This isn’t a new topic for this blog – or for people who’ve worked with me – but if you’re still skeptical about this approach for you, read on…
Today, everyone serious about their career needs to be a subject matter expert (SME). That applies to you job seekers and also to contractors and people who are employed (and remember, every job is temporary). The way you get to be an SME is by writing. If you write enough, and your ideas are good enough, you’ll move from being an SME to being a thought leader. At that point, you are really managing your career.
That’s my preamble. Most people read or hear that and say they can’t do it for themselves. But that’s not true. Consider this – my own sequence:
- I lost my job.
- I started researching social networking, because it seems interesting and relevant.
- Eventually, I’d read enough to start participating in conversations on the topic.
- I started commenting on other people’s blogs.
- I started my own blog, writing about personal branding, and also anything else I find interesting.
- I see steady results.
Notice I used the word “I” a lot. That’s intentional. These are all things I did. And so can you – in just the same way. Only don’t wait for #1 to happen to you.
You say you want some proof? All you metrics-inspired people take heart. Today, you can actually measure your results.
WordPress blogs give you some interesting statistics. I can see how many people read my blog daily, and graph it over time to see trends. I can see which articles generate the most interest (typically provocative articles, like “Why you need GMail“). I can also see the search engine terms people use.
Here’s an example from today: I got 9 hits so far today from people who searched for “personal branding ideas.” I don’t know who they are or why they were searching, but 9 people came to read my blog after searching for this phrase on Google, Bing, etc. They didn’t have to look hard, my blog showed up “above the line” (that means near the top of the Google results). Here’s a screen capture:
(You can try this search also – I may not show up so high when you do, since these results are constantly changing.)
This isn’t the first time this has happened. For a while, if you searched for “Bing search engine reviews” on Bing.com (Microsoft’s new search), I was also on the front page, sometimes as the first item. If you search for “manage your online presence,” I sometimes have 2-3 articles on the first page of results.
If you think I’m proud, you’re right. If you think I’m bragging, then you’re not a regular reader of this blog. I’m posting this article to prove to you that you can do this also. Before I started my personal branding quest, I had never even heard of the term or of LinkedIn. But I studied hard, read a lot, went to networking events on the topic, and then started writing.
What’s missing? I’m now starting up a business to help people do their own personal branding. But you’d never know if you went to my blog. So I’m generating interest, but not closing the sale. That’s OK, I’m just a little out of sync, and I’ll catch up.
One more thing: while you can do this, it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a while to generate enough content to be a real knowledge source and to establish your own little network of experts (for example, I communicate with several other bloggers who write on this same topic). But if you keep at it, you will succeed. If you’re not a good writer, don’t let that stop you – find an editor on Craig’s List, elance.com, or at a local college. I think you’ll find that lots of people are willing to help you get started. I did.