You’ve Been #Inked!
Key Points for Branding Your Digital Imprint
Kelley Clements Keller
It’s All About Content
With consumers’ heavy use of search engines to gather information on companies, it is not enough to merely maintain an online presence of some sort. Internet popularity comes from having a rich website that is well optimized and full of valuable information, along with an active presence on social media channels. In order to achieve this popularity, brand owners should continuously post content about their brand or other issues relating to their goods or services on a daily basis. If it is difficult to post every day, posting at least once or twice a week can significantly increase website traffic and online visibility so long as the posts are content rich and well-written. With an upsurge in traffic, a company’s website can shoot right to the top of Google’s search results.
In the digital age, it is about quality and quantity. Each and every time content is posted to a website or social media outlet, it is paramount that the posts—snippets or articles—be carefully crafted and well-researched. It is extremely important for posts to be of the highest value. Ultimately, posts that contain high quality content and are informative, entertaining, and useful have a better chance of gathering great link streams from other websites, thus increasing brand recognition.
Relevance Does Matter
Just as many consumers will unsubscribe from company mailing lists and newsletters when they feel bombarded by unnecessary emails, so too may consumers quickly stop following or “liking” a business page if they feel it regularly contains unimportant information. It must always be remembered that quality comes before quantity with any business-generated content.
Keep in mind that avoiding irrelevance does not mean avoiding controversial issues; quite the opposite, in fact. Website traffic can often increase by addressing a (relevant) controversial issue. The burden to have well-written and researched content when such topics are discussed is certainly higher, but the rewards can be great. The increase in immediate traffic can have an exponential compounding effect, as higher traffic leads to a more prominent position in search results, again, leading to more traffic.
It is also crucial that content creators use techniques and campaign strategies to tailor their Internet posts and presence around their particular target audience and market. This presentation, ideally, should extend beyond a particular website. When trying to build a particular brand, consider writing articles and blog posts to be posted on the most relevant websites and top rated blogs that encompass the ideas and issues in the relevant field of expertise. It is advisable to remember that not all relevant sites are worthy sites to which to post or link, as many so-called “bad neighborhoods” exist, consisting of questionable or harmful sites. Posting on and linking to such websites risks, at worst, your business being labeled a “spam sender” by search engines, resulting in downgrading through anti-spamdexing algorithms such as Google Penguin, and just as bad, damaging your reputation among your audience.
There Is No Such Thing as a Digital Divorce
Awareness of the permanency of digital imprints has often been focused on individuals, with the resulting unease driving such creations as Snapchat or Drop.io, personal apps allowing for an expiration date or “self-destruct button” on shared images, posts, or files. As the market responds to the demand for privacy, there remains the potential for new services that facilitate the creation of impermanent media or network posts, services that could benefit companies as well as individuals. Reputation.com sells online reputation and privacy services to this effect and, for a time, offered a product that allowed customers to encrypt Facebook posts and choose a life span for the posts. A quick fix, however, is unlikely in the near future: As startups move toward the business opportunity presented by privacy concerns, Facebook and data mining companies maneuver to facilitate data preservation (Drop.io’s services ended when the company was bought and subsequently shut down by Facebook) [“Taking Control of Your Digital Self” Bloomberg Businessweek February 11-17, 2013].
As a crucial penultimate step to posting content, one must carefully consider the commitment being made on behalf of a company, a client, or other brand owner with the decision to post. The connection between a brand and its online content cannot be annulled: Information is public and cannot be easily retracted. Even if there were a simple service that could eventually delete all desired content, prevention of that content’s proliferation—the “digital children” of prior posts—would still be a further conundrum. Thus, the best approach is caution: A meticulous editing process is the easiest, least expensive and least painful means of avoiding a permanently damaging mistake.
Kelley Clements Keller, Esq. is a practicing attorney and the Founder and Managing Member at The Keller Law Firm, an Intellectual Property firm located in Carlisle, PA. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclosure: While Kelley Clements Keller is an attorney, this writing is for informational purposes only and is not to be considered legal advice.