Sly, I'd like to both verify these great ideas, and also add one more.
I think the biggest mistake the rookie and mid-card posters make is that they follow many of the rules above, get good at a section, earn rep, and then for no reason other than boredom or curiosity, they change their name to something totally different, and lose all of their heat.
I never changed my name ONCE prior to becoming Admin. Never once. I was always "IrishCanadian25." Then, I started signing my PM's and infractions or warnings with "IC25," or speaking about myself in the third person using the "IC25" nickname. It caught fire, and then people started calling me "IC." Even though I prefer "IC25" so I don't get mixed up with a mid-card title belt.
With the sections, I got good at old school, and then, I carved out a gimmick - "The Best of the 90's." That series of threads launched me.
As for becoming "known" for something, I was known as the poster with the crazy vocabulary. The vocab words I use on WZ (epitome, harkens, harbinger, personifies, etc.) all kinda highlighted my posts.
When last year's WZ Tournament came up and I backed Vader with a vehemence (see: above, vocab word) rarely seen for a superheavyweight, and then the music tournament - well, that's my WZ resume in a nut shell.
Being a bar fly makes you "a regular," but as far as respected top posters, follow Sly's rules, make a name for yourself, and DON'T CHANGE IT EVERY MONTH! Becker. 48.7. TM.