Arianna Huffington famously said, “People think in stories, not statistics.” When it comes to managing your online reputation, it can be all too easy to get bogged down by concerns over what your Google search results look like or how to improve your social media profiles. But it’s clear that the best online reputations are ones that are fueled by passions. Whether your focus is on a lifelong interest, on highlighting your career or your own personality, there’s so much that goes into an online reputation beyond just making sure that you look squeaky clean on the internet.
Of course, there’s a balance to be struck — but I would never dispute that passion is the best place to start. Passion is what makes your story compelling — so how do you make people interested in reading it?
Be authentic to your passion
In this day and age, it’s easy to get drowned out in a sea of noise. On the other hand, it’s also easy for the wrong things to stick out like a sore thumb. As you go about shaping your online reputation, it’s important to make sure that your story is personal, and it can’t be personal if you’re not remaining authentic to the passions that define you in the first place. What are you interested in? What are your values? Bringing these traits to the forefront of your online reputation aren’t only a good idea, they’ll also come naturally to you.
As Italian businessman Leonardo del Vecchio said, “The values of life are most important.” Being dedicated to your passion above all else is the key to creating a compelling reputation story, one that will eventually lead to creating and solidifying a positive online presence.
Tell the story, but keep it simple
Most successful brand stories, beneath the emotional flourishes of passion and authenticity, feature what are probably the most basic storytelling elements: a beginning, a middle, and an end. When it comes to the story that your reputation tells, that translates to where you’ve been, where you are now, and where you’re going. This straightforward formula can help you tell your story, but keep it simple enough for people to follow along.
The most important factors here are where you are now and where you’re going in the future — you don’t need to necessarily tell your whole life story, just give people a sense of who you are and what you’re about. If the first step is to highlight your passions, then you simply need to show people why it is you are drawn to those particular things. Say you want to showcase your art. Perhaps a few sentences about how you loved to draw or paint growing up and how it gives you joy now is all it takes to get people engaged with you online. Even if it’s just a casual interest, or you think it’s uninteresting, you never know what will speak to others when including it in your online reputation.
Much of the conversation surrounding online reputation is with regards to managing or fixing it. That is certainly something that needs to be addressed, and why tools and resources like MyLife can be so important. But once you are able to take the reins of your reputation, it’s important to nurture it into something you can be proud of.