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Amateur Advice: How I Manage my Personal Brand

I have a confession. Before I created my public online presence, I creeped. I read some blogs and kept my eye some twitter feeds. I looked at some facebook pages. I came to the realization that I would not buy a vast majority of these author’s books. I came up with the things that made such a negative impression on me and immediately began working on ways to avoid making those same mistakes.

Note that this post is a bit longer than my Personal Blogging Rules mandate. Forgive the rule-bending.

Now. The things that make a negative impression on me.

1) “Selling” me. I really dislike it when the last 5 twitter updates are all “Buy my book” posts. It reminds me of walking down the street and being handed a leaflet. I don’t even look at it. I put it in the next garbage bin I pass.

2) Writing in the third person. Jeremy D Powell does not like this. He thinks it has the bitter taste of self-importance. He also thinks it is a bit deceptive and manipulative.

3) Borrowing someone else’s work/credibility. This one really bothers me. Its the post that basically frames someone else’s blog post. The blogger will have an intro. Then they post the entirety of someone else’s post. This is cheating, plain and simple.

These are the big 3 sins for me in an online presence. In order to avoid these things and create a positive personal brand, I try to do the following.

1) Provide content rather than advertisements. Readers are usually picky. They are investing their time and money in the books that they read. I think that it is a much better strategy to let potential readers get to know my voice through my online presence than yell, “I HAS A BOOK!” I try to keep that in mind when I write my posts. When I have something of substance to sell, I will create an optionally viewable page on this blog. If I have been successful in building a personal brand, that will be enough.

2) Always write in first person. I hate feeling snooty, so I avoid the third person. I also think that my position doesn’t lend itself to mandating action on my reader’s part, so I avoid the second person.

3) My work is always my own. If I like someone else’s post, there is usually a handy share button that I can use. This drives readers to their site where even more goodies are in store for them. This builds the goodwill of both the original author and the reader towards me. I become collaborative instead of predatory.

In the end, the rules come down to that one Golden Rule. I will do unto others what I would have them do unto me. The things I dislike, I will not replicate.

–Jeremy

Do you agree? Disagree? Chime in! I love to consider your coments. I have been wrong a time or two.

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Amateur Advice: My Personal Blogging Rules

I am pretty new to blogging. I don’t have all the answers. I can’t tell you how to get thousands of views, I only have a couple hundred. I can’t tell you how to optimize your blog for search engines or build anything that requires HTML coding. What I can tell you is what I enjoy when reading blogs. These same things are what I try to replicate in my blog.

Keep the posts short. I really don’t want to have to wear out my scroll wheel when reading a post. That being the case, I try to limit my post length to about one monitor’s worth. If I have something to say that may take more space, I consider breaking it into multiple posts.

Maintain a consistent theme. When I visit someone’s blog, I like to have a good idea of what I will be reading about. Some days I may be in the mood for some self-publishing tips. Somedays I might just want to read some random funny posts. Whatever the case, I like the idea of being able to confidently pick the blog I will spend my limited reading time on. Therefore, I limit my posts to 3 topics: Amateur Advice usually relating to writing, Vignettes, and some random short tidbits.

Less is more. This goes hand in hand with your post’s length. Your blog should be easy to navigate. I should be able to intuitively find what I am looking for without much hunting. I try to replicate this by keeping my blog neat and tidy with minimum visual noise.

These are  the guidelines that I use to make my blog. They may not be the right guidelines, but they are mine.

–Jeremy

What guidelines do you use when crafting your blog? Please, feel free to share!

A Humble Beginning

Like so many before me, I have gone through the varying steps to becoming a blogger. I looked at them with disdain when I first heard of them. Surely, noone would be so vain as to think their mundane lives would be of interest to the public in general. Sure, I dabbled. I judged with haughty chuckles at the blogs that I skimmed. A few caught my attention, but were quickly forgotten as one thing pushed out another in the meat-grinder that is my mind.

It was my wife who began to change my views on blogs. She would read excerpts to me. Ever so slowly, my perception of bloggers began to shift. Recently, I decided to begin reading one of my wife’s favorites (whyamiweird.com). It was surprisingly entertaining. It was a very small step for me from accepting that bloggers are OK to becoming one myself.

You see, I love to write. My friends throughout the years could verify that I have almost always had an idea for a book or story rumbling around in the dusty recesses of my mind. Rarely have I ever given birth to those ideas. I like to blame life in general. I’ve always told people that life just has a habit of getting in the way of living. Deep inside I knew that what I really lacked was discipline and desire.

My hopes for this blog is that by simply disciplining myself to write on a consistent basis, I can help build the desire to let the ideas hiding in the dark corners of my mind loose on digital paper. My hope is that this blog is both a forerunner and documentation of my attempts to publish the works that I have neglected for so long.

–Jeremy

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