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.
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.