Conversation Marketing: The Conversation is the Thing

Christine Fife

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Getting You Noticed

This post was inspired by a recent blog post by my good friend Tara Hunt. Oh wait, I’ve never met Tara Hunt! I tend to forget that I don’t actually know her in real life! I’m a fan of her book, The Whuffie Factor, and I follow her on Twitter and read her blog. Anyway, Tara’s blog the other day, There has GOT to be a better way, one of her terrific optimistic ramblings, referenced another blog post by Maureen Johnson, Manifesto: I Am Not a Brand.

Maureen’s post is terrific and a must read for any marketer who considers themselves a “branding” professional, as well as for any person who provides a service, thus needs to market themselves as their “product”.

So, with the two blog posts swimming around in my mind, I went back to what I’ve been working on lately, a seminar to teach individuals how to build an online profile that will help them increase their professional opportunities, as well as enhance their personal life and hobbies. The blog posts were causing me to rethink some of the terminology I was using in the seminar presentations. I was actually about to use the term “brand yourself” to try to get across to seminar attendees that they will want to illustrate who they are beyond boring data points. But as my Tara has been heard to say, “Instead of a personal brand, why not just get a personality?”

The line makes me laugh, but in my former career life (working with and counseling host families, schools and high school and university students from around the world) I discovered that for many people, sharing very much of your personality with people you don’t know yet can be a scary thing. Some people need a bit of guidance or perhaps a better way of looking at it is, they need a plan.

Sure, there’s no doubt that many, many careers can benefit from creating a thoughtful online presence and actively participating in online conversations, building relationships with influencers in specific industries. And, many people already understand the entertainment value of online gaming and social networking sites and others realize the enhanced enjoyment of personal hobbies when they connect with groups and individuals online who have common interests and share and tag information and multimedia. But perhaps I should define what I’m talking about regarding “Online Profiles.”

What is an Online Profile?

Many websites and social networks have users create a “profile”, but in this case I’m talking about creating a profile as a collective presence online. Search engines will do the work for anyone looking for you. All you need to do is have your information out there and know where to put your information in places that make sense for your career, your goals and your personal interests. Just because a social network or a web community is popular doesn’t mean you need to be there. It may be more appropriate for your career, goals and personal interests to be on niche sites. The best coarse of action is to understand the differences, choose what’s right for you, share information that is appropriate and that you’re comfortable with and participate in the conversations that are taking place.

An Online Profile is:

  • You, in Digital Form
  • As much or as little as you want to share
    • Personal Details, Contact Information & Calendars
    • Images, Videos & Audio Files
    • Communications & Documents
    • Medical, Lifestyle & Financial Accounts
    • Social Media & Web 2.0 Networks, Accounts, Communities
  • What others share
  • Information you “claim” or “tag

So, now I’m thinking I won’t use the term “brand yourself.” Maybe, “personalize your profile.” Or how about, “create a Profonality.” Get it–profile+personality… Oh, that’s just terrible! Back to the drawing board.

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More Stories By Christine Fife

As I drove off to college I never would have guessed I would end up here! But it’s been a fantastic journey. My career has been richly diverse giving me an advantage over marketers who are siloed into niche positions. I strive to be a true Renaissance person—I love to learn about everything and trying new things comes naturally. My career has been no different; I’ve successfully launched enterprise software and medical device development startups, improved communications processes for the regulatory department of a major financial exchange, increased client business and product development for several international exchange program companies and founded an international educational non-profit organization. My master’s degree in Integrated Marketing from Golden Gate University gave me a broad understanding of traditional marketing best-practices, but my BA in theater gave me the skills to understand how people communicate with one another and the importance of promoting a brand in a voice that is right for the audience.