By Jeff Beals
Let’s say you Google your own name and very little shows up. Suddenly, you’re worried that you don’t have a widely recognized personal brand. If prospective clients try to find you via an Internet search, they might be turned off. You need to boost your online brand fast.
How can you do it? Start writing reviews.
You can review books on Amazon and hotels on travel sites. You can review products, services and restaurants. Reviews are now a big part of our culture and people take them seriously. When thinking about buying something, people are naturally inclined to read reviews first.
And when people Google your name, it’s very possible that your reviews will appear near the top of the search results. Writing reviews helps you stand out.
That makes review writing a powerful marketing force for sales professionals trying to build personal brands. Now is a great time to think about the products, services and people you respect and start contemplating what you can say about them online.
The key is to make sure the reviews work for you instead of against you.
The first step is to use your real name and an identifying factor. Your reviews are useless if you use a pseudonym. For the identifying factor, most reviewers use their city of residence or what they do for a living, i.e. “business owner,” “pharmaceutical sales” or “insurance industry.” Only use your company name if you are comfortable doing so, keeping in mind that some large companies frown on employees publicly using the company name without permission from the public relations department. As long as the website doesn’t have a policy against it, you might want to include your website URL or email address after your name.
When writing your name, go by the name everyone calls you. For instance, if everyone knows you as “Becky,” don’t sign your name as “Rebecca.”
In the vast majority of the cases, you should write positive comments. Negative reviews generally hurt your brand, making you come across as an unpleasant, unhappy person.
Write reviews about products, services and companies that relate to your expertise. For example, there’s power in writing an Amazon review about a new leadership book if you are a senior executive.
Make sure your writing uses real grammar and avoids too much slang or vernacular language. While you don’t need to write like a poet laureate, professional-sounding language is a must.
As far as length is concerned, you need to put some “meat” into it without turning it into a novel. One sentence is way too short, but if you write more than two standard-sized paragraphs it is unlikely many people will read your entire text.
Include a short reference as to who you are professionally or what your company does in your review. That gives you credibility and encourages potential clients to learn more about you, but limit this part to just one sentence, so you don’t come across as a conceited braggart.
Put some thought into the review and make it interesting. Some websites allow readers of reviews to “star” them or mark how helpful they are. The more “helpful” your review is, the more likely it will show up first.
But don’t stop with just the review. Once it is approved and posted, send it to all your LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ followers. This will expand the circle of people who could potentially see it and “like” it, “agree” with it or “star” it.
Once you become adept at writing reviews, you could also comment on blog articles. Follow blogs that relate to your area of expertise and/or your company’s industry. The rules of review writing apply to blog comments.
Indeed writing reviews and responding to blog articles are powerful ways for you, your products and your company to stand out in this crazy, cluttered marketplace in which we all sell, but you have to be disciplined and committed. One review or one blog comment really won’t do much for you. In addition to writing the right stuff in the right way, you need to be a regular contributor. The frequency of your writing is almost as important as the quality.
Jeff Beals shows you how to find better prospects, close more deals and capture greater market share. Jeff is an international award-winning author, sought-after keynote speaker, and accomplished sales consultant. A frequent media guest, Jeff has been featured in Investor’s Business Daily, USA Today, Men’s Health, Chicago Tribune and The New York Times.”
Here’s Why Should You Choose Jeff Beals as Your Next Speaker:
“Jeff is sure to deliver an engaging and motivating speech! He cleverly ties together his stories and makes the speech end with a punch. Being the closing speaker is tough, but he stepped-up to the challenge and hit a home-run. Due to the high ratings and overwhelming response to re-watch his speech, we are planning on using his video during our NextGen watch party.” – Megan Dotson, Senior Client Success Consultant & Event Director, GovLoop.com, Washington, DC
“Your workshop was a huge experience for our attendees by giving them the opportunity to improve their work in the critical environment in which we are living today. Your talent as a speaker and your qualities as a person made the difference during your time with us. I would certainly recommend you to anyone who asks.” – Ana Paula Costa, Educational Planner, Febracorp, Sao Paulo, Brazil
“Our corporate partnership team had great takeaways regarding how to network smarter while also understanding the importance of our personal brand to current and prospective partners. Jeff does a great job weaving in real-world examples and how you can apply his teachings to growing your business and
building long-term partnerships.” – Jason Booker, Senior Director of Corporate Sponsorships, The Kansas City Royals Major League Baseball Team
“If you are considering hiring Jeff, I will only say this: do it now. His ability to connect with an audience and explain the importance of telling the story is nothing short of extraordinary. The true litmus of any great speaker is authenticity. And when authenticity is coupled with an incredibly high amount of energy, humor, and engagement – you get Jeff. I would highly recommend him to anyone who needs a speaker attendees will talk about for a long time to come.” – Alison Cody, Executive Director, Manufacturers’ Agents Association for the Foodservice Industry, Atlanta, GA
“I’m in Phoenix and had breakfast earlier this morning with our semi-retired sales representative who is doing some continued work for us here. He attended your sales meeting last week and told me that in 43 years of selling, you were the best he had ever heard. Thanks for a great experience.” – Drew Vogel, President & CEO, Diamond Vogel Paints, Orange City, IA