If you were asked point blank, “What current events happened in the past two weeks in your industry?” how would you respond?
By the end of this post, you will turn that question into a serendipitous branding moment. Your answer will be timely, relevant, and put into context of the larger picture.
With competition so fierce, employers need candidates with a deep understanding of their field – where it is now, and where it is going. If you were asked about the latest industry trends in an interview, hopefully you’d be able to cite a recent blog post or news source. Could you?
People want to connect with those “in the know”
You will have an advantage in every career situation (job search, finding clients, doing business, etc.) if others are confident you are up to date with what’s going on in the world.
To excel in business, keep up with news sources and respected bloggers in your field. RSS, or Really Simple Syndication, makes this process effortless. RSS lets you aggregate data from multiple sources (blogs, news sites, etc.) into one place. It automatically pulls new content as it is published and delivers it straight to you.
How do you harness the power of RSS to make your brand relevant and timely?
1. Set up your RSS reader. I use Google Reader. There are a number of options including desktop apps that are great. If you have a GMail account then you already have a Google reader.
2. Add your current news sources to your reader. Go to your favorite news sites, blogs and industry publications and click the orange icon in the top right or left corners to subscribe to their RSS feeds. Add the feeds to your reader so that new content will automatically be delivered to you.
3. Branch out and add new relevant sources to your reader. If you don’t’ currently follow any relevant publications, now is the time to start. Go to Alltop (today’s top news stories) and browse by industry to get started. Check out Alltop’s most popular blogs and see if they have anything relevant to say. If they do, subscribe to their RSS feed. Then go to Technorati (the world’s leading blog directory) and find blogs in your field. Browse their blog directory, use the search function if your expertise is very specific (like HTML and CSS vs. general programming) and go through their Top 100 Blogs. Finish it up with a Google search: “Top PR blogs” or “Top Marketing Blogs” give great results.
4. Subscribe to relevant keywords. There is a lot of relevant content out there, but let’s be honest: you’re too busy to go out and find it. Make it easy for yourself by subscribing to Google Alerts, notifications of new content related to your area of interest. For example, my online market strategist subscribes to keywords like “social media marketing” so he’s always aware what’s going on in his realm. Whenever something on the web is published about that subject, it goes straight to his reader. If he likes what he sees, he’ll add that source to his reader to stay up to date with future posts.
5. Spend 15 minutes a day browsing new content. Even if you just skim over headlines, you’ll get yourself up to speed with what’s going on in the world today. Doing this alone will elevate yourself above many of your peers. Usually I end up clicking an article that particularly interests me, then realize thirty minutes later that I’ve been led down a long and unproductive road. If you limit yourself to 15 minutes, you force yourself to prioritize what you read.
RSS gives you the opportunity to make your personal brand stronger. You will leave people with the feeling that you are aware of what’s going on. And you will be.
You will always be prepared to impress others with up to date knowledge, and you will start to establish yourself as a synthesizer of information and a thinker – traits which make it easy to write your own blog posts. What better food for thought for your own career blog than analyzing latest news about your field?
Good luck and have fun! Here are your next steps:
- Set up your RSS reader (like Google Reader).
- Add your current news sources to your reader.
- Branch out and add new relevant sources to your reader (browse Alltop and Technorati).
- Subscribe to relevant keywords.
- Spend 15 minutes a day browsing new content in your reader.
Pete Kistler is a leading Online Reputation Management expert for Generation Y, a top 5 finalist for Entrepreneur Magazine’s College Entrepreneur of 2009, one of the Top 30 Definitive Personal Branding Experts on Twitter, a widely read career development blogger, and a Judge for the 2009 Personal Brand Awards. Pete manages strategic vision for Brand‐Yourself.com, the first online reputation management platform for job applicants, named one of the Top 100 Most Innovative College Startups in the U.S.