The MidnightDBA team (Twitter) challenged the SQL Community (and their followers) to write for “Un-SQL Friday“. This is basically a blogging party where anyone who wants can contribute blogs on a given topic. This week’s topic was on “branding”.
Well, I am not a SQL person (though, I have been dubbed an “Honorary” SQL Geek). As a teacher, branding ourselves isn’t really something we worry much about. That said, I have recently been doing a lot of research on blogging. I have read all sorts of articles on how to get more people to view my blog, how to make my writing more effective, etc. Needless to say, the UN-SQL topic was very timely. I have read ALMOST all the contributed posts, and feel compelled to write my own. I could put links here to all the blogs that inspired me, but I don’t think you really want 20 or so links.
What it all comes down to, is questions. What are your passions? What are your goals? How do you want people to see you? How can you best represent who you are without feeling like a fraud? I wrote a while back about having the courage to take control of my life and my career. I have done a lot of thinking about the previous questions since then.
1. I am passionate about children. I want to be seen as an incredible teacher that brings out the best in every child. Ok, now that that’s clarified, am I intentionally presenting myself in a way that is going to make that happen? The answer, my friends, is blowing in the wind… just kidding. Seriously though, I don’t think I always am. There are days that my energy level is not up to par with being the kind of teacher I want to be. Is that an excuse? I don’t know. I am going to be more intentional more often about being the very best teacher I can be. That’s not to say that I have been lazy, but it’s easy to fall into doing what comes easy!
2. I have recently rediscovered my passion for writing. When I was in high school, my favorite classes were writing classes (I had a teacher in 11th grade constantly tell me she couldn’t wait for my next paper because she enjoyed reading them so much). When I worked for a consulting company, I was in charge of putting together the company’s newsletter. When I was in college, I was the Editor (and main contributor) for the school’s newspaper. Now that I am teaching, I really enjoy putting together monthly newsletters…
That’s where blogging comes in. I don’t pretend to be the funniest or smartest person out there (at 1 am, I DO tend to get a little punchy)! I enjoy writing my blogs on a whole variety of topics (though many “experts” will say, stick to one topic or niche). It’s awesome to me that other people actually read what I write! Watching the numbers go up on my blog stats is thrilling! What a HUGE compliment, when other people retweet my posts!! I think my writing has matured quite a bit over the last 6 months or so because of it.
I recently realized that I would love to have articles published someday (and get paid for them). My “niche” would be parenting or teaching topics. I have begun to work towards those goals by submitting a few of my blog posts to ezine.com and Mamapedia. The articles are still in the “being reviewed” phase (since I only sent them a few days ago). What counts to me, is that I am taking steps.
3. As much as I love teaching children, I enjoy interacting with adults (I spent way too much time in chat rooms back in the day because of this). I think it would be awesome to travel on weekends doing teacher or parenting seminars. I have had so much fun traveling with Jason Strate (twitter|blog) to SQL Saturdays when he is speaking. Why not have some of those weekends away be me doing the training? I would love to excite and inspire other teachers to be better at what they do! I thrive on that kind of thing!
OK, that’s a long round about way to get to the topic of personal branding. What does any of this have to do with the topic at hand? Simple. In order to meet points 2 and 3, I need to continue working to get my name out there.
While having a “brand ” works great for some people, I want to know people’s names (and I want them to know my name)! Many of the blogs I have read, I have no way of knowing who wrote the article. It is simply signed by the “brand name” of the person (or not at all). That does me a whole lot of no good in most instances! The assumption that I must know who you are, just because I am at your blog is not true. How many of us retweet articles/posts that we find interesting? I might click on a post that someone tweeted, having NO CLUE who it’s from. I want to know who wrote the darn thing! Looking at my own blog, my name is not on the Main page either! How am I branding myself then? How is my name going to get out there if I’m not signing my posts??? That is going to change!
The point that nearly every Un-SQL Friday (even though it’s now Saturday) post has made, is that it is a good idea to be intentional about getting your name out there. Make people believe in who you are, and what you have to offer! Believe in who you are, and other people will believe in you too!
By: Sarah Sjolander (aka Dancem0m)