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Making it count: Your brand, your network

Written by Sherry Shaffer  · October 18, 2010

Day 2 of the BlogWorld Expo 2010
Now that I’m a little recovered from the convention, I’m excited to share more about the Expo.

The best and the worst aspect had to be all the different types of sessions you could attend. There were always at least 12 different topics ranging from podcasting to food blogging. I steered away from the specialty tracks like real estate and military blogging, but I still missed out on tons of great material. That being said, here’s a little of what I did get to see:

Standout sessions for me on Friday were Mari Smith’s “The Brand of You: How to Build a Profitable Social Media Based Business,” and a panel discussion with Wendy Piersall, Cecilia Mecca, Bridgette Duplantis, and moderated by Jeremy Wright, “Harnessing the Power of Numbers: Creating a Blog Network.”

Mari Smith is a master of the personal brand. Mari’s brand is Mari, from her signature “turquoise and bling” on everything – including the podium when she spoke – to her endearing Scottish-Canadian accent. Her biggest advice is to really interact with your audience. Get out and comment on blogs, answer questions on your Facebook page, tweet about interesting subjects. She advised everyone to use their name and picture as much as possible so people feel they are interacting with a real person. The exception would be if you wish to establish a company brand to possibly sell in the future, and even then you’ll want to provide a human face behind the name.

Now, she doesn’t mean get out there and natter on about nothing. Make your engagement worthwhile for the people you are interacting with. There were two things she said that stuck with me, “Don’t shout ‘look at me,’ shout, ‘how can I help you?’” and “It’s better to have 100 highly engaged fans/followers than 10,000 who don’t give a hoot what you say.” In other words, get involved with purpose and an eye for helping others. You can have thousands of fans and followers, but if they aren’t listening to you, it doesn’t matter. And they’re not going to listen unless you provide them with a good reason.

But the most noticeable thing about Mari is that she walks the talk. She was very gracious with those who came up to speak to her. Everyone got kind words and helpful advice with a genuine smile. She sat in on sessions with her colleagues, listened, and participated. There is nothing aloof about Mari Smith; she honestly wants to help.

The three ladies from the session on creating a blog network were also extremely helpful. In fact, the networks they created – Double Duty Divas for Bridgette and Cecilia, Sparkplugging for Wendy – were all about promoting those who participated. Their attitude is that those who blog within your niche are not competition, but opportunities for support and mutual advantage. While the Divas reward with promotion and bringing advertisers and bloggers together, Wendy – who recently sold Sparkplugging – paid her bloggers for their time and posted more content aimed at the home entrepreneur.

Putting together a network of bloggers can be a rewarding experience, but all three advised that you need to screen those who join you well. Establish guidelines from the very beginning to dictate the tone and style of your network as well as to ensure the network remains honest and transparent (the Divas do a lot of product reviews which requires full disclosure.) Stick to those guidelines and don’t bend. After all, it’s your network’s – and ultimately your – reputation on the line.

Whew! That’s a lot of information and I barely scratched the surface. Stay tuned for my next installment for Day 3.

Thanks for reading!
Sherry
Starting Fresh at Forty


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Comments

2 Responses to “Making it count: Your brand, your network”

  1. Jill Manty on October 19th, 2010 8:10 pm

    Makes me really wish even more that I’d been able to make it.

  2. Tihomir Petrov on October 29th, 2010 5:38 am

    I like very much the part when you say that it is more important to have fans who interact but not only extra actors. Congrats.





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