It may seem a little strange that I’m writing this, as World Wide Creative provides both these services, but if you’re paying people to help you with SEO or Personal Branding, stop what you’re doing and read this.
There are specific elements within the professions of Search Engine Optimisation and Personal Branding that have always left me feeling a little uncomfortable.
There’s something not quite right about the unnatural manipulation of content to persuade Search Engines.
There’s also something unsettling watching someone undergo ‘image modification’ to ensure that they stand out from a crowd – kind of like talking to someone whilst they’re looking over your shoulder at their reflection in the window.
To clarify: I think search engine-friendly content and personal branding are important, but, since their rise to buzz status, both segments have seemed a little murky around the edges. Recently, I’ve watched an innocent business owner being told to make lists of key words so that they can be slammed into every paragraph of her blog (resulting in a 3 month case of writer’s block). I’ve watched a marketing person being advised to blog about something she didn’t enjoy, didn’t know a lot about, and wasn’t really suited to her style of writing (nope, that didn’t work either).
Both online content and personal branding needs to be authentic, otherwise it’s not sustainable.
- Your content needs to be focused on reinforcing your brand message. Figure out what your message is, drive it home with passion and authority, and optimise the content afterwards. This doesn’t even require a professional SEO person, and, besides, SEO as a profession might even be redundant soon.
- Your image needs to reinforce what you’re good at, and what you enjoy. You can’t splat something onto your character like play-dough. People won’t care about your personal brand unless it delivers real value. And, please, if you create a personal blog, then do it because you want to do it, not because you think you should do it. Spare us yet another mindless heap of drivel pleading for relevancy.