Journalists need to self-brand themselves

Time for short-takes: interesting posts from my travels around the blogosphere.

Branding yourself: No, I’m not talking cattle branding here. I’m talking about branding yourself as a journalist, as in getting your name out there. Journalists today need to market themselves. People need to be able to find your name, your blog, your Linked-In profile as they assess whether to talk to you, hire your, write about you. The goal, I think, is that when you Google your own name, you come up as the first listing. Try it. Type your own name into Google, and see what comes up. If it’s you, great; if it’s not, you need to focus more on branding. Mindy McAdams has a thorough list of why you need to self-brand, and she also pulls together what other bloggers have said on the topic. Alfred Hermida, writing at MediaShift, explains the why of the personal brand, including a suggestion that you buy your own name as a domain. Now. (You can check if your name is already taken here.) Both posts are really worth reading.

Start commenting already: One of the best ways to let people in your topic niche know about your blog is to comment on their blogs. Bloggers will often check out the blogs of people who comment on their blogs, and then, voila, they may keep coming back if they like what they see. This is particularly true of blogs that don’t get tons of traffic. (The A-listers get so many comments they likely don’t have time to check out every site, but that doesn’t mean other readers on their sites won’t check out your blog if you comment on an A-list blog.)

Blogging is virtual networking — you must connected to feel connected. Linkers Blog offers a simple step-by-step on how to get commenting. By the way, I know it’s hard to find the time to do this. I struggle with that as well. My best advice: Set up a time each week — even just 30 minutes — to comment on other blogs you read. Make comments relevant, and say something. (No, “Good post, dude.”)

Plus, as Yan Susanto points out at Thou Shall Blog, some blogs are set up so that when you comment, you get an automatic link back to your site. That helps increase the inbound links to your blog, which boosts your relevance in Google’s search algorithm. And that elevates your chances of coming up higher in a search.

The Frustrated Journalist: A few weeks ago, I came upon a new blog, The Frustrated Journalist. I just loved the name, as there is sure a lot to be frustrated about related to journalism these days. It appears the unidentified blogger was looking for a forum for a group vent on the state of this industry we love. While I’m usually opposed to anonymous journo blogs, I’d make an exception in this case, as I’d hate to see the frustrated journalist turn into the frustrated and unemployed journalist.

The debut post bemoans the lack of innovation going on in some corners of the journalism world today. The second was called open mic and solicited observations from others. Then, that was it. I fear frustrated journalist has become even more frustrated with the lack of response from the blogosphere, so check out the blog and give him or her some input. We can all use some group therapy once in a while. (And frustrated journalist, keep writing!)


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8 thoughts on “Journalists need to self-brand themselves

  1. Thanks for the great post, Gina. When I started journalism, it was common to link your name/reputation to the brand of your radio station/tv/newspaper. We have to go beyond that today.

  2. Good advice, and great links. I only wish that my name was a little less common so I had a chance to grab a namesake domain.

    You’d think that news organizations would be interested in getting journalists to work on their brands; that sort of thing would benefit the news outlet as much as the journalist.

  3. I’m really glad you talked about personal branding for journalists. Seems like a no brainer to me, but I often run into journalists who either don’t think about this very much or are pretty uncomfortable with the idea.

    Ex-New Yorker writer Dan Baum’s Twitter exercise made me think a lot about this and inspired my post on Personal Branding Blog –

  4. Thanks, all.

    Jaclyn, thanks for sharing your post.

    Michael … yes if you have a common name as you do, it is harder to self-brand. I was very proud the day I came up higher in a Google search over Gina H.Chen, who is apparently a medical doctor.

  5. As you have stated above, branding is important to make you stand among the rest; commenting is an excellent strategy and I’m employing it on my blog.

    Although the prospect of SEO is enticing, I think it’s losing its touch. Quality speaks for itself. :-)

  6. I am just a young journalism from Colombia trying to understand the new media development.

    Unfortunately, there are a bunch of journalists in my country who don’t find the real value of this evolution. This situation reflects itself in an old-styled journalism tendency in the majority of the journalism schools.

    I finished my college less than four years ago. I didn’t receive any clue about this whole reality. Even now, some colleges are not teaching anything realed to digital media.

    I really enjoy your blog. Everyday I find new tips from your archive and your updates…

    Continue blogging!!!!


  7. Walter,

    Agree with you that without good content, SEO does every little.


    Glad you enjoy the blog. I love writing it!

    You’re right that far too many universities/colleges aren’t preaching the new journalism enough or at all. I’m in a Ph.D. program right now with plans to teach communications, and I hope to be a voice of change in that regard. Universities should be ahead!

    Glad you find the blog useful.



  8. What role will academia play in the realization of the journalist/social media relationship? As more and more journalism and communications programs embrace social media tools and networks, the maturation that you discuss will eliminate the confusion that Ben mentioned above.
    Thanks for links — reading them now.

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