When building and maintaining your own brand, there are a lot of tools to implement that make a positive impact. A strong resume, confident face-to-face networking and making best use of social media and outreach apps are all great ways to cultivate the kind of reputation that will ultimately increase revenue. Another smart online tool for personal branding is a blog.
Think about your favorite companies that are either related to your industry or the ones that you frequent for personal reasons. Do they have blogs? Have you visited their blogs? If they don’t, or you haven’t, ask yourself this question: would you trust the information that came from a blog created and maintained by your favorite companies? Chances are that you would trust and rely on the information you found on a blog that had the backing of the businesses that you already love.
Now turn that formula around. If you want to build your credibility with potential clients and customers, you should give them plenty of reasons to trust and rely upon your knowledge. Here are a few specific ways that a well-developed, frequently-updated blog can help you build your personal brand:
Demonstrates expertise. The end goal of every online endeavor is to improve your bottom line but that does not always take the form of direct sales or calls to action. In order to gain clients, you must first give them a reason to pick you. A blog gives you the chance to show off a little bit and provide free, informative content for all of your visitors. Every page view that you receive will not translate to a sale or signed contract, but your chances of future business from those readers greatly improves. Once a reader associates you with a particular topic or industry, he or she will come to you when the time is right for your products or services.
Prompts conversation. Think of an official website as a digital business card. There are places for services, products, costs and contact information but really no way for customers to interact with you or other customers in real-time. A blog should not just present information, but should have content that prompts responses in comment form. A post that has dissenters and supporters is a successful one; it means that people are flocking to your blog address to discuss a hot topic. In many cases, it is best to let readers carry on the conversations without your own interference. Your own points should be clearly made in the text of the blog post itself and the comment section should be reserved for site visitors.
Gives your brand a “face.” At its very core, a blog is a digital, public journal. Since the first blogs started popping up in the 1990s, they have evolved from online diaries to include information and facts in addition to opinion. Still, the basic premise of a blog is that it is a conversational look at an individual’s life, a particular topic or a specific industry. Decide what image you want to portray on your blog and then come up with tangible ways to make it happen. Not all blog posts need to be original content written from scratch; commenting on big industry news or posting photos are easy ways to manufacture fresh content that is interesting to visitors. Include a thorough “about me” page that includes contact links for readers that want to hire you or buy your products.
Helps page rank. In addition to your official website and any social media accounts, a blog should show up when people search for your name or company name. A blog that is written smartly with SEO principles in place may even show up when people search the topics in which you have expertise. Do not discount the boost a blog can give to your search engine results clout and the potential traffic it may bring.
Personal branding is a multi-faceted effort and must be approached from several directions for optimal success. Tap into the strength a blog can bring to your reputation and have fun in the process. You never know where the conversations you start will lead to in terms of networking, industry credibility and increase in business.
Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.