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Blogging For Dummies – An Opportunity For Personal Branding

This  blog has been inspired by Jan who contacted me through Twitter saying, “Would I think about doing an article on “Blogging For Dummies”.

Jan has just started a blog and she said in her first post on February 28, 2010.

“I have started this blog because frankly, I, like thousands of others, have recently been downsized. I am unemployed. I am home without a job to go to for the 1st time in 25 years. It is a staggering admission and why would I want to expose this to the world? Well, besides needing something to do for 16 hours of awake time, everyone I know is suggesting I start my own thing.”

You have to admire the honesty and the effort for being that open as well starting a blog! A lot of very skilled and experienced people are in this situation all around the world due to the GFC.

A colleague I recently met at a dinner party, also said that he had started a blog while he was “transitioning between jobs” and turned that time into an opportunity to reskill and position himself online in his area of expertise and passion.

In essence a blog is a great opportunity to create your own “online personal brand”. You only have to look at several prominent bloggers to notice the first essential element of creating a personal brand online.

Mike Volpe of Hubspot

Scott Monty of Ford

Matt Cutts of Google

Dan Schwabel of Dan Schwabel

Did you click on any of the their Hyperlinked names?… If you haven’t check them out…. What did you notice? In answering this rhetorical question….. they have their own names as the domain name of their blog or website.

So bloggers can use their blog to position themselves within the niche that they are passionate about. Rumi Neely of the well known fashion blog “Fashion Toast” has used her blog to position herself as an authority on fashion.

So what are some of the basics of a blog for creating a personal brand that will help you “get found online”, find a job or a new career? What are some of the activities that you should pursue with your brand new blog?  Here are some ideas to get you started.

  1. Buy your own domain name with your own name (it doesn’t have to be a dot com, if it isn’t available use another domain suffix such as dot biz)
  2. Purchase a blogging template (if financial resources allow) such as a WordPress Thesis theme, this is flexible and great for SEO (usually can be bought for less than a $100)
  3. Have the blog self hosted not hosted with free hosting such as  WordPress or Typepad.. this creates much more flexibilityin the future to improve your blog through widgets that aren’t possible when within a third party blogging environment.
  4. Get the blog built professionally designed and developed if you have the financial resources to do so
  5. Write posts regularly at least once a week (more if you can.. 2-3 is better.. 1 a day is best)
  6. Publish any content online you have offline
  7. Use great headlines, this is the bait to get someone to read further
  8. Write comments on other important bloggers posts in your industry
  9. Place your blog content on other social media sites such as Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and Twitter to leverage your content
  10. Use bullet points to make it easy for readers to scan your blog posts to obtain the important points
  11. Add credibility banners such as how many subscribers, number of hits, blog grade and any awards as your blog gains traction
  12. Provide “share this” buttons to Facebook and Twitter as a minimum
  13. Implement from day one, the feature to subscribe to your blog either with RSS and Email – Google’s feedburner makes this easy to implement
  14. Use images to add some style to the blog, these can be easily copied into your blog using free images from Flickr’s advanced search creative commons licence
  15. Promote your blog on Twitter

So Jan, and others of you that are feeling some pain through no choice of your own. Take the opportunity to reskill, learn and rebuild your passion while you have the time. You might be surprised at the opportunities that emerge from the gloom.

What are the opportunities that you have obtained from blogging that surprised you? Let’s hear some of your stories.

Note: By the way Dan Schwabel blog is all about personal branding so check it out

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