Develop Your Personal Brand through Blogging – Use Stats to Guide What You Write


Did last week’s post convince you to start blogging? It’s the only method of getting found for that job you want in which you control 100%. If you blog long enough and strong enough, you will be found. 

Just to reiterate, here’s my simple recipe for your success: 

  1. Get your “placeholder” sites done – and done right. You’re probably already on LinkedIn, but don’t overlook ZoomInfo (which is still used by many recruiters), and your Google Profile. Ryan Rancatore, a fellow Brand-Yourself contributing blogger, had an excellent post on this topic a couple of days ago (here).
  2. After you feel comfortable about your subject matter expertise, start writing. Comment on other blogs or write articles (check out Jacob Share’s great post about freelance marketplaces here.)
  3. When you’re ready, start publishing posts for your own blog.
  4. Repeat step 3 until you get really good at it. Get feedback from other writers and industry veterans so you know you’re doing it right. Then repeat it until you’re accepted as a thought leader in your subject area. 

Photo by Kevin Lim

OK, step 4 may sound hard to you, and I’ll grant that it takes some time and effort to keep coming up with new things to say. There are many writers’ techniques you can use; for example, carry around index cards and jot down a subject whenever you think of one. You’d be surprised at how many ideas you will come up with every day. 

Here’s another idea, and this is based on actual data. Most blogging software platforms give you some feedback about your users. I always install dedicated WordPress installations for my clients, because it’s the most widely used blogging platform. That means lots of support on the internet, many great authors giving templates and utilities to you free, and pretty good statistics. You can even add Google Analytics to your blog. 

Over time, I’ve found that articles I write about how to do things get the most traffic. Some of these articles are like Energizer bunnies – they just keep on producing. Every day, I get stats about how many people visited my blog, my top posts, referring sites, and the search terms people use to get to my site. I also see the links people click on to visit other sites. 

You can learn some pretty interesting things by watching these stats. Here are the five most common search terms for my blog

  1. LinkedIn photo size
  2. 3 variations of my name
  3. LinkedIn picture size
  4. Sandwich board (!)
  5. Zoho cloud

What that tells me is that there is a real need for more information about LinkedIn profile pictures! (It appears in several other forms in the most popular search terms). My second most popular search, in aggregate, is a post I did about how to do multiple emails using Word and Excel. I get traffic to that article every day. 

What’s really interesting about this is that my personal branding articles don’t show up at the top of the list, even though that’s the main topic of my blog! In fact, I wrote the LinkedIn photo article, and the email article, at the request of people who wanted more information about these topics. Ah, but there’s a rub… 

My top posts are not the same as my top search terms! My five top posts are 

  1. How to use Microsoft Excel and Word to send multiple emails
  2. The proper way to send and accept a LinkedIn invitation (I wish everyone would read this)
  3. How to add your picture to LinkedIn
  4. How to complete your LinkedIn profile
  5. Create a PDF of your LinkedIn recommendations

So what does all this tell me? 

  • Write about things you’re passionate about. Almost every one of the 10 items above are poorly covered elsewhere. Why should it be hard to put your picture on LinkedIn? That’s simple: if you’re too dumb to do it, maybe you shouldn’t be using LinkedIn. Sorry, not my attitude, but it does make you wonder about LinkedIn help and support.
  • Content is king! Don’t fill your blogs with nonsense. People come to blogs to learn. Give your readers something to take away.
  • Use your statistics to help you fine tune your messages. In general, more readership means better (or at least more popular) content.

A small side note: I’ve also found that taking a somewhat controversial standpoint can lead to higher readership. Anybody who’s heard of Rush Limbaugh knows controversy sells. But you’d better decide who and what you want to be on the Internet. Some people think any news is good news, but I don’t subscribe to that. I want to be known for quality contributions. My personal belief is that I’d rather reach fewer people with better content than the inverse. 

Oh yeah… I always advise people to write about their passion(s). I have a client who’s a real estate broker. He writes about real estate topics, but he’s also a great violinist, and he writes a lot about fiddles. I just love his posts, and I have to admit I read the violin articles first. Part of your objective in publishing is to let prospective recruiters, hiring managers, and clients know you before they contact you. And it really works.

6 Comments

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  1. 2
    Walter Feigenson

    Thanks Ryan – one of the take away points here is that after you've been blogging for a while, it gets easier to figure out what to write. Isn't that one of the stumbling blocks for aspiring bloggers? What will I have to write about?

  2. 3
    Walter Feigenson

    Good point Ola. Answering questions on LinkedIn is actually a good way to get the public writing experience you need for your own blog… I've also (successfully) used LinkedIn Answers for researching questions about my own businesses.

  3. 4
    Walter Feigenson

    Thanks Ryan – one of the take away points here is that after you've been blogging for a while, it gets easier to figure out what to write. Isn't that one of the stumbling blocks for aspiring bloggers? What will I have to write about?

  4. 5
    Walter Feigenson

    Good point Ola. Answering questions on LinkedIn is actually a good way to get the public writing experience you need for your own blog… I've also (successfully) used LinkedIn Answers for researching questions about my own businesses.

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