I have a bit of a dilemma at the moment. Well, OK, not so much a dilemma as much as a bit of confusion. I am wondering how my New Media persona is possibly affecting my professional image. Let me explain.
By New Media persona, I am talking about the person you get to know in my podcasts, videos, and other projects such as this blog. Now, that is not to mean that I am putting on a front and not giving you my genuine self, it means that what I am giving you is my casual, hopefully more entertaining self. It is definitely not my professional self you see in my products.
That is the paradox I am talking about. I produce for Podshow, which completely understands the person in my media projects is not the professional person they have under contract. Hell, they work with Madge for crying out loud. (I love Madge by the way) Also, In my consulting practice, I have been lucky that my clients have also understood this. I wonder though, how many clients I do not land due to the misconception of who I am.
Since I work on the internet, and my clients are those that can use my services to build their online presence, the first thing many potential clients see of me is my media persona, the casual, shoot from the hip, slightly confrontational and sometimes controversial Eban. I have to use this persona, because if I produced my media any other way, I would not have fans, at all. The nature of my media is entertainment, not serious news or topics along those lines.
People like Howard Stern on the radio, or any actor on TV or in the movies, do not have to worry about this. They work in media that most people already regard as professional and thus separate the character from the person. People know the Howard that signs the contracts is a professional, not the person that throws meatballs at strippers rear ends on the air.
We in the online world, at least those that actually make a living in the online world, are every bit the professional that those in traditional media are. We are not the media we create. That is our product. It is just that a lot of people view what we do as a “hobby”. I thus think that some people do view us as the product we create.
When I approach a potential client, I wonder if they see me as a person of value that can aid them or their business in building a viable web presence, or if they see me as the less than serious guy that will say just about anything to be humorous or provocative. This gets to me at times as the person in my productions is a person you may like as a friend, but not necessarily as a business associate.
If this is indeed the case, the question comes up of how do we get those that view what we do as a hobby to realize we are professionals producing a professional product? How do we get them to realize that we have the knowledge and experience to help them build their online endeavors up just as we have built up our own?
I have been lucky to work with Podshow and to have landed some pretty good consulting gigs. In that sense, my personal brand is stronger than ever and hopefully getting stronger. But, I have also lost some possibly good consulting gigs. There are many reasons why I may not have landed those particular gigs, but I just have to wonder.
But hey, not to end on a sour note. I have built up a nice living for myself online, and those that I work with seem to like what I do for them, so it is all good. Not every lead becomes a client, in any field. I just thought I would throw out the question.