Your personal brand is a priceless asset.
Whether you’re a struggling entrepreneur, a nameless corporate cubicle dweller, a famous socialite, or totally broke you have something of immense value — your personal brand.
A personal brand is valuable because it is you. The persona you create online or in public is who you are. Everyone who finds you online, hears about you, or reads what you wrote is only going to know what they see, read, or hear. It’s your personal brand.
Only those people who have direct communication with you will know the real you.
That’s why your personal brand is so important.
You need to protect it with, well, your life. The best way to protect your personal brand is by monitoring your personal brand.
Monitoring your personal brand is the simple act of awareness. You must know what people are saying about you. It’s impossible to control everything that is written about you. But even though you may not be able to control that published content, you can at least know and respond to it.Monitoring your personal brand is a two-step process. First, you figure out what is being communicated around your personal brand. Second, you respond appropriately.
We need to establish how to do that first and crucial step — listening to what is being said. Here’s a simple process.
1. Google yourself.
If you haven’t done it in a while, Google your name. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
A simple query with your name in it will show you the most relevant and recent information, albeit algorithmically derived.
What if you have a common name, like Adam Jones or John Smith? If you have a name that is shared by thousands of others, then you need to create a distinguishing element connected to your name.
So your name is Adam Jones. You should develop an identity that adds your middle name — Adam Percy Jones. Or, you can create an identity with a handle or title, like “Adam Jones, Creative Wizard.”
If you use your identifying handle (or middle name) everywhere, you can train your audience and the search results to know you. You’ll even be able to influence Google’s autocomplete in order to prompt users when they are searching for your name.
The best way to preserve and protect your spot in the search results is to create a website using your name as the URL. I’ve done this with my website, neilpatel.com. This personally branded website will consistently return the highest ranked search results.
You should do a quick Google search of your name at least once a month. If you are famous, notorious, or otherwise well-known, do it once a week. Well-known people often have a section of search results, the Knowledge Graph, that is devoted to current or popular articles about them. These change periodically, so its important to keep up with what’s current.
Although most people are familiar with Googling their name, most people don’t search for images or news about their name. In addition to searching for your name in Google’s web search, you should also search for your name in Google’s image search, news search, and video search. (These search refinements are located directly underneath the main search bar.)
As you look at your search results, try to think of them through a user’s eyes. What do they see? Is this what you want them to see? It is possible to change what Google displays by using SEO strategy and aggressive content marketing.
2. Check all social platforms.
The most basic of social monitoring is checking your social profiles. You probably already do this anyway as part of your regular social activity.
If you don’t have accounts on any social profiles, you should still find out what’s being said about you. Even if you don’t have a Facebook account, people may still be chattering about you on Facebook. You can search for your name using the search feature of most social platforms. You may also want to search for hashtag plus your name.
Here are the main social platforms to check:
- Pinterest (people may pin articles or pictures that you publish; these will include your name or information)
3. Revisit guest posts.
If you’ve ever published content elsewhere on the web (and you should), then you must monitor the comments on these articles.
What you say in an article is one thing — and it’s important. But what happens in response to what you said is equally important. The comment section of blogs and articles is often where the real discussion takes place (and where some people can become surprisingly unkind).
By interacting with the comments, and engaging in the discussion, you’ll develop your personal skill and enhance your reputation.
The final method of monitoring your reputation is old school, but effective. Just ask.
There’s nothing narcissistic or self-focused about this. As long as you have trusted friends who know you, and know your niche, they will have an accurate pulse on what’s being said about you. Ask them what people think of you — what’s the buzz, what are the rumors, what’s the general feel of things?
Most of what happens surrounding your personal brand is going to be out in the open — on the web, where you can see it and read it. But some of it will happen in DMs and PMs and face-to-face conversations. There’s no need to be paranoid, but it does help to understand the tenor and discussion regarding your personal brand.
Keeping tabs on your personal brand is one of the most important activities you can engage in. If your reputation is important to you, and it should be, then monitoring your personal brand should be built into your priority list.
This article was written by Neil Patel from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.