Friday, 28 January 2011

Focused Writing Helps Build Brand

I've heard and read that so many times.  People come to regard you as an expert, or respect your opinion on a topic, when you have established credibility on said topic.   Whether the credibility has been established through formal training, studies, research or experience, if and when you put yourself out there, and do it often enough, people will start listening.  It doesn't matter if yours is an audience of two or two thousand, people will start seeking you out for your input.

One of the key things, of course, is the "put yourself out there" part.  And many are afraid of doing just that.  'Cause, you know, you might get criticized and rejected and what not.  But, let's say you manage to get past that and one person, then another, then another starts noticing.  Before you know it, you're regarded as knowing quite a bit about 'x' topic.  And, in most cases, it helps if you keep abreast with what's happening in that area, of course. Goes to show that you really hold the matter close to your heart.  And where better from which to speak in a convincing and passionate way?

Still, it's not the size of the audience that I'm looking at now.  It's the matter of you, a brand-builder, building your own brand. You, wanting to be taken as a serious voice on 'x' topic, had better know how to stay on topic every time you open your mouth or write about said topic.  You've been keeping abreast and staying informed - backed by your solid experience or any of the above-mentioned credibility-building avenues - making it worth your audience's and readers' while to tune in to you; to connect.  Make it so that they learn something from your utterances; your presentation; your interview.  Whatever.  Doing so will build your 'street cred' even more, more than likely getting you several more connections and bookings and readers and listeners along the way.

One other important part is to stay in touch.  Remain visible.  Well, as long as you care about that sort of thing.  Too many connectivity devices and media out there now to disappear into thin air once you've got the ball a-rolling.  I think people get that you are human.  They get that life happens and things don't always go according to plan.  But, don't take 'em for granted.  Check in every so often with those who are listening, reading, or just simply expecting that you're still "that guy" who knows so much and is so passionate about 'x'.  Who knows?  For all you know, instead of the two people who, occasionally, might express an interest in what you write; in what you say, there might be two hundred.  Sometimes the moment you miss a beat - blog not posted, tweet not ...tweeted - they call you out on it.  Nice.

So, keep at it already.  And do try to stay on message.

I am so preaching to myself right now.  It's quite challenging, really.  I saw a tweet the other day that said stteo: If you want to go ahead and write about anything you want, go ahead.  But don't complain when the world doesn't beat a path to your door.  Truth is, at this time, I'm more interested in keeping courageous and getting the stuff out of me, than I am about the world beating a path to my door.   That's why my posts are about whatever I want to write.  'Cause there's a myriad thoughts occupying my mind at any one time - like most people, I'm sure.  And sometimes, I get the urge to write every one of them down in a post.  But, alas, that would be counter-productive to the whole brand-building thing, as I've heard it.  And so I am, at times, conflicted.  I want to say something.  But, do I write what I'm thinking about? Or do I go for what, at that point in time, is closest to the topic I'm regarded as being 'good at.'  ("It's what I do, and I'm good at it."  Love that line from Monk.) Do I write about "The lipstick impression left on my window after two (Superworks!) car washes"?  Or do I go for "The community within a community:  How Shout Outs in the t.o. newspaper have interconnected the commuting community on the GO"? (Can hardly believe I'm linking to the site, given how I felt about them when they first came on the scene September 2009.  But, I check 'em out now for the SOs - usually funny and help to pass the time on the GO train.)

Why, oh why can't I do both?   I mean, I don't have to write about writing or communications all the time, right?  Perhaps the experts would say that after I've built the brand, and people have come to know what to expect, and I have that dedicated 'following', then I can take the liberty to venture out every so often into an off-topic, without surrendering any of that street cred.

This is me fighting the theory; the 'beat a path to your door' admonition.  *smh* At this time, like I said, it's more important to keep the courage in getting the stuff out.  So, I'll  write, speak, tweet to satisfy the longing that comes to the fore at that point in time. The world can beat a path now or later, but, I gotta be fearless and write what I want.

If not, I'll suffocate.


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