Genealogy and the Brand New You – Part Deux

Genealogy and the Brand New You – Part Deux

I wrote a recent post about creating your Brand which you can read about here. I had so many questions about the post, that I decided to do a follow-up and call it Part Deux…in French, because everyone knows when you say things in French it is more classy…I speak fluent Japanese, but if I said Part Ni, you would all just go ‘Huh,’ so I went with the class instead.
In the first post I went over the why’s of creating a purposeful brand of you. This post I will discuss more of the how’s.

Dee asked a good question in her comment on that post. She asked, ‘what you do if you have more than one brand?’ This a great question! Which allows me to clear this up better…You are your Brand – that is one Brand. Now you may have different avenues of focus or products or skills that you offer, but it all comes under the Brand of You.
The Brand of You
For an example, let’s say that you are:

  • a transitional genealogist (currently doing you own research, but plan to turn professional at some point)
  • have a genealogy blog
  • you may have or have not done some speaking and writing, but want to expand this in the future
  • you have a Twitter and Facebook account, but not sure how to use that in developing your brand

Each block has a different focus, but the brand of you is still the same. What you do in one arena will reflect and influence other arenas and your brand, or what people’s conception of you and what you do and have to offer.

While you may be concentrating on one block, the other blocks need to be kept in mind and should be part of your overall marketing plan. Creating a strong foundation is key. Establishing credentials, experience, contacts, a network are all needed to be part of  your plan to establishing yourself as credible source and brand. This takes time and planning. That is why in the first post I suggest you stop and take a self-inventory to determine your goals and what direction you want to head.

Paula Stuart-Warren CG, FUGA, FMGS is someone I know and am sure can handle being my Guinea Pig example. While many people know or have heard of Paula in the genealogical world, they all may not know her from the same source or arena. Paula makes a living as a professional genealogist and speaker. She has a geneablog, she is a writer, she is an instructor there are still a few openings in her course at SLIG! She is also a very active volunteer in various genealogical societies and member of the FGS Board of Directors and was Co-Chair for FGS recent conference. Paula also posts on Facebook and occasionally tweets on Twitter. Paula is her brand, all her endeavors contribute to her brand. Paula is diversified in broadcasting her brand, yet there is a single image of her brand.
So here are some questions that may help you further develop the brand of you.

  • Do people know your name or just the name of your blog? Now, if your goal is just to be a big geneablogger, that is fine – you are making the blog the main focus. But, if you have plans to develop other arenas of the brand of you, then you need to get your name linked to your blog in people’s minds. Too many geneabloggers hide their name on their blog and go for anonymity…if you got something to say, own it. Your name and your blog’s name should be interchangeable in people’s mind. If not, you got work to do.
  • Do you volunteer? Have your read APG’s “The Professional Voice” June 2011 issue article on “Professional’s as Volunteers; Balancing Profit and Service” by J.H. Fonkert, CG? Loretto Dennis Szucs is quoted in the article as saying, “it was amazing to me to discover that all the family historians I spoke with had either started or enhanced their careers by volunteering their skills and services to kids and adults.” Volunteering to help your local genealogical society or community is a great way to get experience, network and to add to your own credentials – but it also pays it forward – which makes you feel good!
  • This is a technological world, like it or not. Want to be a speaker or a writer. Trust me, people are going to “Google” you to check you out. What is your online presence saying about you? No presence also speaks volumes about your skills. Look into RootsTech 2012 conference if you are interested in gaining new tech skills – this conference has tracks for even the novice tech user. No one is incapable of increasing their tech skill level. Once you see how it can help save time and make you more efficient you won’t go back!
  • If you want to be a writer, write – everyday. Whatever arena you are looking to develop, take classes, attend webinars, read books and look for mentors. What are you doing now?
  • Are you generous? I firmly believe in the Law of the Harvest – which is that you will reap what you sow. If you are kind and generous and are not hesitant to promote others, low and behold you will find others who do the same for you! (Case in point, I have met Paula only once or twice and served on the FGS committee virtually with her. I am glad to promote Paula, not because I expect her to now promote me – but because Paula is a nice person and I am glad to promote exceptional people. I promote great people and ideas without any expectation of a return. Even though I do it freely, without any ulterior purpose – I also know that what I send out into the world will eventually come back to me many fold. Blessing others – blesses you!
  • The main thing to remember in creating the brand of you, is to remember what your goal and focus is.

    How am I Doing it?
    I purposefully limit the amount of time I  tweet and go on Facebook because I have a genealogy research business to run. Not only do I specialize in researching Japanese ancestry, have started doing Forensic Genealogy but I have recently taken on a client for PR consulting.  These are blocks in my plan that are my main focus right now.

    I use social media enough to establish a presence. I know what my Klout score is and try to maintain a healthy score on Twitter. I use Google+ more to network and Facebook is more to establish friendships and to get to know others in the genealogy community as well as keep in touch with distant family and friends. I am on LinkedIn to network with other professionals.

    I volunteer for the UGA and I was on the publicity committee for FGS2011. I volunteer as a Family History Consultant trainer for my local Family History Center as well. I have met many great people through volunteering, learned new things and have been given opportunities I wouldn’t have otherwise.
    I am careful about what projects I take on because I am balancing my life as a wife, mother, friend, sister as well as business owner. Those relationships are important to me so I make sure that I have time for them.

    There is a difference between bragging and promoting yourself. Genealogist tend to get squeamish about self-promotion or any promotion…please go to my first post if you want to understand why you need to get over that.

    Do not be shy in tooting your own horn. Remember the squeaky wheel gets the grease! I am not perfect in branding myself and neither do you need to be. Recognize it is a process. But, it should be a process of your own making and one that is taking you in the direction you want to go.
    One arena may take more time than another. You may decide that one arena is not that important to you or one that you are not ready to explore, and it is all good.

    While focusing on one block you can do enough to keep other blocks up in the air – sometimes. Sometimes, you are just going to have to put things on a back burner for awhile or just let them fall. There is a time and season to life. Knowing the right season in your life for what – is truly wisdom.

    I hope this answers questions and hopefully will spark new ones as you ponder what you want to do. Good luck in your efforts to brand yourself!


    1. Thanks for these posts, Valerie. They are so helpful for people like me who plan to build a career that involves genealogy, but aren’t quite sure where to start. Great tips!

    2. What a great post,not just for the novice, but as a “how am I doing” checklist. Thanks for bringing this topic to the forefront.

    3. Excellent. And? Love the quote, “Toot your own horn or someone else will use it as a spittoon.”

      So true.


    4. Thanks for the great comments. I may be weird, but I love to help others promote themselves successfully so they can achieve their goals. Hope these ideas help you in reaching yours!

    5. Great Post Valerie, it gets a person to thinking, for sure!

    6. Wow Valerie, excellent post! Your points really hit home and give me lots to think about. I share in your admiration of Paula (I’ve taken her class at SLIG). It still feels awkward to toot my own horn, but that’s something I guess I need to get over. Thanks for the inspiration to think more about creating a brand.

    7. I’ve found both posts not informative and helpful but also entertaining Valerie.

      Thanks for sharing your knowledge or should I say “Merci de partager vos connaissances” to be classy? 🙂

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.