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Why Posting Comments On Blogs Like This One May Be Your Best Career Move Yet

August 28, 2009
by Gwen Darling
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Each month, Healthcare Informatics (HCI) Editor-in-Chief Anthony Guerra sends our HCI blogging team a report card of sorts, letting us know how many people took the time to read our posts from the month before. From these statistics we can get a good feel for which topics struck a chord, and which ones, yes, it happens, may have struck out. Personally I love the analytics, for not only do they show us which recent articles have been popular, they also let us know when an older post, by now buried in the archives, is still getting traffic. For instance, Tim Tolan’s great evergreen post, “17 Killer Interview Questions” consistently attracts readers, even though he posted it back in November of 2008. At any rate, the most amazing part of the analytics, in my opinion, is the number of visitors who regularly frequent the HCI blogosphere – the statistics are pretty impressive, and I’m not just saying that because I’m part of the team (well maybe a little). The fact is, thousands of hospital CIOs and other Healthcare IT professionals visit the HCI blogs on a regular basis, reading both the blog content AND the comments posted below.

So. Let’s say you are a hospital CIO or Healthcare IT professional entertaining the idea of seeking a new opportunity sometime in the future, but are happy where you are at the moment – the classic “passive” candidate. Or perhaps you’ve already committed to a change of scenery for one reason or another and are actively looking for a new position. Short of writing a book, hitting the lecture circuit, or somehow becoming Donny Deutsch’s next Big Deal, how are you going to get the word out about your extensive expertise, thoughtful analytic abilities, and visionary ideas?

By building your personal brand! Hopefully you’ve taken the time to create your LinkedIn profile (if you haven’t, go directly to LinkedIn - you cannot pass GO, and you most definitely cannot collect $200). Of course attending industry conferences and networking with Healthcare IT colleagues face-to-face doesn’t hurt, either. But in my opinion, the single most overlooked and underestimated online strategy for building and extending your personal brand for the purpose of furthering your career is? Yep – you guessed it! Posting comments to esteemed industry blogs. Think about it. The HCI blogs, for example, are followed by thousands of Healthcare IT professionals who either are, or will be, in a position to hire (or recommend) you for your next position. Likewise with other industry blogs.

Let me show you an example. Last week I blogged about ways to creatively build your team now so you can play later. The post prompted some thought-provoking, insightful comments from experienced Healthcare IT professionals in the field. My natural response, after reading such comments, is to wonder, “Wow, who is this person?” So I click on their name to see their email address and decipher where they are currently working. Often I’ll look them up on LinkedIn to learn more about their backgrounds, and how I might be able to assist them. Call me Nancy Drew if you must, but I can promise you that I am not alone in this detective work. Your next employer is very likely doing the same thing!

An obvious word to the wise, however. This is not the place to aggressively sing your own praises or try to sell your products or services. A blog post is meant to be the beginning of a conversation, so what’s appropriate in the comments section is a thoughtful response or opinion. By posting an intelligent comment to the blog, the writer is extending their personal brand, in a subtle, effective and highly targeted fashion – a type of “passive interview,” in a way. So comment well, and comment often – you never know who’s listening.

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Comments

We just hired a new CTO at the company I work for and I know for sure part of the hiring decision was his personal credibility due to blogging and commenting activities.

You can assist the "Nancy Drews" out there by keeping your own professional blog and posting the comments you make in other blogs to it with links back to the actual comments. For example, when I post a comment (like this one!), I a post in my blog saying "I just left a comment at..." and provide a link back. This creates an easy to peruse record of your commenting activities. It only takes a click for a Nancy Drew to validate that, yes, you did make the comment. I Tweet every comment as well.

And this isn't the time to hide behind strange pseudonyms. If you are building a personal brand, you MUST use your real name. And if you are using your real name, you MUST say things that competent, credible and fair. Remember, it is YOU.

Great post Gwen!

~charles
fiverights.blogspot.com

Gwen,
It's worth mentioning (or re-mentioning) for regular readers that there is a service that lets readers and commenters know when there has been replies to the blog and its comments. It's the "RSS - Blog Replies" feed  on the left hand column of this web page.
 

So, not only do we readers get to provide intelligent comments, we can get easy notification when someone has commented to those comments. They can arrive in our email inboxes or in an RSS reader, so it's a passive affair to find out if the conversation is continuing.

Well said Gwen. I completely agree that reading others comments provide valuable insights into their expertise and engagement in a given field. I enjoy commenting because others blogs provide such a wonderful range of engaged thinking.

I wonder how many HR departments take the time to do the Nancy Drew thing. The ones that do surely can invite a better candidate to their interviews.

Building your personal brand is a solid investment for any professional wishing to advance things on the career front. Many employers use Google to learn more about a candidate prior to an interview. Building the right image with the right content is key. Posting a comment to a leading industry blog is a great way to get started. Another solid post Gwen!

Gwen,
Thanks for articulately describing part of the career value of blog commenting.

To elaborate on "you never know who is listening," I've received some wonderful and unexpected comments, such as those to my "When Rules Collide, Alerts Fatigue, and Disruptive Innovation may be necessary" post. Highly intelligent.

I know that some of those folks found the blog or its comments while pursuing a Google/Bing search. So the audience of listeners is large, extending to our entire industry.

When I reflect on some of the greatest gifts others have given me in my life, some of them have been their volunteered comments. Not necessarily to a blog, but the extension is natural. When anyone reads a blog or its comments and it clarifies or even just validates a lingering suspicion, it's career building for all of the participants.

Gwen Darling

CEO, HealthcareITCentral.com

Gwen Darling

@HealthcareITJob

www.HealthcareITCentral.com

Gwen Darling serves as an online HIT matchmaker, bringing together qualified Healthcare IT...