Marketing: It’s Not Just for Businesses Anymore

tree-200795_640It’s no secret that big companies spend, and spend big, on marketing campaigns. In fact, according to research conducted by Gartner, companies were willing to spend about 10.4 percent of their revenues on marketing tasks in 2012, and they planned to up that spending by close to 10 percent in 2013.

But, how much did the employees doing that marketing spend on their own brand? Chances are, they spent nothing. That’s right: As SEO experts, we’re willing to invest a significant amount of time and money into protecting the brands of our clients. But often, we don’t put these same skills into practice in order to defend our personal brand, and our reputations. I think that should change, and here’s how you can make it happen.

Search and Destroy

Managing a corporate marketing campaign means doing a significant amount of research about what people think, feel and say about that company’s performance. This kind of large-scale research might be outside of your reach, but you can take a few simple steps to determine what hot spots are out there. Start by:

  • Searching for your name online on a regular basis. Look for any nasty news articles, blog posts or other ill-advised chatter that references you by name.
  • Using an online tool that can monitor the web for references to your name. Google Alerts doesn’t seem to be working for me, but there are a number of great tools out there that can work just as well.
  • Monitoring your social media accounts on a regular basis for hidden insults and slander.
  • Asking your friends to refrain from tagging you in photographs taken at parties, especially if anyone is drinking.

These steps can help you both spot and prevent any damage that might be unfolding behind the scenes. But what happens when you do spot a problem?

Simple SEO techniques can help you to amend some types of damage. Keeping a blog and updating it regularly could help you to flood the web with the content YOU want associated with your name. Using photo-based social media sites like Pintrest can also help you to gobble up valuable real estate, and push down any content you don’t find appealing.

Sometimes, however, your techniques will fall short, and you’ll find your name associated with content you neither like nor approve of. So what happens now? Unfortunately, you’ll need to hire an expert. Just as you’re known for helping your clients with a specific task, reputation management companies (full disclosure: such as the one I work for) specialize in handling tasks that others might not know so much about. Why not set them to work for you?

Protect and Defend

Correcting problems when you see them is just part of a good marketing strategy. In order to really make your online life as compelling as it can possibly be, you’ll also need to do routine maintenance work. Thankfully, much of the work you’ll do in fixing a problem can keep you safe from future attacks.

Writing a blog, for example, can allow you to drown out any negative content that’s bubbling to the surface. But, writing a blog can also help you to seem more like an expert in your given field. Consider sharing a few words of wisdom about SEO on your blog, or better yet, use Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ to share links about your industry. Sharing a link takes just seconds, but your accounts will pop to the top of search results for your name. Each link you share can also make you look a little more like an expert in your industry.

Yes, all of this takes time and effort. But considering that the average person stays in a job for only 4.4 years, according to Forbes, chances are that you’ll need to use your brand to help you move to a new company in no time at all. Getting started on that brand now could make your job search just a little easier.

Photo by Gerd Altmann is licensed under CC0 1.0.

About Jean Dion

Jean Dion is a Senior Journalist with Jean has worked as a writer and editor for close to 20 years, and as a freelance writer, she’s worked on projects concerning health care, pet care, gardening and personal finance.

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