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July 08 Personal Branding Winner of the Month – Norman Reiss

July 31st, 2008

Norman Reiss is a non-profit professional.  Want to know how good he is?

Want to know how much he knows about and thinks about the non-profit space?

All you have to do is check out his blog.  You get a good sense of his depth (how well he knows certain topics), breadth (how many topics he knows about in this space), and professional passion.

Norman’s blog is excellent – it puts his brand out there as a subject matter expert and a though leader in the non-profit space.  His tagline is “Bridging Technology, Communications & Development to Implement ePhilanthropy Strategies for Nonprofit Organizations,” and all of his posts are so on-brand it’s awesome.  

Here are some recent posts, and my comments on how/why they really show Norman’s brand:

Seriously, Norman gets it.  I’ve been impressed for a long time, and I’m happy to give him this award!

Norman Reiss, congratulations! You join a special group of professionals and have earned a coveted link from my monthly winner’s blogroll area (on the left), six months of premium JibberJobber (you can transfer/award this to someone else), and a cyber-high five! And, a new addition to the prize list is the two hour (!!) minute recording of Blog Marketing 201 – 501 (part of the CEO Training for Me, Inc. – listed at $49.95 (but much more valuable than that!).

Feel free to post the You Get It award on your site!

Here are the past winners:

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June 08 Personal Branding Winner of the Month – Heather Gardner

June 30th, 2008

personal branding award After almost two years and 19 Personal Branding winners of the month, it’s time to shift the emphasis a little.

I started this personal branding award for two reasons.  First, it was to recognize those who are showing, or growing, their personal brand through current technologies.  Most of the recipients are (or were) bloggers.  A handful only had static websites.  A few of them extend beyond their own blog or website, and I recognize that in the post I wrote about them (see bottom of this post for the list).

The second reason I started this personal branding award was to show YOU that YOU can do this too!  It’s not just for the elite, or the early adopters of blogging or other technologies.  The strategy of developing and portraying your personal brand is a strategy that you should seriously consider.

June’s winner is one of my favorite people.  I “met” Heather Gardner on the My LinkedIn PowerForum a number of months ago.  I found her to be brash (in a good way), passionate, and anxious to help people.

Heather Gardner - Recruiter and Personal Branding award winnerSo how am I shifting emphasis?  I’m not going to talk about her blog.  And I don’t think she has a static website.  Even so, she is doing an excellent job sharing her brand all over the place.  I can sum it up in one word… Heather is:


engaged.

Of course, she’s married with kids, but she is very engaged in discussions online.  She is active enough in various places that many people know who she is, what she does, and what value she brings. It’s not her full-time job, so she can’t do it 8 hours a day.  Nonetheless, she’s out there.  Here are some things she’s involved in:

My LinkedIn Power Forum – Heather is quick to share, ask, give advice, participate and encourage.  Many people have benefited from her involvement there, and I’m sure she has branded herself as a very helpful, knowledgeable and resourceful recruiter (and employment expert).

Recruiting Blogs Ning network for recruiters – Very active here, sharing with and learning from her peers.  When I created my I Just Got Fired slideshow done she asked if I was going to put it on RecruitingBlogs.com, which is something I hadn’t thought of.  It showed me that it is on her mind, and she’s involved there, and guess what… there are over 9,000 recruiters on that little social network!  Powerful, and a great place to be involved.

Twitter – some think Twitter is bunk, and others like it when it isn’t down (which is too often).  Nonetheless, it’s an amazing place to develop relationships, learn about other people, and share “who you are” with your followers.  Of course, Heather is there, active, with hundreds of people following her.

LinkedIn – of course she’s on LinkedIn.  She’s not just there – she is engaged.  She has asked three questions and answered 12. How many have you asked or answered??

Blog – Yep, she has a blog, too.  I find her style and perspective to be quite insightful and engaging.  And with titles like Honey does this blog make my “BUT” look big? and “I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours” Promiscuous Web 2.0, how could you not be interested?

She’s elsewhere, like Facebook.  I’m sure she’ll be other places, too.  But the point of this post, and the reason I’m recognizing her, is because it’s the next natural step to what I’ve recognized over the last almost two years of this personal branding award: being engaged.

Heather is definitely engaged.  And the relationships she’s building will benefit her for many years to come.

Heather Gardner, congratulations! You join a special group of professionals and have earned a coveted link from my monthly winner’s blogroll area (on the left), six months of premium JibberJobber (you can transfer/award this to someone else :) ), and a cyber-high five! And, a new addition to the prize list is the two hour (!!) minute recording of Blog Marketing 201 – 501 (part of the CEO Training for Me, Inc. – listed at $49.95 (but much more valuable than that!).

Feel free to post the You Get It award on your site!

Here are the past winners:

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May 08 Personal Branding Winner of the Month – Morty Schiller

May 30th, 2008

Congrats to wordsmith Morty Schiller for using online technology to enhance his personal brand and position himself in a way he can become more “findable!”

Morty is a professional writer. In fact, he writes junk mail. Lest you think that is bad, or he is evil, I point you to his Confessions of a Junk Mail Junkie article. This is a guy who understands his business, and the perception thereof, and is not afraid to address the perception.

Morty Schiller’s brand comes across as someone who is competent. And passionate about what he does. And credible. And if I had something that could benefit from a direct mail strategy, I would be compelled to talk with Morty.

Again, not that there aren’t other experts in the space… but Morty’s websites (the main site and his blog) help me (a) find him and (b) trust him. Here’s what I like:

The personality… and sense of humor. As you read through his stuff, he is simply a likeable guy… non-threatening, approachable, etc. This is not a cold, clinical sales pitch… you can actually feel like you know Morty.

The competency. Check out his blog posts… these are smart. They are on-brand… related to wordsmith stuff. For example, Don’t use these words and The death of words are two posts that let me feel his passion for his trade, and help me know that he deeply thinks and cares about current issues in his area. It makes me think subject matter expert, and/or though leader.

The simplicity. There isn’t noise here… no google ads, no widgets, etc. Well, a little noise on the right side of the blog, but really, it’s quite clean and not distracting.

Personal branding winner of the monthSomehow, Morty puts his brand very assertively without being pushy… and that, he’s branding himself in a role that some might find unappealing! It’s very, very cool.

Of course, he’s doing a lot of other things right, too… you can see past winners and see a lot of consistency with each winner.

Morty Schiller, congratulations! You join a special group of professionals and have earned a coveted link from my monthly winner’s blogroll area (on the left), six months of premium JibberJobber (you can transfer/award this to someone else :) ), and a cyber-high five! And, a new addition to the prize list is the two hour (!!) minute recording of Blog Marketing 201 – 501 (part of the CEO Training for Me, Inc. – listed at $49.95 (but much more valuable than that!).

Feel free to post the You Get It award on your site!

Here are the past winners:

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February 08 Personal Branding Prize Goes To John Halamka – Healthcare CIO Blogger

February 29th, 2008

A bit of history about this You Get It Personal Branding Award. I started this in September, 2006. This is my 18th month doing it, where I recognize professionals who are using online technologies to “portray their personal brand.”

What does that mean? I am looking for people who are doing an excellent job showing me (as a hiring manager or recruiter, partner, customer, vendor, employee, etc.) what their professional breadth and depth is, and what their passions and opinions are.

If I end up with your resume, and it sits on my desk with four others, they are all probably going to look pretty much the same (to some degree). I’ll know you are all smart, achievers, volunteers, accomplished, etc. By this point in my process, all five resumes look like commodities (or, they make you look like a commodity). If I can go to your professional blog (not your personal/cheerio blog) and get to know your breadth, depth, passions, etc., I’m going to get sucked in. Are you smart? Do you think about things in a way that will add value to my company? Are you abrasive? Have you build a following, or are you becoming a thought-leader/SME in the space? All of these things are going to come out better in your blog than in an interview or a resume (not a replacement, but a strong complement).

At the bottom of this post you can see the others that I have awarded over the last 1.5 years. It’s been an exciting run, and I know the award winners have benefited from their excellent online presence. Now, let’s get to John Halamka!

You Get It personal brand awardI came across John Halamka’s blog from a simple Google search. I think I was looking for CIO blogger, or something like that. John’s blog stood out, significantly, beyond the others that came up. Here’s what I like:

  1. His content is king for the reader. John’s content is amazing, it’s so right-on. If I was an IT person in the healthcare space this would be required reading. If I were a CIO (or an aspiring CIO) this would be required reading. He’s really able to hit both the industry and the profession in a way that doesn’t exclude one another.
  2. The content is great for Google. I’m not sure John did this on purpose, but his posts have enough industry/profession specific terminology (aka, jargon) that he should come up for a number of terms that other IT, CIO or executives should be searching for. His vendors will probably come up in top search results based on his blog. I tell people to make sure their LinkedIn profile has all the right jargon to come up in searches – John’s blog is an excellent example of this.
  3. The blog is clean. This is very uncluttered, leaving the content for the readers. I applaud John for not putting all kinds of widgetry on his blog, which usually does nothing but distract the reader.
  4. The URL is good (enough). I am a big fan of getting your own URL, but I’d say his is fine. “Geek Doctor”… has a ring to it. And it is descriptive. I have to admit, I do like the main header on his blog: Life as a Healthcare CIO, instead of putting GeekDoctor there, also.
  5. I LOVE the header and personal descriptions. They are well-written, informative, and authoritative. Very good job.

That’s it! I don’t want to overwhelm you, and make you think that YOU can’t do this. Like John, YOU are a Subject Matter Expert in your space, aren’t you? You can do this!Let me share just a few things that I’d recommend John do. Even if he doesn’t do this (I’m sure he’s busy, as the CIO and all that ;)) he’ll still have a great blog. But here’s what I suggest:

  • Get off of blogger. I wouldn’t recommend blogger to anyone, at least John chose the white background (instead of the gray one). The main reason to get off of blogger is because they could delete his blog. I favor getting the blog software from wordpress.org and putting it on your own server – then you get all the control you want.
  • Add to the blogroll. John is not the only CIO blogger out there. He can really extend his virtual relationships to other healthcare professionals, and other CxO’s if he were to look for and link to some of them. Not sure if that’s a goal, but hey, it never hurts to strengthen your online brand and network, right?

John Halamka - CIO bloggerJohn Halamka, congratulations! You join a special group of professionals and have earned a coveted link from my monthly winner’s blogroll area (on the left), six months of premium JibberJobber (you can transfer/award this to someone else :) ), and a cyber-high five! And, a new addition to the prize list is the 90 minute recording of Blog Marketing 201 – 501 (part of the CEO Training for Me, Inc. – listed at $49.95 (but much more valuable than that!).

Feel free to post the You Get It award on your site!

Here are the past winners:

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January 08 You Get It Winner: Kate Herrick

January 31st, 2008

Kate Herrick - January 2008 You Get It winner of the month, personal branding awardpersonal branding award - Kate HerrickI’ve blogged about Kate Herrick before, and I’ve blogged a bunch of time about her husband’s stuff, Scot Herrick (create of CubeRules).

I have a list of people in the queue to consider for the You Get It awards, and Kate has been in there for about a month, but last night I got Scot’s monthly e-mail and it had some stuff in there that sealed the deal:

Interestingly, the last four interviews have been for positions she has not applied for; rather, recruiters actually recruiting her for positions from her resume on a few job boards and her web site at http://kateherrick.com. It is very unusual in today’s market to have your own career web site and the proof is in the pudding with recruiters calling wanting to find out about this person who has her own site.

The idea behind having a brand online is to get results, right? Kate had four interviews because of her website? Recruiters are knocking on her door?? Geesh, I had none of this in my job search. I’m not sure I even interviewed at four companies total!

I’ll do a quick run-down of my thoughts and observations, from a technical/design/content perspective. But I want to start 2008 off right, and recognize Kate’s efforts for the RESULTS! Here are miscellaneous thoughts on what went into getting this far:

  1. Kate Herrick - personal branding award winner - menuNO LONG TERM COMMITMENT. Kate is NOT a blogger, at least, this site doesn’t have the long-term commitment that a blog has. I like bloggers, and think it’s a great tool, but Kate is getting the results without a blog. I bet YOU could put something together like this for yourself in a few hours.
  2. KateHerrick.com. She owns her own domain name. Do you?
  3. The Menu is all signal, no noise. Check out the image on the right – this is all the navigation that she gives. You can spend all of 10 minutes on her website, if you have that much time, and get a good idea what she has to offer.
  4. Her writing is personal, familiar, comfortable. When you are done reading her profile, and the information about her accomplishments, you walk away feeling that she is a very nice person, but also extremely professionally competent.
  5. Her profile pictures reinforce her tone and message. She has two different profile pictures, both of them reinforce my impression that she’s a very nice person. Even so, her professionalism jumps out at me, as she has the right information (jargon, etc.) on her website.
  6. Her message and strengths are front-and-center. Want to know what she brings to your organization? It’s right on the front page, spelled out pretty clear. Here are two images showing that:

Kate Herrick is a communicator, reducing cost, reducing frustration
and

Kate Herrick saves you time, money and frustration.

Again, it’s about results. And Kate is getting them.

Kate Herrick, congratulations! You join a special group of professionals and have earned a coveted link from my monthly winner’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 site!

Here are the past winners:

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Winner of the Month – Andy Shaindlin – You Get It!

December 28th, 2007

Personal branding award goes to Andy Shaindlin at Alumni Futures!Let’s wrap the year up with an excellent example of a professional who is a Subject Matter Expert (SME) and Thought Leader in his space.

Andy Shaindlin, Alumni FuturesAndy Shaindlin is the Executive Director of the Caltech Alumni Association at the California Institute of Technology, a role he’s had since 1999. He has been at Brown University, and the University of Michigan, and has been very active in the alumni space. Is he the smartest, most active alumni professional out there? Probably not (I only say that because there are a lot of very smart, very active alumni professionals). But his blog, Alumni Futures, sure makes him look like he is one of the smartest, most active.

Andy’s blog helps shape him as the SME. He’s clearly a thought leader.

It reminds me of something I heard Phil Windley say last year in a presentation about blogging (major paraphrase here):

I’m the same person as I was a few years ago, before I started blogging. Only now, I get paid to speak at events, present, keynote. I have the same ideas and opinions, but now I’m perceived as a SME.

See, that’s the thing. You may be a SME, but are you perceived as an SME in your industry? Check out Andy’s blog as an excellent example of how to develop that perception, that brand, even the personal brand! My comments about his blog:

Relevant Information – Andy is definitely not a “cheerios for breakfast” blogger – he brings relevant information to the alumni director’s attention. Alumni directors are extremely overworked (I used to sell software to them and was always amazed at how many hats they have to wear), so the last thing they have time to do is read a bunch of blogs. Andy keeps it short and relevant.

Job Postings – I almost put it with relevant information but decided to break it out – when he learns of a job posting he puts it on his blog. Why is this important? Because some (most?) alumni directors are on a contract, usually pretty short, and knowing who’s hiring is always a topic of interest.

Guest blogger(s) – okay, he’s only had one guest blogger, but it was an excellent post, and the fact that the guest was from Princeton adds credibility to the blog. I’d like to see more guest bloggers on Andy’s blog in the future, I think it adds great perspective and each blogger is like a vote of confidence in the overall blog.

The layout – it’s simple and nice… nothing special but it’s clean and not distracting from THE MESSAGE

Links out – Andy is the master of linking out (I recommend linking to more BLOGS and BLOG POSTS), which is great for page rank, but more important, it adds more value to readers

Additional information – Andy hit the mark with his Additional Information section, including information about himself (and his CV (resume)), consulting services, recent presentations (shows he is a thought leader in other places, aside from his blog), and upcoming presentations (means he’s still an active thought leader)

Other useful sites – bloggers can’t horde, they have to share. And we share information. Don’t like what I write? Here are alternatives! Andy does a great job putting important resources together (he doesn’t share hundreds, which is overwhelming, he shares his favorites)

Bottom line? This blog is doable … you can do it, you should do it, and Andy’s blog is the perfect model, and I know you can mimic some of this stuff!

Andy Shaindlin, congratulations! You join a special group of professionals and have earned a coveted link from my monthly winner’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 site!

Here are the past winners:

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You Get It Winner of the Month – Sean O’Donnovan

November 30th, 2007

Personal Branding award - You Get It!!This month’s Personal Branding You Get It winner of the month award goes to Sean O’Donnovan.

And for the second time in the history of this award, you’ll notice it’s a non-blogger.

The purpose of this award is to showcase examples with you so that you can start to take control of your own personal brand online. I know many of you are intimidated and don’t want to blog, and think that many of my past winners are doing way more than you can commit to.

Sean’s website is an example that you can and should do certain things to own your personal brand in search results. In fact, when I searched for Sean O’Donovan (even without quotes) his page was third (only following a .gov city website and the imdb website, which Google loves):

Sean O'Donovan is third in google results

Here’s what I like about Sean O’Donovan’s website, which I think portrays who he is nicely:

Sean owns his name – can I stress this enough? It’s huge for branding, makes you look more professional (and serious), and search engines love it!

Sean O'Donovan at seanodonovan.com

Sean O'Donovan - image and endorsementSean has his picture (which looks nice and professional) and a rotating quote from someone on every page of his website – see image at right –>

Sean has all of the stuff I’d expect to see on a resume, and he took advantage of the formatting you can get online (colors, bolds, etc.). Not rocket science, and even expected, but he’s doing it right, and that’s good.

The header for Sean, a senior executive, is simple yet powerful, with a quote that exemplifies what he brings to the position:

Sean O'Donovan is capable

Do you have any testimonials about You, Inc? Sean does! I suggest you harvest these – get genuine, specific testimonials from people that carry some weight (which is usually because of the company they work for or their title). You can even get them from your LinkedIn profile and put them on your personal website. Check out the first testimonial from Sean:

Sean O'Donovan is a swell guy - check out his testimonials

Sean has been in the press. Have you? He hadn’t before, but check out what he writes:

While in career transition in late 2006, I successfully pitched the Globe and Mail, Canada’s national newspaper to write a weekly column. Entitled “Diary of a Job Hunter”, the column ran for 10 weeks and tracked the ups and downs of an executive job search.

I think this is great, of course, the best part is his very last column, where he lands the job:

Sean O'Donovan lands the job!

Finally, he makes it easy to contact him with a “Contact” page, and he puts a link to his LinkedIn profile, which is very well-done.

View Sean O'Donovan's LinkedIn profile

Sean O’Donovan, congratulations! You join a special group of professionals and have earned a coveted link from my monthly winner’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 site!

Here are the past winners:

Special kudos to Paul Copcutt, of Square Peg Solution, who worked with Sean on this project, and helped him through the 360 review process (more on that later).

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Tanya Ferrell — YOU GET IT!!!

October 30th, 2007

Personal Branding award - You Get It Tanya FerrellI recently got an e-mail from Tanya Ferrell, sharing a Branding Periodic Table (if you are a branding geek you’ll really like it!). As usual, I Googled Tanya’s name and was more than pleasantly surprised at what I found. Here was someone that practically owned the first page of Google for her name. Here’s what I like:

  • Her Google results are pretty darn good – if I’m a hiring manager or recruiter I don’t have to go far. I can learn that she’s “a senior at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh majoring in Advertising” (as of Sept 2007).
  • There’s a Tanya Ferrell mentioned in a Milwaukee newspaper article from 2002… I’m not sure if this is her but it does reinforce her position as someone who is quite tech/internet savvy, and if it is her, I’m going to be impressed that she was mentioned in the article as an organizer of a leading edge website for the community. (a) – she’s been in this tech space for a while, and (b) I wasn’t mentioned in the newspaper when I was 15! If nothing else it gives me something to talk with her about… a starting point for our relationship (or something interesting to talk about in our interview).
  • She also has a profile on Digg and Mashable, which help her claim two spots on her first page of Google results. Shows she is active in the social space and contributes as a voter, etc. to these types of forums. I wouldn’t expect any less from someone from GenY but it’s nice to see it here.
  • Her blog. Of course.

Notice that only ONE person has won this award without having a blog? For me it’s huge, and Tanya’s blog is excellent. Here’s why:

  • She owns her nameTanyaFerrell.com. When you go there it goes straight to her blog, which means easy maintenance. Do you own your name? It’s easy and inexpensive!
  • Her title totally makes sense for her brand – “Common Sense: Internet Marketing Made Simple” considering she is at an art school, and she’s doing an internship in internet marketing, I think this is an excellent title/theme for her blog. She’s obviously passionate about the subject, can back it up with what she learns at work, and has a creative brain… three major positives, as far as I’m concerned.
  • Her “About” section is concise and complete, and has her e-mail address right there. Easy to figure out who she is and how to get in touch with her, without having to go to another page to read a novel about how great she is.
  • The topics she writes about solidifies what her passion and specialty are. She gives me a genY perspective on interstitial ads (I NEVER would have expected to read this from anyone, much less someone from GenY – I wonder if it’s just because she is in advertising?). She talks about the frustration of all the social sites, and how to manage all the login/account information (I am social networked out, it’s good to hear her perspective on this simple issue). Her post on Applicable Web Analytics shows me that she thinks outside the normal boundaries, I love the end where she says she’s going back to her professor to bring them relevant, current information for the course (as opposed to just accepting what they say as truth)!
  • There’s a lot more … similar to previous winners. I think her template is fine, she makes excellent use of images (graphs!) and video, her tone is very authentic and real – it’s simple yet authoritative and knowledgeable and comfortable.

I feel sorry for people that she is going to interview against, especially if the hiring managers do a Google search. Tanya has a big online footprint in a lot of places, her blog is relevant to her profession, and she is building a long history. This is a terrific complement to her statement “I love marketing in all its forms. I love it so much, I’m currently working at my 4th internship.” Hello… her fourth internship. She’s going to land an excellent gig after she graduates!

So, something new, here are my critiques:

  • I really like the custom picture instead of the standard heading, but I would make it smaller – I think it takes up too much vertical space. Choose something that moves the other content in the first column up higher, above “the fold.”
  • I would like to see a “recent comments” section in the first column… it shows me which posts are creating buzz, and I’m guessing it will help generate more comments/discussion.
  • I’m not really big on tag clouds, so if you want it, move it down. Just my opinion :)
  • The Me on the Internet section is actually pretty interesting. I definitely wouldn’t suggest it for everyone (for example, YGI winners Mike Schaffner and Kent Blumberg) … only for those that have an active presence out there. My only beef with this section is that it is BIG – it takes up a lot of space!
  • I previously said the template is “fine.” I think that Tanya should spend some time looking for a different template (understanding that this isn’t her first template – as a blogger we all go through this :)). I do like the font, and colors of the links for each blog post, and the date format… stuff like that…
  • Here’s my biggest critique, non-blog related. This is a really controversial topic, so take it for what it’s worth. I do not like the image that she chose for her Digg and Mashable profiles. This is absolutely not a moral preaching, or anything like that. I’ve seen this fester up on various blogs, and my position is to have a cleaner image. Since this is something that she might change, I’m not even going to go there, you can click on her Digg and Mashable images to see what it is now (perhaps it will change), or you can read my abbreviated position on this Penelope Trunk post (in the comments), written by guest blogger (and now business partner) Jason Warner, aka the Google Guy.

Tanya Ferrell - You Get It winner for October 2007Congratulations Tanya! – You join a special group of professionals and have earned a coveted link from my monthly winner’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:

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July You Get It Winner: Katie Konrath

July 24th, 2007

You Get It Personal Branding awardThis month the prestigious You Get It award goes to Katie Konrath, author of the Get Fresh Minds blog! I’ve been watching Katie for a little while now and each time she pops up I’m really impressed with what I see. I’ve even introduced you to her formally… so you should be familiar with her. Here are some things that I LOVE on/about her blog:

  • Katie’s blog is about innovation and creativity, right? Her title/subtitle make it very clear, and her category names totally reinforce it. You can tell that everything she writes is aligned with the ideas/creativity/innovation track.
  • In just 3 months of blogging she has somehow managed to find a bunch of people that read and comment on her blog. Check out her “recent comments” section (on the left) and you’ll see that most comments are made on different posts by different people – this is NOT easy to do, but her content is so fresh and rich that she generates excellent discussion!
  • I like how she renamed “Blogroll” to “Fresh Blogs,” which is aligned with her brand (or, her blog title)… this reinforcement is icing on the cake.
  • Katie has a nice, easy, engaging style of writing. It doesn’t hurt my simple mind to read it and follow what she’s talking about. Including videos helps me, as a reader, get her message more and gives me more of an emotional attachment (I’ll never forget that she is studying German. Why? Because I saw this hilarious video that she put into a post about how hard it is to learn foreign languages).
  • Aside from her style, she breaks up the reading with font, bullets, pictures, etc. She is making it easy for ME to read — critical!
  • Katie does good blog marketing. She has left comments here and on some other blogs that I frequent. Does it work? Heck ya, she has been blogged about (or, her posts have spawned new posts on someone else’s blog) and she got on my radar. It’s a tactic to get your blog out there, and she does it really well.

Katie Konrath - innovation, creativity, fresh ideasKatie has done an excellent job in just a few months. I’m looking forward to more great ideas (make that, fresh ideas!), and watching her personal brand online grow!

Congratulations Katie! – You join a special group of professionals and have earned a coveted link from my monthly winner’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:

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June You Get It Winner: Trent Hamm !!!

June 30th, 2007

Congrats Trent HammI 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 Hamm - financial guru and The Simple Dollar mastermindTrent 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 Simple Dollar Logo

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.

over 13,000 readers!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 winner’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:

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