Today I did a webinar for Bulldog Reporter PR University titled “Google+ for PR: Mastering Google+ Pages and Hangouts—Best Bets for Brands in 2013” and while I was indeed sharing the stage with the amazing Stephanie Scott, Katie Morse, Danielle Brigida, and Brian Pittman, this is just my part of the presentation without any edits or changes or cuts — so you’re welcome to enjoy just my part of it, wherein I talk about the three types of Google+ for Brands adopters: Hot & Heavies, Afterthoughts, and Zombie Ghost Towns. I hope you enjoy this, learn loads, and ask me tons of questions. Via Google+ for Brands Best in Show Webinar from Chris Abraham.
I put together a case study and exploration of blogger outreach for a webinar I put on for a company yesterday and I thought I would share it here. I might go from calling it Long Tail Blogger Outreach to Deep Blogger Outreach or Deep Content Marketing. Anyway, it was meant to be spoken through so I will do that as well but for now check it out and let me know what you think. You can also find it over on SlideShare, Long Tail Blogger Outreach Webinar.
One of the web’s most influential social media practitioners and evangelists, Chris Abraham has been named Director of Unison’s social media practice .
The Unison Agency just announced having appointed Chris Abraham as their head of social media. Abraham, former President of Abraham Harrison, LLC, will be responsible for the direction and leadership of Unison’s social media practice, overseeing the integration of social media across all Unison’s products and services. Unison’s Co-Founder and President, Robert Fardi, had this to say about Abraham’s naming:
“Chris Abraham is a rarity in digital experts, someone who can boast a 20-year track record in online communities and a combination of skills in PR, marketing and technology. We look forward to tapping those skills and bringing them to our global client base.”
A rarity indeed. Since about the time there was a form of digital engagement, Chris Abraham has helped in practice, evangelism, and developmentally to refine the dynamics of online community development, social media, social networking, and online collaboration. Our own founders interacted since when with Chris via just about every social network ever named. As far back as 1999, Abraham was already honing skills and community via blogging and connecting.
Abraham is not only a fixture on the social networks, but his expertise can be gleaned via any number of key online publications such as; The Huffington Post, ChrisAbraham.com, Biznology.com, and Socialmedia.biz, among the many others.
Abraham has been named a “Top 50 Social Media Power Influencer by Forbes”, among his many other professional accolades. As for Unison, the company is a leading global digital agency headquartered in Washington, D.C., and with offices in New York City and Los Angeles, that leverages technology to help promote brands via digital channels. The company was founded back in 2003 by now President Robert Fardi and Creative Director R. Julius Talvik.
I talked about how blogger outreach is scary, and I talked about why this fear exists for most people before they start talking to bloggers. In great measure, these fears exist because of the horror stories that have resulted from wrong-headed approaches.
In the five years that we’ve been reaching out to bloggers, we’ve learned just as much about how NOT to pitch as we’ve learned about the right ways. The main thing to keep in mind is how you feel when you are on the receiving end of a misguided PR pitch. If you just stick with that mindset, you’ll avoid the lion’s share of pitching mistakes.
Now, I have been getting pitches for my blog, Because the Medium is the Message, since 2004 or so. Now, Marketing Conversation gets loads of pitches as well. Some of the insulting things that abuse me to no end include sending your pitch to “Dear Blogger,” or to “Abraham” when my name is Chris Abraham.
I can generally tell when a compliment is hollow: they’re either too general or way too recent and specific. It is very easy for even the least sophisticated of my fellow bloggers to sense sucking up or kissing up, especially if you haven’t done any homework or any research at all.
Also, if you don’t have your formatting sorted and it looks like you obviously copied and pasted back and forth and I can make out weird spacing and a strange mixture of fonts and sizes, I can tell you’re probably cutting corners and doing things carelessly and without concern for how I will perceive it–as though half-assed is all I am worth since I am not a Mashable or TechCrunch. People don’t like it when they can obviously tell that you’re going through the motions until something else better comes along. Bloggers will always call you out if they sense you’re just calling it in.
No, I also don’t blame the agents too much. They’re often understaffed, juggling too many balls, have insufficient experience, or lack technological skills and are just doing their best. The agencies are why these agents are oftentimes coming up short. And, at the end of the day, many agencies have given up on earned media because earned media can be risky and it can oftentimes be an all or nothing venture. Outreach failure is easily possible when there is very little cultural awareness and understanding of how best to appeal to these thousands and thousands of very real people who wield very real power and influence over popular consensus and perception.
Perhaps the only thing you’ve come away from this article is that you need to hire me in order to get some of that white-hat link-farming SEO love. So, let me warn you: it doesn’t work unless you spend a lot of time, money, energy, and creativity to actually put together a plausible and meaningful PR campaign.
Bloggers did not fall of a turnip truck. If they don’t see the value in the pitch, they won’t post; if they fancy that you’re just asking them to post because you want to vampire bat on their Google juice, then you’re likely to be in a whole lot of #fail and possibly a whole lot of pain. The white-hat link-farm organic SEO pwn effect is only secondary if you are, the entire way along, a total Mensch and have amazing assets, viral-quality video, a great pitch, an accurate target, and a gentle, kind, and generous follow-through.
It is sort of like dating. You need to remain present during the entire date and not even get angry or resentful–or hostile–if you are not invited upstairs for a night cap. If you’re caught just calling it in and going through the motions, just being on the date because you’re hoping to get lucky at the end of the night, you’re likely to end up either hurting someone else’s feelings or destroying your reputation. Enjoy the company, enjoy the date, enjoy the diversion, enjoy the desert, enjoy the wine, enjoy the walk in the park, enjoy the play, enjoy the coffee, and then be surprised and appreciative when and if you’re invited upstairs for a night cap.
If you are truly present in blogger outreach, and what you do is driven by what’s good for the blogger as well as what’s good for you, you might be pleased with the results.
Maybe the reason why you can’t even quite get into the top-five or number-one spot on Google search is because you’re not spending enough time or money getting the best Web host and Web server you can afford and then optimizing how your serve your Web pages, especially when your modern CMS is backed by a database.
I have a theory that both where you end up on search results as well as how much money you can make advertising AdWords ads via AdSense depends not merely on SEO or surfing the right trends or even finding the long tail sweet spot, but also on how quick, responsive, reliable, and durable the server that hosts your blog or site is. The faster the page loads, the better your site will rank on Google search, all other things being equal. Take it to the bank.
When my server was really under-powered and unoptimized, I was averaging $4/day, then after moving stuff around and optimized, it went up to a more reliable $11-25/day. Then, the site started getting more popular from better ranking and then the reliability decreased and the daily take returned to $4-6/day or so.
Now, with more physical RAM in the box and some cloud-based back-up to handle big popularity spikes, I am seeing quite a few $15-$25/day pay-outs.That’s only one person’s experience, but that’s all I got.
What I am going to tell you is not hard science. I might even be recognizing the wrong patterns. And, my sample size is one subject over a long period of time, my blog, Because the Medium is the Message, which is a very big, old, blog with 6,894 posts, 4,631 comments, 4,244 categories, and 14,092 tags — all back-ended by a MySQL database and fortified with WP Super Cache on a dedicated server.
My blog gets about 50,000 visits-a-month and once-in-a-while I will get a spike to 20,000 visits in a day — for example, when I surfed the Royal Wedding coverage. I serve AdWord ads on the site and I have been noticing that all things being equal, whenever my system administrator adds RAM memory, is able to optimize the database, increase uptime, and add either bandwidth or resources to the box that in some way makes the site quicker to serve, especially when slashdotted or digg-dotted from popularity, then Google rewards me with more advertising revenue.
And this happens not only during the days when I am being crashed by being mentioned on Mashable or retweeted by Guy Kawasaki, adding hardware and software resources to my dedicated server that adds to the box’s durability, reliability, and especially quickness and responsiveness is what does it on a daily basis.
And, I understand why Google does this. Isn’t this obvious? They are looking to provide their visitor, their users, their searchers, with a seamless and splendid experience. So, amazing user interface and quality of research and content cannot be enjoyed from a site that has repeatedly shown that it is habitually slow or unresponsive.
I honestly believe that the time a page loads is an important variable in the algorithm that Google deploys when it is indexing and ranking resource sites. You might have your user interface, site architecture and content completely sorted out; you might have organic link-tos and a PR of 5 or above; but at the end of the say, Google won’t send its searchers to a site that won’t load fast.
Cheap, slow hosting is fine when you’re new, but when you get as big as the Chris Abraham blog, with almost seven-thousand active posts and an open-season on comments, you really need to make sure your hardware can match your traffic, your popularity, your spikes, and your database requirements–and exceed them–or Google might give you ranking demerits and you might lose the trust and faith that Google had in you, resulting in their needing to either rank you down a few or off the front page so as to prevent a negative user experience.
Don’t forget that this is especially important for someone who is using Google on a smart phone. These folks are searching for timely information, especially when they’re on the road having a mobile web experience. After suffering through EDGE or 3G bandwidth issues just to reach Google, getting a “database cannot connect” from your site or blog doesn’t make you look good nor does it make the search engine that referred you.
What do you think? What are your experiences? Via Biznology
While I concur with Vizzini, the Sicilian from the movie The Princess Bride, that one should “never get involved in a land war in ,” sometimes there’s no escape — and taking on Google’s search index, algorithmic prowess, and the natural results of organic search itself is, indeed, akin to getting involved in a land war in Asia. Most folks know only of the fierce fighting associated with organic search engine optimization (SEO), a process by which we write copy, optimize architecture, use keywords, add hyperlinks, and interlink sites in order to associate a keyword phrase with our particular brand, product, service, and site; another, larger battle is online reputation management (ORM).
Online Reputation Management is the practice of monitoring a reputation on the internet with a view to controlling perception of that reputation. ORM goes beyond SEO to control the entire contents of the first page or two of Web results for a given search. Internet reputation management is also the only known antidote to Iocane powder. And, like Iocane powder, one must build up one’s immunity to a negative online reputation on search over a period of time by introducing positive and supportive content about yourself and your brand in minute portions over a lifetime.
You think chess is hard? Try ten-dimensional chess!
While SEO is about getting one site to the top of Google search results when you search for one or more keyword phrases — indeed, a difficult if not sometimes impossible task; ORM is about promoting upwards of twenty other sites to the top of Google based on a keyword phrase — usually a full name or brand name — without having access to some or most of the content being promoted up while attempting to push a negative, uncomplimentary, or erroneous result down while allowing positive, neutral, and innocuous organic results to bubble up to reclaim the top spots of Google.
It is a phenomenally difficult and resource-intensive process for anyone, even my team at Reputation.com — it’s not about dumping energy and optimization into one keyword phrase onto one one property in order to get it preferred by Google (by virtue of its relevance, appeal, popularity, attention, social-mentions, and inter-connectedness) — which is already a tall order in today’s world of SEO acceptance and mastery in the industry, a world where most all competitors are highly competitive and are out for blood and will stop at nothing to acquire the top spot for their brand based on their own keyword portfolio.
No, taking back the first two pages of Google’s organic search results means dumping enough energy, in the form of producing a site with exceptional relevance and appeal, making certain it’s optimized for search, making sure it’s popular, evolving, and growing over time, attracting the sort of search attention, natural social-mentions on social media, and becoming a trustworthy, inter-connected member of valuable resources that Google taps every time someone looks up something on its search engine — and then doing that reliably twenty times for one search term.
In order to crowd out negative results, one needs to launch an SEO campaign for at least 10, often 20, other sites, many of which are often not even your own to noodle with and optimize. This is a herculean task, requiring a permanent investment of intense resources of both your talent and treasure — forever.
My company, Reputation.com, is built on a subscription model for three reasons:
Firstly, the war on negative search results is akin to a land war in Asia, as I said before, so it needs full commitment over time, a reputation management campaign isn’t just like taking a hill, it’s like keeping a hill! Even more, it’s like taking and keeping upwards of 20 hills — forever.
Secondly, an ORM campaign is heavily front-loaded, meaning that most of your resources (talents and treasure) will be spent in the beginning — upwards of 80% of your energy will be dumped in in the first 2-3 months! So, the last nine months of a yearly campaign actually make it all worthwhile for us because every campaign we initiate loses us money until the mission levels out later in the year. In order to make sure our campaigns are affordable over time to our clients, we have amortized the intense front-loaded expense over the course of a yearly contract.
Finally, once an online reputation campaign is begun seriously and in earnest, it is dangerous to cease and desist the campaign and fatal to yank all of that new content and supporting interconnectedness. Why fatal?
Once you initiate ORM, you must commit for life
Well, dumping a lot of energy into Google search destabilizes the index and literally rebuilds Google’s search indices, over time, built heavily on your load-bearing content. Since Google relies completely on other people’s content, hosting, site speed, and linking, Google places a lot of trust upon the shoulders of your content. So, once Google finally lets you bear the weight and responsibility of proving good-and-relevant content — quite a load, 24-hours-a-day, 365-days-a-year — you’re there forever.
Google abhors a vacuum
If you should ever yank your content or if anything breaks like your DNS, your hosting, or your domain name expires, everything will collapse, leaving a very dangerous vacuum that Google will need to fill immediately, making your reputation even more vulnerable than it was, quite possibly, than it was before you even started your ORM campaign.
ORM must to be a permanent line-item in your yearly budget
I recommend that everyone takes an interest in how their bottom looks in Google’s full-length mirror; I also recommend that everyone monitors this as best they can, with Google Alerts being an essential no-brainer; and, while the commitment-phobic amongst us might be reticent to initiate a strong online reputation defense to reclaim their good name on the first two pages of Google search using the online reputation management strategies and tactics I go over in the below-mentioned articles I have written over previous weeks, if you don’t like what’s being said about you online and in search, healing the symptoms on your reputation-reflection using ORM and also addressing why negative things are being said about you online and seeing what you may be able to do systematically about them is mandatory.
And, if you can manage to initiate, ramp-up, amplify, and then maintain such a land war forever by yourself, kudos and bravo; otherwise, feel free to give me a call, email me, or reach out directly to the gang at Reputation.com — we’re committed to repairing your online reputation and we’re set up and funded to be able to do this for you forever, indeed winning and keeping all those pesky hills.
Just because we’re digital and work in the cloud doesn’t mean everyone does. If I learned one thing from running my own digital, in the cloud, virtual, agency, with upwards of 40 active staffers, for five years, it is this: the moment I didn’t treat my client like my number one Valentine is the moment I got dumped. I don’t mean to burst your bubble, but your clients don’t choose you exclusively because of your mad skills. They choose you because they like you, trust you, and want to spend time with you during their work hours. Clients choose you for three reasons: 1) to do the job 2) what hiring you says about them 3) to have a cool new work-time best friend.
We spend upwards of 16-hours-a-day working
We’re all overworked, overwrought, and lonely — and so are our clients. If you’re not spending a lot of your time checking in, catching up, and keeping up with your clients as if they were your boyfriend, girlfriend, or best chum, you’re going to get dumped — especially if you’re not the only game in town.
Your clients may very well spend more time with you than your spouse, so you had better be compatible — the chemistry needs to be there, for sure — but even if it’s not innate — even if there’s no initial love-connection — you can earn it.
Have some fun, you crazy kids
Show your client a good time — have some fun! Be considerate, do what you say you’re gonna, and be sure to always do the business equivalent of picking up your underwear off the floor, putting the seat down in the bathroom, and cleaning up the sink after you shave — that sort of thing.
It might seem obvious to me now, but clients choose vendors the same way that we all choose our life partners: we’re looking for someone we like and someone who likes us. Someone who’s fun to spend time with, with whom we have rapport, and someone who’s willing to put other things aside to spend time with us — among other things.
When it comes to love, it comes down to how they feel
There are a lot of people, generally, who can do the job; what folks are looking for when they’re auditioning vendors — whether they are aware of it or not — is someone cool, fun, and generous who they can hang out with, talk to, meet with, and maybe even travel with — all on the clock and the expense account.
Even in companies where there are strict prohibitions on making personal calls or taking luxuriant lunches, meeting with your vendor’s a perfectly respectable way to spend the company’s time and money — so why not make sure you actually want to spend time farting around (and doing business) with — and, in these post-2008 days when each executive is doing the work of three, it’s quite nice to be able to meet up with — or call — someone you quite like.
Don’t talk business during your date — quelle drôle
Another thing I learned is that most vendors don’t want to talk business when you get together, hang out, play golf, and catch up. One client took me BMW-shopping when I was in town and then invited me to grab drinks with his family and then go clubbing; another one brought me out to get proper Cajun food and then went hunting for authentic zydeco.
Inviting clients and prospects to do things they may never have done is key — just like in dating. I’ve been pistol- and trap-shooting. I have dropped everything and jumped on planes at a moment’s notice just to say “hi” and to have lunch. I have gone golfing, drinking, lunching, and walking. I am not much of a sports fan but most firms in DC have box seats reserved for their clients — and there’s a reason for that!
The kind of time and attention that many of us only invest in the first few dates with the person we love (or would like to) is the kind of inventiveness that we need to invest into all of our clients over the entire course of the contract!
So, if you’re spending more than 20% of your time talking business when you’re doing your catching up, you’re being boring. That doesn’t include proper conference calls, weekly calls, or business meetings — those are all business. I am talking about what I call “maintaining ping.” Pinging is either a techie term or it’s a submariner/sonar term that migrated to geekville. Either way, it’s about keeping your clients on sonar and not losing track of any of them at any time.
Relationships demand that you put the time in
However, when it comes to parenting, friendships, love relationships, and client-vendor relationships, I subscribe to the quantity over quality model. Yes, quantity over quality. I say that because just being there, accessible, every day, over time — embedded, even — is almost always preferable to making a couple-few grandiose gestures-per-year.
Like they say when it comes to child-rearing, it’s better to be there for your child on a daily basis — mornings, evenings, and on weekends — than it is to stay at work all the time and then try to make up for it by dropping in from time-to-time with lavish gifts.
No matter how lavish the gift, it doesn’t matter if the gifted doesn’t remember who you are or doesn’t really know you very well. Even better, it’s important that your client knows and remembers you for who you are and not just as the guy who sends a lavish gift on their birthday — what about the other 364 days of the year?
Grand gestures do not a stable relationship make
Case in point, I had a CEO who’s idea of maintaining clients worth upwards of $240k/year each was to send each client a very grand gift, once-a-year, on their birthdays.
He would generally send these high-value clients a bottle of wine or single-malt scotch whisky bottled on their birth-year. While this is indeed a thoughtful, grand, timely, and considerate gift, it’s too little, too late. It’s the grandiose gift of a deadbeat dad who’s trying to overcompensate for being absent rather than the personal, weekly, calls you look forward to from your folks when you’re part of a loving, functional family.
His method of client relationship was “same time next year.” That can’t happen! The client-vendor relationship in the private sector is often very, very, very chummy.
If you’re not fast friends you’re doing it wrong
The fellow I went BMW-shopping with and I are close to best friends, and I am always a reference on his resume when he applies for new positions — and he’s always taken me along with his as well. In fact, of the two jobs he’s had in the last 4 years, both companies have become my clients.
All of this knowledge coalesced together into a lightbulb “aha!” moment when I was re-reading Dale Carnegie‘s How to Win Friends & Influence People. When I first read it I thought it to be manipulative and even a little coercive in its methods. Over time, I have read deeper and appreciate the truth in the pages.
What I learned is that you cannot emulate or fake caring for and even loving your clients. No, not the brands your clients represent, but the people who engage you — you true point of contact. You might be able to fake it for a quick “seduction” in order to land the work, but if you can’t learn to consider the needs, the feelings, and expectations, and the amusement — the fun — of those human beings who are sticking their necks out and vouching for you and your services then you’re really not going to have repeat clients — no matter how well you perform all of the tricks and stunts as strictly defined in your Statement of Work (SoW).
It’s not you, it’s me
When we lost our biggest client, the one with the whisky, the client gave my CEO the “it’s not you, it’s me” talk but I knew that “we’ve developed your services in-house” was code for “we wouldn’t have needed to end this contract except for the fact that we felt ignored because you didn’t work hard enough to both embed yourself into our company, for one; and secondly, if we were best buds — chums — I wouldn’t have had the heart to end the contract.” It’s true. My CEO thought that our client’s cover story was legit, but I knew otherwise as I started to research into how active we were constantly contacting, engaging, support, and loving on the client — in addition to constantly educating the client and being ceaselessly innovative.
So, whether it’s the exciting start of a new relationship or the maintenance of one that has lasted for years, putting the relationship first is the key. Lots of people do great work — you should, too. But if they don’t want to be around you, eventually they find a reason to say goodbye.
While I concur with Vizzini, the Sicilian from the movie The Princess Bride, that one should “never get involved in a land war in ,” sometimes there’s no escape — and taking on Google’s search index, algorithmic prowess, and the natural results of organic search itself is, indeed, akin to getting involved in a land war in Asia. Most folks know only of the fierce fighting associated with organic search engine optimization (SEO), a process by which we write copy, optimize architecture, use keywords, add hyperlinks, and interlink sites in order to associate a keyword phrase with our particular brand, product, service, and site; another, larger battle is online reputation management (ORM). Continue reading
Many hands make light online reputation work. Changing your reputation online is no small task. It’s also a house of cards. You can either do it yourself, about yourself, for yourself, or you can start the equivalent of an online reputation club, inviting friends, family, your colleagues, and your industry to start building a universe of content that is germane and salient to who you are, what you believe, what you’ve done, and what you’re doing as well as who they are, what they believe, what they’ve done, and what they’re doing.
Treat your online reputation like a group writing project
Wikipedia was created by a bunch of casual experts who collaborated in creating a comprehensive, living, and growing resource of all there is. If the editors and experts at Wikipedia were to take an interest in your, how much of your true narrative, story, song, would they have access to? I know, I know, Wikipedia dictates that all its content be rigorously referenced and footnoted — but let’s assume it were different: and it is!
Google is an emergent Wikipedia, its index is comprehensive, living, and growing — but without the editors. And Wikipedia is only a small part of Google’s index. And unlike Wikipedia, anyone and everyone can contribute openly and generously to Google’s index.
And, even better — Google hungers for your contribution
You are compelled to become a contributor to Google — to write your very own life and to write your very own truth (to the very best of your ability) — to sing your very own unique song. For if you do not, anyone and everyone else may also, as easily and as completely. To paraphrase “The Cluetrain Manifesto,” people may be already talking about you online; and, even if they’re not right now, there’s no barrier to entry when it comes to other people writing about you copiously into the vacuum that you have left by not taking responsibility for your own storytelling.
Not just you, but your family, your friends, your colleagues, your brand, and everyone you know
And, to paraphrase The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Internet is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind- bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to the Internet.
So, if you want to make any inroads into “exploring space” then you’ll surely need to do one or more of three things: become immensely prolific and generative, producing copious amounts of content about yourself; hire my company, Reputation.com, to work with you on maximizing your online reputation profile; or, if you’re intent on captivating Google search but really don’t have the time, the technical prowess, the writer’s gift, or any idea where to start, you can start a reputation club.
What would a reputation club look like and how do I start?
Good questions. Since I have only ever done this in a limited way and only organically and over time, this is only conjecture based on years of experience. The first thing you need to do is to read my previous posts about reputation management: The best online reputation defense is a good offense, How to wine, dine and marry into the Google Search Index, and How to take control of your online reputation. Then, you need to take everything I tell you to do in How to wine, dine and marry and figure out how you can convince a bunch of folks to help you accomplish this — but not just for you, most likely, but for everyone who’s willing to take part.
Having someone else brag about you is always a better bet than bragging about yourself
Since reputation management, at a very high-level, leverages pieces and parts of search engine optimization (SEO), you and your friends need to brag about each other in both name and links. Since Google doesn’t know who you or any of your friends are, you need to be very explicit.
While it might be more fun to brag about your friends and your brands online — to tell stories about how they were total nerds in high school or how they impressed you when they interned at your firm — all your work would be for naught if you don’t remember to remind Google again and again both who you are, by name, and who your friends are, by name — and not just their first name, their last name, or their proper name, but in all variations: Chris, Abraham, Chris Abraham, Christopher Abraham, Chris J Abraham, CJ Abraham, Abey-Baby, Broham, Dooga, Zeus, and Uncle Chris — if that’s important to you.
And, in the case of your brands, write out every variation as well. For example, Reputation.com is one name, but there’s also ReputationDefender, Picasso, MyPrivacy, Executive Privacy Plus, and any variation; for my old company, you would write out Abraham Harrison, Abraham & Harrison, AH, and maybe AHLLC — whichever are important to you. And, of course, there’s Socialmedia.biz, Socialmedia dot biz (follow us at www.facebook.com/socialmediadotbiz), Social Media Business.
Google only posseses the most basic and primitive skills in putting disparate contexts together. While I do believe Google does know that Chris is short for Christopher, Google always errs on the side of the literal. Not only will Google always serve content based on literal search if all possible, but Google has no understanding at all of pronouns — so if you want to do this right, you’ll need to throw out your copy of Strunk & White‘s Elements of Style and always choose not he, him, they, or Chris, but write out your proper name when possible.
Linking is also important, so as you build your own story online, you can either link to your own work or to other pages — using your your own name as the linking text — or, you can have all the other folks who are part of your reputation party mention you in their story-writing, in their bio-writing, and in their profile-writing, linking you you and your new content not only by name but also by turning these names into “hot” text links.
None of this has to be perfect. Never let the perfect get in the way of the good enough. While you might surely want the content you’re writing to be appealing and compelling to human visitors, you also need to be even more compelling to three indices: Google’s, Bing’s, and Yahoo’s. (Who am I kidding, you only have to appeal to Google.) So, be comprehensive, be awesome, and give till it hurts but be sure to get stuff up there — don’t write your online search legacy the same way you wrote your master’s thesis or your it-took-us-forever-to-make-it-perfect website and sales assets — write it quickly and personally and even imperfectly — it’s in your flaws thet the magic happens (though you don’t want to come across to your human visitors like a MySpace illiterate moron either).
I know I make this all sound super-easy — and it is! For me! Because I love writing, because I can write super-fast and pretty well publish-ready in a single draft, and because I really, really, really love this stuff. (Maybe I am one of the very first digital natives, though I am seriously old!)
For you, maybe not so easy. That’s when the motivation of a large group, broken up over time, can really help you. So, use your team, your pack, your reputation quilting bee, to motivate you and keep you on task, yes, but also pumped about it. Turn it into a game — the way I see the Internet. I mean, I really like Angry Birds but I love hacking reality in the form of influencing an impossibly hige and formidable search-o-sphere — the Googleverse — with my simple photos, graphics, text, and links! Amazing!
So, give it a go — and if you’re overwhelmed and starting to feel a little hopeless, don’t worry! Contact me to make everything OK if you need some help with your reputation. And add a commentbelow — because I guarantee that if you have a question, they lots of other people do, too — and I am here to help.