I am always receiving interesting emails and phone calls, especially once people see that I am more than a pretty face. Yes, I actually work and blog and go to school. Why people find this surprising is beyond me, but oh well. So, anyway, yesterday, I posted my latest blog excerpt to my Facebook page and almost immediately received a wall post from an associate of mine. Her question was quite simple really, “How did you get into blogging?” My answer, while still simple, could not be as easily conveyed, upon further reflection. See, what I told her was the simple and easy truth ... I love to write and was always looking for my creative outlet. Since I had something to say and feel very knowledgeable about what I do (HR), I felt it was prudent for me to share my knowledge with all who would listen.
Again, upon further reflection, I realize that it is not as simple as it seems on the surface. Yes, we all have something to say. Yes, blogging is a great form of modernistic expression. Yes, it is important to find your voice and find your audience. It is all of these things, but it is more than that. Blogging is a way to brand yourself, to create your image, and to mark your place in your field/industry. I recently read a post on Careerealism all about branding. The author stated in the most poignant of ways, “Social media has the ability to make the single greatest impact on your career identity” (thanks sparktalk!!). I couldn’t agree more. In this day of interactive resumes, video interviews via Skype, and googling prospective candidates, it is very important to brand yourself to ensure that you are putting your best foot, or in this case, face forward. Your brand can change whether a prospective employer or business acquaintance contacts you or passes you by.
Branding is very simple. All you have to do is answer one very simple question: What do you want others to see? Yes, you may be a killer snowboarder with abs of steel and a dog name Blaze, but is that what you want plastered all over the net when potential employers are looking for you? And trust me, they will look. Now, I am not saying that you can’t have a personal life or that your personal life is not content for the Web. It is, just not when you are trying to brand yourself. Even though most psychologists/psychiatrists wouldn’t agree, multiple personalities are in order. As a matter of fact, in the virtual world, multiple personalities are probably best. All I am saying is don’t make your personal identity your main identity, unless of course, your personal and career identities are one in the same. For instance, you’re in a band or are in some other creative niche, where what you do is truly who you are.
What does all of this have to do with the key point, which is blogging? Well, let me give you some history ... when I first starting blogging and twittering, I approached it from a very personal perspective. I created a blog about me and who I was as a person; it covered topics such as my children, my childhood, my family, etc. Very meaningful, but personal things. I Twittered about the same ... again not relevant at all to who I am from a professional perspective. Had you read these blogs or followed me on Twitter back then, you would not get a true sense of who I was and what I did. I had to sit back and think about who I was as a brand and what I wanted others to see. So, now I blog about my passion and I tweet from a professional standpoint. My blog still contains personal posts because I don’t think you can have a career without having a life, but my point is that my brand is now relevant and identifiable. If you read my blogs or follow my tweets, you instantly know who I am, what I do, and what I’m about. That is branding in a nutshell.
The whole point to blogging is analyzing your passion, determining your audience, and writing useful, timely, and relevant information. You want a following. Otherwise, what is the point? You want people to read your blog, you want people to comment on your blog, you want people to talk about it and forward it to their friends. Blogs are living, breathing things ... a community, if you will. There should be banter and rhetoric, a sort of give-and-take to it. You post, your followers comment, you post another blog based on the comments you receive. See the pattern? Without this, your blog dies and with it, so does a piece of your identity. As my associate put it, “it gave me inspiration.” Your blog should do the same. Whatever it is that you write about ... whoever your audience, you blog should inspire, motivate, persuade, or simply inform others.
So, go find your voice and then blog about it!