Blogging Your Professional Brand

Want to be thought of as an industry expert? Become a blogger

James Andrews, digital strategist and Founder and CEO of boutique social media communications agency Social People

Maintaining a blog is essential for anyone looking to showcase career talents and industry knowledge.

Many people new to blogging are discouraged by the task of having to write new, dynamic content at every sitting. But to keep things fresh, social media strategist James Andrews, founder and CEO of boutique social media communications agency Social People, suggests using different formats. Don’t think of blogging as writing several paragraphs per day. Keep it as fluid, dynamic, and personable as possible,” he explains. “A photo with a descriptive caption—that includes search engine-optimized text—can be a blog post. You can also use Twitter as a mini-blog.” The point is that the content is substantive and regularly posted.

Be deliberate when naming it. It’s important to own a URL in your name or your brand name. “This is the showcase for your knowledge and expertise, so your blog’s name should be unique and indicative of your field.”

Be strategic with what you share. Because blogging is your unique opportunity to give advice and/or perspective, it increases your chances to earn credibility. “It’s a window into your viewpoint and gives readers a ringside seat to seminal events and insight into your life, career, and experiences in your industry.” You can blog about new information, a discovery, or whatever you find informative or titillating, thereby establishing yourself as someone in the know.

Know the tools. Andrews suggests setting up a blog by using a traditional blogging platform such as WordPress, Tumblr, or Blogger. “They are easy to navigate and manipulate, and are user-friendly with multiple functionalities that make your URL easy to find and maintain. You can easily upload photos, implement plug-ins, as well as change, edit, and upload content.” Blogs also allow you to create a following and community with RSS feeds and dynamic external content related to your industry.

Keep it connected. Blogs should link to your Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, YouTube, and all other social media pages. “Tie it to your overarching brand and your flock will follow.”

Take on the role of editor. “Curate your blog like a magazine,” Andrews says. “Endeavour to provide thoughtful, insightful, and interesting information. Be respectful of your followers’ attention and use this space to provide solid, dependable content that will entice your readers to keep coming back.”

Become a contributor. Contribute to larger, more established blogs such as the Huffington Post, or Salon.com. “Insert yourself into the conversation and solicit feedback. Syndicating your content allows you to become connected to a wider network of readers and experts, as well as potential employers and customers.”

Do your research. One of the most effective ways to tap into the blogosphere is to research blog directories and search by category, subject, industry, or interest. Andrews also suggests utilizing Twitter’s robust lists to find industry-related blogs. James adds, “You can track which Twitter lists industry leaders appear on, which will lead to other like-minded industry leaders and related topics. This process is also important because it allows you to see what list—if any—you might be under. James says, “Knowing how you’re perceived allows you to tweak or adjust your strategy and focus your content according to your brand or career objectives.”