Yesterday, I received my first edition of my latest magazine subscription obsession, (after forays with yearly subscriptions to SI and GQ magazine) Canadian Business. It’s an awesome publication and I look forward to getting many more. It has a little bit of everything, including the biggies that I love in technology, social networking, marketing, and investing. In its June edition it had an really good article on an Erin Bury, community manager at Sprouter in Toronto (@erinbury on Twitter) and how she has grown her personal brand into an authentic influencer to her network of close to 10,000 Twitter followers.
With that, my mind immediately jumped to Twitter, and all the other marketing/PR pros like Bury that I follow on there. There is a wealth of information they share, from personal opinions, to ideas, to just general observations/commentary of the world around them. It’s great, but I didn’t follow them to simply absorb everything they share and retweet it as gospel. In fact, rather I wanted to have a feel of what the PR world that I hope to enter soon, is like (it’s a small world, especially when viewing my timeline and seeing the consistent chat from PR pros specifically in the U.S. and Canada, as proof of this) and add to this conversation, in my own unique way. That is the great thing about today, with the power of technology, namely the internet and a laptop. Anyone can find and then share their voice to the endless number of conversations that interest them, both professionally and personally.
I’ve seen this right in front of me, by looking no farther than at some of my friends who have started to create their own niches online. In the last couple months, 3 of them have started their own blogs and gotten accounts on Twitter. Their specialties, if we wanted to give each one a specific area of expertise, are in the self help, lifestyle/tech, nutrition spaces. I remember hearing comments, from one of the above (won’t name names) that “Twitter was useless”, and it had “little value”. Every time I see a tweet or re-tweet of his, I think one more point for me. More so though, it is about how they have embraced their voice and decided it being worthwhile to share and use as benefit to others, which adds value to people seeking information in those areas.
The importance of your online voice (I hope you have a real world one as well) is that you get to provide your views on the world around you, which is important, since everyone’s voice is unique. Looking at an even closer example to me than my friends, is my sister. She is a sports fanatic, who I helped push to start blogging. Often times her thoughts on things in the sports world is usually ahead of what sports broadcasters say, particularly in regards to one of my favourite spectator sports next to soccer, hockey. Having a blog allows her to get her own voice out there, create her own personal brand, which in my opinion, adds another interesting viewpoint and layer to conversation we can’t get enough of, just as sports caster A does.
I started blogging in 2006. Not as consistently throughout these past 5 years as now, which is absolutely vital to this endeavour (especially in the beginning) if you want to build your personal brand or become an influencer. But the fact remains that although striving for consistency, what I have shared and added to conversations online thus far, has been something I can be proud of, as being a benefit to others, which makes blogging register as having a strong appeal to me. Along with that is how blogging can help improve your writing skills (the #1 skill for a PR pro), while allowing you to provide unique commentary on a variety of topics/issues, and the simple fun of writing each post, which I treat as a “new assignment”, is a reason why I think everyone should have their own blog. As my friends from outside the PR world can attest with their work, it isn’t all that bad at all.