Before you start working on your Personal Brand, you need to find what is already out there. Googling yourself isn’t just for narcissists. Have people written about you? Are you a feature on dontdatehimgirl.com? Is someone with your name a serial rapist in five counties? What embarrassing photos, comments, or blog posts can be found and attributed to you? It’s best that you learn the answers to these questions before someone else does.
Set up a Google Alert for your name. See what comes up over the course of a couple of weeks. For those who don’t know, a Google Alert sends you an email of new search results for a specific search. If you have a common name, you might want to put your name and the city you live in into the Google Alert.
You should also do searches with Bing and Yahoo and other search engines just to see if anything different comes up, but Google is where you want to focus most of your energy because that’s what most people use.
It may be that you have a name that is too common. Or it may be that someone else with your name has already done a fine job of creating a Personal Brand. If this is the case, you need to find a way to make your name unique. For example, the name on my birth certificate isn’t ‘Jack Cameron’. It’s ‘John Cameron’. When I checked a few years ago, I was able to find six John Camerons in my hometown of Tacoma alone, including my own father. JohnCameron.com was already taken by a Canadian singer. There’s a John Cameron in Hollywood who frequently works with the Coen Brothers. From a Personal Branding perspective, John Cameron was a terrible name.
However, Jack Cameron had less clutter. Oh there are plenty of Jack Camerons out there. The Cameron Clan has had no problem breeding and we’re not all that imaginative when it comes to names. But when I started online, there was a distinct lack of Jack Camerons with a significant web presence.
Once you’ve found the name you want to use for your Personal Brand, it’s time to claim it. Purchase the domain of your name. You may even want to purchase the variations such as .net, .org and the like. However, this is a lot like Google in that if you get .com, the rest doesn’t really matter. Yourname.com is what people are going to go to first.
Go to http://namechk.com/ . Type in your Personal Brand name. How many of those are available? You don’t have to take them all, but it’s good if you can at least get Facebook, Twitter and other massively popular social networking sites. Many of these you’re going to want to log in and register simply so no one else can. You don’t necessarily have to use every one of them. You just want to attempt to avoid any branding problems in the future.
Inevitably, there will be some sites where your Personal Brand name is already taken. That’s okay. Just add one word. That word should be the one thing you want others to know about you. If you don’t know what that is yet, that’s okay. That’s what Monday’s article is all about. Now that you’ve established what your Personal Brand is called, it’s time to work on what your Personal Brand is. This is the most important part of Personal Branding and it takes the most work. In the meantime, you can find me at:
– Jack Cameron