Branding Your Name

Many posts talk about branding…branding is an utterly fascinating avenue to consider when you’re marketing, whether online or offline, but it’s not as easy to do well as you might think. When we think of branding, we tend to think of branding a product, a service, or a company. We don’t necessarily consider branding our names, but we should.

Consider this: no matter what you are a part of, you’re still an individual subject to searches for personal information. What turns up when someone searches for you is a matter of reputation management, but you really can actively control this for the most part with branding your name. Especially in the online marketing field, you need to be up on what’s being shown when someone tries to learn something about you.

So…how can you do this? Obviously, you can be as nice as pie and not curse on your blog posts and not let photos of you drunken and disheveled hit Facebook. Let me tell you that is harder than it seems! And I’m mostly joking anyway there. I do think that there are some lines you shouldn’t cross BUT I also think that most of us would rather see someone’s true personality shining through than have it covered up.

Witness the below image, which was a drawing created by the graphic design team at my last job…see, they know me well. Note the misspelling. It adds character. Also my eyes are green not blue but who’s nitpicking? OK I am.


If you do a search for your name, god only knows what’s going to turn up, especially if you have a fairly common name. Apparently Julie Joyce does some heartfelt Christian music…now that sure as hell isn’t THIS Julie Joyce. Still, I haven’t found any pervs with my name. Yet. If you are lucky enough to have a unique name, you should not have to wade through so much crap in order to see what turns up for your name. Lisa Ditlefsen, for example, is lucky enough to have the top 10 Google results actually be for her and not some insane impostor like my gospel singing friend.

When you’re checking all this, think about how different people search. Some would simply type in your name and, if you’re interviewing for a high level position in marketing, not be overly impressed if they found nothing at all. Some of these people will also not want to dig through results in order to find the ones that are actually relevant. This is your chance to do SOMETHING, most likely in the form of a social media campaign, to elevate your name’s status in the SERPs. Someone looking for “Julie Joyce SEO” is going to find more relevant results than someone searching for “Julie Joyce” since there is the aforementioned gospel singer plus a few other ne’er-do-wells with my same name BUT can I count on the “SEO” bit being added in the search? Unfortunately, I cannot.

So do the name search…and do the search with all sorts of other bits added on that someone might use for various reasons, and if you aren’t happy with what you see, do something about it. You’re in marketing, after all. If you can’t market yourself, what chance do you really have to market anything less important?

That being said, I’m going to try and crush the gospel singer!! Then I’ll work on the Florida artist and then, last but not least, the coach! Nicely, of course.

In conclusion…just two more items before you can go back to watching the Foo Fighter’s “Learn To Fly” video on Youtube. Or is that just me?

A few people use pseudonyms when blogging (hello Esrun you black hat basta…hello!!!) and that’s good if you’re up to exerting evil influences on the world. However, if you’re not and you’re considering blogging without using your real name, read what Penelope Trunk has to say about why you should be brave enough to put yourself out there and build up a name reputation. Why put time and effort into something if no one knows it’s you?

The same common sense approach to branding a name in the world of writing books applies to the world of writing online, which is a great bit of what we do as SEOs. Read Tom Brosnahan’s article on “Author as Brand Name” for a few tips.

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