How to Get Noticed

I’m often asked by companies and indiividuals on what they can do to stand out. Here’s what I’ve learned… but don’t just take my word for it, add your own tips in the comments.

The problem:
There are so many brands now, in fact with the introduction of websites, and blogs in particular, many are developing personal brands, something not as easy to accomplish in past years. With this profileration of brands, it becomes so much more difficult for brand to stand out from the millions of others. Sure, you’re thinking the long tail solves this, and well yes, in a way. In reality there are leaders and followers being created in each sub-niche, so the rules of getting noticed still apply.

Have a goal
Before you do anything, think about what your objectives are. In particular for brands or personal brands, identify the keywords that you’d most want to be associated with. Try to think of keywords that people would search for, are long-term, and aren’t some made up name that no one would seek. Your goal may be association with these keywords which you’ll be gunning for. Or, if your goal is to network with others and to grow your reach, focus on how many quality relationships (perhaps defined by people that would help you and you’d help back) that you can grow. Or if your goal is to learn about a new topic and eventually master the subject material, focus on how you’ll learn by reading, then eventually writing on that topic.

Develop a unique brand
I really don’t think URLs are as important as they used to be, often folks will Google your name to find you, and the fact that we disperse to so many websites (Facebook/Twitter/Friendfeed/What’s next) is an indicator of the distributed web ruling the destination website. There are millions of blogs/companies out there, and if you’re trying to get noticed, you’re going to have to compete to stand out. Having a default blog template to your website isn’t going to be enough, you’re automatically segmenting yourself with others. Develop a unique look and feel by designing it yourself or finding someone who can help. If that’s too difficult, at least create a custom masthead image that will brand your site.

Get personal
If you want to stand out, you should add your picture to your blog, and develop a visual icon that demonstrates who you are. While not everyone shows their picture (Louis Gray comes to mind) he did develop an icon “LG” that represents his personal brand. Use this icon on all your other social media properties in a consistent manner. Also, register the same handle on other social media sites, and cross link them from your blog. Take for example Jive Software, who in a crowded space (80-100 vendors) has encouraged Sam Lawrence to develop a unique voice that he inserts –and leads– in the conversation about enterprise social software.

Attend local events
One thing I found very useful when I was trying to get noticed was attending many events. I attended 2-3 tech events every week, which was easy to do in Silicon Valley. By doing this, I was able to meet folks who were passionate about the space, were speaking at other events, and developed a network to interact with online during the day, and one I’m very active with now.

Lead events
You’ll soon start to notice a gap in the events you’re going to: a particular topic isn’t being covered, or a particular style of a topic isn’t being approached (unconference, roundtable, lecture, networking) and you can start to quickly develop your own events. I’ve seen so many do this, in particular blogger dinners, or meshwalks or barcamps.

Be interesting
Given the large number of people talking about the same thing you are online, you’re going to need to differentiate. Sure, standard business strategy but it’s amazing how few fail to do so. Many simply quote what others say, adding very little value, instead, you need to consistently be intersting. Here’s a few approaches: conduct analysis, respectively disagree with the mainstream, break news, compare and contrast services, develop lists or indexes of companies or topics. When I met Scoble in 2005, I asked them how I can be a better blogger (get links from A-listers) he told me to ‘be intersting’, I took that too heart.

Archive your achievements
As you develop your repitorie of speaking at events, leading events, or being quoted in articles or top blogs, start to create an archive that links to all these achievements. You don’t need to make it totally visible, but you’ll want to be able to share this with decision makers (next job, speaker selector, media, recruiters) to indicate on one page how you stand out.

I’ve so many other tips on how to get noticed, but I’m going to leave this an open discussion in the comments, leave examples and tips for others on how to best get noticed.

  • http://n-hero.blogspot.com Anh Hung

    Thank you very much for this great post. I’m starting to blog on E-learning 2.0 to promote my program and so far is trying to get as noticed as possible.

    The problem with Events is there’re not a lot of them over here. But I’ll attend as many as possible within the allowable context.

  • http://www.haarg.com Mr Haarg

    I’ve just started with my blog Haarg…I really feel that be creative is the key of success.

    regards

  • http://www.bayuaditya.info/ Bayu Aditya

    Anyway, I made an avatar of me as a header of my blog. Do you think it’s too childish? Even I put my real picture below it. Thx for the reply.

  • http://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com Todd

    Jeremiah_owyang – Thanks for the compliment. Writing a blog in the home improvement niche is hard sledding but the site is growing every day. It’s great to hear some nice feedback occasionally!

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  • http://fatherblogger.com/2008/09/02/how-to-avoid-burying-your-blog/ Angel Cuala

    Got you from Problogger, as he always finds great guest bloggers.

    Anyway, getting noticed can be done in two ways – be very good or be very bad. But I prefer the first one of course.

    Be a good Samaritan, that is. Help the ones in need of your tips especially newbies. As a blogger, you can find places where you can offer a free service like Yahoo Answers, forums and others.

    I am pretty sure they will be sharing your name to others, and you will be surprise with the result.

    Just my 2 cents.

  • http://stopsmokingwithdrsally.com Dr. Sally Witt

    Hi,

    Followed through to your post from Problogger. Yes, you have identified great ways to be noticed.

    I was very happy to find that helping others by using social bookmarks gets you noticed on the search engines, too.

    Youtube vidoes and podcasting are two more ways to get noticed. Being a guest of someone else’s show gives you an implied recommendation as well.

    My shows are http://www.blogtalkradio.com/drsallywitt and http://www.youtube.com/drsallywitt.

    There is always a fine line that is not the same for everyone between self-promotion, and being over the top.

    Thank you for a good post!

    Sally

    http://www.drsallywitt.com

  • http://www.juanpablotapia.cl Juan Pablo Tapia

    What a great post!! All sides well covered. Regards from Chile.

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  • BMcG

    Jeremiah,
    Thank you for this article. Here’s my question. Is PPC going away because of Web 2.0 and the majority of clicks coming through organic? Or as we neophytes embark on aggressive Internet marketing should we make sure to include PPC? Is it still necessary? Or can you forgo it for Web 2.0 initiatives? Or is it both?

    Any experts can answer this or point me to place to find answer? Jeremiah, your thoughts?

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  • Bee

    About getting noticed – Jeremiah says it all – exept that it’s important to not only be interesting but BE BRIEF, concise and to the point! People always read what’s short – like sound bytes. Easy to remember, specially for branding!

  • http://blog.inception2invention.com Karen

    Great conversation!! A few points I’d reinforce:
    (1) Use of Google/Yahoo/MSN alerts: I run the 82nd ABN, 3rd BCT support group and have been using these alerts for years! I have found some really good resources/sources of info I may never have found otherwise.
    (2) Being helpful/answer questions, provide information: I voluntarily provide information to a few military/veteran support groups on current medical issues (PTSD, TBI); you can also answer questions on various sites such as eHow, YahooAnswers… not necessarily to earn money/points, etc. but to get your name/expertise out there.

    From my blog [blog.inception2invention.com], people can subscribe to receive [free] the latest information on a variety of medical (clinical & consumer) topics. BTW, the calendar idea was really great too!).

    Quick point (which seems obvious but isn’t always): be sure to check your spelling/grammar when posting…
    …and read, read, read!
    Karen
    i2i | inception2invention

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  • http://TaipeiDreams.com Dave

    Imagine – Many months ago, I had read this article n just moments ago, I was linked back here by a blog highly recommending it!

    Thks for the great tips, Jeremiah! :-)

    In the beginning I set off to differentiate myself in my travelogue:

    One that’s personal, not just bland how-to-go-where-do-what dry info. One that’s even intuitive & intelligent, not just another “I-hv-been-somewhere-so-i’m-blogging-abt-it” casual account.

    Later, my positioning develop as I see myself – & to my readers I hope – that I am the “non-expert”, of this place(s) I’m blogging abt.

    There are many good sources abt this place(s) online & offline. Most are experts (some self-proclaimed ones too) in providing tourist info of this place.

    I wonder how my positioning may work..

    Say, if U’ll be free to drop by – do U perceive my positioning somehow, n how distinct is my “non-expert” differentiation..?

    Thks again – great site! Xie xie! :-)

    Dave
    TaipeiDreams.com

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  • http://blog.vibemetrix.com Chel

    These are good tips for beginners and I chose to use them in today’s post. I just want to add the crowd that I couldn’t imagine doing this without being helpful. My first reaction is to give a lot to the community over time. Pointing to their work or creating a place for great information.

    Beyond that I think realizing that it takes time to build a community around your brand is important. It won’t happen overnight but it will eventually if you offer something valuable.

  • http://www.straightalk.biz/designs straightalk

    Great article, keep up the good work..!

  • http://www.dancingbison.com Vasudev Ram

    (I’m replying after a while, missed tracking this one, sorry.)

    >The trick is not to take all of them all on at once, but to pick a few master them, then layer on more.

    Yes, thanks again, Jeremiah. Makes sense.

    Good to see so many responses and more ideas on this topic …

    - Vasudev

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  • Jetanna

    Great post. I think in order to get noticed you do have to have a goal, create a personal brand and be interesting. One way I have found to set myself apart from others is to create an online portfolio of my goals, ideas and work history. I did this at http://www.personavita.com. It really like how I can organize my thoughts and create the best “me” for others to see. I think once you recognize who you are, others will then start to notice.

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    Thank you for this article. Here's my question. Is PPC going away because of Web 2.0 and the majority of clicks coming through organic? Or as we neophytes embark on aggressive Internet marketing should we make sure to include PPC? Is it still necessary? Or can you forgo it for Web 2.0 initiatives? Or is it both?

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