The importance of having an online presence and personal brand is growing every day. Regardless of which industry you’re in, potential employers and clients want to see that you’re engaging in the community. I was surprised to learn just how vital having a blog or personal website is — in some cases, it’s expected. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I recently finished a master’s program in writing and publishing. I heard from many editors, authors, and professors that agents and publishers are more likely to take on your work if you already have an online presence and following.
While it makes sense for writers to have blogs, they aren’t just for writers anymore. I have friends in other industries who have built personal websites to draw in potential employers, and to build a name for themselves within their industries. But even as you hear how important it is to have an online presence, you might be wondering: Why would anyone read what I have to say? What would I even talk about? It takes time to recognize what your angle will be, but the goal is always to contribute, in some way, to the conversations going on within your industry.
Helene Cavalli shares “4 Tips to Take Your Online Presence to the Next Level” on Lee Hecht Harrison’s website. In it, she boils down exactly what it means to raise your online influence: “To increase online influence you must continually expand your reach, frequently engage and share content that adds value.”
Here are two of Cavalli’s tips that can help you build a better online presence, starting today:
“Update your status two to three times a week.” You might be used to updating your Facebook status for friends, but you should also consider updating your status on other platforms, like Twitter and LinkedIn. When it comes to posting for professional purposes, discuss something relevant and that adds value. Cavalli suggests discussing a conference you’re attending, giving an update on a current project, or posting articles that pertain to your industry or job.
“Participate in group discussions.” I think everyone is a little afraid of doing this, for fear that they’ll become “that guy” or “that girl” who is always arguing in discussion forums. You don’t need to take it that far. Find groups, websites, or articles online related to your industry, and post a comment or two that adds to the discussion (for example, you could post a comment here on Career Girl). Share your ideas and experiences. Cavalli suggests contributing one comment or observation a week.
If you’re someone considering starting a blog, simply take some time to figure out which issues concern or interest you most in your industry. When you sit down to write, try writing with the intention of informing and helping someone else. Ask yourself. “What do I want readers to take away from this post?” I’ve used this question as a guide, and it’s helped me form better posts. Not every post will be brilliant, but do your best to post on a regular schedule, and you’ll eventually fall into a grove.
Check out the rest of Cavalli’s tips here. Let us know of any tips or tricks you use to come up with new blog post ideas, or tell us how you enhance your online presence.