In my blog post about the importance of your avatar in social media marketing, I included my headshot photo to show folks what I use as my avatar on social media sites:
Seeing this in my post gave one of my readers, Dave Dugdale, the idea to append his photo to the end of posts on his blog’s RSS feed. That is a great idea. That headshot image of me appears only in my aforementioned post because I added it by hand. It certainly wouldn’t be hard to automate it so that your image (and byline, and links) would appear on ALL your posts. Then, folks using RSS readers and website aggregators like Bloglines and Google Reader will see this photo and byline while reading your post, helping brand you and letting people know who you are. You, as the author, will appear more real, more tangible, more human, to the reader. S/he will relate to you more as a fellow human being, take notice of you, remember you, and listen to what you have to say. S/he may even then recognize you at conferences and introduce herself/himself to you (this has happened to me on many occasions!).
Another important benefit of this tactic is that it somewhat thwarts content thieves who “repurpose” your blog post content on their blogs. If they are scraping from your RSS feed, they will be putting up your photo, byline, and links on all the posts they stole from you! (By the way, if they are scraping your HTML — which won’t be nearly as common — then the photo and byline would need to appear on your blog site, not just your feed.)
So how do you accomplish this — putting a sig line containing your image/avatar on all your posts? You could add the sig line to your template (theme) files. But there are other, easier ways. For instance, if you’re running WordPress, there’s the RSS Footer plugin or the WP-Avatar plugin.
You can also put a tiny image of yourself into your blog’s favicon too, which will cause it to show up next to your blog’s name on many RSS readers. That’s what I’ve done on my blog. Here’s what it looks like:
If you don’t have a custom favicon, don’t know how to create one, or don’t know what I’m talking about, then you should read my post Favicon and Robots.txt â€“ Must-Haves for your Blog.