Your reputation is like a business card in a fishbowl. Some stand out and get noticed, while others sift to the bottom, never to be seen or heard from again. Is your reputation the kind that makes it to the top? If not, here are a variety of ways you can enhance it.
1. Take Every Opportunity to Speak
You are an expert in your field, and that expertise makes you a valuable commodity at industry events and networking opportunities. Reach out to local business organizations, colleges and clubs and get on their agendas for upcoming meetings. If you’re a financial planner, you can talk about topical issues, like home buying in a low-rate environment. If you’re a social media consultant, discuss the value of a Facebook page to promote your business and brand.
The point is, no matter what you do, your expertise can lead to a variety of opportunities to get out there, talk about your line of work and establish your reputation as a thought leader. And that’s something only you can do.
2. Befriend Your Local News Team
Nearly every media market has a local newspaper or a radio show that rely on expertise from savvy outsiders. Your job is to become a go-to expert when the need for insights arises. Whether you’re a blogger who writes about politics or a hybrid car mechanic, the goal is to become the first person a local news producer thinks of when it’s time to cover the issues.
You can achieve this status by contacting your local media outlets and sending them a one-pager that outlines your business expertise and qualifications. You might also attend networking events where local reporters are present. Introduce yourself, if possible, and practice your public speaking skills so you’re prepared when the media calls on you.
For tips on developing your one-pager and upping your speaking skills, try here.
3. Manage Your Online Presence
The digital space is so important these days that you must take it into account when building a positive reputation. Do a Google search for your name and make a note of what comes up. Assess what you see as positive and benign or negative and problematic.
If you find something in the latter category, determine if it’s something that can be easily explained away, or if it’s something that needs to be addressed. While there are services you can access that claim to swipe your online slate clean for a fee, there are also a variety of free steps you can take to achieve similar results. Here are some you can try immediately.
4. Don’t Forget The Personal Touch
Whether you’re appearing in person or providing insights online, it’s important to remember to put your personal stamp on everything. Your personality and demeanor should shine through at networking events, speaking engagements – even when responding to online reviews, such as Yelp! The more individual you appear the more your reputation will stand out.
If you have difficulty speaking in public or you lack inter-personal skills, take a class that can help and practice, practice, practice. It will pay off in the reputation department in the long run.
Building a killer reputation takes a combination of tactics, skills and perseverance. Navigate these successfully and the results may be more than positive.