Maria Matarelli Blogs

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

PERSONAL BRANDING AND YOUR ONLINE IMAGE

What do you find when you Google yourself? What is on the first page of results? What about the second page? Is that what you want people to find when they search for you? Take the time to think about what information you want people to find about you and how you want to portray yourself to the world. You can create a professional online image so that is what people find.
Example of ways to create a professional online image:
  • LinkedIn professional profile - fill out your full profile, keep it updated, and connect to other people within your network and industry
  • Groups you are associated with - find a group (Not for Profit, Special Interest Group) in your field to show industry involvement
  • Articles - publish an article related to a topic that you have expertise in
  • Comment on other people's blogs that are pertinent to your industry
Three main categories of information online can be categorized as:
  1. Information you create and place out there
  2. What a friend or colleague says about you
  3. Something you have been involved with and is put out there by a third party
As you review your online image, think about what you want people to know about you when they find you online. You can control the information that you put out there. Social networking sites that are not supporting your professional goals and image should either be deleted, made private or should not use your full name. Separate business and personal. It is great to have a forum to communicate with your friends, but does it need to be in a public forum open for the world to see? You may be judged by the people you are associated with and the things that they say.

Do you have a professional headshot? A good, professional headshot is important to have on hand for your professional online profile. This can come in handy if you publish articles, have speaking engagements or are featured in a publication, announcement, or presentation. Get a professional image that showcases you in the way you want to be represented.

Ways to control your online presence
LinkedIn Professional Networking site – LinkedIn.com is a great place to create a professional profile and will often be one of the first search results for your name on the internet. You can include a summary of your professional expertise and also connect with other professionals. They have many great features where you can customize your profile page and add your work experience. One of the most beneficial features is the ability to request recommendations from people that you have worked with. This provides a great third party endorsement for future companies, clients and others to see positive recommendations for your work.

Contribute to other blogs or online forums in your industry
Search for key terms or hot topics in your industry and provide thoughtful contributions to blogs and online forums within your industry. Adding your comments and closing your post with your full name will show up in search results and demonstrate your knowledge on the subject. Take the time to do some research, think about the topic and provide thoughtful contributions.

Maintaining your own blog or company blog
You need to commit to providing regular content to update your own blog. Another option would be having a company blog where you take turns posting content each week and anyone can respond to comments by viewers. By commenting on other blogs, you can build respect from other known bloggers and have them list you on their list of other recommended blogs and you can list them as well. To increase traffic, be sure to have your website, blog or professional social media links in your signature to drive traffic to your content. If you don't like to write, start a video blog and share your thoughts. If you want to have a blog but have trouble writing content, record what you say or record a conversation and have a scribe document it into written format or use a program to do this for you.

Build your website summary page
Create your own page with links to all of your electronic contributions. Take one of your professional online profiles and list a summary of what you are involved in and providing these links will add validation.

Online group profiles
Review all of your online profiles and update your profile picture and profile information. You can re-use the same core information and customize details for specific sites. For non-business groups, be aware of which ones require login and which are public. Contributions to private groups build your reputation within that group. While public groups can reach a broader audience and can be found in searches and be viewed by non-members.

Provide content and get involved in your industry
Search online for websites related to your industry. You can provide comments, enter contests, contribute your material and get your name out there.

Write an article
Select a topic from one of your recent experiences or choose a hot topic in your industry. Write about it. Do a brain dump into a document to get started and revise it later. Have an editor or friend that can review and offer revision suggestions.

Network with others that would mention you
Engage in dialogue with outspoken people in your industry that may mention you in what they write. Provide insight or quotes on a topic of interest in your industry.

In summary, be aware of your online presence. Recognize what you can control and identify what you would like people to know about you and set goals for creating this content. Creating the right online content can take some time, so don't feel like it is overwhelming or not happening fast enough. Select one area to focus on at a time as you create and develop your personal brand and online image. Then identify other areas and approach this in smaller manageable pieces. As you promote your professional image and expertise, you will find success and satisfaction in having a great online presence.

1 comment:

  1. Never thought of using social media to boost my personal brand online. Make sense, because millions of people are on social media everyday. If anyone were to see my brand online that would be the place that they would. Thanks for the great advice. Hopefully it helps get my brand out in the market. http://truthhacking.com/launch-consulting/

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