I came across Trent Hamm’s very popular blog a few weeks ago when Carolynn Duncan shot me a post he did about career management (15 More Things You Can Do Right Now To Help Your Career). I liked what I read so I subscribed, and have been extremely impressed since then. Let me pick apart a few things with regard to Trent’s blog and as it relates to his personal brand.
Trent is just a normal person, like you and me. He found himself over his head with finances – he calls it his complete financial meltdown – and decided to pick the topic of finances apart (much like I tried to pick apart career management). Trent’s obvious goal is to share what he has learned, and what he continues to learn with anyone that cares about this stuff. He says he likes to write, so what a great medium a blog would be, right? I’ll tell you right now, Trent is, in my book, an A-List blogger.
Personal finances hits everyone, rich and poor and all of us in-between, every single day. Trent has a knack for picking up on various interesting issues and explaining them to his readers in a really, really simple writing style. Not to say his writing is for a sixth grader. But you don’t have to have a finance degree to understand what he’s talking about. Get it? The Simple Dollar? Here’s what I love about his blog:
The logo. There’s a lot of sexy logos out there, and everyone is trying to be really professional with this first-impression. I love how “simple” (the font) and “dollar” (can you see the letters have images from a dollar bill in them?) are a part of his logo. It looks cool, in my opinion, and it works for me.
The what the heck is The Simple Dollar paragraph in the top right. It quickly and simply puts forth who the blog is for, and makes him very relatable.
The Content. I talked about content vs. widgets in my series last week on my blogging secrets. I don’t know how Trent does it but he has more than one very meaty post each day (not sure about weekends and holidays). If I had to pick 10 of the richest content sites on the Internet I’m pretty sure he would be one of them.
The tone. Trent is authentic. Transparent. Likeable. This dude is my buddy… at least that’s what I think when I read his stuff. He lives out in the cornfields of Iowa and talks about getting over his ego to have expensive and cool stuff. He talks about crunching numbers to compare Costco vs. Amazon vs. the grocery store. He walks the walk, obviously, and shares how he does it. He inspires people – check out this post The Simple Dollar Convinces Someone To Quit Their Job. WOW!
No brand dilution. Check out the categories on the right side of his page. There are a TON! Out of curiosity I clicked on “computers” wondering if it was going to get really geeky and go off-brand. Guess what? It’s all on-brand! Go through the other categories and you’ll see that he stays on-brand for us.
Seize the opportunity. Trent is doing all the right stuff. He has grown his readership to over 13,000 through feedburner, and I’m sure more through other mediums. He has over 1,500 blogs linking back to him which puts him in the top 1,000 blogs in the world (considering there are over 80 million blogs, this is pretty big imho). Alexa puts his traffic as… pretty darn good Guess what? This money guy is no dummy. There is opportunity to make money based on this popularity. He has the google ads various ways to monetize and I’m guessing he’s doing pretty good on this. Here’s the deal, though. Trent does not go off-brand, or lower the standard of content, to monetize. He puts ME before a monetization opportunity (at least, that’s how I see it). Great example of making some money off your blog without cheapening your brand!
Blogroll is not overwhelming. A temptation of bloggers to get others to link back to you is to have a HUGE blogroll. I’ve seen blogrolls that are so long that I can’t even get into them… it’s just too much. Trent only shows a handful of the blogroll links at one time, so it is quite digestible, and, respectful to the reader.
Trent is doing all the right stuff. The results show it. His brand is in his content, not a flashy logo. His power is in his authenticity, and the depth of his knowledge. I am learning a lot about personal branding as I watch how he manages his blog. I hope you can too.
Congratulations Trent! – You join a special group of professionals and have earned a coveted link from my monthly winnerâ€™s blogroll area (on the left), six months of premium JibberJobber (you can transfer/award this to someone else ), and a cyber-high five! Feel free to post the You Get It award on your blog!
Here are the past winners:
- September 2006 – ClickDave – my review
- October 2006 – Kent Blumberg – my review
- November 2006 – Heather Henricks – my review
- December 2006 – Adelino de Almeida – my review
- January 2007 – Rob Humphrey – my review
- January 2007 – Ariel Meadow Stallings – my review
- February 2007 – Mike Schaffner – my review
- March 2007 – Susan Johnston – my review
- April 2007 – Thomas Clifford – my review
- May 2007 – Rob Frankel – my review