In the world of personal branding, everyone shouts from the top of the hills that you must stand out if you want to be noticed.
You get it.
You're mom didn't.
She named you something so boring, so unoriginal, so blah.
C'mon! there's no way you're ever going to stand out, let alone find you on the World Wide Web, right? Wrong!
How do I build my online brand when I have a common name?
Maybe you didn't get to the online world in time to grab your domain name or get that social media vanity account you were hoping for.
Now, I'm not saying this is going to be easy but there are a few things you can do:
- Use a variation of your name. Play around with hyphenations, initials, and nicknames like: www.Steve-Smith.com, www.Steven-Jason-Smith.Com, www.SJSmith.com
- Use a different domain extension. There are over 20 different types of domain extensions available like .me, .biz, .mobi, .tv, etc. Find one that makes sense for you.
- Incorporate other brand elements. Add your profession, location, or some other sort of identifying factor to your name like SteveSmithRealEstate.com, SteveSmithRocks.com, or SteveSmithLosAngeles.com
- Keep your name consistent across all social media platforms. Services like Knowem.com search numerous social media platforms to find and secure your chosen username and vanity handles.
- Skew your results. To get your name ranked on the top pages of Google for terms that are most relevant to your personal brand, use a service like BrandYourself.com. They are a free service to help you manage your online reputation and improve your search results.
- Publish Content. Aside from building your reputation and credibility, when you consistently produce online content like blog posts, articles, press releases, e-books, etc., you create a digital footprint that's tied to your name.
- Change it. If all else fails and you simply cant stand having a common name any longer, change it (or use a pen name). Sure, that's drastic but it will definitely add to your brand story.
Keep the conversation flowing what are your top tips for branding a common name?
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Kimberly Bordonaro is a brand strategist and the founder of Brandspiration, a blog that uses ridiculously fun lyrical references to explain how everyday entrepreneurs can create their distinctive brands.