I am very lucky. I am currently experiencing the universe in 2013 from a desk in London as “Rob Cubbon”.
If, however, my surname was “Smith”, I wouldn’t be so lucky.
In case you haven’t noticed, things are changing. We now live in a highly connected economy.
20 years ago, I may have made a few phone calls and written a few letters, thus connecting with maybe a dozen people a day.
Today, at least 1000 people will visit my website, I could very easily send an email to tens of thousands of people, furthermore, any one of us could send a tweet or a Facebook update that could potentially reach millions.
While we’re still coming to terms with this hugely increased ability to connect, engage and influence – there is one thing that has become clear: the people with the most meaningful connections will be the biggest winners in this new economy.
So what does this mean for us?
It means that we should develop our personal brand across the web.
That’s not to say we should be posting, tweeting and sharing any sort of old crap. Remember, the new economy depends on “meaningful connections” not “connections”.
So, we should be posting, tweeting and sharing quality content that is aligned to our brand. We should be associated with content only if it truly reflects our values.
This concerns you whether you’re currently unemployed, whether you’re working for a company or whether – like me – you are a company.
Why? Because if we don’t develop our own brands we run the risk of being cut off from the rest of digital society – a disadvantage akin to being unable to read or write. And, for me, your personal brand is much more important than your company’s brand.
So how do we do that?
The great yardstick to show whether you are developing your online brand as you should be is if you dominate the Google results for your name. In other words: go to Google, type your name, and if the first 10 organic results are all your websites or your social profiles then you’re doing the right thing.
How do we dominate our first page on Google?
There are four main ways to build your brand online: blogging, basic SEO, social media and relationships:
As I’ve said before, you should be blogging every week. I don’t care how many websites you have, I don’t care what the domains are – you should have one main website that you update regularly. No arguments.
Write about what you know. Write about what you’re passionate about. Constantly create blog posts that both Google and your visitors will love.
I’m not talking about complicated link wheels and tedious link building activities. But you do have to employ basic SEO on your website.
For example: create an XML site map and register it with Google Webmaster Tools; do simple keyword research; add those keywords to titles, subheadings; sift through your analytics to find out what works and what doesn’t.
3. Social media
This is where a lot of time can be wasted, but there are a few essentials that need to be done.
Try to make sure at the very least you have a Twitter feed and a Facebook page that are updated daily. Of course you will have an excellent LinkedIn profile and YouTube is almost essential as well.
And, most importantly, have a Google Plus profile that links to all of the above and set up Google authorship.
Finally, this is all about people. You should be constantly nurturing professional relationships both – online and off. These will result in links, interviews, joint ventures as well as helpful advice and encouragement.
If you do all of the above and you google your name, the results may look so something like this:
Above you can see the results from googling my name. The all-important first result in Google is my main website. The next nine results are dominated by my social profiles. It would be strange if Google got everything in the right order according to importance. For example, Google has placed my Vimeo profile (which I have not updated in a year) above my Udemy a profile (which has seen a lot of action in the last year).
Make sure people see a page of quality results after they’ve googled your name. This is 10 times more important nowadays than having a nice business card.
You can do it!
Regular posting of quality content to your website and your social profiles is not difficult. It’s just a question of doing a little bit every day.
And don’t forget the links. Link to all your social profiles from your main website. Link your social profiles back to your main website. And cross-link from one profile to others.
I have a course at Udemy where you can discover how to dominate your page at Google and build your own brand. I explain how to create a blog that attracts 1000 visitors a day with basic SEO and blogging theory. How to master social media efficiently without wasting lots of time. And how to find and nurture business relationships that will enable you to become the go-to person in your niche.
Have a look at the course, it’s called Build Your Brand: Blogging SEO Social & Relationships.