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What is Personal Reputation Management?

And how to get started building a positive personal reputation for yourself online.

In the vast digital landscape of our time, each one of us, like it or not, has an online reputation. It is this reputation that can dictate our professional success, personal relationships, and more. Just as companies invest in reputation management, so should individuals. Here is where Personal Reputation Management comes into play.  But what is personal reputation management? And why does it matter so much? It’s all much simpler than the fancy term makes it sound.
Online Personal Reputation Management (OPRM) is a practice that involves monitoring, influencing, and enhancing how you are perceived online. It’s like hiring a publicist for your personal brand, where you are the main product. It includes monitoring what’s said about you online, swiftly addressing any damaging content, and creating a positive online presence that showcases your best traits. Except, in today’s day in age, you don’t need to hire a publicist and you must manage your online reputation. Which means you need to get the hang of this reputation thing, and fast.

Why Your Online Personal Reputation Matters

Online personal reputation matters enormously in today’s digital world. It influences nearly every aspect of our lives, including our careers, relationships, and personal sense of well-being.

Consider, for instance, a potential employer or client. Before setting up a meeting or an interview, they might (i.e. will most definitely) Google your name. What they find about you online will influence their first impression of you even before they meet you. Is your online persona showcasing your professional achievements and positive personal life, or is it shadowed by an argument you had with someone on Twitter five years ago or unprofessional content?
With a firmly built and properly managed online reputation, a positive digital footprint can open doors for you professionally and personally. If your name is linked with expert opinions, substantial achievements, and an engaging online persona, you’re more likely to attract valuable connections, clients, or even job offers.
Online Personal Reputation Management is no longer an option, but rather a necessity in our digital age. Our online persona can serve as a powerful tool, opening up new opportunities and paving the way for our success. It’s about being vigilant about your online footprint and ensuring it represents your best self. So, consider investing some time in managing your online reputation – it’s worth it!

Negative Online Reputation Vs. Positive Online Reputation

Let’s illustrate this with examples.
Imagine a respected lawyer, let’s call him John. He’s been practicing for years, and his clients are happy with his work. However, a quick online search of his name pulls up negative reviews from a disgruntled client who didn’t win their case, along with an article about a controversial statement he made years ago. This is an example of a negative online reputation, where the information available online doesn’t reflect John’s expertise or the quality of his work.
On the other hand, consider consider another lawyer, who spends two hours every week minding her online reputation. Let’s call her Jane.  Aside from regular social media activity and taking care not to lose it with someone in an online argument, Jane also regularly posts explanations about basic legal terms online, shares tips about her hobby on her blog, and engages positively with her followers. When you Google her name, you’ll find her polished LinkedIn profile, glowing testimonials from colleagues, and her insightful blog posts. This strong, positive online persona enhances Jane’s professional reputation and attracts potential clients and employers.

Both John and Jane are skilled professionals, but the state of their online reputations could significantly impact their careers.

Now, let’s clarify something right away. We can’t remove that kind of legitimate content from the web. No one can. Even if you delete an old, controversial statement in a post, it’s bound to resurface in in-depth search results. The kinds of searched that a human resources person perform when they’re deciding which pile to put your job application on. What we can do – and you can do yourself – is start fresh and do it right. By creating loads of positive content, you can push the negative content to the deep, dark recesses of the web, on the 10th page of Google results.

How to Start Managing Your Online Reputation

Managing your online reputation can take time and patience, but it’s a crucial investment in your personal and professional future. If the task seems too daunting or time-consuming, consider hiring a professional online reputation management service. But before you do that, here’s how to get started yourself:

Google Yourself

The first step to managing your online reputation is to understand what’s already out there. Search your name on Google, using incognito mode, and other search engines to see what shows up. Look through the first few pages of results to get a comprehensive understanding of what information is readily available about you. Try to figure out what kind of content has worked best for you and what you’d like to see pushed farther back in search results. Search for a couple of other people in your industry. What are they doing that’s different and how is it working for them?

Analyze Your Online Presence

Go through the content that you find: social media accounts, blog posts, comments, images, and videos. Analyze the nature of this content. Is it positive, negative, or neutral? Does it accurately reflect your personal or professional identity? If you’re active on a dozen websites and social networks, is it maybe time to give up on some? If you’re not very active at all, could you pick a couple of channels to be active on?

Clean Up Your Social Media

Your social media profiles often show up first in search results. Ensure these represent you positively and professionally. Delete or hide posts that might be controversial or unprofessional. Also, ensure your privacy settings are updated so that only appropriate content is visible to the public. If you’re very active on social media and would like to keep that separate from your professional persona online, instead of creating anonymous accounts, take some time to compartmentalize your online presence into the personal and the professional.

Create Positive Content

One of the most effective ways to enhance your online reputation is to create and share positive content. This could be blog posts about your professional interests, contributions to online discussions, or images and videos showcasing your skills or hobbies. Or it could be just hopping on Quora every evening and answering one question that’s within your expertise. Remember, every piece of content you put online can contribute to your personal brand.

Be Consistent

Ensure your personal brand is consistent across all platforms. Use a real photo of you, and one that is both personable and not unprofessional. (Not a professional studio corporate photo, please. Those are so 2010.) Stick to a few key topics of interest and maintain a consistent tone and style. In other words, make sure people recognize you across networks and know what to expect from you. Online reputation management is not a one-time task, but a continuous process. Regularly check what’s being said about you online and respond to any negative comments or reviews in a timely and professional manner.

Optimize Your SEO

Using Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies can help you control what shows up first when someone Googles your name. This can include using your full name on your social profiles and website, getting mentioned on reputable websites, or publishing articles on popular platforms. We know SEO can get complicated. Oh, boy, do we know. But getting started and understanding the basics is easy and we highly recommend it.


Tools for DIY Personal Reputation Management

While our agency toolkit includes several paid tools and software for content creation, social media management, media monitoring, video editing, and other personal reputation management tasks, we also use a few tools that are easy to use and either free or affordable. We’re happy to share some of our favorite ones with you and hope they will serve as resources to help you manage and organize your online personal reputation effectively.
Google Alerts: Set up Google Alerts for your name to get notified when you are mentioned online. This is a critical tool for monitoring your online presence.
Buffer: An easy-to-use social media management tool that can help you schedule posts, engage with your followers, and monitor your social media performance. Also, Buffer was founded the same year that we founded Krazy Fish Media, so we’ve got a soft spot for it.
LinkedIn: This professional networking site is an absolute must for building and managing your online reputation. Make sure to fully optimize your profile, use all of the features provided by LinkedIn to showcase your professional accomplishments, and engage with your network regularly. Aside from creating and maintaining an active and up-to-date profile, you can also boost your online visibility and rep by joining groups relevant to your industry and engaging in shop talk there.
Medium: Yes, blogging is still a thing. If you’re not ready to start blogging on a domain of your own, Medium is a blogging platform that affords you the space and tools to write about your areas of expertise, helping to position you as a thought leader in your industry.
Canva: A design tool that helps you create professional-looking social media posts, blog graphics, and other visual content to boost your online image. In the past couple of years, Canva has added so many tools, third-party apps, and functionalities that we’re pretty sure there’s no piece of content that can’t be composed in Canva. And they have a free tier too.
Hubspot: Did you know that Hubspot has a free tier that is more than enough to help you manage your own professional rolodex (if you’re a Zoomer, that’s a rotating card file device that we used to store physical contact information before smartphones and the internet). Connect the free Hubspot tier to your personal Gmail account and use it to categorize and manage your relationships. Hubspot can help you remember when to follow up with people you connect with online and network with professionally IRL.
Personal Website: A personal website has become essential in organizing your online presence. Having a personal website gives you a central platform to control your narrative online. WordPress as a content management system (CMS) on a GoDaddy hosting account and a domain is our favorite recipe for building a good-looking personal site without any coding knowledge.

Your Free Personal Reputation Audit

Still wondering where to start? Go figure, we’ve got just the thing for you. A comprehensive, no-nonsense, and totally FREE social media audit conducted by yours truly – the most experienced and most congenial team that specializes in personal branding and personal reputation management. Sound good? Request your free social media audit now and let’s get you started.