The Internet is big and getting bigger by the day. Whether you own one website and a few social media profiles or 100 websites and a social media empire, your sphere of control is minuscule relative to the total volume of information transiting the Internet’s vast plumbing.
You can’t directly control everything that’s said about you across the entire aperture. But you doubtless have more influence than you realize. The key is understanding what’s possible, what’s not, and how to effectively exert your power where possible.
Ready to leave less about your digital presence to chance? Here’s what you can do about it.
- Complete and Optimize Your Social Media Profiles
The original content on your social media profiles is as close as you’ll get to getting earned media without actually earning free media mentions. (This is a strategy you may want to do — see #3 for more on that.)
Back to social media. Properties like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram have extremely high Domain Authority (DA). They’re not guaranteed to rank on Google’s first page for your exact-match keywords — no property is — but they’re very nearly a lock. Create and shine up your profiles on those three properties and you’ve got three positive, highly visible credits to your digital name.
- Invest in Online Reputation Management
That pesky negative, say an unflattering news article from way back when, has blemished your otherwise positive search engine results pages for years. You’re finally ready to do something about it. Which means it’s time to call in the reputation management experts.
Effective reputation management consultants work behind the scenes to remove or suppress negative information outside your digital sphere of control. If your digital presence won’t be all it can be until that information is minimized, you know what you have to do.
- Explore Low-Cost PR Options
Burnishing the positive, high-authority properties you already control and suppressing or removing negatives on properties you don’t control both qualify as defensive moves. Non-crisis PR, on the other hand, is offensive by design — it shapes the conversation on your terms and your terms alone.
PR is pricey and not always worth the investment. Before committing, price out your options and resolve not to spend more than you can afford.
- Advertise a Service
Even if you have to give it away for free upfront.
The goal here isn’t to make money, at least not at first. The goal is to position yourself and your organization (if it exists and is part of the strategy) as a font of expertise in your niche.
To cite a common example that probably doesn’t apply to you (or you wouldn’t be reading this): SEO experts generally offer free or very low-cost access to their proprietary “how to do SEO” libraries. They know that prospects are more likely to skim these resources, conclude they’d rather not expend the resources necessary to implement them all, and come back to the expert with wallet in hand.
Take Control of Your Digital Presence Today
Think of the above as your digital to-do list for the year. Like any multi-stage project, it’s more akin to a long-distance race than a 100-meter dash. Maybe you’ll work in productive spurts, or perhaps you’ll maintain a methodical pace and cross one item after the other off your list. But you’re not going to wrap up next week.
That’s fine. You know what needs to be done and you’re willing to see it through. Half the battle is getting started.