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Even Presidential Candidates Need Personal Branding 101

Do you own your URL, also known as the rights to your name on the web?  If not, I need you to stop whatever you are doing and pay attention. The game has changed and technology is at the forefront.  Things you would have never considered, even a few years ago, have become non-negotiables. 

For example, 10, 15, 20 years ago when a person wanted to know more about you, they would simply ask someone. Today, they Google you. In fact, the majority of people will Google you before they ever meet with you. Interview you. Hire you. Or, even date you. 

Which means, it is essential for you to begin to understand the importance of curating and managing your personal brand both on and offline. Step one: buy your URL. 

Maybe you never thought to buy your URL in your name because you have a common name. Spend some time to think about an alternative way to buy it. Consider using a middle initial or name (like Donald J. Trump), adding your credentials (Dr., Attorney, Esq., MBA, etc.), maybe even including your industry or city. Or, try changing the .com to .net or using one of the other extensions. The bottom line is there are a lot of alternative solutions if you suffer from the “common name syndrome.” 

As someone with a name that was once considered the most popular name in America (Jennifer), I get it.  Which is precisely why I didn’t drop my maiden name, Ransaw, when I married a Smith.

But, the reason we are here to today is to talk about what can happen if you don’t own your URL. Quite simply, other people can snatch it up and control your online reputation. The most perfect example is demonstrated above. Even though the Twitter message above isn’t from the Official Donald Trump camp, it is obviously from a supporter and just as damaging.  

I have no doubt that when Jeb Bush discovered that simply by not renewing (less than $20) his URL, every supporter who Googles him or puts his name in the search box is now directed to Donald Trump, he blew a gasket... and rightly so.  

A simple mistake like this could quite honestly cost him an election. You never want someone else controlling your name and messaging online. It isn’t unusual for people to discover that: 

~ Their enemy purchased their URL and put up negative information.  

~ Their competitors purchased their URL (like Trump) and re-directed everyone to their site.

~ People are looking for a big payout with the hope that one day you will need it and be willing to purchase it back…at a high price. 

From this day forward, make sure that whenever someone says your name or Googles it, they find the right person—you!