Here’s a nice little Spring Cleaning tip for you that could be a nice win-win. This nice win-win would be that it de-clutterizes your office, and helps share your interests with your online community – in turn building your brand.

We all come across handy articles that we’d like to hold onto and refer back to from time and time, whether it’s via physically printing it out or bookmarking it through our web browser. Unfortunately, what tends to happen is that when we do that, we’re glad to have it and we forget about it. Referring back to it regularly just doesn’t happen.

But rather than throwing out or deleting these valuable pieces of content, you can pass it along to someone else who might appreciate it more at that moment than you will. That is the reason I’m loving what Pinterest and StumbleUpon . They are not just social bookmarking tools, they can also drive traffic back to your site in the process.

How it builds your personal brand

In my case, I’d been going through some old papers of value on branding and inbound marketing. The web addresses to those good articles were still live and I didn’t want to throw them away, so I typed in the URL to them on Pinterest and StumbleUpon.

“What’s this?” you say. “I thought Pinterest was all about pictures.” Not so. You can save blog posts, articles and videos too. Now, not only have I saved them and enabled myself to throw away the physical papers (not a bad thing for the environment), but I’d also built upon my ability to share useful information with the community following me on those websites.

How about that? Suddenly, by becoming a curator of great subject matter expertise from these papers, what you have is the gift that keeps on giving.

Business cards to golden treasures

The same is true with business cards. We all collect cards of people that, let’s face it, we don’t always follow up with due to a lack of fit. As a result, they sit like artifacts, in a drawer collecting dust. That’s why I’m still a big fan of Jigsaw. If you haven’t used it yet, it’s a service that provides you points for every entry of a business card you enter that’s not in the system. Complete information is required. As you accumulate points, you can also download someone’s entry from Jigsaw to find their contact info – particularly that elusive e-mail address.

How great is it that you can take an old, bent-up business card jammed in your nightstand and use it to uncover information on a good contact relevant to your business?

Or how about something that may be even more valuable than an e-mail address, like a social media connection (after all, people can change jobs and email addresses whereas their social media profiles live on)? Social CRM tools like Nimble enable you to better organize your social networking circles and even gain more information on the other channels your contacts use – like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and more. Which makes it just a little easier to pitch that old business card once you’ve got links to all that contact’s social media profiles.

Take advantage of these tools this Spring and you may have fewer old papers, stale bookmarks and crumpled up business cards – with an improved reputation and stronger relationships in their place instead.


Dan Gershenson is a Chicago-based consultant focused on brand strategy and content marketing. Dan has guided a variety of CEOs and Marketing Directors at small to medium-sized companies, providing hundreds of strategic plans to help businesses identify their best niches and areas of opportunity. Dan blogs on Chicago Brander, mentors advertising students and cheers relentlessly for the Chicago Bears. Dan graduated from Drake University with a degree in Advertising.