Creative Commons image “Jump!” by danorbit.
Personal branding has been a hot topic lately. In the global village of the SEO industry some respected villagers moved repeatedly from company to company to own company. I linked the most prominent one.
Even as a geographical outsider who rarely appears on industry events I still recognize most of the “must know” SEO bloggers and experts by name rather than by company. Of course I know some companies too but I’m more inclined to remember a blog name than a company name. So I remember foremost a person by name, then a blog name and then a company name.
Todd Mintz kicked off the discussion about personal branding pointing out that you really depend on it in the SEO industry as sheer brand names don’t mean much here. In fact I can’t really remember the companies and ventures Todd Mintz himself is involved in by heart. I always have to look them up as they consist of cryptic acronyms.
With the recent mass layoffs at Google, 1/3+ of Google employees had been fired or left, this is a bigger issue. Yahoo! has laid off as well, even earlier. So this is an issue of the whole search industry.
A few days ago Phillip Lenssen of Google Blogoscoped (disclosure: I am not-so-frequent guest writer at his blog) mentioned that one of the better known Googlers, Niniane Wang has left the company already a few months ago. On the other hand most fired Google employees were unknown “permanent temps”. What ugly Orwellian oxymoron!
These poor folks can’t even celebrate pink slip parties as they have been forbidden to talk about that. They have no names, no faces, no personal brand whatsoever. They are just “losers you have to starve” as a Google spokesman has put it. They have only 3 big search companies to work for and some obscure startups that are most probably struggling right now as well or even more. So most of them won’t risk speaking out in public not to diminish their chances of getting a new employment.
Search marketers have quite a choice in contrast. They have hundreds of companies to choose from and the demand is still so high that they won’t look for too long. SEO, search marketing and social media marketing is booming all over the place despite or due to the economic crisis while people turn to marketing alternatives that are more reliable, measurable and convertible. Ever tried to measure TV, radio or newspaper ad ROI?
SEO blogging reaches beyond direct ROI. As a blogger you can elevate your personal brand without even being in the US or UK where the leaders of the global search marketing industry reside. There are leaders in France, Germany or Italy too but those can’t rise beyond local importance without huge or lots of international clients unless they engage in English language publishing. Even with huge or hundreds of international clients nobody will know them unless they talk about it, on their blog.
Global SEO Citizens
Who will talk on their blog? On anonymous PR department? I sense FAIL. No, if they’re smart enough to use a blog for more than “SEO spam” they will let real people blog. Not just anybody but natural born writers, people who love to write and write accordingly. Recently some search marketing companies and publications realized that it works that way and stepped up their blogging ventures by getting the writers and/or bloggers there are. Surprise, surprise those writers aren’t all in the US/UK. Like myself they are spread all over the planet, be it in Russia, Australia, South Africa or throughout Europe. In fact not space is the last frontier, cyberspace is.
By blogging and creating a personal brand while at it you can sidestep the long and tedious and geographically bound career ladder. The SEO industry is a young one anyways. It reminds me of the Wild West quite frequently. So to fulfill the American Dream,
“a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.”
you don’t need a green card anymore. You can address people in the US/UK and across the globe if your English is good enough. If you display your SEO skills well enough and offer value on an ongoing basis people will follow, respect and trust you.