A blog is a wonderful tool to help enhance your personal brand. You may ask, “I have a job. (or ‘I’m a CEO’) Why would I ever care about my personal brand?” The reasons are all about the Benjamins.
1. If you are an employee of an organization, your personal brand is like your 21st Century Web 2.0 résumé. Frankly, if I were hiring someone today for Rizzo Tees, I’d check their Twitter feed, their Facebook profile, and their LinkedIn profile. And then I would check for a blog – through their writings, I might be able to see what makes them tick.
2. If you are the owner of an organization, your personal brand will gain you clients. It’s as simple as that. You are your company, and your company is you. Customers want to know who they’re working with and who they’re buying from, and this is getting more and more important. They are more apt to buy from you if they have a sense of who you are.
Below is a redacted version of an email exchange I had with a friend who owns a business. He was considering writing a personal blog and separating it from his business. His goal was to enhance his personal brand. The blog would have contained his personal insights on the field of business he was in, but would not have been directly tied to his company’s website. I argued that the two should be intertwined, because as an owner of a business, his personal brand and his business success are directly tied together.
The text of my response:
The most important distinction here is that you are the founder and CEO of an awesome startup company. Therefore, your company is much more closely tied to you, and you to the company, than if you were just an employee somewhere, for instance. Employees have great reason to privately build and cultivate their own personal brands. An employee will need their personal brand to be strong (portfolio, blog posts, a good network of people) in order to score that next employment opportunity.
You, on the other hand, are different. You’re not going to be leaving your startup company – you are no longer a nomad – you’ll be at your company until its bought out – you’re going to build up your company to be 100+ talented people, scoring ever larger clients, until you are sitting in your plush offices, smoking your Cohibas.
Let your company itself be your personal branding powerhouse. When potential clients are thinking of hiring you, don’t make them traverse two different websites. Put your best thoughts right there on your company’s site for potential clients to soak in. I do see the value in cross promotion (he was going to promote the biz from his blog). However, let others do that for you. That’s what we’re here for – your friends on Twitter and Facebook – you create a great message in the name of your business (and you), and let us carry it out to the masses.
Your personal brand is your business, because you founded it. I feel strongly that you should put 100% of your best marketing and social media nuggets on your company’s site, making it the strongest, most natural sales pitch it can be.
What do you guys think? How important is personal branding? Should CEOs, employees, and entrepreneurs all address this issue differently?