Branding is oft-times talked about as the end all and be all with marketing, companies, ideas, and especially with events. With that said, when you perform a Google search on yourself, what do you see?
Do you see articles that highlight your positive traits? Or do you see spam cached that denotes your less than desirable traits?
What I often see is the end all and be all of anything tied you (the brand). The first few pages of Google can really make or break you (education, jobs, dating, life), and you are by far the most important brand you have.
As a Marketing Expert (Digital, Content & Social Media) I have experience enhancing celebrities, gourmet food companies, and small businesses in the D.C/Maryland/Virginia area’s brands. What I can say is that often the ceo behind the brand must have a stellar online presence or their business will tank offline.
If you run a small business, or if you want strangers to think highly of you via a quick Google search, please try the following tips to further enhance your brand online:
1.) Maintain a Personal Website/Blog
I guess this is a given. But although this is a given, it is also your grand opportunity to brand yourself as an expert versus letting Google brand you as a neanderthal (due to lack of content, not due to you being you). In order to brand yourself positively on your website/blog try to write articles that will help people within your niche. Consider using wordpress, wix, weebly, or website.com to create a site your liking.If you don’t think you have anything to write about, please think again. I am sure you are good at something, right? Well, let’s say, for example, you are great in accounting. When you maintain a website that provides articles that break down cumbersome accounting terms and that digests difficult matter into baby steps, not only will you be deemed an accounting virtuoso but your online brand will soar on Google. Make sure you write strong articles (detailed content, images, lists, graphs, links to external sources) and don’t skimp on grammar or coherency. You wouldn’t want to brand yourself as failing third grade for grammar but passing undergrad, miraculously.
Everyone uses Quora to get answers to some of life’s biggest questions. Sometimes Wikipedia doesn’t have all of the answers we are looking for too. This platform is a strong recommendation on my part for you to brand yourself as a know-it-all. When you sign-up, remember to fill out your profile and link it to your website to up the ante on your online branding adventure. When you start answering questions, be detail-oriented, precise, and knowledgeable in your responses. Hurried or quick replies will often get lost within the queue and your goal is to be the expert that stands out from the masses. Remember to also add in extra links and resources in your responses in case any users want even more information than the initial question that was posed.
3.) Social Media
Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat, oh my! There’s so many platforms to choose from but the popular tools are Twitter, Facebook (who isn’t on Facebook?), Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat. For your online brand, pay heed to the aforementioned advice and just promote your expertise artfully. No one needs to see you drinking your wages away during that one work-related happy hour event. Stay professional and post advice articles or updates that promote you gaining a new skill, exotic travels, or positive milestones in your life that you think will help other people. For example, what if you raced in your first 5k and you did this for a good cause. By all means, post this image on Instagram, tweet this image to the good cause, and share how great this cause is on Facebook. Be wary of what you post on these social media tools since you wouldn’t want to leave a negative yet permanent impression on these inter-webs.
HARO is a secret weapon marketers have been using for years to brand themselves as experts online. Journalists often need sources for their articles and your expertise can be the ticket to free online publicity for yourself. Postings are made three times a day and it’s imperative you e-mail reporters your answers—asap! Deadlines are often looming so late responses due to get canned. Who knows, maybe your gluten-free (not flavor-free) recipe may make Cosmopolitan’s online website? It’s good to take a chance and try this resource out.
5.) Guest Write
Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, The New York Times, Salon, Elite Daily, Slate, The Bustle, and XO Jane are just some of many publications online you can contribute articles for. Oftentimes, these articles get published online and get tied into your pen name. So image when your ex best friend from High School performs a quick Google search on you and her eyes glaze over in fury when she sees that your article on Frenemies for The Huffington Post makes it to the top of Google. I highly doubt this scenario would ever happen since emotionally healthy people don’t care about high school politics to even think about that kind of stuff ever again as adults. But, you get the idea how powerful it is to do guest write-ups.
6.) Join Professional Groups
Fight the urge to save those pennies since investing top dollar in joining a professional group not only helps your career by helping you find mentors, connections, and new careers but once the internet grabs unto the fact you are associated with them, your online brand will beautifully enhance. So when a user types in “Jennifer Holms” they will see a smart-minded woman who is a part of a top tier Architectural group that meets once a month.
I learned about these two apps when I participated in the Washington Post Edition of Startup weekend this year. If you want to brand yourself as someone who is down to earth and who cares, you can promote Q&A’s on here and give free advice on your area of expertise. It’s an easy and unique way to connect with people. Plus Blab, which is the better off-shoot version of Periscope, lets you record your live streams with users and be able to to post it online as a podcast or as a video.
This is a personal favorite of mine since this where you can promote yourself, simultaneously online as well as off-line. You can join professional or non-professional (hobby-oriented) and not only attend fun events but have your image promoted on high caliber social media sites for free. Even when you participate in Meetups comment boards, your answers, images, and attendance can possibly show up online.
The Podcast Movement has been picking up steam for the past several years and it’s predicted to have staying power. You can make your own podcasts from scratch here. Basically, you can divvy up seminars and lectures you have made into podcasts for easy car, running, or relaxing listening. Not only that, there are podcast directories and other online mediums where you can post your beautiful voice (i’m just making a kind assumption) for the world to hear. When you have different online content (blogs, podcasts, meetups, quora, interviews) it shows the online user how multi-facted your personal brand is and that you are indeed a smart cookie that shouldn’t be messed with.
Again, this is another gimme. Most people I have met used their I-phones to make videos but I personally think that’s not the best route. I-phones don’t have the best sound quality and video stills get grainy once you make small editing changes on Youtube editor. Check out this article on the best cameras for video blogging, and check out this article for best editing software here. Quality content is royalty so you want to publish videos that portray you in the best light. Again, you can make self-help videos or even humorous ones that align you further with personal goals. If you don’t want to learn how to edit your clips, feel free to scour Craigslist, Fiverr, or Freelancer for an expert who is willing to do so for less. Although blogs and images reign supreme on Google, videos make the strongest impression on an online user. So make sure when you make your videos, it’s filmed in the best quality possible and that it is optimized for SEO.
Do you shine on the first page of Google? Or better yet, do you have any tips that I may have missed in this article? Feel free to comment below!