to submit the news to Digg, Facebook and even LinkedIn.

    You can also view the Wikipedia definition of “blog,” which contains the history, types of blogs and how they have blurred the roles in media. Alltop.com can help you locate the best blogs in several categories.

    2) Listen to current conversations

    In order to start a successful blog, you need to know what you’re getting yourself into and what has already been talked about in the blogosphere. To do this, I recommend a few tools, such as Google Reader, Technorati, Google Blogsearch, Google News Search and Summize.

    • Google Reader: I use Google Reader as a way to collectively gather all news and information related to my interests, such as recruitment, marketing, branding, social media and public relations. After subscribing to each news source, I skim all the headlines in the morning and use del.icio.us to add the sites I want to refer back to in the future. This is an extraordinary combination. It’s helped me track all the research for my new book.
    • Technorati: Conduct a search for your name and all the topics that might interest you. Subscribe to each on RSS and list each result by Technorati Authority (# of blogs linking to a blog). Click on the blogs with the highest authority and subscribe to them.
    • Google Blog/News Search: Just like with Technorati, you will want to search for all relevant terms, including your name, and subscribe to each on the left hand side of your screen.
    • Summize: This website will help you listen and monitor conversations on Twitter. As stated before, search for everything you want to track and subscribe through RSS.

    The end result of this exercise is a flood of content delivered right to your feed reader. When this happens, you can actively monitor your personal brands reputation. As blog posts teleport to your feed reeder, you can comment on your favorites by clicking the title and absorb new ideas for your own blog.

    3) Take a niche

    After a few weeks or even month, you will have a thorough understanding of what people are talking about, how they are responding and how you can join in on the discussion. Find a way to take a niche of a popular category or trend. The tricky part is that you need passion and expertise to backup your niche. Once you can lock down what you’re good at and enjoy, then find some angle, application or topic that coincides with it.

    4) Get your equipment ready

    Believe it or not, the technical part of blogging is the easiest part. Many blogs have really bad design layouts, but with 5 star content and are extremely popular. Some choose poor platforms, while others are technically proficient so they can build their own. This post is for beginners though, so here is what I recommend.

    • Domain name: I’ve posted about this at least 4 times since I’ve started blogging. Please visit GoDaddy.com or another domain registering service and search for yourname.com. If it’s unavailable try yourname.net or yourname.org. If they are all taken, try your middle initial. If that is taken, find a way to use your niche as keywords for your domain (keywordkeyword.com, etc).
    • WordPress.com: For free, you can start a blog in minutes. WordPress.com gives you Gigabytes of space to upload pictures, audio or video. It uses Akismet to block all blog spam and people get thousands of spam comments daily. The downside is that you have to play by his rules, meaning no javascript or AdSense. Take your domain name and click on “Upgrades” on your WordPress Dashboard after you’ve signed up. There you can mask your domain over yourname.wordpress.com, such that is reverts back to yourname.com.

    5) Pick your logo and theme

    There are over 20 different themes on WordPress.com. Start by filtering the themes by “header.” The resulting themes will all allow you to upload a custom header that you can create using Photoshop or another graphics program. This is important because it allows you to brand yourself as the “one and only” and not a “copy.” Select the theme with your favorite colors and with a flexible layout. I recommend right sidebars because people read from left to right and you want to “play up” your content.

    6) Create your “personal brand page”

    Your “personal brand page” is more important than any post you’ll ever write. Everyone wants to know the credibility of a personal brand before taking his or her posts seriously. Think about it, if a 5-year-old kid is blogging about marketing and CEO is blogging about marketing, whose are you going to pay more attention to? Describe yourself to your readers before even posting; it will make or break your blog.  When titling your page, don’t use “author,” but rather your own name.

    Best practice

    7) Get an RSS feed

    Get an RSS feed at Feedburner.com. RSS is important for acquiring loyal readers and establishing a community. It’s also essential for having posts be shared from feed reader to feed reader (Google does this with Google Reader).

    Your RSS count is VERY IMPORTANT because perception is everything. I really don’t care what the critics say, your RSS subscription base is one of the most important blog statistics. Trust me, PR people aren’t going to pitch their clients to you if you have 3 RSS subscribers, even if they are Barrack Obama and Madonna. Subscribers remain anonymous, so the number matters. DO NOT promote your RSS chicklet (shows the # of subscribers you have) unless you have over 150 subscribers. Otherwise, by the law of social proof, people will automatically perceive your blog as being “just another blog” or “unpopular.”

    8 ) Claim your blog on Technorati

    Use the same website you viewed in Step #1 to claim your blog; Technorati. All you have to do is sign up for Technorati, fill out your profile information and claim your blog. Once you claim it, Technorati will track all links your blog receives. You can keep a running tab on who links to your blog, so you can return the favor and view your Technorati Authority go up or down.

    9) Widgetize your blog

    I consider widgets to be “glitzy.” They aren’t too necessary but do add value or I wouldn’t have used them on my own blog. The one widget that will really make a difference for you is your blogroll. When you first start blogging, a blogroll is your way of establishing some quick traffic and relationships with bloggers. Add your favorite bloggers to your blog roll, email them and tell them you like their site and that you linked to it, WITHOUT asking for anything in return. You might want to add in a few comments to some of their posts first.

    Other widgets you should add:

    • Search: I’ve posted over 300 times and if didn’t have a search area, I might not even be able to refer back to any posts I did last year. Add search, not just for yourself, but for the good of your readership.
    • Tag Cloud: As you tag each post, a tag cloud is any easy way to present categories to your readers.
    • Recent Comments: This widget will both help you build a community and reward those who comment on your blog simultaneously.

    10) Write 5 remarkable posts

    As a blog coach for a Fortune 500 company, I always recommend executives writing at least 5 posts before they publish a single one. I give this advice because no one wants to visit or read a blog with no content. A lot of people don’t trust blogs with only one or two posts. To launch your blog successfully and seriously, put some thought into 5 remarkable posts and then publish each one in a given week.

    avatar

    Dan Schawbel is the Managing Partner of Millennial Branding, a Gen Y research and consulting firm. He is the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success (St. Martin’s Press) and the #1 international bestselling book, Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future (Kaplan Publishing), which combined have been translated into 15 languages.

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    14 comments on “10 Step Beginners Guide to Blogging Your Personal Brand
    1. avatar
      EXPERT
      Mike Thomas says:

      Dan –

      Fantastic post! Many job seekers – including those that come to my blog – have heard about blogging to boost their personal brand, but don’t know how to get started. This is a great “how to” for beginners. Well done!

      – Mike

    2. avatar
      EXPERT
      Vanessa says:

      Thanks for a great post! I have only been blogging consistently for a few months so I am always looking for ways to improve.

    3. avatar
      EXPERT
      Meg Guiseppi says:

      Thanks, Dan.

      This is the kind of stuff I wish I knew when I started my blog.

      As you said, it’s not hard to do the actual blogging, but it makes sense to have some of the information you provided here under your belt before diving into it.

      Meg

    4. avatar
      EXPERT
      Justin Levy says:

      Fantastic post Dan!

      I’m already doing a lot of these things but there are a few of the follow-through items that I have yet to complete like contacting those I’ve added to my blogroll. By the way, you’re one of the ones I forgot to tell…. 🙂

      Thanks to http://www.problogger.net I came across AideRSS which I’m going to try using which helps you analyze which posts are doing the best in a neat snapshot.

      -Justin Levy

    5. avatar
      EXPERT

      About 5 years ago, I was embarrassed to admit I was clueless about blogging. Since I teach online and offline publicity, I had to learn quickly.

      I, too, wish I had seen this list back then. It cuts through the clutter, mystery and fear of blogging and is an excellent introduction to the world of blogging.

      I am continually amazed at the number of people who respond to my blog posts.

    6. avatar
      EXPERT
      Daniel Hunt says:

      Hi, great post.. I’ve been developing my own blog for beginners and have posted My Top 10 must read Blogging Articles for Beginners which you can access from my website.. hope it’s ok to post my URL link to this, otherwise please click on my name…
      http://technicalarticles.co.uk/index.php/my-top-10-must-read-blogging-articles-for-beginners/

    7. avatar
      EXPERT
      MidoMoors says:

      fascinating and communicative, but would make something more on this topic?

    8. avatar
      EXPERT
      abictmatt says:

      Your are Great. And so is your site! Awesome content. Good job guys! Interesting article, adding it to my favourites!

    9. avatar
      EXPERT
      Nik says:

      Yeah this is a great site, really well laid out and full of very useful and easy to follow information. I’ve set up a site at studyingisfun.wordpress.com to keep track of my studies, opened a twitter account, and just finished setting up a feedburner feed with an itunes podcast link. I’m amazed that it actually works and it only took a couple of weeks. Thanks for the advice, I’m trying to convince my wife to start a blog now too 🙂

    10. avatar
      EXPERT

      Dan, this is a great post. I am glad that I came to your site. I’ve learned a lot that I will have to implement on my blog(s). I was looking forward to meeting you at the Brazen Careerist Meet up in Boston last week, but was told you were on vacation. Keep doing what you do and I look forward to connecting in the future.

      Your Ambassador,
      Mike Bruny

    11. avatar
      EXPERT
      Burcu says:

      This is such a great guidance, thank you so much for providing us with those information!!!

    12. avatar
      EXPERT

      Dan its a great day! Thanks for the information needed this to take thing to the next level of impacting people!

    13. avatar
      EXPERT

      Great artilcle Dan.

      But what do you mean by ‘writing 5 post before publishing a single one’?

      Thanks.

    14. avatar
      EXPERT
      Scott Dylan says:

      Currently doing alot of research into Personal Branding, alot of tips here have proven extremely helpful. Blog posts like this are extremely helpful.

      Thank you.

    17 Pings/Trackbacks for "10 Step Beginners Guide to Blogging Your Personal Brand"
    1. […] 4.  If you have the time and interest – start your own blog!  If you do not have the time or interest, research the best blogs that are relevant to your personal brand, and approach these bloggers to seek the opportunity to ‘guest blog’ (Dan Schawbel wrote a super post on blogging) […]

    2. […] 4.  If you have the time and interest – start your own blog! If you do not have the time or interest, research the best blogs that are relevant to your personal brand, and approach these bloggers to seek the opportunity to ‘guest blog’ (Dan Schawbel wrote a super post on blogging) […]

    3. […] 4.  If you have the time and interest – start your own blog! If you do not have the time or interest, research the best blogs that are relevant to your personal brand, and approach these bloggers to seek the opportunity to ‘guest blog’ (Dan Schawbel wrote a super post on blogging) […]

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