Trylon Communications  - October 2004
       

'Google' Yourself

How do your stakeholders, competition and the media check your reputation? More and more often, it is being done quickly with the click of a mouse. That’s right, all someone who wants to know about you has to do is type your name into a search engine and voila! Out comes some very interesting information.

Have you “Googled” yourself recently? Every executive should take the time to check his/her listings in the search engines (and those of their companies) frequently. Now that blogs and other non-mainstream media outlets are being picked up regularly by search engines, there is a greater chance than ever that you will appear on somebody’s radar screen when they run a search.

Even better, you can now sign up with Google for alerts on keywords in the news (currently in beta testing - see related article on Google News.) The service is free and offers an opportunity to stay current on your industry or area of expertise. This is an excellent way to stay abreast of current developments and to monitor your personal or corporate online reputation.

The viral nature of the Internet and blogs can create havoc if a piece of news (whether real or not) goes unchallenged for a length of time. Take for example a recent case where an erroneous report of an NFL player’s injury quickly spread from the Internet to conventional mass media. In less than an hour, large media outlets were reporting on a player injury that simply was not true. What could happen if something like this occurs to your company?

Here are a few suggestions to keep you in touch with your brand’s reputation.

First of all, check the major search engines and look for all keywords that represent you, your major executives, and your company.

Next, check them again once a week, or have somebody do it. Also subscribe to a service like Google’s described above.

Subscribe or read the weblogs and RSS feeds that cover your industry.

There is a secondary benefit to all this, as you will be keeping a better feel of the pulse of your business, keeping track of new developments and competition, and possibly even becoming involved in the burgeoning online interactions that are occurring in the community at large.