Speakers, when was the last time you took stock of your digital persona? I was thinking of the phenomenon of our second, digital lives recently in light of the legislative moves to make erasing unfortunate parts of your digital past a right.
For speakers, keeping track of your digital persona, updating it, and ensuring that it accurately represents what you’re trying to achieve are essential parts of your career management and ones that all too often speakers let slide.
I’m as guilty of this as the next digital citizen. I had a query from a speaker’s bureau earlier this year asking me to check the information the bureau had on its website about me and to please update it if necessary.
I sighed, maybe even groaned, because I had lots of other things to do that day, and then I reluctantly had a look at the material on the site. It was woefully out of date. I was no longer focusing in the way that site said I was – I had new speech topics and new material for my bio and so on.
So I spent an hour revising everything on the site until I had it reasonably up to date. And then I realized that, given that I’m probably represented on a dozen or two speaker bureau sites, that I had a lot of work to do. Days of updating, revising, renewing, reloading and so on.
What is the state of your online persona on the speaker bureaus around the world? Beyond that, what about Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and all the rest? And how does that all relate back to your company website, or your individual speaking page?
And that’s just the beginning. What about all the old media, podcasts, articles, mentions, and postings out there somewhere on other people’s sites about you on the very world wide web?
Most of us have far less control of our digital personas than we realize. As speakers, we’re pleased to undertake a great deal of outreach to podcasters, bloggers, media and so on, because it keeps us up to date, fresh, and in the public eye where we need to be if we’re to get speaking invitations.
But all of that represents a complicated, messy, mostly out of date digital legacy that comes up every time someone googles your name.
And don’t forget, when a meeting planner hears about you and starts thinking about whether or not she’s going to hire you, what’s her first move?
To google you to see what that world wide web is saying about you.
You can’t escape it.
How to get a handle on this? Three essential steps you should undertake monthly — or at least once a quarter.
1.Start by reviewing all the material that’s most immediately under your control. Clean up your own digital tracks – your website, your blog, your social media. Ask yourself, is there a consistent brand? Does it represent me in the way I want to be represented? What needs to change?
2.Then google yourself and see what comes up. Is it saying the right things about you? If not, what can you put out there now that will rise to the top of the google rankings and supplant whatever’s there? No one has time to go past the first page of google items, so focus on those. If there’s material that doesn’t float your boat or market you well, then get to work adding material that does.
3.Plan to refresh your brand on a regular basis, with expert help. The cobbler’s children never have any shoes, so the saying goes. And speakers are busy speaking, connecting, publishing material, and doing whatever it is that is their main work. So this important housecleaning job won’t get done if you don’t build it into your schedule. You should be refreshing your brand at minimum once a year. For some fields of expertise, more often than that will be necessary. And get expert help, because you won’t do it as well as someone with a little bit of distance will.
You are what shows up on the web about you, just as much as you are yourself in real life. In fact, for most people you interact with, your digital persona is more important than your face-to-face reality.
What does yours say about you?
Hat tip to Adam Mefford for the idea.