Last week I had the great privilege of speaking at the first FIFI (Females in Finance Inc) lunch. There were 45-50 women in the room (and one token male) to learn about your personal online brand.

Robin Powis, Stylist extraordinaire from Defining Style opened by telling the room about the power of wearing the three colour combination (I knew I should have worn my red accent shoes instead of basic black) and the importance of vertical, horizontal and diagonal lines.

And then it was over to me for the building your online brand workshop.

We talked about knowing what your personal online brand and reputation looks like by doing three things;

  1. Googling yourself
  2. Seeing what your Klout score is – if you’re involved in social media (which of course, most should be by now – even if it’s just the top three Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  3. Setting up Google analytics (and reviewing it) to see what search strings people are using to get to your blog or your website.

Turned out most people in the room had in fact Googled themselves. Unfortunately, they’d not done the one thing that would give them what other first time Googlers would see. They’d not logged out of their Google profile – ie: Google+ or Gmail before they’d done it. Which means of course that Google was tailoring and showing them what it thinks they wanted to see – not the real picture.

Another way to see what’s really going on with your profile (ie: who’s saying what) that’s easily done (as opposed to expensive and complex pieces of software built for managing big brand reputations) is to set a Google alert for either your name or another search term to do with yourself. Chances are, you’ll see some shlock results that aren’t related to you, but you’ll also see some things you might not have seen.

But really why bother if you’re doing your job well? Well, if you know what’s being said, you’ll know if you need to do some personal online brand remediation work. And one of the best ways to do that is to blog.

Almost 10 years ago, the lovely folks at the ABC did a huge hatchet job on a closed to media session I was heading up about rebuilding the reputation of the pharmaceutical industry.  A tape recorder was smuggled into the room and recorded in reasonably crisp definition what got said. Of course the way it was reported was nothing like it played out in reality and other reputations, not just mine, were damaged along the way (without even a backward glance by the ABC – let’s just say neither truth nor balance in journalism weren’t terribly apparent that day – thank you background ‘hatchet-job’ briefing).

Just for the record – I’m passionate about putting patient care first and stated it loud and clear on the day, but that never made it into the piece – funny that!

For a while it really worried me that piece came up first when you googled my name. How was I ever going to get another job or client when even I, the person who did media training for CEOs, had been hacked to pieces by a media outlet.

Given there was nothing I could do to make it go away. I figured the only option I really had was to create other ‘articles’ (ie: blogs) about myself that showcased what I really thought and felt – including writing the other side to the ABC piece and what clients could learn from the benefit of my albeit horrid experience.

Now, after more than 50ish blogs and web pages when you Google Kristin Austin Marketing – I think I mostly ‘own’ the first four pages of Google and that hatchet job is somewhere in the mix – but no longer on the front and centre. Job done!!

How else might a blog contribute to building your personal online brand?

  • You can prove your smarts (and that makes you more attractive to bosses, headhunters and clients alike)
  • It opens the door to opportunities that you might not even have thought of yet
  • You can establish yourself as the voice of authority on your topic of choice
  • You can build an audience
  • You can solve problems and cut off those pesky can you tell me how I… emails and phone calls (just refer them to your blog post)
  • You can play in your area passion
  • You can be the squeaky wheel on the linkedin updates of your connections (squeaky, not shrieky please) if you link your wordpress blog to your linkedin profile.
  • And finally blogging allows people to get to know you, what you think and whether or not they could hire you, work with you as clients, form partnerships/alliances with you or they should just get to know you better and see what comes.

You can get other tips about blogging to create your personal online brand from previous blog posts;

If you’re interested in signing up to receive blog topic of the day ideas direct to your inbox (ie: to avoid flashing cursor panic syndrome), please drop me a note.

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