I started my blog way back in 1998, when it was called journaling. I had no idea what to do with it. I started the way lots of people did back then: I wrote about whatever was on my mind, however trivial. Every media software I’ve used since then has been some mix of personal presence building plus an attempt to add some level of value to the larger story. Both are important. And there’s no great time to start. But there’s always a chance to be “too late.”
Build Your Digital Presence Now
Start an account somewhere that lets you tell the story you want to tell, in the way you want to tell it. You like taking pictures and sharing them? I love Instagram for that. You want to make videos that show the behind-the-scenes of your great company? Maybe get a YouTube account. I’ve said this for years, and I’ll repeat it now. If I had to choose ONLY ONE digital online property, it’d be a self-hosted blog. Why? Because we “rent” all those other places, and even though we tend to rent server space, the rules of our hosting provider are usually far more in our favor than any social media software out there. (Related to this, my friend, John Saddington invented a photo sharing app and WordPress combo that lets you publish photos to your very own WordPress, if you didn’t feel like using Instagram or Flickr or the like.
And Then What? What Do You Say?
Part of “presence” is being somewhere that you can have a voice. I share my musings on random whatevers on Twitter. I am a bit more filtered (but only a little bit) in what I share and say on Google+, but in both cases – in all cases – one detail remains a constant: the more I show up, and the more I’m helpful, the more people continue to share their attention with me.
Easiest Presence Builder: Be Helpful
Let me be clear: “helpful” is rarely just retweeting other people’s stuff. But that’s part of it. Sharing the work of others, and pointing out great new items of interest are a powerful way to build your presence. Just glancing at my list of people I follow right now, I see that Aliza Sherman shared a tech tip on how to brand your YouTube videos. Carrie Wilkerson shares her thoughts on whether social media is worth your time. Mack Collier weighs in on Klout. But those are just a few people I follow, and a few sample posts. In general, people are being helpful.
Worst Presence Builder: Me, Me, and RT of what YOU said about Me
Do I really have to write a supporting paragraph here? The more you talk about how awesome you are, the harder I try to stifle a yawn. It’s not interesting. It’s not helpful. It’s kind of silly. Sharing how awesome you are is rarely useful. And no, adding “humbled” to your sharing about how awesome you are doesn’t help.
Help Others. It’s Magic!
What I’ve most come to understand is that if you help other people succeed, you’ll become more influential and your presence will matter. If you promote wonderful and important causes (like Invisible People), and help your friends to be seen, you’ll grow even more than if you share only your own stuff.
I’m not saying never self-promote. Let’s not be silly. But do so with a side of helpful and a huge dessert of helping others. Okay? Listen to Jay Baer tell me about that as it relates to his new book, Youtility. That’s the goal.
Okay. Now, it’s time to build your presence. Why? You don’t need to know what it’s going to do for you eventually. Just know that having a voice, having a way to participate, having a way to be helpful, and all this other stuff, is useful to your future pursuits (most times), good for your future business goals (most times), and might eventually be almost mandatory (really- feels that way in some ways).
Oh, and if you want my most favorite presence builder bar none? Make sure you’re getting my free newsletter. I talk about it THIS SUNDAY!
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