VAR Video 17 Personal Brand Marketing

What IT Pre-Sales Engineers Really Think About b2b Content Marketing.

Video 17 of 18: Personal Career Branding

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An edited transcript of the conversation is provided below.

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Video 17: Edited Transcript

This next question’s slightly off-topic from b2b marketing. Maybe it’s more ‘personal brand marketing’, which is also a bit of a buzz phrase.

I’ve noticed Matthew and other folks online being proactive about their career development.
He has a blog, he’s active on twitter, and as an ex-career coach I found it very interesting.
People who are proactive about their career choices are ‘reading the tea leaves’.
They know that if you’re not visible online it’s sometimes a handicap when you’re maybe looking for a new position or you’re trying to scope out what the options are.

From Matthew’s use of a personal blog and twitter, I suspect he is thinking (that) obviously in the short term it’s helping him and helping his (current) employer.
People find out who he is and who he works for; but also, five or ten years down the line he will have a kind of personal brand.
It’s a timeline on the Internet in digital space, a digital timeline where folks looking him up can see a lot of interesting things about what he was doing and who he is.

Matthew, do you want to talk about that? Is that a deliberate strategy of your own personal growth and career development, doing what you’re doing, even though you’re super busy?
Twitter, Blogging and FaceBook: End of Privacy for IT Professionals?

Well, Twitter I got involved in early because I keep talking to people who do what I do that, you know, were starting to use it so I got online to figure it out and it just kinda took off.

I really enjoy it. I really enjoy getting to have conversations with some really, really smart people and people that do things that I do, and things in other parts of the world.
So, it’s just a really cool(?) platform to use.

The blogging thing got to the point where I just wanted to put some ideas down so I thought let me give this a try and see what it’s like.
And for a while, you know, I was fairly consistent.
Lately, I’m lucky if I get something up like once a month. I don’t think until people actually do it do they realize how much work goes into making just one post.

And if it’s technical, you gotta do a lotta research because, you know, we’re all going to get things wrong, but when people really get things wrong and they write it on a blog post, it’s there (forever).

I don’t really blog from a perspective of employment.
It’s really that I write about things that I’m interested in.
I don’t do push posts.
I did a couple of posts about a year ago, as part of a contest I was in, where I was sent to VM World. And those were kinda odd because they weren’t things I typically wrote about (storage and things like that.)

There are years worth of me on Twitter, on LinkedIn, and my blog site – and someone can look back and glean a fair amount of information about me. And I’m OK with that.

I try and keep a lot of my personal life separate; you’ll find that on FaceBook.
If I’m a FaceBook friend with you, you’ll get to see all my rants about politics, religion and all these other strange things that you’ll probably never see me talk about on Twitter.

It’s always funny whenever I meet someone who I know from Twitter or, you know, every now and then I run into someone who says, “I read your blog.”
It’s really nice to meet people when they say things like that but where this takes me, I don’t know.

It’s put me in contact with a fair amount of people that I’ve been able to learn from, and with vendors that I’ve been able to have conversations with, that I would never have been able to before.

The ‘Dangers’ of Accepting Sponsored Posts or Writing Paid Reviews

I like blogging and being involved in social media from a professional development standpoint. And, from a technical perspective, it can really help get you in touch with people, as long as you maintain a certain amount of independence, or open mindedness, I should say.

Because if you’re ‘all in’ for (just) one vendor, other vendors really aren’t going to want to deal with you that much.
Your mind’s already made up.
But if you can be at least open minded enough to consider alternatives to whatever aspect of IT you’re dealing with, there are many people who are willing to talk to you.

And I know that technically I’ve developed relationships for my career that I never would have had outside of blogging and Twitter, things like that.

Yeah, Matthew, I’ve noticed.
It’s very interesting how a whole variety of folks are finding you via the blog.

One thing I noticed too; you mentioned that you keep your personal stuff to FaceBook.
I think the only thing I know about you personally is that you like Disney World because I’ve seen that post about you took your family. So, I got that much.
I (now) know you are a Disney person, or at least for your family’s sake. But I think that’s probably a wise move anyway to separate the personal and the professional.

Well, it tends to be divisive, right? I have people who’ve met me in person. We all have those conversations with people in person. Most of the people that know me on FaceBook, or 90% of them, I’ve met in person.

I’ll gladly have conversations about what I believe in virtually any aspect of my life.
I don’t typically do it on Twitter because I’m using that as a professional development and technical tool.
And it tends to alienate people tend when you have opinions that are completely opposed to what they believe in a variety of things.

There are people I interact with whose beliefs in a bunch of different areas, politics and religion, are completely opposite to mine. I know that for a fact.

I’ve met some of those people in real life and I just don’t talk about controversial things because it’s just not going to be productive.
And so, every now and then, I’ll say something.
I’ll post personal pictures of me and my kids doing goofy stuff on Twitter because you develop relationships with a lot of people over time.
You learn things about them and I’m OK with that.

However, you’re not going to see a political and religious manifesto from me hit Twitter.
I’ll give it you all day long on FaceBook, or in person.
I love talking about politics and religion but I just try and keep it off Twitter because I want to keep that avenue of communication open with everyone. And, quite frankly, some of my beliefs might scare some people.

It doesn’t offend me. I don’t get offended easily, at all.
Most things that I absolutely detest, it doesn’t really bother me to the point where I have a seething hatred for them.
I think one or two people in the last couple of years I’ve actually unfollowed because I just couldn’t deal with it anymore. Any other merits, any technical value that they had, was overshadowed by all this non-technical garbage coming up constantly in the Twitter stream, and I couldn’t deal with it any more.

But as a general rule, I’ll tolerate a tremendous amount of stuff that, you know, I’m not really interested in.

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