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Blogging as a Branding Tool… for Non-Bloggers

As I’ve written before, blogging builds credibility and is a great branding tool. If you don’t have a blog, there are still ways you can build your brand this way. If you are a blogger, these ideas can benefit you, too. Below are two methods, other than writing your own, to use blogs for personal branding.

Blog comments

Leaving a comment on someone else’s post is a great way to connect. By commenting, you let an author know you appreciate his/her efforts and were impacted by what was written. You can also share your own expertise, thoughts and feedback.

Tips to make the most of your comments:

  • Don’t post anonymously unless you have to for employer or personal privacy reasons. If you have meaningful things to say related to your personal brand, you want it to be associated with your name.
  • Be specific about what you agree or disagree with and why. When giving positive or constructive feedback in real life, it’s important to be clear about what you mean. Likewise, leaving a blog comment that says “great post” is nice, but consider quoting part of the post or mentioning specific details that you found particularly helpful or insightful. Same thing goes for criticism.
  • Be strategic, but not selfish. Comment on blogs related to your niche and blogs written by people you admire with whom you want to connect. But don’t fill comments sections with plugs for your own blog, website, or most recent project without contributing to the discussion at hand.  Be genuinely interested.
  • Proofread and check for typos and grammar. Poor writing is never a good brand. Comments don’t have to be perfectly written term papers with MLA or APA citations, but it should be clearly written and you should give credit for others’ ideas when appropriate.

Commenting demonstrates your willingness to help others develop their ideas and their brand. It shows you are engaged, passionate and open to feedback and constructive criticism.

Sharing interesting blog posts with others

Google Reader and other tools like it bring all your favorite blogs and websites to one place instead of having to visit a bunch of different websites. If you don’t know what Google Reader is, you can learn more here.

Aside from organizing information, Google Reader’s share feature allows you to communicate information relevant to your personal brand. Select the stories you find most interesting and others can see your recommendations. An example of someone who does this well is Student Branding Blog’s own Dan Schawbel. Because Dan’s expertise is personal branding, I know that if I click on his shared items, I’ll get tons of great articles about personal branding that I don’t have to go find myself. He has done the hard work for me.

Do the hard work for those in your industry or niche. It’s as easy as clicking the “share” link at the bottom of the post in the reader, which automatically places that post into your Shared Items. You can specify different groups with which you would like to share or choose to share something publicly. You can also include a note on the post if you want to add your own insight. Helping like-minded people find valuable information they can use makes your personal brand stronger.

We should all keep up with publications and blogs related to our industries or career interests. Take this one step further by adding your reactions and thoughts or sharing what you’ve learned with others!

Author:

Kelly is a career advisor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she assists undergraduate business students with all aspects of their career development. Kelly received her masters degree in Higher Education/Student Personnel Administration from New York University, and her bachelors degree from UW-Madison, where she majored in Political Science and Women’s Studies. Connect with Kelly on Twitter, LinkedIn or BrazenCareerist.

Related posts:

  1. Are You Branding? Or Broadcasting?
  2. Student Branding Interview: Washington Post Education Reporter Jenna Johnson
  3. Personal Branding Basics: It’s All About Communication

6 Responses to “Blogging as a Branding Tool… for Non-Bloggers”

  1. I used to be *really* good about visiting and commenting on other blogs. Now, I tend to skim through the content and move on to the next post in my feedreader. (I should get back to conversing back and forth with all of my fellow bloggers).

    From a branding/engagement/follow up perspective, one thing that I do like to do is send a follow up video email to new commentators using Eyejot.com. it’s personal and often times resonates really well with the recipient. Great way to reach out and connect with new readers/visitors!

  2. avatar David Cohen says:

    Some great thoughts here. Sharing links is one of the most approachable strategies for the newcomer to social media. As this article points out, simply gathering links to articles on related subjects does provide some value. However, it is a small step in an effort and a huge increase in value if you think of yourself as a filter – selectively picking the best articles, adding summaries and opinion as to why the article is worth your followers’ time are ways that you can demonstrate your skills and personality without taking on the role of content originator. Remember, in this age of massive information availability the time-savings that an expert guide can provide can be invaluable. If you can consistently save time for a given community through applying and sharing your expertise and selection criteria then you will surely see growth in your personal brand.

  3. I totally agree, comments are the best way in SEO. It’s not only a matter of increasing backlinks but also to add credibility and to build a good webring around your personal brand.

  4. avatar Bret Simmons says:

    Great advice. My students are always shocked how well Google picks up their comments on the blogs of others, especially the blogs that get heavy traffic. I’ve learned a lot from a few really good bloggers. The key is to find the really good blogger that are trying to learn and grow themselves and not just spouting off. Thanks! Bret

  5. Great post Kelly. I find that comments are usually a great way to build relationships with other like-minded bloggers. Knowing WHEN to comment is just as important as knowing WHAT to comment. I think readers can sense someone just trying to get a name out there. Thanks again!

  6. avatar Kelly Cuene says:

    Thanks to everyone for their comments!

    @ Ricardo – I’ve never heard of eyejot, but I’ll be sure to check it out. It definitely takes time to leave quality feedback on someone’s blog and it’s something that I will consciously make time for when I’m extra busy. It’s something I enjoy but can easily be put on the back burner when other things seem more urgent.

    @David – Thinking of ourselves as filters is a great way to put it. Saving people time by picking out the most interesting/relevant content is always appreciated and it’s nice when people add their opinion or summarize key takeaways. Thanks for bringing that up!

    @Vivien and @Bret – I was surprised, too, when I first realized how high in search results some of my comments were. (Really, do people care that I left a comment on an evite page in 2006? Probably not, but it’s there!). Bret, I think your point about spending time commenting on specific blogs where the author is open to growing and learning will probably result in a better interaction and conversation.

    @Miguel – Thanks! The “when” is important, too – good point!

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  • Dan Schawbel

    Dan Schawbel, the founder of the Student Branding Blog, is a world renowned personal branding expert, the international bestselling author of Me 2.0, as well as the publisher of the Personal Branding Blog.


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  • Chelsea Rice

    Chelsea Rice is the editor-in-chief of the Student Branding Blog. She began her work for StudentBranding.com just before graduating from Boston University, where she studied journalism and minored in international relations.

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