Who Are You Online?

Like a lot of people, I spend a fair amount of time every day on my computer and on the Internet.  So it’s sometimes hard to believe there are plenty of small businesses doing very well, thank you very much, without any online presence.

In December 2009,  FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said more than 50-percent of American small businesses do not have a website.  Some don’t need or want one, but, in my view, a website or a blog  may help you get publicity.

I recently talked to a business owner without a website/blog who was thinking about going after some publicity this year. I recommended establishing some sort of online identity before reaching out to the media.

Here’s why. Even if your media targets are reporters at your local newspapers, magazines, radio or TV stations and your business is entirely offline, you need to be “find-able” by the media. Journalists are a skeptical bunch and if they read your press release or get a pitch call and don’t know anything about you, they’ll want to independently “check you out.”  Since reporters often work odd hours, they may want to do it at 4 in the morning or 11 at night.

The quickest and easiest way?  They’ll do an Internet search of your name, business name, industry associations, etc. In short, they’ll “google” you. What will they find?  Is it positive?  Negative?

What if their search finds NOTHING about you or your business?  Maybe it’s unfair, but that could raise red flags for a reporter.  An unknown person or business in this wired age?  How could that be?

Now, they’re wondering, “Are they legit?”  The reporter might even decide, “Why take a chance?” and go with someone else’s story.  Ouch.

Before you make your first pitch, check out your online reputation and if necessary start creating an identity. Make it easy for the media to find out more about who you are and what you do, any time of the day or night.

I’ll have more about staking a claim to your name online in my next post.

What are your thoughts about having an online identity for your offline business?

Photo credit: Stock.xchng/mmagallan

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Janet Vasil

On-Camera, Speaker & Media Coach/Trainer at Vasil Media Group | Your Media Moment & Beyond
Communication Coach, Media Trainer & Founder Janet Vasil is a former award-winning, EMMY®-nominated TV Journalist who helps rising and future business leaders communicate with courage and charisma on-camera, and off. Contact at http://bit.ly/Talk2Janet

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