This post will not rehash the discussion on whether you should build a personal brand. I assume we are all working in the 21st Century with a 21st Century understanding of how digital media has impacted the job search, and careers in general.
Specifically, I will presume you know how employers now leverage social media to assess you, on and offline, before scheduling a job interview or making a job offer.
Knowing then that many young professionals are already on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn – and yet haven’t created a compelling personal brand – let me ask:
How do you build a brand that demonstrates your value proposition? How do you showcase your subject matter expertise, experience and passion?
To me, the answer is simple: the best personal brand builder out there is… blogging.
A personal blog is the single best way to build a compelling personal brand. It is the only way, for many, to place their passion for an industry, cause or technology front and center. And it is one of the few methods available to show you have a high level of emotional intelligence, can think critically, are focused on solutions and – perhaps most important – can communicate your thoughts in a concise, clear manner.
And is all that what most employers are looking for?
When I have this discussion with young professionals, recent grads and college students, here are the questions I get most often:
- I’m already so busy… How do I find the time to blog consistently?
- I have a lot to say, but I’m not a great writer… How do I become a credible blogger?
- How will this really help elevate my brand… Who is actually listening?
Not Enough Time
Time can’t be a good enough excuse. All of us have wasted time throughout our day; time we can hoard to make room for a weekly blog. If we don’t do it, we are either undisciplined or we don’t think it matters enough. We simply haven’t made it a high enough priority.
Plus, it really only takes about an hour to write a heartfelt 600-word blog. So, for the time being, let’s take “lack of time” off the list of reasons not to blog. Sure, you might have to watch an episode of Game of Thrones later. It’s worth it.
I’m Not a Great Writer
No doubt, the “I’m not a great writer” feeling is understandable. But with all the resources available to you, it is not a good reason not to blog.
As many have, including some of the best bloggers in the world like Chris Brogan or Seth Godin – who both admit their early attempts at blogging now embarrass them, you can LEARN to be a good writer. That may not gel with the modern view of artists as ‘natural geniuses’ who are born with a gift others just don’t have. As a lifelong student of literature I say “hogwash.”
Even Charles Dickens, one of the greatest writers in the English language, scoffed at the idea of writers as natural geniuses. As Jamie Grove quotes Dickens to illustrate his outlook in his How Not to Write, Lessons from Great Writers:
Only jolter-headed, conceited idiots suppose that volumes are to be tossed off like pancakes, and that any writing can be done without the utmost application, the greatest patience, and the steadiest energy of which the writer is capable.
~ Charles Dickens
For centuries the arts were a craft; apprentices were usually born into the trade and honed their skills over decades. Writers do the same, and the greatest writers and bloggers understand writing is a skill to be developed. If you can think, you can write, and you can become a better writer by working at it.
And as you learn, you’ll find there are also great editors… people who will help you become an even better writer, and build a better brand.
How Will a Blog Elevate Your Brand: Social Proof
For a modern day illustration of a blogger whose career and brand skyrocketed as a direct result of writing, consider Anthony Iannarino.
6 years ago, Anthony was a great thinker but a mediocre writer… so he made a commitment to write daily. As in Every… Single… Day.
And 2,500+ blog posts later many people consider Anthony to be a really, really good writer. But more to the point, he has a thriving business as a sales consultant, speaker and writer. He has an email list of 64,000 blog subscribers. He has people coming to him to ask for help. He doesn’t have to find work. Work finds him.
Anthony’s blog is a living, breathing sales tool… for Anthony, his company and his services. Anthony’s blog is instant credibility. It is social proof of his expertise.
If you read any of YouTern’s founder’s work you know Mark Babbitt constantly speaks to the difference between a resume and results; when you’re up for a job you must be able to prove you have accomplished what matters. You must do more than show you worked… you must have social proof of your impact at work.
THAT is what your personal blog will do for you. It is the social proof you need in the 21st Century economy. And that is what makes blogging the world’s best personal brand builder.
Start a blog. Learn as you go. Develop social proof. Create the best personal brand possible.
And soon work will find you.
About the Author: Amy McCloskey Tobin is a content strategist and creator. She specializes in generational insights, the future of work, the remote workforce, workplace diversity, and how tech has changed the business world. Amy has worked with major online publications to develop content and content strategy. A devotee of social media, Amy believes firmly that great content begets social media community. Find Amy on LinkedIn and follow her on Twitter!