Photo via FabSugar
We’re all interested in what others say about us. Especially when it’s about our work. Now if, like me, you act as your own PR team, discovering these snippets and citations rests solely on your shoulders. And in today’s business environment, it’s not just vanity. It’s a necessity.
Cue the ego search.
Otherwise known as egosurfing, it involves searching online for your personal or company name. You might say, “But I already know about me and my company.” The thing is, it’s not about brushing up on your personal achievements. And it’s not just for the vain amongst us either.
The ego search is about managing your brand.
PR teams of the 1900s had weeks and months to plan around potential bad press. Today, however, and as Domino’s Pizza knows all too well, that timeframe has been reduced to hours and days.
With the speed of electronic communication, bad press can spread like wildfire, but by keeping close tabs on any mention of your brand, you can extinguish fires before crowds fan the flames.
How to automate your ego search
It’s easily done using Google Alerts and Twitter Search.
To receive citations via email or RSS, the Google Alerts service is straightforward enough. Simply enter the search term(s) you want to monitor, then choose the frequency of updates (“as it happens” / daily / weekly), and enter your email address for receiving notifications (users with a Google account can receive updates via RSS, as I do).
“But trackbacks already tell me when I’ve been mentioned.”
This is true. When you log into the WordPress admin, you see a small area that displays “incoming links”, so when a blog or website links to one of your posts, you’re automatically notified. What this admin area doesn’t cover, however, is when your brand name is mentioned without the use of a back-link, or when you’re talked about in the comment section of an article. So with Google Alerts those scenarios are taken care of.
My RSS “Alert” doesn’t show when I’m mentioned on Twitter (a good thing where “retweets” are concerned) so I use Twitter Search on a near-daily basis. I search for the terms “david airey” and “logo design love”, then again without spaces i.e. “davidairey” and “logodesignlove”. The latter covers when someone has typed your web address in a tweet, or if your brand name appears in your Twitter username.
It’s possible to automate these results by subscribing to the search RSS feed. To do this, simply pull your chosen query, then cast your eye to the “feed for this query” link at the top of the results page. Personally, I find it takes less time to read the results on Twitter.
It’s not all about bad press, though
Most of the negative thoughts directed at me arrive via blog comments, so I don’t really need to go looking for them. An ego search can, however, actually be very encouraging. Yesterday, for instance, I came across this tweet from Chris Green of Freelance For Money. I don’t know who Chris is, and he kindly took the time to produce this short YouTube video where he talks about my blogs. Thanks very much!
Chris appealed to my ego, prompting me to link back to him and embed his video in my post. Take note (but don’t let me get too big-headed).
How effective is your ego?
Are you keeping tabs on your brand press? Do you get tempted to check more often than you should? If there’s a more efficient way of receiving vanity alerts, please do let me know.