Fundraising for Nonprofits

Inspiring Gifts that Transform

Thursday, December 13, 2007

5 steps to create a “B-R-A-N-D New U” online

Last summer I received a phone call from an influential Washington D.C. figure, who had recently been nominated for the 2007 Noble Peace Prize. You might even know his name. He was looking for fundraising advice. However, before I share with you details of that conversation, I’d like to talk to you about why he called me of all people.

Let’s face it, we live in an interconnected, intermediated and Internet world. If perception equals reality, than what people learn about you online can influence your career success, whether you are an independent consultant or a long-time staff fundraiser. Tom Peters got it right ten years ago when he developed the concept of personal branding. “We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.”

Today more than anything else, one thing determines the strength of your personal brand: your Google rankings. What are the total numbers of personal responses returned, how high are your results, and how relevant are they to what you would like to be known about? If you don't have an online presence, in the eyes of a growing number of people, you simply don't exist. For a more comprehensive analysis, visit the Online Identity Calculator today.

If after evaluating your online identity, you are serious about developing a stronger online brand, I have a turn around strategy for you. Here are my five recommended steps to create a “B-R-A-N-D New U” online.

B)log
Start a blog focused in a niche subject area that you would like to become well known. Set yourself a goal of at least 3 posts a week for 6 months. Wordpress and Blogger are just 2 of the many free services available. Google rankings are heavily determined by how many links in and out, as well as how fresh is the content of your site. Regular blogging is the easiest and fastest way for an individual to actively increase their rankings. Want to get real serious about blogging? Than subscribe to Darren Rowse’s ProBlogger.

R)espond
Responding to posts on other blogs is the best tip I can give you to becoming an effective blogger, because it forces you to become a blog reader. You will quickly learn what are the most current topics of under discussion in your field. Use Technorati to locate the top 10-15 authoritative blogs in your niche. Subscribe to their RSS feeds using Google Reader. Read their posts daily and set yourself a of leaving at least 3 comments a week. Truly contribute to the dialogue, and you will soon find the favor returned.

A)ppropriate
Assume everything you post online will be accessiable forever and will eventually be linked back to you, including those nasty anonymous comments on a Hollywood gossip blog. Are you sure all the personal information you are posting on Facebook is something you’d like to share with strangers ten years from now? Many think public advocacy only means criticizing those in power, but have you ever been impressed with someone who complains all the time without providing solutions? Keep it clean and constructive.

N)etwork
The further you progress in your career, the more you understand we are all only as strong as our relationships. The number one rule in networking is that if you want to succeed, help others succeed first. One of the added benefits of using a professional business networking service like LinkedIn, is that Google ranks LinkedIn profiles very highly in its search results. It takes less than an hour to set-up a free profile and invite your friends to join you. In just a couple of months, my business network there contains 350 people who can help me reach over 1 million professional users on the site.

D)o It
We all start as beginners and learn by doing. If as young children we never tried to walk because we were afraid of falling, we’d all still be crawling around on all fours. When I’ve described this B-R-A-N-D New U strategy to others, a common reaction is, “What will I write about?” The great thing is that you don’t need to know, it will come to you. These recommended five steps will not only develop your personal brand, but your personal growth. Today’s thought leaders are bloggers, and by pursuing this strategy you can become one too.

As for the man who called me for fundraising advise? No, it wasn’t Al Gore. It was another good man with a good cause, whose board wasn’t engaged in fundraising, was the sole fundraiser for his agency, and needed help developing back office systems and procedures. Sound familiar? All around the world, our needs are not very different.

Finally, why did he call me? The answer is simple, because of my strong online personal brand.

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5 Comments:

At 8:12 AM , Anonymous Maya Norton said...

Great entry, Gayle, and powerful example of the currency of a personal online brand.

I've been holding a number of Me, Inc. posts and reading this entry makes me think that I should just go ahead and publish them.

To me the best quote that sums up the importance of personal branding was spoken by the illustrious Elizabeth Taylor who said, "I am my own commodity." Hear, here.

Best wishes for a pleasant weekend,

Maya Norton

The New Jew: Blogging Jewish Philanthropy

 
At 9:11 AM , Blogger Gayle said...

And may your holiday season be filled with light too! I look forward to reading your "Me Inc." posts.

 
At 9:53 PM , Blogger Christopher_Scott said...

Hi Gayle,

I wanted to let you know about the Nonprofit December Giving Carnival. Deadline to submit your post is Dec. 20th.

Here is the link,
http://christopherscottblog.typepad.com/blog/2007/11/december-giving.html

Let me know if you have any questions.

Christopher S.
www.ChristopherScottblog.com

 
At 8:15 AM , Anonymous Geoff said...

Hi Gayle,

Thanks for several enlightening entries!

While admittedly new to the blog world, I have been quite impressed with yours so far. This post (Me Inc.) is great.

Have a great day !

Geoff

 
At 9:52 AM , Blogger Gayle said...

Geoff,

Thanks for stopping by. You have a great day too! Keep the comments coming.

Peace,
Gayle

 

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