According to my blog archives, I have been blogging for exactly 1 year. For an entire year I have been trying to build my personal brand equity through video interviews, a video documentary, and getting publicized throughout the internet.
Looking back, there are a lot of things that I feel I could have done better. This is what I have learned after a year of building my personal brand:
You don’t have to focus on one topic
I made this mistake plenty of times during the past year as a blogger, and do you know what it lead to? Frustration. I was frustrated because I couldn’t find that one topic that I could become an “expert” in. I was frustrated because everywhere I turned, there seemed to already by someone who was the voice of that niche.
One of the most frustrating things was that I didn’t have a talent. I looked at my brother who is a musician or every artist out there and thought to myself, “Man, if I had their talent, I could be killing it right now!” I started getting jealous, and the green eye of envy engulfed me for a certain period.
You don’t need to have a talent; you don’t need to be an expert. Build a brand of openness, friendliness, helpfulness, and transparency. Above all else, create a brand that people look at and say, “Wow, this person is a very genuine and honest individual who sincerely is looking to help others.” Your “brand” doesn’t have to be a subject, it can be a characteristic.
Everyone talks about this one. “You need to build community and start commenting on other blogs.” So, I did what everyone was advising me to do. I went onto Google Blogsearch and started finding random blogs to make a comment on. Half the time I didn’t even read the post; I just read the title, skimmed, and left a half-assed comment in order to get more traffic onto my site. I turned into a traffic hog – all I cared about was my analytics.
Look, commenting on other blogs is important, but being genuine trumps everything else. Leave a comment ONLY if you have something valuable to say. Actually, forget about the “value.” Only leave a comment if your truly feel moved to do it. Maybe the post was so good, that you just want to leave the author a compliment: “Hey, that was a real good post. Thanks for opening up my eyes to a new perspective!” This comment leaves no “value,” but it’s genuine because it comes from the heart.
Be honest with yourself and everyone in the community and I promise your readership will grow.
You don’t have to create a profile on every social network
Again, everyone tells you that you need to use Digg, Mixx, Reddit, Stumble, and all of these others sites. When I first started blogging, I jumped into all of these sites, tried to add random content, tried to add random friends, and ultimately felt frustrated with all of these sites because they were driving me no traffic. I used these websites for the wrong reasons.
Join Mixx, Reddit, Pownce, and the other sites only if you really enjoy the community. If your forcing yourself to find good sites online and be the first one to Digg them, it’s definitely NOT fun. That’s what I did for a few months! Did I meet some good people on Digg? Yes, I really did. But overall my experience was not great because I forced myself to Digg things I didn’t like and make friends with people who I didn’t feel a connection with.
Don’t use a site because you feel you have to. Join a site because you actually like it.
Personal branding is not about positioning yourself to pitch your company. Personal branding is about being happy with who you are. You don’t need to please everyone around you and you don’t have to constantly think about how others perceive you. Focus on being happy and helping others and I promise you will build a positive personal brand.
Jun is the Founder and CMO of Future Delivery where he is building Viralogy, the Social Media rank. His personal blog, Become a Young Successful Entrepreneur, gives a real, unfiltered view of the Startup Life so that current and aspiring entrepreneurs can learn from his successes and mistakes.