As we’ve discussed on here before, your professional brand is very important for your career – particularly now with the introduction of Google’s author rank. There are many factors that affect your professional brand including the information posted about you on your own social networks and third-party websites, blogs etc. and the information or general content that you post.
Blogging is a fantastic way of sharing your thoughts and is an increasingly successful means for professionals to demonstrate their thought leadership. The more original the content that one shares and the more successful it is (how many people ‘like’ your content, share it and comment on it) the higher your author rank will be, therefore boosting your online profile and increasing your ‘reach’ (the number of people that read your content).
Understanding how to use popular social media networking platforms in a professional capacity is also key, ensuring that you are taking full advantage of their marketing and networking capabilities. Using Twitter to follow colleagues and industry leaders and using LinkedIn to keep up-to-date with the trending topics, relevant industry group discussions and advanced LinkedIn search features is essential if you want to promote and leverage your professional brand.
Best blogging practices
The first step is to start a blog via one of the many easy to learn and well supported blogging platforms such as WordPress, Tumblr or Blogger. Picking a theme that best represents the topics that you’re writing about is also important – whilst a great looking photography theme may appeal to you, it won’t be the best option if you’re going to write articles with lots of text.
Once your blog has been created be sure to provide a link to your social media platforms, such as Twitter and LinkedIn. This will allow readers to connect with you on these platforms and follow you.
Be sure to create a content calendar and stick to it. It doesn’t matter if you decide to blog once a month, bi-weekly, weekly or more, just be sure to be consistent when possible because this will help you to grow your readership / following.
Finally, be sure to cover original content. This doesn’t mean that you can’t take a trending topic and write about it, but be sure to give your own thoughts on the matters as this will help to increase your Google author rank and demonstrate to people that you really do know what you’re writing about – and that you can demonstrate this with your own take on the issue.
Using Twitter to follow your peers
We’ve discussed Twitter many times before and how it can be used to increase your professional image. Using your Twitter account to help with promoting your blog is a very good idea and can be done a number of ways. The first thing to do is to follow your peers and any industry professionals that would be interested in your articles – and possible even be contributors to your blog – so that you can engage with them. Ensure that you understand an individual before you request them to check out your blog or contribute to it because it is important that you know that they really will be interested in the topics discussed on it. Having an understanding of what conversations a person likes to discuss on Twitter will also help you to build and nurture a professional relationship with them on Twitter. Be sure to retweet any interesting Tweets that they post, reply to them with your thoughts and opinions and discuss topics with them.
Once you have built up a good following of like-minded industry professionals on Twitter you can begin to take advantage by promoting your blog via the platform. Take your most recent blog article and put the title of the article, a link to the article and a hashtag (if you are writing about something in the banking sector in the UAE then you could use #banking #UAE) and post it to your Twitter. You can repost a Tweet as many times as you like, but spread them out of a couple of days / weeks.
Utilising LinkedIn’s groups feature
The trick is to promote your thought leadership (and blog / social media platforms) without coming across as a spammer. If you constantly ask people to read your blog or follow your Twitter without sharing any other information or even introducing yourself to people first then you’ll be instantly blacklisted by people. Be sure to introduce yourself when you join a group on LinkedIn, tell people who you are, what your experience is and what your intentions are. If you’re looking to make industry connections with people living and working within a particular area then tell them, the same goes for if you’re looking to connect with professionals who would like to share some thoughts for a guest article on your blog.
Start interacting with existing conversations too. Search the groups that you have joined / been invited into and begin to share your opinions on topics and questions. This will demonstrate to people that you’re knowledgeable and that you’re keen to interact with them – and that you’re not just someone looking to voice their opinion and increase their follow count.
Once you have shown people that you’re a contributor to their community you can start asking questions and favours of others and build your Twitter and blog following / readership.
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