How To Repair Your Online Reputation
A recent survey revealed nearly 50% of employers decided not to hire candidates based on unfavorable content they found online.
Are you confident that when hiring authorities Google you, everything they read will shape a favorable executive image?
Senior-level candidates undergo intense evaluations, and ‘digital dirt’ can remove you from consideration. Cultivating a positive online presence so that your digital footprint mirrors the value you are offering employers means that you must proactively manage what is being shared about you online.
Conduct An Online Audit
Before you launch a brand repair strategy, you need to assess your brand equity and digital damage. The following tools will help you take inventory.
1. Google Search. Yes. This one is simple. Perform a ‘Google’ search of your name. See what comes up, especially on page one and what that content links to online.
2. Google Alert. Set up automatic notifications so that you are aware of any new information that surfaces on the web about you.
3. Google Images. Conduct an online search within the images category of Google’s search results. Click on that link, and it will lead you to the source content.
What to do next: If you find negative information, you can submit a content removal request to Google. Before you go that route, I recommend reaching out to the person/company who posted the negative article/news about you.
If you are unable to get the content removed, the next best thing to do is to push the content down so that the harmful publication(s) are no longer dominating the search results.
Communicate Your Value Across Diverse Channels
Trust-building is one of the biggest obstacles executive leadership has today, and employers no longer rely exclusively on a candidate’s resume to determine their qualifications. In today’s digital-driven job search market, employers are looking for other sources to screen candidates and find information in support of the individual’s qualifications for the job.
How to Overshadow Negative Online Content With A Positive Online Brand
Sometimes one blemish can skew an employer’s perspective about your trustworthiness.
If you have reputation clean up to do, mounting an online brand-building campaign with a sweeping positive content spin will help you shove negative results out of page one in Google.
Where to Start?
LinkedIn. Set up your online profile on www.linkedin.com. It is free, although LinkedIn does offer premium subscriptions. Make sure your profile is entirely populated, but more importantly, be sure to ask your network for recommendations. When it comes to reputation management and repair, 3rd party endorsements are highly influential.
Blogging. Create thought leadership content and cultivate a robust digital presence. Popular blogging platforms that you can set up for free include Blogger.com + LinkedIn.com + Typepad.com
Blogging consistently will help build your credibility and showcase your expertise. Whatever you choose to write, make sure it is focused on a particular topic with relevance to your industry of choice and is between 300 to 600 words.
Personal Website. Steer and energize your brand’s digital footprint with your own personal website. Yourdomain.com carries a lot of weight when it comes to brand building. If you own yourname.com, you can truly control what shows up on page one in Google search.
Where can you set up your personal website? Here are a few top free choices for website building.
Guest Blogging. Consider submitting an article to an alumni newsletter, industry-related newsletter, or magazine.
Social Networks. As an executive, your personal brand is critical to your company’s digital equity. So not only is being on social media going to keep your brand relevant, but you can connect with other industry professionals and strengthen your thought leadership clout.
I gave LinkedIn its own mention above because LinkedIn is the social media giant all professionals use. However, there are other social media platforms you should consider such as the following:
Press Releases. Announcing your accomplishments via press release distribution can further enhance your online visibility and magnify your exposure. The following are top free press release sites.
1. PR Newswire
Videos. Why do you need to leverage video to build your online brand? The internet is becoming mobile-first. Video is the most popular search option for mobile users. In fact, according to Brandwatch.com, “YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine and third most visited site after Google and Facebook.”
What to do next: Create a video introducing yourself, sharing your elevator pitch, and leadership philosophy. Often, videos show up in Google’s search results on page one. If you enjoy making videos, build an online portfolio of videos, and grow your YouTube Channel.
Maintain a Consistent, Professional Presence
When you establish and expand your online presence, it is imperative you send a clear and consistent message across all your communications. Become crystal clear about what your value proposition is and stream that message across multiple online channels (social media, press releases, blogs, videos, and personal websites).
Employers want to know what value you bring to their organization, and they are looking for authenticity that will affirm their choice in your candidacy.
By taking the time to build a professional online image that matches your career marketing documents (executive resume, LinkedIn profile), you will yield tremendous ROI and will better control what Google says about you.