If you want to learn how to effectively build your brand, something you’ll need and take with you regardless of who you work for, then you need to get Me 2.0 by Dan Schawbel  because it’ll teach you all the techniques and tools you’ll need to master. One of the most important lessons I learned in becoming a full-time blogger was the importance of building a brand. Bargaineering has grown, mostly by accident, to one of the top personal finance blogs  over the last four years. I’ve learned to use tools like videocasts , forums , Twitter , and internet radio  to build up the Bargaineering brand and I’ve been blessed that people like you find value in what I write and speak about and continue to read and visit the site every day.
Importance of Personal Branding
Personal branding, in an age where the barriers to communication have been lowered tremendously by tools like blogs, Twitter, and Facebook, is absolutely essential. A lot of my friends joke about the uselessness of Twitter and they’re, in part, right. Twitter is useless 99% of the time, but making new friends is useless 99% of the time. Going to a conference and talking to the stranger next to you at lunch is useless 99% of the time. But you make new friends and you talk to the stranger not because they’ll hire you or pay you or find you a job, you do it because meeting new people is fun. Half the time you bid them farewell and you never talk to them again. Then, that 1% of the time, you form a partnership, you meet your best friend, or perhaps you meet your future spouse . Twitter and online tools give you the ability to make that 1% a far larger number.
Our personal finance radio show, Personal Finance Hour , had over 1700 listens during the first week and I attribute that to the reach both JD Roth  and I, and our followers, have through across Twitter.
Branding in a Service Economy
I had dinner the other day with my wife and we got to talking about branding because she knew I was reading Dan Schawbel’s book on the topic. I believe that as we move further away from a manufacturing economy and further into a service economy, the importance of personal branding increases tremendously. In the past, you needed a large corporation to buy the heavy machinery so that the machinist could use his or her skills to work. Today, if all you need a computer, you can buy just buy one.
You don’t need a corporation to buy the machinery for you because the costs have come down so far. It’s become common for employees to build up their skill set, increase their network, and then strike out on their own as contractors, earning a premium for their work (but giving up a bit of security). Personal branding helps you increase your network at a far more rapid pace, Schawbel’s book explains the various tools and techniques you can use to build your brand, maintain it, and increase your network through proven methods rather than how I did it, by accident.
About Me 2.0
I’ve gone on and on about personal branding and some of the online tools without really touching upon Dan Schawbel’s book because I believe in the importance of branding yourself. If you believe in it too, get Me 2.0. First, there aren’t any other books on the topic. Second, it’s well written, comprehensive, and well organized. When you’re done, you’ll almost have a blueprint in your head of what you’ll need to do to build the brand and what you will be able to do with it. As an added bonus, it contains tons of quotes and lessons learned from people who have build powerful personal brands to help reinforce the importance of branding and the various tools you can use to establish, maintain, and protect it. You won’t be disappointed.