Many of the concepts expressed in the article above spoke to me. Before starting to blog, I spent a lot of time reading about blogging and personal branding. Many of the articles I ran across offered a set of “rules” regarding both blogging and personal brand creation. These lists were one of the reasons it took me so long to get started.
Rules, so many rules. I felt swamped by them. I wanted to focus on more than one topic (no). I also wanted to use my personal Twitter account as my personal branding account but wanted to tweet about both personal and professional interests via the same account (frowned upon, stick to your message). I kept reading about all the lists of things I should not do under any circumstances. Ever. Or my blog would fail and my personal brand would be tarnished beyond repair.
Then I realized that while some of those rules might be valuable for people blogging for their companies, they were less applicable to me as an individual interested in expanding my personal brand.
But What is a Personal Brand?
When I talk about my personal brand, I don’t mean giving my company a human face via my presence online. What I’m doing is actually setting up a brand that’s all about me. I’m sharing who I am, and that is what will help me connect with others. Not all my tweets can be about “the issues” because people with other interests will want to connect with me for other reasons: because we’re already friends, because we’re work colleagues, because we like the same shows or music or books. Holding back on the odd tweet about how I enjoy x-show or x-comedic anecdote doesn’t help me; it hinders me from showing the multidimensional person that I am and making a larger number of connections with all sorts of people.
I think the “rules”, or let’s call them guidelines, that have been put out there have a purpose. They do help tweeps and bloggers focus their message and find ways to step beyond delivering a message for their companies to interacting with people. However, individuals building their personal brands need to know they can break out and do their own thing when needed. It’s what makes them and their content unique. Everyone’s different so everyone’s personal brand can be different. And there’s nothing wrong with that!
Did you find the rules daunting when you started working on your personal brand?
Did you stick with them or do your own thing?
Do you think it is ok to break the rules?
What advice do you have for others worried about this issue?