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Anyone who attended a recent meeting in Mississauga heard Donna Messer talk about the value of blogging. I would like to build on that message and share my recent experience about using it to build your brand and reputation as a subject matter expert.

I have been an enterprise risk management practitioner for a few years. As I feel I have unique experience and perspective, I had some thoughts I wanted to share about 5 years ago, so I posted a few of them. I was not expecting anyone to read them, but it was my way of time stamping my thoughts.

Jump forward to early August when I find myself unemployed. After a few days, I realized that one way to differentiate myself in this market was to blog. And blog a lot. It was not so much shameless self promotion as an opportunity to prove that I knew as much or more than so-called experts. Plus, there is only some much time in the day one can spend looking for a job, and writing gave me something positive to do with my day.

I had assumed a pseudonym years ago and liked it so much that I incorporated the name and acquired the domain I would use for blogging to build this brand.

Step one: Blogging

I started writing about the topic of risk management daily, often with multiple posts. Many of these posts are my thoughts; others are my opinions on the material published by other bloggers or consultants. Since August, I have had over 2000 unique page views. While I have no idea if this is considered a lot, it feels pretty good.

I use WordPress for my blogs. It is a free service and includes some pretty cool data about which posts are being viewed.

Additionally, I not only write but I also read the blogs of others. If I find something that I enjoy, I will leave comments thanking the blogger for the post. Sometimes, this creates a Google trail. When I Google my name or company name, sometimes the comments I left in other blogs come up in the searches.

My posts have been re-posted by others in my field a few times. From a Google perspective, one way to move up Google is to have others link to your posts.

A very experienced financial and risk professional in Boston liked my work so much that he sent me a copy of his new book and ask me to review it for him. Fortunately, it was a pretty good book and I wrote a nice review for him. He subsequently issued a press release explaining that I had enjoyed his book - that review can be found via Google

Step two: Twitter

I started using Twitter to create links that directed people to my blog. My approach was to drive as much traffic to my site as possible. Some people will tweet links that they find interesting. I only tweet links to my blog. Rather than re-tweet something, I create a blog post about it, then direct people to my site with my tweets.

If you are not familiar with Twitter, you can follow people and they can follow you. In order to get people to follow me, I started following as many people as I could find who might be interested in my content. Since I write about risk management, I searched for people who wrote about governance, compliance, risk, insurance, finance, accounting, etc. Many people are curious why I'm is following them and follow the breadcrumbs back to my Twitter page.

What about Facebook?

While Facebook is another social medium, I use Facebook for personal use for communicating with friends and family. I don't mix business and pleasure.

Finally, while in an interview this week for a risk management position, I was able to point out to the hiring manager that I have the blog and they should read some of my posts. All else being equal, I feel it is a competitive advantage and differentiator.

This is still a work in progress for me too but so far it's been fun. So give blogging a try.

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