Why Your Best Personal Branding Strategy Demands That You Publish

When someone wants to see what you’re about professionally, they will look online. You had better be published there. (I’m not referring to LinkedIn solely, but to work-related publishing.) If you are not published, they will conclude one of two things: 1) you are out of touch with the digital age, or 2) you don’t have ideas.

Being out of touch is not going to make you desirable. As a job candidate or as a leader within the starship. Your excuses may be your daytime job taking up all your time, or your introverted nature (more about that later), or your reluctance to stretch into new technology tools. If publishing your ideas won’t happen without someone taking your hand to lead you, let me be your Guide for the Digitally Perplexed.

‘Nuff said for those excuses.

your personal branding strategy does not have to be as out there as Mick Jagger

Mick Jagger doing his thang.

As for the second conclusion, I simply cannot believe that, as a person who reads Mojo40, you don’t have ideas. Impossible. To paraphrase a popular song, “You’ve got the moves like Jagger,” because you do.

While your personal branding strategy doesn’t need to be quite as “out there” as Mick’s, you have to be seen to be appreciated.

6 utilities to publish and implement your personal branding strategy

Here are 6 ways that you can start publishing your own stuff.

1. Become a guest blogger. This limits your commitment so it’s not open-ended. If you read blogs and have one in mind that intersects with your ideas, write to the blogger and ask to guest post. If you don’t know of a blog in your area, consult Alltop.com. Look up blogs by topic, and research who takes guest contributors. A shortcut: type into the Google search bar site:[name of site.com] “guest” and it will return the results if guest bloggers appear.

2. Create your own blog. This represents a bigger time commitment, but the effort is proportional to the benefit.

3. Start with a platform that is set up to pull in stuff real-time, such as scoop.it or paper.li. 

A paper.li news magazine focused on keyword crowdsourcing width=

A paper.li news magazine focused on keyword crowdsourcing, by an Amsterdam-based firm.

These are human-curated platforms, where you decide on a niche, select keywords that you want and keywords that you don’t want, and pick other filters (language, region). Then choose a relevant title and a frequency (publish once a week, twice a day). The back end gets set up automatically, and you’re off and running. It tweets to your followers, as the news “breaks” on your paper.li site. Some folks set the entire operation to run on autopilot.

4. Take anything that you have written for work or created at home outlining your opinion, your ideas, or your unique story, and publish it to an aggregator platform like Scribd.com. At this site, simply create an account and upload the pdf version of your work. This is a one-off strategy, no need to do more. It gives you something to point to digitally for your LinkedIn profile, your resume, your bio on the speaker circuit, your signature….

5. If you really want to get into a topic, turn your ideas into an ebook and publish it. There is an excellent post on Copyblogger by Ali Luke with the ins and outs needed to write an ebook in 30 days, and another post by Paul Jun for publishing your ebook to the kindle platform.

6. Use Box.com to collect a whole body of work, and upload this utility to the side bar of your blog, to your LinkedIn profile, or to any website that features your work or your company’s IP. This can include white papers, how-to guides, and so forth.

Of course, there are more traditional channels for authoring in your area of expertise, e.g., the medical journals, the legal journals, on and on. Ted Wills wrote a terrific piece on the benefits of using writing like this to shake down the trees for goodies.

The shocking truth about the 90% who lurk

I heard Jeffrey Berg speak about 3M’s experience implementing a company-wide social media strategy. This was not a plan to reach out to customers, but an effort to use the tools of social media (wikis, blogs, news feeds) to connect people and improve communication within this far-flung organization, encompassing over 80,000 employees in 60 countries. When they instituted several programs from senior management on down, they found that about 10% of people took the initiative to author stuff, and 90% just watched. Lurkers. Observers. Not early adopters. And this was within a firm where presumably folks above and below would see (and recognize) employee participation.

Do you want that to be you? Who do you think comes to mind when it’s time to draw up a list of folks to promote, mentor, or offer higher visibility jobs?

4 people who lead the way in personal branding that spreads ideas

donovan grant is committed to finding balance and investing energy in youth

Donovan Grant, your man for youth development

Donovan Grant is a family man living in London who sees his life’s work as helping teens develop as individuals and coaching parents to be empowered. He’s been blogging for over two years and offers listening guides (via MP3 files) to help build your child’s confidence. Combining his learnings from 20 years in IT with what he experienced as a parent, he began a new career, mid-life. Yes, the site is a lead-generation tool, but I can’t think of a better one for his target audience.

tatyana gann helps infuse your life and PR business with passion

Tatyana Gann, for Smokin' Hot PR

Tatyana Gann loves all things about the PR business. While I admire her juggling as mom/ devoted wife/ former university professor and a current member of the publicity-touting tribe in Nashville, what partly gives her mojo is that she is not afraid to publish despite the fact that her English isn’t standard and her syntax not native. (She came from Russia at age 19, with $250 in her pocket.) Tatyana is right about being out there in a big way. She won’t let “perfect English” be her enemy; her ideas are too superb for that! Are you listening, shy readers?

Trilingual digital marketer, Cecilia Pineda Feret

Cecilia Pineda Feret is a social media strategist who aimed to sprinkle the web with her forte–understanding and utilizing social media in business. Cecilia created three different news magazines, all of which are on the paper.li platform, using it as a communications hub for pulling in the latest and greatest on her topics. She has acquired over 3,000 twitter followers, partly due to her astute use of the site (plus the tumblr and other portals she runs).

John W. exposes the lie about not having time for a side gig. Working long days as a salesman for a large pharmaceutical firm, he yearned to be more fulfilled in his personal life. On his own time, he began to explore his passion–playwriting. After taking classes to refine his craft, John got a break. He wrote and performed his first one-man show as part of the recent Emerging Artists Theater’s New Works Festival.

What is your goal for publishing and branding yourself?

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, 2.0, Samira Khan.

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  • SharonODay

    Love the clarity, and the 1-2-3 steps to publishing in the digital sphere.  Talk about “no excuses!”  And what really thrills me is that it’s not another article exhorting me to publish my darn book …

    • http://www.mojo40.com/ Diane Dolinsky-Pickar

      I know what you mean, Sharon. In fact, because time is everyone’s most precious commodity, it is soooo important to have options which are bounded in time, and one can do in a given interval… that is why simply guest blogging or similar one-offf, has got to be enough!

  • http://twitter.com/Smalltofeds Ken Larson

    Very informative article. Good tools and advice.

    The bottom line in branding is that our personal and company brands are on the web in some form perpetually, whether we know it or not. 

    The only issue which then remains is do we manage our brand, or do we let it manage us?

  • http://www.ricardobueno.com Ricardo Bueno

    Re: “you have to be seen to be appreciated.” 

    I think that sums it up well. In my opinion, the most effective thing you can do is start a blog. And publish often. Then use Guest Posting as a strategy to build your audience. Mitch Joel (twistimage.com/blog) once said, “the best way to grow your community is by playing in someone else’s.” I think he’s write. That’s what makes guest blogging so effective. 

    • http://www.mojo40.com/ Diane Dolinsky-Pickar

      Ricardo, that is tried and true wisdom. Most successful bloggers have scored guest posts on the bigger blogs, and brought a stream of qualified traffic from there, back to their own blog. In fact, in Google Analytics, you can measure just how effective this is!

  • Donovan

    Thanks for this great post Diane. Without a doubt my blog is my entry level into the world of getting noticed as I learn about this online gig. Thanks so much for the great work you do and lessons that you share!! You rock!

    • http://www.mojo40.com/ Diane Dolinsky-Pickar

      Okay Donovan, you are on the hook next time I get to London, for a drink and a toast to our mutual success!

  • http://micheletremblay.com/ Michele M Tremblay

    Diane, What wonderful examples you have chosen. I love that you have selected such a diverse group of people to use as examples.
    Thanks for our always great content!

  • http://www.ad-virtualassistance.com/ Anastasiya Day

    Love reading your articles! Thank you so much for sharing your tips with us.I agree with Michele – 
    What wonderful examples you have chosen. Thank you!

    • http://www.mojo40.com/ Diane Dolinsky-Pickar

      You are so welcome, Anastasiya. I know that you have the moves, too, my friend! You have a great blog, and a strong, clear voice!

  • LindaK

    As a recent college grad I am on a equal playing field with the 40 year olds you mention.  I think it is sad.  I can barely live and pay my student loans.  How are they paying their bills and saving for retirement?

    • http://www.mojo40.com/ Diane Dolinsky-Pickar

      I think many of my generation are not saving for retirement. Some are. This topic is beyond my expertise, but being young, you would do well to consult a financial plannet.

  • Bruce Segall

    Diane, Thank you for this informative and practical post during what I know has been a busy time in your personal life.

    • http://www.mojo40.com/ Diane Dolinsky-Pickar

      You are welcome. I really appreciate your comments, Bruce.

  • http://www.travelwritingpro.com/ Claudia Looi

    Diane, great list of people we can look up to. Makes me think about the unique talent of each of us and the different work we are contributing to society. I’m going to check out Box. Love it!

    • http://www.mojo40.com/ Diane Dolinsky-Pickar

      Glad to be helpful, Claudia. One of the greatest things about the Internet, is that we can see each other’s uniqueness and that makes us like a colorful quilt. No longer hard to discern what is fantastic about each individual!

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