I’ve talked about online identity crisis issues. Here’s a simple personal branding tip that could help with your freelance writing or blogging business.
Use Your Full Name
Unless you’re Cher, Prince or even Britney, always use your whole name as a byline or as your comment id.
I see a lot of sites with just a first name e.g. Alice or Jim as the post author. If you only use your first name, you are losing a valuable individual branding opportunity.
If I keep seeing Alice Jones (as opposed to just Alice) popping up at sites I visit, that name is going to stick and I associate it with a professional writer who I admire. Think of your favorite newspaper columnist or news anchor. They go by their full name… their professional identity.
Refer To Other Bloggers By Their Full Name
The same applies when you refer to other writers. Rather than refer to fellow bloggers as Jill or Alan, use their full names… branding again. At least use the full name at the first mention.
Be Inclusive & Welcoming To Your Blog Community
Also, it’s best not to presuppose that everyone knows who Jill or Alan are. This can also make new visitors feel like they’re not in the “inner circle” and part of your “in the know” community.
Conversational and Casual Do Not Mean Unprofessional
While the web and especially blogs are more conversational and often more informal than mainstream media, it’s a mistake to be too casual about your name. It’s one of your biggest branding assets. And what’s more, using it doesn’t cost you one marketing cent.
Professional Connections & Name Recognition
The web is about connections – personal and professional connections. I want to know who you are. I want to know that Alice whose article I loved is the same Alice that I see guest posting on another blog, or commenting on sites I visit.
Nicknames like “pretty238″ or even just “Jim” aren’t going to help clients identify with you as a professional writer. The same goes for emails. I would be reluctant to offer work to a freelance writer who I know only as “pretty238″.
Your Personal Business Brand
Privacy is one thing, but if you’re building a business and using online marketing as one of your communication channels, you need to let us know who you are and build your name into a business brand. If you’re on the web, whether you like it or not, your name is your brand, or at least part of it.
If I Google “Jim” I’m not going to get far. I don’t want to have to go hunt for this information on Jim’s site either. Jim needs to help me out. He needs to sound, look and act like a professional. Your blog or site is like your calling card.