by Darius Fisher, President
As an executive or a business owner, what shows up in your search results affects your bottom line. According to a recent study from Moz, companies risk losing 22% of business when potential customers find one negative article on the first page of their search results. Although you can’t completely control your digital footprint, you can positively impact your online presence. Below are ten easy steps to manage and protect your online brand for 2018:
1. Google Yourself. Search yourself and analyze what shows up online. Anything you want to improve? Immediately tackle and correct areas of vulnerability. Speed matters. The longer something negative appears online, the more damage it causes. It’s natural to be concerned with negative publicity or unflattering photos. But be equally concerned if nothing shows up in your search results. If you have no digital footprint, create one today.
2. Build a Personal Website. Buy your name domain (i.e. JohnDoe.com) and make an online resume website that highlights your career and accomplishments. Google’s search algorithm values fresh, relevant content and will naturally think your personal site is important when anyone searches your name online.
3. Get Social. The big social media sites usually show up on Google page one. Plus social media platforms make it easier to connect with your target audience and establish relationships. When selecting a platform, consider your brand or business goals. You should also understand which platform your target audience uses and how it works. For most professionals, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, and Facebook are an absolute must.
4. Take Professional Photos. Hire a photographer to shoot headshots for your personal website and social media properties. Make sure to dress in business attire and smile. People judge you within the first second of seeing your photo online. So you might as well look your best!
5. Content Is Still King. Content is the foundation for any successful online brand management campaign. Consistently create content that’s helpful to your target audience, and you’ll become an authority. Plus you’ll boost your organic search rankings. Also take advantage of opportunities to become thought leader by guest blogging on websites in your niche. Guest blogging increases the credibility and exposure of your brand. Not only will you build your online portfolio, you’ll strengthen your presence by speaking directly to potential customers and clients.
6. Public Relations to the Rescue. If you have negative press on the first page of Google, part of your strategy must include getting new, positive press mentions. So how do you do that? Learn how to write a press release and hone your pitch to journalists. Before pitching, consider the five factors that make a story newsworthy: timing, proximity, prominence, significance, and human interest. Apply those factors to your pitch and create a fresh angle for the editor.
7. Learn From the Pros. Managing your personal brand can be daunting, especially when taking the first steps to controlling and curating your personal brand. Deep breaths. The good news is that you don’t have to start from scratch. Identify personalities that have developed a strong personal brand and observe best practices. What are the most successful influencers doing that sets them apart from others? What can you learn from exemplary personal branding that you can apply to your own practices? There’s a ton of great information at your disposal once you start looking for it.
8. Make a Content Posting Calendar. It’s easy to tell yourself to create content and just as easy to post sporadically or infrequently. The name of the game with content is concise, useful information, that is produced on a regular basis. Making a content posting schedule is an essential step in becoming organized and developing positive habits for your personal brand. You will be rewarded with SEO authority and building an engaged audience. The fastest way to lose engagement is being all over the place with what you post and when. Make a posting schedule and stick to it.
9. Take It Offline. While most of your legwork will be done online, don’t forget to put yourself out there in the real world. Attend seminars, lectures, networking events, and everything else related to your field where you can soak in professional advice, make connections, and learn from your peers. Once you really get in the groove, think about even sponsoring an event or giving a presentation in your relevant field. While leaving digital footprints, don’t forget to make actual ones as well.
10. Bring in the Experts. While the steps above seem easy, coordinating a campaign, especially if you have bad publicity on Google page one, is daunting and time-consuming. Professional online reputation management firms have experienced staff and processes in place to improve your online reputation quickly and easily. When hiring a firm, ask for references. And avoid firms that have very low pricing. Low prices indicate outsourcing overseas, which can lead to embarrassing and ineffective results on your online reputation.
Think you need some help managing your personal brand? Contact us today and let’s talk about how we can help improve your online image.
Notes: This article was last updated February 22, 2018.