I wanted to jump into the conversation about personal branding that we’ve been having over the past week or so. I really don’t spend much, if any, time worrying about my personal brand, but when I look at my presence online, I seem to have a fairly strong presence. Despite having a common name, people can easily find me on the major search engines. I didn’t put any work into personal branding to make this happen. Instead, I focused on something more important: content.
I write quite a bit of content across multiple web sites. On my blog, the content shifts based on my interests and has morphed from open source topics to online communities and social web topics over the past few years. On Twitter, I have a mix of personal and professional content. I have a passion for learning new things and sharing the interesting bits with other people, which naturally tends to result in content that people want to read.
When I start working with a new client, I point them to my blog where they can learn about my consulting practice, read my bio, and read some of my content. I share as much as I can on my blog. I have how-to videos for Yahoo Pipes, detailed approaches to online community building and community management, tips for how companies can use Facebook and Twitter, and more. If someone wants to hire me to put together a strategic plan for a new online community, they can learn more about my approaches to online community building through my content on the topic. By reading my blog posts, they can usually get a pretty good feel for whether I would be a good fit for a particular project.
Before you spend too much time worrying about personal branding, spend some time thinking about content. Without a solid base of content, your personal branding efforts might be less successful than you hoped.
How much effort do put into content vs. personal branding?