Winner of the Month – Andy Shaindlin – You Get It!

Personal branding award goes to Andy Shaindlin at Alumni Futures!Let’s wrap the year up with an excellent example of a professional who is a Subject Matter Expert (SME) and Thought Leader in his space.

Andy Shaindlin, Alumni FuturesAndy Shaindlin is the Executive Director of the Caltech Alumni Association at the California Institute of Technology, a role he’s had since 1999. He has been at Brown University, and the University of Michigan, and has been very active in the alumni space. Is he the smartest, most active alumni professional out there? Probably not (I only say that because there are a lot of very smart, very active alumni professionals). But his blog, Alumni Futures, sure makes him look like he is one of the smartest, most active.

Andy’s blog helps shape him as the SME. He’s clearly a thought leader.

It reminds me of something I heard Phil Windley say last year in a presentation about blogging (major paraphrase here):

I’m the same person as I was a few years ago, before I started blogging. Only now, I get paid to speak at events, present, keynote. I have the same ideas and opinions, but now I’m perceived as a SME.

See, that’s the thing. You may be a SME, but are you perceived as an SME in your industry? Check out Andy’s blog as an excellent example of how to develop that perception, that brand, even the personal brand! My comments about his blog:

Relevant Information – Andy is definitely not a “cheerios for breakfast” blogger – he brings relevant information to the alumni director’s attention. Alumni directors are extremely overworked (I used to sell software to them and was always amazed at how many hats they have to wear), so the last thing they have time to do is read a bunch of blogs. Andy keeps it short and relevant.

Job Postings – I almost put it with relevant information but decided to break it out – when he learns of a job posting he puts it on his blog. Why is this important? Because some (most?) alumni directors are on a contract, usually pretty short, and knowing who’s hiring is always a topic of interest.

Guest blogger(s) – okay, he’s only had one guest blogger, but it was an excellent post, and the fact that the guest was from Princeton adds credibility to the blog. I’d like to see more guest bloggers on Andy’s blog in the future, I think it adds great perspective and each blogger is like a vote of confidence in the overall blog.

The layout – it’s simple and nice… nothing special but it’s clean and not distracting from THE MESSAGE

Links out – Andy is the master of linking out (I recommend linking to more BLOGS and BLOG POSTS), which is great for page rank, but more important, it adds more value to readers

Additional information – Andy hit the mark with his Additional Information section, including information about himself (and his CV (resume)), consulting services, recent presentations (shows he is a thought leader in other places, aside from his blog), and upcoming presentations (means he’s still an active thought leader)

Other useful sites – bloggers can’t horde, they have to share. And we share information. Don’t like what I write? Here are alternatives! Andy does a great job putting important resources together (he doesn’t share hundreds, which is overwhelming, he shares his favorites)

Bottom line? This blog is doable … you can do it, you should do it, and Andy’s blog is the perfect model, and I know you can mimic some of this stuff!

Andy Shaindlin, congratulations! You join a special group of professionals and have earned a coveted link from my monthly winner’s blogroll area (on the left), six months of premium JibberJobber (you can transfer/award this to someone else :) ), and a cyber-high five! Feel free to post the You Get It award on your site!

Here are the past winners: