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Career & the Web: Presence

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A pastry chef in Las Vegas hired me to create what I call a “web presence” to help her advance in her chosen career. She asked me for suggestions that would help her leverage the power of Web 2.0 in her efforts to increase her professional exposure in a highly competitive industry.

At the same time, she wanted to have fun teaching other people about her passion in life; cakes, tarts, pastry, and chocolate mousse. During an initial interview, I shared with her the following suggestions… The simplest way to beginning building a “web presence” is by providing free content to others. Contrary to common thinking, creating personal “content” is strategically more valuable than having a website, has few long-term obligations, and is 100% FREE. If a person has an area of expertise (and believe it or not, EVERYONE does!), they can write single-topic articles of about 500 – 1000 words about it for fun and potential profit.

If a person can generate a regular “flow” of content, say 1-2 article/entries a week, they might consider an online diary or Web log more commonly called a blog. Notice though, I qualified whether or not to start a blog because, like a plant, you need to “water it” on a regular basis especially if you intend for it to be a reflection of your career or business.

Content is everything and especially if you are seeking a professional “web presence” you need to carefully plan your “follow-through” over 3 to six months so that your picture window of house plants grows lush with blossoms. One technique professional writers use is to maintain an on-going dialogue in a blog about “stuff” that summarizes daily projects in their lives. The secret in writing these blog entries or “episodes” is to close each entry with a “suspenseful” finish that somehow relates to future events or tasks.

Make it a cliffhanger for your readers! Another technique I use especially in a corporate training situation is to tell people what you are going to tell them as a short preview, then tell them, and tell them what you told them, in summary. I use this technique during a single training session of say, 1-3 hours.

A writer however can modify this technique a bit. Use their blog entry of say 100 words as a preview (the “tell them what you are going to tell them”) then write a 350 – 700 word article that “tells them”! Finally, write yet another 100 word blog entry, say the next day that summarizes the article (the “tell them what you told them!”). What I have done here is generated 1 article and 2 separate blog entries from the same experience! What I have also done is practiced what I preach!

Look at this last paragraph; I told you what I was going to tell you, then I told you, then I summarized what I just said. I urge my clients to visualize their “everyday” projects as having multiple payoffs. The last example demonstrates this idea; one project generates the actual project, an article and two blog entries. How are these “payoffs”?

If our original intention was to build a professional, career-enhancing “web presence”; details about how one solves “day-to-day” common issues provides insights into career experience. Blog entries and especially an article provide evidence of communication skills. Finally, the project with its multiple “payoffs” shows managerial skills of planning, organization, marketing, and, the most important character-traits, persistence and follow-thru.

I told my client that when she planned her next “project” in the context of, say one article, numerous blog entries and a real task goal, she needed to focus on a discernible theme. For example, she needed to create a cake with a special fondant covering. I suggested to her that the simple production of one cake could be conceived of as a showcase for working with the special fondant covering since the material is difficult to handle when it dries.

I suggested that any “project” she chose to “develop” would benefit from testing or working with one ingredient, one cooking technique, or one menu/interaction of ingredients. The most prolific professional writes “keep it simple”. Any “issues” or complications one encounters in one’s day-to-day “stuff” are the perfect source for “cliff-hanger” endings that lead to “stories” for yet another day!

Article Source: Websites Melbourne

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