Top 3 Ways a Blog Can Enhance Your Personal Brand

By Janet Barclay.

Over the last few years, blogging has become an increasingly popular branding strategy for businesses of all sizes. But branding isn’t just for businesses; it’s for individuals as well! Your personal brand is the way that people perceive you, and it’s reflected in everything that you do. It’s in your values, your personality, your talents and your skills.

A blog allows potential employers to understand your brand on a much deeper level than your LinkedIn profile or even your online portfolio; it can give them insight into who you are and help build a connection, even if you’ve never met.

Here are the top three ways you can benefit from blogging:

1. Showcase Your Expertise

By posting tips, articles, book or product reviews, links to articles that you’ve read, or other information, you position yourself as an expert in your field. When you offer advice or comment on industry trends, it shows that you know your stuff, and helps you get noticed by the people in your target market.

Blogging is a great way to keep your name in front of recruiters and hiring managers. Posting quality content on a regular basis will bring them back again and again, so when they have an opening to fill, you’ll be the first one they think of.

2. Build Your Network

Blogging isn’t just about putting information out there. Your ability to form a relationship with your readers is enhanced by the fact that blogging allows two-way communication with your audience. Because visitors can leave comments on what you post, they feel more engaged than if they’re just reading, and are more likely to come back to see what else you have to say. When someone leaves a comment on your blog, you should acknowledge what they’ve said and continue the conversation, if possible. It’s all part of forming relationships and growing your professional network.

You can even take it a step further: if the person leaving the comment has a blog as well, go and read one or more of their recent posts, and leave a comment. As well as building a relationship with that person, if they share a similar target audience, this is a great way to get noticed by others who may then read your blog and perhaps consider or recommend you for an opportunity.

3. Increase Your Visibility

Blogs are, by their very nature, search-engine friendly. Every time you publish a post, you’re creating new content for Google to index. As a result, if someone searches on your name to assess your suitability as a candidate, instead of just finding links to your social media profiles, they’ll be blown away by your writing skills and all the great information you’ve posted. Similarly, if they search on a keyword related to your area of expertise, when your blog keeps popping up, you’ll be perceived as a go-to person in your industry.

If you have a blog, feel free to leave a comment so we and our readers can check it out!

Resources for British Columbia Career Practitioners

Here are some links to websites that for career practitioners and their clients based in British Columbia. If you are a career practitioner and you want resources for the labour market in BC, then make sure to bookmark these sites.

Association for Career Practitioners

Education and Training for Career Practitioners

Specialty Sites for Career Practitioners

Careers and Employment for Clients

Career Education and Training for Clients

Do you know of another BC-specific resource for career practitioners or their clients? Please mention it in a comment.

Resources for Alberta Career Practitioners

Here are some links to helpful websites for career practitioners and their clients based in Alberta. If you are a career practitioner and you want resources for the labour market in AB, then make sure to bookmark these sites.

Associations for Career Practitioners

Education and Training for Career Practitioners

Careers and Employment for Clients

Education and Training for Clients

Do you know of another Alberta-specific resource for career practitioners or their clients? Please mention it in a comment.

Resources for Saskatchewan Career Practitioners

Here are some links to websites for career practitioners and their clients based in Saskatchewan. If you are a career practitioner and you want resources for the labour market in the province, then make sure to bookmark these sites.

Associations for Career Practitioners

Education and Training for Career Practitioners

Careers and Employment for Clients

Education and Training for Clients

Do you know of another SK-specific resource for career practitioners or their clients? Please mention it in a comment.

Resources for Manitoba Career Practitioners

Here are some links to helpful websites for career practitioners and their clients based in Manitoba. If you are a career practitioner and you want resources for the labour market in MB, then make sure to bookmark these sites.

Associations for Career Practitioners

Education and Training for Career Practitioners

Careers and Employment for Clients

Education and Training for Clients

Do you know of another Manitoba-specific resource for career practitioners or their clients? Please mention it in a comment.

Resources for Ontario Career Practitioners

Here are some links to websites for career practitioners and their clients based in Ontario (ON). If you are a career practitioner and you want resources for the labour market in the province, then make sure to bookmark these sites.

Associations for Career Practitioners

Education and Training for Career Practitioners

Careers and Employment for Clients

  • Job Market Trends and News: Local and regional labour market events and announcements.
  • Ontario Job Futures: Information on current trends and future outlook for approximately 200 occupations common to Ontario.
  • Ontario Skills Passport (OSP): Descriptions of Essential Skills and work habits important for success in work, learning and life.
  • Workforce Planning Boards: Resources relevant to training, employment and labour force information in communities throughout Ontario.

Education and Training for Clients

  • Ontario Colleges: Information on earning a college degree, diploma, certificate or apprenticeship in Ontario.
  • Ontario Universities: Information about applying to and attending university in Ontario.

Do you know of another ON-specific resource for career practitioners or their clients? Please mention it in a comment.

Resources for Quebec Career Practitioners

Here are some links to helpful websites for career practitioners and their clients based in Quebec (QC). If you are a career practitioner and you want resources for the labour market in QC, then make sure to bookmark these sites.

Associations for Career Practitioners

Education and Training for Career Practitioners

Specialty Sites for Career Practitioners

Careers and Employment for Clients

  • Emploi Québec: Labour market information and tools for job seekers.
  • Job Futures Quebec: Job descriptions, statistics and forecasts.
  • JobBoom: Employment opportunities and information about training available in Quebec.

Education and Training for Clients

Do you know of another QC-specific resource for career practitioners or their clients? Please mention it in a comment.

Resources for New Brunswick Career Practitioners

Here are some links to helpful websites for career practitioners and their clients based in New Brunswick. If you are a career practitioner and you want resources for the labour market in NB, then make sure to bookmark these sites.

Association for Career Practitioners

Education and Training for Career Practitioners

Careers and Employment for Clients

  • Labour Market Information: Occupational profiles, job market trends, and sectoral, industrial, and regional information.
  • NBjobs.ca: Provincial job bank for New Brunswick.
  • Welcome NB: Employment information for immigrants and temporary workers.

Career Education and Training for Clients

Do you know of another NB-specific resource for career practitioners or their clients? Please mention it in a comment.

Resources for Prince Edward Island Career Practitioners

Here are some links to websites for career practitioners and their clients based in Prince Edward Island. If you are a career practitioner and you want resources for the labour market in PEI, then make sure to bookmark these sites.

Associations for Career Practitioners

Education and Training for Career Practitioners

Careers and Employment for Clients

Education and Training for Clients

Do you know of another PEI-specific resource for career practitioners or their clients? Please mention it in a comment.

Resources for Nunavut Career Practitioners

Here are some links to websites for career practitioners and their clients based in Nunavut. If you are a career practitioner and you want resources for the labour market in the territory, then make sure to bookmark these sites.

Education and Training for Career Practitioners

Careers and Employment for Clients

Education and Training for Clients

Do you know of another NU-specific resource for career practitioners or their clients? Please mention it in a comment.

Resources for Northwest Territories Career Practitioners

Here are some links to websites for career practitioners and their clients based in the Northwest Territories. If you are a career practitioner and you want resources for the labour market in NWT (or NT), then make sure to bookmark these sites.

Careers and Employment for Clients

Education and Training for Clients

Do you know of another NWT-specific resource for career practitioners or their clients? Please mention it in a comment.

Resources for Yukon Career Practitioners

Here are some links to websites for career practitioners and their clients based in Yukon. If you are a career practitioner and you want resources for the labour market in YK, then make sure to bookmark these sites.

Careers and Employment for Clients

Education and Training for Clients

Do you know of another YK-specific resource for career practitioners or their clients? Please mention it in a comment.

Why are presentation skills so important for success?

By Janet Barclay.

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of giving my How to Write Blog Posts that Get Results presentation at WordCamp Hamilton 2015.

If just the thought public speaking makes you anxious, you might be questioning how I can describe such an experience as a pleasure. I get it!

Not long after I started my business, I was invited to speak at a local bookstore, and it was just too good a marketing opportunity to turn down. I was so terrified, that I was actually relieved when no one showed up – scheduling it at the same time as an NHL playoff game was probably not the best idea –even though it meant I didn’t get the chance to promote my services.

Since then, I’ve had many opportunities to share my expertise with a variety of audiences, and it’s definitely gotten easier. Even though I’m still anxious for days ahead of time, once I get up to speak, it’s a great feeling to realize how much I have to offer. Because I didn’t shy away from public speaking –despite being an introvert who had only spoken to groups when it was required for grades – I’ve reaped many rewards that might otherwise have passed me by. I’ve listed several of them here.

janet-wordcamp-hamilton

7 Rewards of Developing Presentation Skills

  1. Your exposure extends beyond the people who hear you speak to anyone who sees the event promotions (and of course, to their extended networks as well).
  2. Those who speak get to connect you with on a personal level, contributing greatly to the ever important “know – like – trust” factor.
  3. The audience become aware of your expertise and how you can help them or others they know.
  4. Giving free presentations allows you to build the confidence and competence you’ll need if you’d eventually like to get paid to speak.
  5. Listing your past presentations and workshops on your website causes it to come up when local organizations search for a speaker or presenter.
  6. Once you have some presentations created, you can quickly step in when someone needs a speaker on short notice.
  7. Workshop content can be repurposed into blog posts, e-books, and other applications.

The benefits aren’t limited to business success, either. Becoming a competent public speaker will help you to communicate more effectively in every aspect of your personal and professional lives.

How to Become a Confident and Effective Speaker

Just like any other activity, your speaking skills will increase as you gain an understanding of what works and what doesn’t. Trial and error is not the fastest way to develop competence at most things, so you might want to add presentation skills training to your professional development plan

I attended a public speaking seminar at our community college, which was quite helpful, but there are many other options. There’s a vast range of presentation skills courses available both on and offline and some companies, like Activia, even provide you with free eLearning revision materials to use after your classroom session to help you get the most out of your training.

I’ve never been to Toastmasters, but I’ve learned some really useful strategies from people who are members. They have thousands of clubs in hundreds of countries, so clearly lots of people find it beneficial.

Your Turn

If you’re an experienced speaker, how have your presentation skills contributed to your success?

If you haven’t tried it yet, what’s holding you back?

 

10 Tips for Building Your Support Network

By Janet Barclay.

When I launched my business in 2002, I was very excited to have something that was “all mine.” Who wouldn’t be? However, my desire for independence almost prevented me from being successful!

When you run your own business, you need to grow a network of colleagues, service providers and others who can help you in various ways. But it’s also wise to build a more casual support network for knowledge, encouragement, advice and motivation.

Understand Where You Need Help

First of all, it’s good to know yourself. Recognize the warning signs when your confidence or motivation is starting to flag. Know your own areas of weakness and things you need to work on.

Family and Friends

Family and friends are a great source of support, even when they have nothing to do with your business. In fact, they can be a great help because they’re not involved. They know you, not your business. Identify those who are most helpful to you in your regular life and enlist their support.

Seek out Mentors

A mentor is someone who has more experience than you have at what you do. They’ve gone further down the road you’re on and they know what’s ahead. A mentor can help to steer you on this path when you get stuck. They can identify your weaknesses or trouble spots and help you overcome them. Consider joining one of Career Professionals of Canada’s industry-leading Mastermind Mentoring Groups.

Coaches and Consultants

Like a mentor, a coach or consultant can help you by lending you their experience and skill, but a coach or consultant’s approach is more direct. You pay for their services, so they usually offer more direct help than mentors do. They’re there to help you. Get recommendations from colleagues and do a trial session before signing up for anything long term.

Good Advice

Try to identify sources of good advice on the internet. Seek out a website for entrepreneurs that offers help or encouragement with its content. Look for a forum or social media group that’s particularly supportive of its members.

Motivation and Inspiration

What inspires you or pushes you to keep working, even when things get tough? For example, thinking of your family’s future may be a greater motivation for you than the idea of making a great deal of money. Try to identify what motivates or inspires you. Post these in words and/or pictures somewhere visible. You can turn to them when your motivation is waning.

Tech Support

A much more tangible area where you need support is on the technological side of things. It’s good to have a friend or associate who is particularly tech savvy and can help you out when needed. They can help you make minor changes to your website and other tasks that may be challenging for you.

Back-up Plan for Disaster Relief

You should have a system for backing up everything and a plan for what to do if disaster strikes. Many businesses go to great lengths considering how marketing trends or consumer demand can affect their business, but they forget about hurricanes, earthquakes, fires and floods. Just knowing your business can continue immediately in another location at a moment’s notice can support your peace of mind.

Your Biggest Fans

Some of your best support will come from your fans, followers and customers. When you have an especially good relationship with a particular reader or client, nurture this relationship and garner support from it. These individuals are a great help when you wonder whether your efforts to deliver value are paying off.

Getting Started Again

Finally, identify some sources of support just in case your business blows up and you have to start all over again. It’s something we all hope won’t happen, but if you’re prepared and it does, it’ll be much easier to rebuild. Identify people in your network who can help you rebuild your business in this type of scenario. You could even keep a file of their emails separate from everyone else’s.

Conclusion

You can never have too much support along the journey of running your own business. Identify those that offer this support and keep them near you for when you need them.

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Making Time for Twitter

By Janet Barclay.

You’ve finally got your website updated and started blogging, and now everyone’s saying you need to be on Twitter! Monitoring your new followers, looking for people to follow, reading and responding to their tweets, and posting your own could easily take several hours per week! How on earth are you supposed to fit that into your already busy schedule?

Twitter is great for building relationships that lead to business opportunities, but because it can be quite addictive, it’s easy to get sidetracked and lose track of time. Here are a few strategies to help you use your time effectively.

1. Take advantage of time-saving technology

Working within the Twitter website can be overwhelming, especially if you’re following a large number of people. I like to use TweetDeck because it lets me display tweets from key people in separate columns so they won’t get overlooked. I can also see quickly and easily when someone starts following me, sends me a Direct Message, or mentions me in a tweet. One function I especially like that I haven’t seen in other Twitter tools is the ability to mark tweets as read and clear them off your screen, making it easier to keep track of those you still want to read.

In addition, you can reply to a tweet or retweet it simply by clicking a button. It has a built-in URL-shortening function which makes it easier to stay within the 140-character limit. New features are being added all the time, so if you’ve tried TweetDeck before but didn’t like it, you may want to check it out again.

Many professionals who are away from their computers during prime business hours like to take advantage of HootSuite or SocialOomph, which allow you to pre-schedule your tweets and have them go out at set times during the day. As a virtual assistant who is at my computer most of the time, I haven’t tried either of these services, but they both come highly recommended.

There are several WordPress plug-ins, including WP to Twitter, that will automatically send out a tweet each time that you update your blog. If you’re thinking that it only takes a few seconds to tweet your blog post, consider the fact that this will allow you to post to Twitter without actually logging into your account. This means you won’t risk getting distracted by what others are saying at that time. This can be quite valuable if you pre-schedule your blog posts, as you don’t have to remember to tweet them when they are published, and especially if you’re not at your computer when your posts go live.

2. Connect with people who can help you grow your business

It’s great to network with your industry colleagues – you can probably learn a lot from one another other – but this should probably not be your main focus. If your goal is to find new clients, you need to connect directly with people in your target market or with people who can introduce you to potential clients.

Since I started actively tweeting in 2009, 25% of my new clients have been people I met through Twitter. In addition, I’ve been offered speaking engagements, books to review, link exchanges, answers to technical problems, and so much more. Twitter is also an excellent way to network with businesses offering products or services which complement your own. Whether it’s an onboarding coach, a major employer, or an employment-related affiliate program, you will discover that the possibilities are endless.

3. Don’t feel you have to follow everyone who follows you

I know that not everyone will agree with this advice. Many believe that if someone follows you, it’s rude not to follow them back.

In my experience, there are too many users using a shotgun approach to networking. They’ll follow anyone and everyone, hoping that even a fraction of those people will click through to their website and buy something. They’re not interested in building relationships. To them, it’s all about the numbers.

If you don’t understand why someone has chosen to follow you but you’re afraid of closing the door on a potentially valuable relationship, by all means, follow them back. It’s easy enough to “unfollow” them later if it turns out that you are not interested in their tweets.

4. Create a schedule and stick to it

One of the best things about Twitter is that you can participate at any time of the day or night, unlike attending live networking events that may take place during your prime working hours.

If you’re going to be out of your office all day, plan to spend five to 15 minutes online before you leave and again after you return. On office days, you will probably want to schedule longer and/or more frequent sessions. Set a timer, if you need to, to ensure that you don’t spend more time on Twitter than you should. Keep in mind that many tweets include links to blog posts or other web pages, so you’ll need time to read some of those. Knowing that you have limited time should help you focus on your most important activities.

5. Hire a virtual assistant to help you stay on top of things

Although you can’t really outsource relationship building, there are many ways a VA can reduce the time you spend on Twitter, including:

  • customizing your profile
  • locating people for you to follow
  • providing information and guidance around the use of Twitter and various Twitter tools
  • extracting tips from your articles and/or blog posts and setting them up as tweets to be posted in the future, either manually or using one of the automation tools mentioned above.

If you’ve been avoiding Twitter because you think it will be too time-consuming, you may be missing out! When Twitter is used strategically and effectively, you might be surprised to see what will happen.

Source: Organized Assistant