Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Brand Management = Who's Talking About You?

Whether we like it or not, our brand is not something we cannot fully control. A large part of our brand is controlled by the perception that others have of our business. So how do we find out what that perception is? We search for it. We find it in places that may not be obvious to us, and places that we may have never known about if it weren't for these helpful brand management tools:

The reason why I love statcounter over many of the other stat analysis programs out there is because of the depth and breadth of stats that it provides for free and in a way that makes it incredibly useful and easy to understand for people who aren't really "stats" minded to begin with. Not only does StatCounter allow me to see who is linking into my sites, it also gives me information about which links out there are the most popular, which has enabled me to take hard data to companies I've advertised with in the past, showing them how ineffective their advertising methods have been. Once you learn how to read your stats, you can use them as one of the most valuable tools in your business to evaluate what marketing efforts are and are not driving traffic to your business. Way back in the beginning of this blog, I gave an online video tutorial on how to use this online tool effectively. Here's a link to that video tutorial so you can get a test-run of the software before signing up for it yourself: http://photolovecat.blogspot.com/2007/02/video-tutorial-tracking-website.html
(Note: other analytics tracking programs are equally valuable for the same purpose- I just happen to have the most personal experience with StatCounter.)

Google Alerts
This is a very simple, to the point method of searching for your name in places that may not be linking to you, or have misspelled your name. I like receiving Google Alerts via email so that I can receive an almost instant alert when someone has mentioned my name on their blog or website. Google will crawl the web everyday and send you alerts for the search terms that you've asked it to find. Here are some of the search terms that Google sends me alerts for: "ann ruthman" "anne ruthmann" "anne ruthman" "anneruthmann" "annruthmann", and so on. This can also be used to track a trending topic, like "Cans for Comments" if you've started a viral campaign and would like to see how it's doing.

Very similar to Google Alerts - however Google doesn't index everyone's twitter feed as of yet, so TweetBeep can be used to see when and where your name was mentioned on twitter. Remember that twitter is still very young in its development, but is quickly becoming one of the fastest and easiest ways for companies to connect with their customers. The earlier you learn to use it to your benefit, the better off you'll be later on.

I first learned of this tool from my husband, a professor who is concerned with plagiarism of his intellectual property. We know those people are out there - the ones who think you're so awesome that they want to copy everything you write and say, and this is one of the easiest and most effective tools for finding them. Blogs are a great thing to run Copyscape on, since we often put so much into the wording of our blogs. While flash-based websites are not yet searchable by Copyscape, I would expect that as the coding evolves, it will eventually be able to search flash sites as well.

Anne Ruthmann is a lifestyle & wedding photographer from Boston, MA. She spent 10 years in the corporate & non-profit world before pursuing her passion for photography. When not behind the computer or camera, she can be found exploring the world with her husband. Follow her on Twitter.


  1. Hi Anne! Thanks for this fabulous advice. I just created an account with Stat Counter and started some Google Alerts. Thank you for being a photo love cat!

  2. copyscape is amazing! I have never heard of it til now. thanks alex!

  3. Anne, this is an AWESOME post. :)

  4. I just used copyscape and found a photographer had copied my faq pages word for word. Thanks for this info Anne and Alex!

  5. This is a great, and compact, listing of brand monitoring tools. I think it's easy to go overboard and spend more time with the ego searches than producing new content.

    Knowing what conversations are being had about us--or what ones are being had that we should participate in--is certainly a key element in maintaining a strong personal brand.


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