Protecting your reputation online should be a concern for everyone. It doesn't matter if you are a business, brand, professional athlete, celebrity or even a blogger -- your name and brand could be up for grabs at any given time.
With that being said, this article is all about how to protect your personal name and brand through the use of blog. Blogs are amazing for creating content, but they can also serve as a main hub for your brand as well -- connecting all of your content, social profile and media mentions all together in one place.
According to a recent survey, companies that blog get 97 percent more inbound links, 55 percent more website visitors and generate 88 percent more inbound leads and 434% more indexed pages than companies who do not blog. - ReputationRhino.com
Setting up a brand to protect your online identity is actually much easier than you think. If you don't already have a blog of your own, you can walk through my simple "how to create a blog" tutorial that walks you through the process step by step.
Once you are setup with a blog or ready to get setup with one, here are the five actions you are going to focus on.
- Register a domain name for your personal name, brand or business
- Setup a blog hosting account and install WordPress
- Write a few high quality articles to publish to your blog
- Create a profile on Twitter, Facebook & LinkedIn and link them to your blog
- Start sharing your blog content across social media and through blog commenting
The concept is easy enough, but actually putting in the work to make each of these happens is what counts. I'll be touching on each of these topics in more detail through out the article.
The end goal here is to get your blog and your social profile pages to rank at the top of the search results for your name, brand or business (like in the screenshot below). If you were to visit Google and search for my name "Zac Johnson", you would likely see the same search results as shown below. I pretty much own the whole first page of the search results for my name, thanks to my blog (at the top) and my social profiles following behind, along with interviews and media mentions after that.
The Power and Responsibility of Smart Blogging
Now that you've seen what is possible through the use of a blog and social media, I want to show you how you can do the same. However, it's also important to stress the importance of looking at your blog as a real business or something that you are going to invest a lot of time in. I often tell bloggers that blogging is a long drawn out process, but if you actually put the time and effort in now, you could have something quite amazing a few months down the road.
Todd William of ReputationRhino.com works with brands on a daily basis that are completely new to the concept of blogging and more often then not, he has to translate this same concept to his clients as well.
“We hear a lot about quality when it comes to blog marketing. But no one seems willing to talk about quantity. Here is how I explain the power of blogging for a small business… If you have a 12 page web site and you commit to blogging twice a month, you will grow your Web site by over 200% in a single year. 200% more pages crawled by Google. 200% more internal links. 200% more ways for customers and clients to find you and your business online.”
Back when I started my blog at ZacJohnson.com in 2007, I had no readers and only one blog post. It was a sad thing to see at that time -- however, now it has thousands of visitors daily and over 1,000 published articles to the site! Just like with anything worth doing, it takes time and effort.
Now let's get back to how you can start using a blog and social media to build a fortress around your name in the search
How a Blog Helps Your Online Reputation
As mentioned earlier, when you setup a blog, you aren't just creating another site to clutter up the internet -- you are actually creating what will be the main hub for your personal name, brand or online business.
If you are creating a personal blog around your name, it should highlight your achievements and almost act like your online resume. If your blog is going to be for your brand or business, you should create content that caters to your potential and existing customers -- giving examples and testimonials of why someone should work or buy through your and not your competition.
Creating your blog is only the first piece of the puzzle when trying to rank in the search results and protect your online reputation. You will also need to put some good content creation, promoting and branding behind it as well.
Through each of the methods below, you can build powerful backlinks to your blog which helps it continually rank higher in the search results. At the same time this will allow you to build a loyal following across all major social networks and establish yourself as an expert in the process.
- Build a Blog that Matters - This is a simple reminder that your blog is one in a few hundred million. If you want to make a blog that stands out from the crowd, you need to create content that matters and serves a purpose.
- Establish Your Presence on Social Media - With over 2 billion users on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, it's no wonder why Google loves these sites so much. Create profiles on all of the major social networks, then link them back to you blog and share your latest content with your growing social following.
- Contribute Original Articles to Other Sites - Guest blogging is still one of the most effective ways to gain powerful backlinks to your site while also establishing yourself as an expect. When guest blogging, don't write promotional content for yourself or try to stuff paid links within your content.
- Get News and Media Coverage - It's no secret that big name sites like Forbes, Entrepreneur, Inc and Huffington Post are always looking for new and engaging content. To go along with this content they also need experts and references to source. This is where you and your blog come in! Connect with the right people and use online reporting services to get priceless mentions and backlinks.
- Create Case Studies and Infographics - While most bloggers are focusing their efforts on content creation and building out there blog, the ones who are exploring out-of-the-box ideas are bound to get the more promotion. By creating in-depth tutorials and case studies, infographics and online video you can drastically improve your chances for other sites and visitors to share you content while also linking back to your site.
By implementing each of the practices above into your blogging schedule, you can create a powerful online branding and marketing strategy that will help your own the first page of the search results.
Just like you are trying to control what appears in the search engines and social networks, it's important for you to control what appears on your web sites and blogs as well.
It's extremely easy to setup a blog of your own and having it hosted under your own server. The last thing you want to do is have content created by someone else and posted to another site that you can update, edit or even remove if you had to.
This is where sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, PissedConsumer and RipoffReport are hurting many businesses. Without having your own blog and presence in the search results, all of these sites will be ranking for your name and brand and giving the wrong message.
“Most reputation management related issues are because of content created by someone else about you or your business. It could be a negative news article, a mean-spirited review or a thoughtless social media post, but the common theme is a loss of control over the negative content. When you have a blog or work closely with an influential blogger to tell your story online you take back some measure of control. You are no longer the passive object of content online, but you become an active creator and curator. You are trading a headphone for a megaphone and I think we all know which shouts louder.”
In addition to all of the fine points we've covered about how to use a blog to protect your reputation online, it would be a mistake to not talk about how influential content ranking in the search results, found in social media and throughout the internet can be to your brand.
For this, we can refer to the infographic below from SEOBrand.com Reputation Management that highlights ten industry statistics on the importance of not just protecting your brand online, but also to monitor all personal and brand name mentions as well.
Of the many stats covered in the infographic, we found the following ones to be most relevant in terms of how a blog can help with the content creation and branding process.
Through the use of a website or blog, not only can you rank multiple times in the search results with your own content, but you can also make sure your audience is always finding the most accurate and reliable information.
At the end of the day, blogging is serious business. When individuals and brands stop looking at their blog and social media as a side project that they can just work on whenever they like, that's when the true power of their blog comes into play.
Blogging isn't for the faint of heart, the slackers or those who want to cut corners... but isn't your online reputation worth it?