Blogging Tip: How To Build Your Personal Brand

by Jan Geronimo on April 7, 2009

FrustrationImage by bdgamer via Flickr

If you suppress your inner snark in your own blog in a noble attempt to be the voice of reason, calm, poise, and what-not there’s a danger this two-headed beast might surface elsewhere. This is what happened to me two days ago

First, let me start by summing up how I think I conduct myself in this blog. As your host, I strive hard to write in a friendly tone. I believe setting the right tone in your blog encourages the readers to leave helpful comments. In instances when they are critical of your views, the tone of your post generally influences readers to temper their objections with reason and fairness.

Value of Blog Commenting in Personal Branding

It’s been said too that once you go out and participate in other blogs’ discussion you strengthen or sully your personal brand the way you write your comments. I forget this great lady blogger who said this, but it was she coined this phrase: your comments are your little passports. What you dropped as comments can reinforce what you’ve carefully built as your personal brand or destroy it in a flash.

Now back to the story. You might have heard about the venerable Hongkong journalist Chip Tsao who summarily insulted the Philippines as a nation of servants in an article he passed as off as satire. Online buddy Mizdi sent me a tweet about her post tackling the slight against overseas Filipino workers.

Danger: Tangent Ahead

I was passing my time in Twitter during that time, building up my followers list. Which meant I was trying hard to keep up with internet marketers who followed me. In real life, these are people who knock on your door and try to sell you something. In real life, of course you can slam the door in their face and feel better for it. Today, they are in Twitter and other social media in full force.

They are the good guys now, doing their legwork in the internet. Usually, they have dollar signs as user names so you will not miss the message. They are dying to make you filthy rich. You only have to watch this video, or read that sales pitch in their blogs. And you’re all set to help unlock the secrets in getting your first million.

And then there are internet marketers who will make you a renaissance man if you so much as let them breathe down your neck. You know the type – the ones who will make you reach your full potentiality as a human being.

This is my frame of mind when I arrived at Mizdi’s blog – excited to get my millions and almost sold on making myself a better man. And then I read Mizdi’s post on Mr. Chip Tsao’s tirades against overseas Filipino workers . Pfft goes my dream. Come to think of it, just throw in a little pompadour and I may have blossomed to be Donald Trump in a few months. I might have also achieved the stature of Steven Spielberg, but alas to an Asian brother named Chip Tsao I’m just a bloke from a long illustrious line of nannies. The Philippines is a nation of servants, he said.

Here comes Mr. Snark

Naturally, I wrote my comments on Mizdi’s post with righteous indignation and solemnly advised Mr. Tsao to stick his satire in a place where the sun never shines.

And this is not the first time. Previously, I had brandished a palapa (dried coconut frond) in the air and warned Mr. Tsao not to come within spitting distance of this blogger or else I’d flog him with it. You can find my comments against Mr. Tsao’s racist remarks in Elmot’s post on the apology issued by the Hong Kong magazine which published Mr. Tsao’s article. It had also taken down the article.

Mr. Chip Tsao had since apologized. I wish there’s a metric for this but I’d like to know which tipped the balance for this development. Is it the threat to Mr. Tsao’s pale little ass or is it the imagined whack from a lowly palapa that did the trick? I will never know, but I can live with that.

So, you see, dear Petit, I’m not exactly a nice person. I can also be snarky and can be counted upon to parade around the blogosphere with something sticking up my ass, if that’s not too gross a description for you.

Be True to Yourself

In balance, I may have soiled my little passport with my candid but unfortunate comments, but hey, read my lips: so what!

Truth to tell, however, I feel I’m just being true to myself. If there’s one thing to take away from this post it is to embrace your authentic self. I have vague feelings about this, but since discovering Terry Heath I have since felt braver in being foolish. Terry says:

Embrace all the varied and wonderful things that make you unique and unleash that on the world, even if you feel foolish. Your right people will find you if you’re not hiding behind something else, something that isn’t really you. Then sit back and don’t worry about what will come; the right things will come along with the right people. Just let your creative spirit go skipping down the halls, if that’s what it needs to do.

This will serve me well in my writing and blog commenting. Conventional wisdom has it I put my best foot forward. Up to a point. To show your vulnerability as a human being is not so bad. And that includes baring your fangs when the occasion calls for it.

But since you’re here in my esteemed presence, notwithstanding my Mr. Goody Two-Shoes airs, I urge you to be your usual agreeable self. Biting each others head off here is still not allowed. Of course I can be arbitrary about this as this is my blog. If you feel much put upon and need to vent please go satisfy your blood lust in some dark alley, okay?

Now, over to you, guys. Two questions for you: How do strengthen your personal brand? And how do you rein in your inner snark to keep your online reputation intact?

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  • jan
    Ah, Roy. The gentleman blogger. Do you know what somebody called him names recently. Very bad name calling. And he did not lose his cool. That's Roy. If it happened to me - well, I will hit back hard fast and quick. Well, may be not. I'm not that yet well known to be taken down by trolls anyway. 8-)
  • elmot
    now, roy is making his trademark here. ehehhe! that is the roy's way.which i think i share the same line of thinking. hit or run...or you can do both...hit and run!

    Recent blog post: The Grand Engagament of Romance and Politics
  • Jan
    @Mizdi: You said, "I have seen you as a responsible writer which is very good, but you don't need to be too cautious.. if it will suppress your inner self thereby depriving you of real happiness and freedom of expression.... don't let others define you.. define yourself .. you are real.. you are a human.. you aren't Tupperware."

    Cool. Well said, Mizdi. Hays,there goes my anxiety out the window. Thank you. :)

    @Dee: Thanks. I have no difficulty expressing contrary views in respectful language, Dee. It's those rare moments when confronted with crap masquerading as good content that gets me occasionally. Perhaps I should practice counting up to 77 more often? lol.
  • fifi
    hala ka jan, biglang nalagot kay mizdi! lol. would have made a comment to correct your honest oversight but found out that mizdi discovered it herself at the bottom of the comments.

    @mizdi: are you sure you don't want the marching band? jan may have paid for it already. sayang naman. *grin*
  • Jan
    @diTesco: Oh, let me assure you those schools did not have a hand in shaping what I am today. I can almost hear their collective sigh of relief with this statement. lol.

    I'm a product of public schools from Grade 1 to college. State university specifically. But I occasionally pass by Ateneo to buy sweet corn. I wonder if it's still there though. lol.

    @Terry: I love how you put it: "work into the fiber of your own thoughts and the combination creates synergy."

    I was praying the transplantation to be a success. Thanks for finding that it creates a synergy. I'm quite relieved. Thanks.
  • Terry Heath
    I sound so much smarter when people quote me. Maybe I need social proof before I start believing myself!

    Really, I think what happens is someone takes part of what we say and makes it relevant. They work it into the fiber of their own thoughts and the combination creates synergy.

    Thanks for turning my quote into something meaningful.
  • ditesco
    Hello Jan. Yep, I am made in the Philippines alright. Born in Manila (Lepanto) and did my grade school in San Beda College (hope you are not from Ateneu or San Sebastian or Mapua, hehehe). Then I left for Brazil and now live in Portugal.

    And yes, I did notice your Tweets and comments and recommendations. I am grateful that I am worth being recommended by you. Maraming Salamat
  • Dee
    Good for you, Jan. It's always good to be true to ourselves. As long as we are respectful in our comments, we can always disagree with another blogger's opinion. It wouldn't be good to just keep on parroting other's opinion because it would then question our credibility. :D
  • mizdi
    oh my friend,

    Actually you don't even have to explain yourself why you had an "angry" tone on that comment. If you wrote this post because you felt u had to (otherwise ur online reputation is at stake), ..4get it.. it doesn't hold water.

    Part of being a real person is being "touched" by something not human at all.. a song, a poem, a movie, a book, a write-up, my blogpost (ehem..) and reacting to it doesn't in any way lessen your personality branding as you call it.

    I have seen you as a responsible writer which is very good, but you don't need to be too cautious.. if it will surpress your innerself thereby depriving you of real happiness and freedom of expression.... don't let others define you.. define yourself .. you are real.. you are a human.. you aren't Tupperware.

    Be earnest. Do and say whatever you feel in your heart to be right, you'll be criticized anyway.. or be loved the other way... Its because nobody can be everybody's somebody... if you are facing east, you have to turn your back on the west. What i am really saying is..

    just be yourself. If people love you for what you are.. what could be better than that..

    if they hate you.. don't give damn....

    life is too short to think of others who thinks "what is he thinking?".
  • Jan
    @diTesco: I thought you were Portuguese or Spanish, diTesco. Now, I'm even more proud knowing you're a Filipino. I don't know if you notice, but I keep recommending my other readers to visit your blog to learn about SEO and blog monetization. I like that you're several steps ahead of other bloggers who write about meta blogging.

    @fifi: Good point there. I'd rather be known as that bloke who leave meaningful comments rather than one who fosters forced congeniality. And I'm all about world peace, too. lol
  • fifi
    you don't have to edit yourself so as to please the bloggers whose site you visit and become the most sought after blogger/blog commentator yourself. afterall, you are not after being crowned as online mr. congeniality, are you? being genuine and tactful help, should there be some points to raise. strengthening one's personal brand may come from consistency too both in the topics one discusses or stance one maintains on certain issues.
  • ditesco
    I will have to agree with @lemuel. In addition, I am convinced that managing a good blog, leaving meaningful comments, socializing and above all, respecting others, are good ingredients to start and build a good online rep.

    BTW, Jan - I am Filipino and darn proud. I worked for big companies such as AIG, and I remember a Senior VP saying once, that one of the best "Finance" people he has met were Filipinos. At that time the AIG SVP for foreign Investments was a Filipino and left some three years ago (if I am not mistaken). This is probably one of the reasons why AIG is now where it stands. It lost its Filipino "Senior Vice President Servants":)
  • Jan
    @lemuel: Being positive, keeping it clean and above board - that's a good start in building a good online rep...Now, there's something more other than Pacquiao the Filipinos care to be one as a people. Frankly, there are lots more. Let's see. Balut? lol

    @Roy: You always hit the ground running, Roy. I'm afraid there's no shaking you off. lol

    I have a woman friend of "certain age." She's still single till now. She says it's by choice. By the way, she's a vet. And all her male cats are neutered. lol. Wonder no more, I gleefully thought to myself.

    I'm glad taxidermy is not your strong suit. I'm quite relieved. Lol
  • Roy
    you almost lost me on the 'taxidermy' question, hehe...

    but no, that's not how I preserve them... err, I mean, that's not how they preserve their reputation
  • lemuel
    i don't know how to strengthen my personal brand. sometimes i just play on the safe side. i leave positive comments for nice blogs and do not comment on the ones i don't like. about online reputation... hmmm, never thought about it, just now, after reading your post. and good thing about that Chip Tsao jerk, Filipinos now unite in hating someone other than the president. to think he actually said he would like to visit the Philippines someday... the nerve...
  • Jan
    @Roy: It's all right, Father Roy. I love long conversations especially ones spiced with humor.

    Is taxidermy one of your sidelines? lol. Just asking for the record. hahaha.
  • Roy
    personal brand? online reputation?

    I try to be nice, at least.

    when I see a post that I don't like or I don't agree with, I have two options:

    First, I post a comment, in the most tactful and smartest way that I can. Trying to keep myself focused on the topic at hand, and not on the blogger. After all, I do believe in the golden rule.

    Second, I run away. There's no point in arguing, it's not my blog anyway. Unless I am given a 'very special' participation in the topic posted.

    Third, I blog about it. Although I seldom do that lately.

    Hmm... I've lost count again.

    Am I still on topic?

    Honestly, I'm not really aware nor conscious of my personal brand or online reputation -- until somebody gives me feedback, which may differ from one person to another. (I really don't believe in being objective)

    One thing is for sure, a frustrated commedian as I am, I would be injecting a little humor on my posts -- whether it's in my own blog or in my comments on other blogs. Sometimes they're satirical (but definitely not the Tsao's brand of satire), and sometimes it's hidden somewhere between the lines.

    But that's just me.

    Want to know how others preserve their online reputation?

    here's a cliche, to follow that statement...

    "I can tell you, but I have to kill you"

    P.S. I wish this comment box would have a word counter, so I can determine if I'm already overstaying here.
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