Friday, March 7, 2008

'Brand' yourself to survive in online journalism

Don't quit your j-job just yet. Via Romenesko: Online Journalism Review editor Robert Niles writes about how to "ensure that you will be one who survives this competition" -- that is, the renewed competition brought about by the Web.
I could teach an entire course on preparing yourself to compete in online media (and I do work this topic into every course I do teach here at USC Annenberg). But for those of you staring at imminent layoffs and buyouts, here's the quick guide to what smart journalists need to do to survive, and do great work, in the Internet era.
The short version: Create content readers value, pitch it to the right readers and "make yourself the brand." But he puts it a lot more constructively -- and specifically. For example, on making yourself the brand:
You want to ensure that the value you've created with your content and your promotion of it is associated with you. Yeah, it is selfish, but you're trying to save a job here. Blogging gives you a stronger brand on a website than tiny bylines do. (A blog gives you your own URL, much larger font-size byline and usually a head shot.) A strong Facebook or MySpace following amplifies your brand. Sending personal e-mail alerts to fans sustains your relationship with them. In-bound links to your name (or, if you are a solo publisher, your site's name), creates enduring value by boosting your brand's search engine value.
And when your name is more valuable, that makes you more valuable to employers, investors and advertisers.