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ASK US WEDNESDAY: “How can I monitor my personal brand online?”

by Rachel Smith
10 October 2018

While it makes me kind of cringe, I read over and over that I should build and monitor my personal brand online as a journalist. Any tips on doing this effectively? K

The whole notion of a personal brand is a bit icky. I get your feeling about it. That said, I absolutely think journalists should be monitoring themselves in a variety of ways – even though you can’t always control what’s being said or posted about you or your work, you absolutely want to be aware of it and if necessary, take the opportunity to respond professionally and appropriately. Doing this can also help you build links, build your reputation and brand and get more work. Some of the ways you can do this include…

Setting up Google alerts

It’s easy to set up Google news alerts mentioning your name and/or business name – just make sure you add in your city or industry so you get targeted alerts rather than a heap of stuff that you’re not interested in. You should also set up a Google business listing to link back to your site. Make sure you include the link for reviews on your invoices and email signature, and monitor the reviews you get, responding positively to reviews on the listing. It’s another way to get traffic to your site and build / monitor your online reputation.

Monitoring Google Analytics

While GA can seem like a massive learning curve, it’s a powerful way to monitor your personal brand online and your social metrics. You’ll find  lots of value here if you can get your head around a few of the tools and functions. Just one of these functions is referral traffic – you can see how people find you and your site / socials, the pages on your site that are of most interest to visitors and it can also help you go back and engage with those people and keep that link juice flowing.

Keeping an eye on your socials

We’ve written before about how your social following can actually help you stay employed and/or get more work. It’s a no-brainer for an editor in our click-heavy culture to commission writers with established social followings. So journos who tweet, for example, from a private account under their own name and sharing their opinions and insights, are building a personal brand and attracting an audience which in turn makes you more valuable to employers, clients and publishers in general. Klout used to be the go-to for a score of how influential you were on social media, but that tool has now closed. Some alternatives include Social Mention, Twitter Counter and Hootsuite insights.

Tracking shares of your stories

It’s no longer enough to file your copy and move onto the next piece. It’s important to share your stories with your networks, monitor how your stories are being shared and what’s being said about them (in fact, 68 percent of journos worldwide track the social shares of their stories). Using hashtags when sharing your content (on Twitter, FB and LinkedIn) can help you track your work and see what’s being shared easily, too.

Checking and engaging with readers on your stories

Again, forgetting about stories you’ve filed and never going back to revisit how they’re doing or if people are commenting is not great practice. Often a great story generates an even more interesting debate in the comments and while I get wanting to leave it alone if things get heated, interacting with the comments in a professional way can only help build a positive online reputation.

Do you monitor your personal brand online? What are your top tips?

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Rachel Smith

As a kid, Rachel used to carry around a little suitcase of pens and paper so she could stop and write stories whenever inspiration struck. These days, she writes for a living, in between running the show at Rachel's List. Some of you may actually believe she looks like a megaphone in real life, but it's not the case. Honest.
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