Building Your Online Brand

August 20, 2009
posted by sheric

This post could really be for anyone, but I will focus it on the emerging filmmaker because I think it is just as important to showcase yourself online as it is to showcase your film.

I check out the online profile of everyone I meet or am about to meet. It may sound a little stalker-like, but I like to know who I am talking to and what we have in common. If I can’t find out anything about you when I Google your name, it is as if you do not exist. Well, your personal brand doesn’t exist at least. So what are you doing to build your personal brand? What methods can be used?

The reason for building a personal brand online is to establish how you want to be known. If you want to be known as a director, screenwriter, actor etc., you must cultivate that online. Constructing a simple blog or website, a Linkedin profile, an imdb page, or a separate Facebook page from your personal profile page are all good ways to build and control your personal brand. I recommend that everyone Google your name and see what pops up. It may be a reference to you in an article or a comment you left on some one’s blog or it may be your last Amazon purchase. You can remove that Amazon information by changing the settings on your Amazon profile, by the way. If you don’t find any personal references, that is a bad thing. You don’t exist online and you need to change that.

First, go to this site and use the online identity calculator to assess where your online brand stands right now. How did you do? Are all of the references relevant to your brand? Next, evaluate your strengths, goals, the offerings that can only come from you, and establish to whom you want these traits presented (your target audience like investors, industry contacts, production companies, agents etc.) and who your competition is. You have to differentiate your talents from the billions of other people out there, some with online brands already in existence. If you don’t already own your vanity domain, claim it. You can go to any web hosting site like Yahoo Hosting or Go Daddy.com. If your name is already taken, come up with a recognizable alternative that you can work with. Your personal site will become your baseline on the Web and where everything else will link back to. Since this is the site you’ll have the most control over, this is the one you want ranking above everything else. With your target audience in mind, create your site with information that would be of interest to them.

Now to spread yourself around the Internet. Grab some social accounts (Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Flikr etc.) as having these accounts help you to rise to the top of Google, especially Linkedin. There is a service called Knowem you can use to create social media accounts on a ton of sites with just one submission. You don’t have to join them all, just the ones you plan to keep maintained. You could also maintain a blog, use online networking sites (indieProducer, Tribe Hollywood, MyProducer etc.), publish online articles with services such as EzineArticles and participate in web-based communities. You should try to do all of these.  Use these tools wisely and you cultivate an online presence that ensures you’ll show up in search results the way you want to be seen. Always monitor these references too, as the algorithms that establish the rankings change frequently. Google your name every Monday morning to see if anything has changed. Set a Google alert with your name so that you can track any new progress on your personal brand.

This should get you started on establishing an online brand and as the references pile up, more opportunities to promote yourself will come your way. Good luck.

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