For those of you that missed Thursday night and are curious about how blogging relates to personal branding, I thought I’d elaborate on the points I made at Nectar. Sorry I didn’t get to this post last night like I said I would, but hey- here are the main points:

1. In my opinion, blogs will increasingly become the equivalent to a business card. Just as a business card is part of the brand known as “you,” a personal blog is also part of that equation. There are many similarities between corporate branding and personal branding. In the same way that every little thing a company does or says (online and offline) goes into their corporate brand, everything an individual does and says (online and offline) is part of their own brand. Given that, a blog is a great tool to make sure you are building your personal brand around what you want to be known for rather than what the press or other bloggers want to brand you as. How does it do this? By providing you a means to give your side of the story and correct misconceptions floating around the blogosphere (by engaging others- see number 3).

2. Search engine seeding is also important when thinking about personal branding. Others WILL “Google” you at some point and with that fact comes two questions:

  • What shows up in the top 5 search results when searching for your name? Take a look- “Google” yourself and see!
  • What do you want to show up? The best source of information about you is information straight from you. Thats where your blog comes in. I would much rather someone find my blog, where I control the content about myself, than some story in the New York Times written by some reporter who I have never spoken to. Search engines love blogs because of all the fresh content and links generally included in blog entries.

3. Utilize your blog as a powerful networking tool. How? For starters, use a program like MyBlogLog to help determine who is reading your blog and where they are coming from. Find the people reading your blog and return the favor- read their blog! Or the quicker way is to go to a blog search engine like Technorati or Bloglines and search for something you are interested in. Look through the results and start reading. Once you find the blogs you really like, start to engage in the conversation on those blogs via comments. From there, it is all about building a relationship. Add something to the conversation. E-mail the blogger with something interesting. Its all about engaging in the conversation. All these conversations you have with fellow bloggers become part of your “brand.”

4. Blogs can help you assert your domain expertise and display thought-leadership. The real key is finding what you are passionate about. I certainly don’t have a revolutionary answer to how, but if you produce great content and update regularly, your ideas will slowly start to gain traction with the community. I recently read on a blog (sorry, but can’t remember the link) that, when searching for your personal niche, you want to make sure you don’t look at the market and build yourself to a specific market need. You should instead pick the niche that you are passionate about and just start writing, even if there are 100 other people (or more) writing about the same thing. Hey, there are THOUSANDS of people blogging about Web 2.0, yet I’m still here blogging (and you’re reading- so I did something right)!

5. This doesn’t really have to do with personal branding, but- do not expect instant success in the blogosphere. It takes time to build your brand and your audience (unless you are Bill Gates or some other famous celebrity). Don’t get discouraged by this fact.

6. What’s next? Dive in! Create a blog and start writing. Where? Here (I recommend this one) or here or here.

Update: This is also a great article regarding the Power of Personal Branding.