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Personal Blog Branding

by Randall Craig on October 6, 2010

Filed in: Blog, Blogging, Branding, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Social Media

Tagged as: , ,

You only have one chance to make a good first impression.” This is the siren song of personal branding, and is what causes millions of people to think carefully about what they wear each day. Too bad though, that in today’s too-fast social media world, the first impression does not come from your clothing, but via LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and your blog. After reviewing thousands of profiles, I have seen a number of personal branding faux-pas that people routinely make. Do any of these sound familiar?

  1. Unprofessional photo: This might mean a photo with other people in it besides you, or a photo that is blurry, too dark, or one that doesn’t represent your desired professional image. (A photographer for a head-shot is surprisingly inexpensive.)
  2. Dated photo. No one really is impressed by that “great” photo from 20 years ago. Or that one from 5 years ago. It’s better to look authentically like your today-self, so when the
    inevitable in-person meeting takes place, your guest can actually find you.
  3. Bad copywriting: Most people spend days working on their paper resume, straining for precisely the right word. Yet when it comes to written profiles, the writing is terrible – which leaves an unfortunate impression.
  4. “Status” problems: Many people don’t show judgement regarding the content or the frequency of their updates. Personal brands have been destroyed by TMI (Too Much Information), the wrong information, non-obvious abbreviations, or careless grammatical errors.
  5. Different voice: There’s only one of you; if you write a blog post in a different “voice” than what people are used to, then people will wonder “which” is the real you: the live
    person or the blog writer. This is a sure way to reduce perceived trust.
  6. Public conversations: It’s too easy to unwittingly have a private conversation in a public place, forgetting that others will see what you write, impacting their opinions of you. At the same time, your brand is affected by others’ comments on your page.

This week’s action plan: Read through the list, and compare it with each of your major profiles. These problems are easy to fix, but it is easier to avoid them in the first place. (You do, after all, only have one chance to make a good first impression.)

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Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)



Randall has been advising on Web and Social Strategy since 1994 when he put the Toronto Star online, the Globe and Mail's GlobeInvestor/Globefund, several financial institutions, and about 100+ other major organizations. He is the author of seven books, including the recently released "Everything Guide to Starting an Online Business", and speaks across North America on Social Media and Web Strategy. More at and

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