Personal Branding for Marketers: 5 Questions with Michael Brenner of SAP

June 28, 2012 by

Michael BrennerLess than 2 weeks from now, Michael Brenner and I are presenting the free webinar, Personal Branding for Marketers: How to Build Your Personal Brand and Advance Your Career (July 11 at 2pm ET). Michael is currently Senior Director of Global Marketing at SAP, and I've had the pleasuring of knowing him for a few years now. We actually met virtually through Twitter and his blog—proof that you can develop professional relationships through your personal social media and content efforts.

So, to help prepare for our upcoming webinar (I hope you can join us!), I picked Michael's brain on personal branding, blogging, and whether you should separate your personal and business social media profiles. Here's what he had to say:

1. Why is personal branding important for marketers today?

Because our personal brands and the kind of content marketing that we do are inextricably linked. It is no longer just about hiring a great creative agency, crafting a funny or compelling message and spending lots of money on ads. We have to create compelling content and we need to nurture our networks so that we have the personal influence to share great content in an authentic and helpful way. This is the only way for the marketing of the future to be successful: great content, shared by strong personal influencers.

2. Should marketers keep separate profiles on Twitter and Facebook for personal and business use? 
I always tell people when they ask that question if they become a different person when they walk into the office or a meeting. The answer is no. We are who we are and we need to own it. Our personality is what makes us unique and powerful. The context may be different and we have to respect that a business meeting and family time with our kids are different situations that require different context and norms that must be adhered to. But I like to quote one of my favorite twitter personalities @LisaBarone on this question: decide who you want to be and then bleed it on all your social accounts.

3. How important is blogging when it comes to your personal brand?
Your blog is an opportunity for you to create your own home space on the web. It's the only real way to create I think blogging is really important also because it allows you to share your unique point of view. It allows you to share content you fnd valuable in hopes that others will to. It allows personal brands to become thought leaders.

4. When did you start your B2B Marketing Insider blog? Why did you start it?
I started the blog in May, 2010 because I was asked to drive social media as the head of digital / online marketing for SAP North America. I had always wanted to start one and this was just the little push I needed. I also knew that in order to do social, you have to be social. I was already a year into my Twitter addiction and once I started blogging, I really saw how the power of dynamic personal blog content could be amplified by a nurtured social audience such as the one I built on Twitter sharing other people's content.

I wrote my first blog posts on why I was in Marketing and why I was starting the blog. The key reasons, aside from what I explained above were to claim a stake in my personal brand, to interact with people around the topic, to share my experience and opinions and because I was excited for the journey. I often say blogging is the most important marketing campaign of your life.

5. Any advice for marketers who want to start developing their personal brand? 
First, is just do it. You have to fight the common myths, aka excuses, that you don't have time, that your opinion is not unique, that no one will read it. These are all bull and just defense mechanisms because most people simply have the irrational fear that no one will read it or that they will get in trouble or feel stupid. The fact is that we all have unique experiences and opinions and that the world needs to hear your voice.

Second, is to simply commit to a regular schedule. I committed to 2 posts a week on my  blog and each of the past 2 years, I have delivered about 100 posts, with a few holiday and vacation breaks. I took Seth Godin's advice to imagine that there is just one person out there who needs to read your content. Who is waiting for it. With that motivation, I get through the days when I really don't feel like writing.

Third, is that blogging is very therapeutic. It helps you to process new information, challenges, frustrations and to take those emotions and turn them into something practical and positive.

Last but not least, is the connections. I have met and interacted with the most amazing people (like you Megan). And nothing is cooler then when I interact with someone online, we comment on each other's blogs and re-tweet each other and then we meet in person and have a drink. It's like seeing an old friend even though you just met. The single biggest factor that keeps me going is all the great people I have met along my own personal branding journey.

Join the Online Marketing Institute and Business2Community July 11 at 2pm ET for the FREE webinar "Personal Branding For Marketers: How to Build Your Personal Brand and Advance Your Career". Michael Brenner, Senior Director of Global Marketing at SAP, and Megan Leap, Director of Marketing at the Online Marketing Institute, will share how they have effectively used content and social media for personal branding success.

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