When it comes to managing one’s online profile, the first word out of many of our mouths these days is blogging. No surprise here, especially to Slaw readers. Connie’s most recent addition at LLRX is just further evidence of the long-term value created by adding your voice to the conversational web. Whether you’re contributing to a community of fellow professionals, or trying to demonstrate your experience and expertise for business development purposes, blogging really should be the ‘first step’ most people take to establishing themselves online.
And now that I’ve sung the requisite virtues of blogging, it’s important to stop and say two things: 1) Blogs aren’t the only profile building tool out there, and 2) Blogs are only one part of a quality online profile solution. In fact, if you’ve taken the time to build a blog to support your professional endeavours, it’s probably time to look at extending your presence once again!
Here are 5 tools & techniques that may help:
1) Forums – Not quite a 2.0 technology (maybe 1.66?), but if you’re an SEO expert and don’t contribute at Webmaster World or the SEW forums, you’re not going to be taken seriously when you try to market online. I’m not saying we have this type of law forum yet (and no, lawbuzz doesn’t count), but if you do significant work for a particular industry, your clients may have one?
2) Identity Aggregators – Hat tip to Patrick who started me on this one… check out my ClaimID which puts together all of my blogs and also lets me highlight some of my better posts. A one stop ‘Steve Matthews’ shop! Now it’s not the high end Identity 2.0 authentication stuff that Dick Hardt and Sxip are doing, but it is a great tool to present your online identity in a single location. Let’s face it, in the future it’s going to become increasingly difficult to distinguish who you are, and who you aren’t. Imagine you’re a lawyer named ‘Dave Smith’. With almost 54 million references to your name in Google, how do you distinguish yourself online? This type of tool can help.
3) LinkedIn – Fire up your online CV and do a little social networking to boot! LinkedIn is social networking website developed exclusively for business professionals. The value in putting your formal CV online where a significant number of other professionals can look at it should be enough to look at this tool. But the fact that this is such a business development oriented network, and that it lets you leverage and expand your contacts, makes LinkedIn a must have.
4) Another Website? – Branding an information based website isn’t as popular as it used to be, especially with all this read-write stuff, but putting out quality content and linking it with your professional services can be some of the best low cost advertising you can get! I’d also argue that it works just as well as a blog when it comes to demonstrating expertise.
5) Group Blogs Please… – Now that you’ve got the personal blog going, go out and join a collaborative or group blog (like Slaw!). There’s no need to blog in isolation, and networking with other like minded professionals can be a real boost! Not only do you help reduce the initial isolation felt by most new bloggers, but re-purposing your ideas and content to new audiences can only extend your personal brand.