Who you are online is who you are.
People don’t wait to meet you in person or stand in front of their mailboxes in anticipation of receiving your direct mail letter or preview packet. They go to Google. If you’re not there, you don’t exist. Whatever is there will shape their perception of you. Sorry.
When you decide to expand your digital presence, be very intentional, strategic, thoughtful (insert whatever over-used business word you can think of here) about how you do it. People will make up their minds quickly, and you most likely will never have the chance to chime in an defend yourself.
What are your first steps?
- Purchase a vanity URL. (e.g. www.yourname.com). You can’t underestimate the power of your personal brand. It is also the easiest way for people to find you online. Unless you have a name no one can spell, leverage what your parents gave you.
- Sign up for a free blog on WordPress or a micro-blog on Tumblr. Don’t feel like you have to spend money with a graphic designer. I had been blogging for five years before I ever hired a designer to create a custom site.
- Commit to a regular posting schedule. Even if you only post once a week, do it consistently. People who stumble upon your site will notice if you haven’t posted in weeks, months, or years. A lack of regular posting schedule suggests that you really aren’t committed to what you’re doing.
- Become an advocate for the person you’re trying to reach. Spend time with them. Find out what they are reading, what movies do they watch, what do they talk about, and what questions are they asking. The better your questions are consistent with the questions of the people you’re trying to reach, the more authentic and effective you will become in your efforts.
What advice would you add for those just embarking on establishing their digital real estate?
Ben Stroup is a content activist in a post-paragraph world. He is chief broker of opportunity at Ben Stroup Enterprises. Connect with Ben via email, Twitter, and Google+. Subscribe via email to learn how to use content to move people to action.