Digital eminence – building your personal brand online

I’ve had a number of conversations recently about running internal workshops to help some of our consultants build their digital eminence, and I thought I’d put together some of my ideas.

First things first, let’s take a definition of eminence:

1. a position of superiority, distinction, high rank, or fame

And digital eminence?  I came across the following definition on an IBM internal community:

“Digital Eminence is a term that describes/defines the digital contributions that a user makes that add value to others.

Users with high digital eminence publish high quality articles, blog entries, and add value to key online business discussions.  These individuals not only produce/publish information, they also consume existing information and contribute by rating that content.  Evidence of their eminence is supported by others who have rated their contributions as valuable and have tagged them for reuse by others.”

What are some of the steps you can take to build your brand online?

1. Firstly, identify how you want to brand yourself.

I read a fantastic article on personal branding titled, “The brand called You” which was contained in an internal presentation put together by Jennifer Okimoto on the same subject.  Key questions to ask yourself include:

  • What makes you different?
  • What makes you stand out?
  • What are your strengths?
  • Establish the feature/benefits model of your personal brand – i.e. what benefits do you deliver to your clients?
  • What do you do that adds distinguished, distinctive value?
  • What do you do that you are most proud of?
  • What do you want to be remembered for?

As with building a value proposition, you need to ensure that you can support each of your assertions and be unashamed to promote them.

2. For B2b professionals, create or update your profile on LinkedIn.

In addition to your current and past work experience and education, be sure to include a photo and summary paragraph that includes the keywords you want to be known for.  This is crucial for search.  LinkedIn’s New User Guide suggests you think of your summary as your elevator pitch.

To add more depth to your profile, add applications such as WordPress or Slideshare.  You can also promote events that you are running, planning to attend or speaking at with the event app.  This not only allows you to demonstrate your area of expertise, but also gives people an opportunity for people to connect with you face-to-face.

Make sure that you set your public profile and review the information that appears here and don’t forget to use your name in the URL.

3. Write a blog.

Be sure to update regularly as the fresh content will improve your search rankings.  Select topics that relate to your personal brand and area of expertise.

4. Comment on other people’s blogs.

Identify other experts in your field and comment on their blogs.  Remember to add value with your comments, don’t use this purely as a vehicle for self-promotion.  Your objective should be to connect with others and build your community, as well as demonstrating your knowledge in a specific field.

5. Find & share useful information.

Whether this is via Twitter, social bookmarking or sites such as Digg or Sumbleupon.

6. It’s all about the content!

Create and distribute useful content – whether that be podcasts, videos, presentations, webinars or documents there are lot’s of asset distribution sites that can enable you to share your content.  And by ensuring you keep using your chosen keywords you should start improving your findability online.

7. Gauge your eminence on a regular basis.

Search on the web, be that via Google, Bing or another search engine, and see where you appear and against which keywords.  This intelligence can help you refine your efforts and enhance your profile.

What other tactics are you using to build your digital eminence?

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6 thoughts on “Digital eminence – building your personal brand online

  1. This is a great post regarding digital and social branding on the internet, I often tell people and clients the importance of securing and establishing their Digital Brand so as to avoid ‘brand squatters’. I also like the importance emphasized on LinkedIn, which reminds me, I better update mine.

  2. Great post Wendy. This is something that I’ve started working on a lot more in the last few weeks. I don’t think you can underestimate the importance of having your own space whether that is a blog or not. I would advise all people to put their website link into their Twitter profile.

    I would also encourage daily interaction on Twitter. I use this site – http://twitrand.com/ – to pick a random follower and friend each day, and I dedicate some time to their profiles, where I retweet, reply, go read their blog and leave comments.

  3. This is a very interesting post Wendy. The issue I have with educating individuals about the importance of digital eminence is due to the explosion of social media and social networking sites. With so many available on the worldwide web people have become reluctant to join a new service with a view of the work ahead of them (e.g. building a profile, adding new “friends”, etc). Those people are missing out on the value added through digital eminence. I am keen to hear a resolve on this matter.

  4. Fantastic! This is a simple and effective process towards building digital eminence, Wendy, and sparked two questions for me:

    1.) I’ve found that, when discussing digital eminence with peers, the biggest excuse for not being more proactive is fear of ridicule from their respective community. How do you counteract this?

    2.) Who are some experts in the field of “Personal Branding” that you follow?

    1. Hi Nina – thanks for your comments. To answer your questions:

      1. I think the fear of ridicule can be mitigated by people first reading what other specialists in their field are saying – both in terms of content and style – before they start producing their own material. This will help give them a feel for the subjects that spark interest and create dialogue. It’s also best to stick to subjects that they feel comfortable writing about and that they have an interest in as that passion, enthusiasm and expertise will come across in their writing.
      Look for challenges that people are facing and provide advice and guidance. Be helpful, sincere and genuine and avoid picking fights with people and it’s unlikely that you will be ridiculed.

      2. Some of the people that I follow in this area include:
      William Arruda: http://www.williamarruda.com/ His blog: http://www.thepersonalbrandingblog.com/
      Nick Nanton: http://www.nicknanton.com/
      Olivier Blanchard: http://thebrandbuilder.wordpress.com/
      Chris Brogan: http://www.chrisbrogan.com/blog

      The following list of personal branding experts on Twitter (from 2010) may also be useful: http://altaeeblog.com/100-personal-branding-experts-to-follow-on-twitter-in-2010/

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