This article is modified and republished from the September 28, 2007 How Much Do People Talk About You?.
In today’s day and age of “dog eat dog” and marketing and getting ahead and SEO and linkbaiting” – how much do people talk about you? Better yet, how often do you talk about other people. Picture the situation. You’re standing around in a crowded bar at a social event after a conference. There are 150 people standing around in various states – some drunk, some not. Everyone’s talking. Most likely, they are talking about some hot button issue in whatever industry you’re in. They might be talking about their newest product or pitching a potential partner. Business cards are exchanged as frequently as George Bush tells us to “Stay the Course”.
In one conversation, an industry expert is referred to and the four people participating in that conversation laugh and nod. In another conversation, another industry experts new startup is opined about and everyone questions the business model. The point is, people are talking about these other people and conversation is flowing. Those people are not present. Can’t give business cards. Can’t pitch their product. Can’t talk about their new experience or their new lines of thinking. Yet, their messages are getting out. For better or for worse, their personal brand is alive and well and well represented in this crowd.
There’s a misconception in blogging and similar industries that if you produce good content, people will come. While that is true to a certain extent, that theory will never amount to much in the broad scope of things. how many web developers are out there? How many people do wedding photography? how many people write 500-750 word posts once a week that are thoughtful and well written, but nobody knows about?
Let me answer that question: A lot.
It’s important to create great “stuff” (define “stuff” for yourself). It’s really important to stand out above the crowd. It’s more important to get other people talking about you. You are a brand. You are a subject matter expert. Well, you have the potential to be a subject matter expert. But you’re not yet. Not if no one is talking about you when you’re not around.
Here’s a thought. When you have a great idea, try to get that idea in front of other SMEs. Find ways to market yourself. Give away your knowledge. Speak at industry events. Host meetups related to your industry. Be social and network. Go drink a beer with others in your industry. When an opinion is asked for, be aggressive and share your opinion in a succinct, well-spoken manner.
In the end, you not only can produce, but you become the first person people look to for help or advice. You’re the first feed that someone reads when they open their feedreader. You do want to be the first person people come to – not just a referral. ;-)