The first day of the week is always a drag and our class was no exception. Everyone suffered from the Monday blues, but we were lucky that the lesson was interesting and easy-going enough for us to follow. We brainstormed some ideas to use in our new blog entries. It was more difficult to come up with interesting ideas to write about, this time, that displayed our personal brand. When you have various brand attributes it’s hard to find a topic that links them all, and one you can write more about in the future. This taught us the importance of being authentic.
Networking through Comments
No one wants to read a recycled blog with old information. Brainstorming allows you to make sure that there is a point to your idea and you can re-check your writing to make sure that it’s current and something readers would like to see. We were required to post comments on each other’s blogs and this was a great research tool. I saw many different ways to capture attention to your blog. By using different, personalized templates you show readers more about yourself and your brand. This also illustrated the “Golden Rule” of blogging: when you comment on other blogs the action is reciprocated, and people will respond back to you. That’s how you build a community, a few connections at a time.
Currency and Legacy
The exercise concentrated on building a community online, by managing your brand and maintaining “currency”. It’s important to update your blog as it leaves a digital footprint that your future grand-kids and potential employers can search for, and this is the method by which you build your legacy. Creating a Slideshare account was an excellent source to share slides and gain a reputation by showing other people your ideas. This social website allows you to link your account to other social sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. Using this option is very handy if you use the same username so that your name can gain more recognition online, and when your name is Googled or searched for more results can be found.
The tasks were more challenging as we were bombarded with information. This week’s techie stuff involved using Google Reader. It lists the most frequently visited sites/ blogs you visit and enables you “subscribe” to them. You gain instant access your listed blog updates using just one log-in. We learnt how having a short, simple domain name like www.Google.com is vital in personal branding. It makes it easy to remember and users are more likely to return to your website/blog. We used GoDaddy to find out whether our chosen domain names were available, and the annual charge was reasonably low for such a useful service.
Hosts and RSS
We discovered that “Hosts” like WordPress offer services that hold all your information available online on servers. Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is a tool that allows readers to subscribe to a blog to receive updates and share information and it’s valuable to bloggers. As more users subscribe to a blog, the online personal brand is strengthened, because more searches will be available when the blog is listed more often on a search engine. We also learned how to use Open source software to edit, change options to your liking like those available on WordPress, Joomla and Drupal. All these tools allow bloggers to create blogs that look professional for free (at least for the most part)! This is very useful if you are just starting up and have little to no capital, it allows you to form a basis for your blog which you can later update when you can spend more money to improve it.
We signed up for a LinkedIn account and changed our profile settings on Twitter as well. I still find LinkedIn more difficult to use as you need to know the email of a friend/colleague you want to connect with or add to your network. I like the way it presents your resume but I still find it difficult to navigate.
Is the day of our weekly presentations. Putting together My Niche Presentation was a little challenging. The 15 word limit coached me to be more creative as they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words”. It was hard to differentiate brand attributes from your niche or to describe the difference.