A key component of web presence optimization, or webbiquity, is writing and posting an effective online profile. This is equally true for consultants, individual proprietors any executive or public-facing employee in a company. Your profile is not only a key tool in selling you services or organization, but also a gateway to additional information about your expertise or products. It should be a little bit about you and a lot about your, or your firm’s, unique value proposition.
An effective online profile has six critical characteristics:
Current: The information you share about yourself and/or your company should be revised regularly to keep it up to date. A profile that contains old or obsolete information is not only misleading, it just plain looks bad.
Complete: This doesn’t mean a profile needs to contain every detail of your life; most people probably don’t care where you went to junior high for example, and extraneous information only dilutes and unnecessarily lengthens a profile. It does mean, however, that an effective profile should contain all of the information your “customers,” whether they be buyers, investors, potential clients or hiring managers, donors, peers and others can find all of the essential and expected information about you there, including a photo, contact information and links to related resources.
Concise: This may seem to be the opposite of the previous point, but it’s not: again, your profile needn’t contain excessive detail, just the essential information you want people to know. It should include your or your company’s unique value proposition, for example, but doesn’t need to include every proof point for every product or service value statement. You may want to include some client success examples, but don’t need to post a complete client list. And you may want to share some background about your organization, but don’t need to include a detailed company history. Basically, people are busy—tell `em everything they need to know, but no more than that.
Competent: An effective online profile should be crafted as carefully as a resume (which effectively, it often is). Be careful to avoid typos and misspellings, use complete sentences, proper grammar, and appropriate vocabulary. Mistakes will reflect poorly on you and your company. A poorly crafted profile may be viewed as a sign of sloppy workmanship and lack of attention to detail.
Compelling: While a profile should of course be factual, it shouldn’t be a mere collection of facts. Why are you, your company, your products and/or services special? What unique benefits will someone gain from hiring you or buying your goods? An effective profile should make the reader want to learn more or take some other action.
Connected: Take advantage of the opportunity in your online profile to link to additional resources—your blog, YouTube channel, website, Twitter account, even other online profiles. This not only drives direct traffic to those venues but also provides SEO benefit.
A carefully crafted online profile extends your presence on the web and communicates the qualities you want readers to take away about you or your organization: professional, thorough, knowledgeable and helpful.