You don’t need an expensive marketing firm, or even a friend who works in marketing, to manage your personal brand online. Some of the most powerful tools for monitoring your brand are the free email alert mechanisms available at your search engine of choice.
Setting Google Alerts. While I’ve been known to egosurf my own name online every once in a while, setting a Google Alert on my name means I don’t have to do it so much. Every time Google finds a web page with my name on it, it emails me. Setting up a Google Alert is simple. Go to your Google account and choose “Alerts.” Type your full name in the Search Terms field. Then choose the type of search. I recommend a comprehensive search because then you’ll receive Google Alerts with results that span online news, blogs and other web sites. You then have the option to set the frequency that you receive Alerts. Finally, you just need to specify the email address that should receive the alert and click “Create Alert.”
Setting Yahoo Alerts. Yahoo Alerts works similarly to Google Alerts. Go to Yahoo Alerts and sign in to your Yahoo user account. Click “Create an Alert” and then choose “Keyword News.” From the Keyword News Alert home page, enter your full name in the “Include” field. Next choose how you want the Yahoo Alerts delivered, and the delivery method (via email, Yahoo Messenger or mobile device). Finally, click “Save Alert.”
Reacting to the Alerts
Using automated alert systems to help manage your personal brand online is not as fun as ego surfing for your name but is a much better way of tracking where your name shows up online. For example, when my first WebWorkerDaily posts went online, I received a Google Alert for each one.
On the flip side, with a name like Will Kelly, I receive Google Alerts for articles about Kelly Slater (the surfer), Kelly Ripa (the talk show host) and Kelly Clarkson (the singer) just because the articles contain the the text “Will Kelly.” So do expect some false alerts if you chose to use Google Alerts or Yahoo Alerts. I also recommend using rules in your email application to route alerts to a specific folder to stop them clogging up your inbox.
How do you monitor your personal brand online?