You: The Online Branding Checklist (AKA: “Google Is The New Resume”)

The Online Personal Branding Checklist

I. Define Your Brand
II. Own Your Name

I. DEFINE your brand. Do it as narrowly as possible. Consider these questions:

  • What do you want to be top of mind for?
  • How do you want people to PERCEIVE you? Consider your TARGET market.
  • What WORDS (keyworks) would you like associated with your name every time it appears? Choose words that describe what you do, what industry you do it for and how you do it differently than others. For example: Michelle Villalobs, sales, marketing, social media, workshops

II. OWN Your NAME. Note! You don’t have to do them all!! Take it slow. Do one at a time… [If this is overwhelming, you might want to consider one of my live beginner workshops instead.]

1. Have a presence, a profile, in one major spot that accurately and fully reflects your brand. Best place: your own website or blog. If you don’t have either, another good choice (for now as a placeholder) is LinkedIn. Why LinkedIn? Because it gets crawled by Google. A lot.

2. Create fully fleshed out profiles on LinkedIn, Plaxo and Google Profile (at least). Describe yourself using those key words that are associated with your narrow industry or field. Make the profiles public.

3. Buy your URL. Redirect it to LinkedIn if you don’t have a personal website.

4. Stake out profiles with your real name on Social Media Sites (at least: Facebook, LinkedIn; Twitter). Even if you don’t plan to use them, don’t let anyone else get them.

5. Be HUMAN! Show your face. People want to do business with people, not with brands, or logos, or companies. Start with a great picture of yourself. One that is aligned with your brand and your niche. Here are some examples (from our recent Headshot Workshop – next one is August 28th, 2009):

Cristina Maria Lloyd Headshot Workshop Image2Jessica Suito Headshot Workshop FInal

5. Set up Google Alerts for your name. This way you’ll know when Google comes across your name in any new materials, like newspaper stories or online reviews. [If you’re on Twitter, go ahead and set up some Twitter Alerts too using TweetBeep]. As you get addicted to alerts, you might want to add alerts for your brand, your industry keywords & your competitors.

6. Become a “Voice of Your Industry.” Think of ONE way that you can you deliver value to your target on a regular basis, and in what format? A 1-minute YouTube How-To? A blog? Inspirational quotes? Twitter? Only pick what you know your audience/target market/potential clients want. (FYI: we DON’T want to know about what you had for breakfast, whether you’re stuck in traffic, or if your kids are driving you crazy.)

7. Build your email list. How? Offer free stuff. Get their email address in order to give it to them.

8. Advanced: If you’re feeling pretty good about this, try incorporating social bookmarking into your repertoire. Check out Digg, Delicious or StumpleUpon. Why? So you can stay on top of good industry-specific info that you might want to share with your network. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, skip this step!

9. Be active, consistent and PATIENT. How long do you REALLY think it should take? Triple that.


The biggest mistakes I see?

  • Spam/promotion focused approach – DELIVER VALUE, the rest follows…
  • Not listening
  • Not having a solid idea of what you want your brand to be and say to the world
  • Overuse/abuse
  • Fail to measure benchmark. You need to know what’s working and do more of it
  • Getting stuck in what you want to say, instead of what people want to hear

Want more? Have questions? Suggestions? Additions to the above? Post them here. I’ll answer ANY and ALL questions you post.

Ciao for now!!

Michelle Villalobos

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