For most of my career I’ve been happy to stand in the shadows. I know the value of my work and have been happy to mentor, teach, edit, uplift and support those I’ve worked with. I love to push people to be their unique best, to champion them from the side-lines of their show. I’m not so keen on having my own show. I was shy growing up and I’m still much more comfortable one-on-one than in large gatherings. That’s probably why I read so much – it engages me in all manner of conversations without me having to say a word.
In addition to all the editing, writing, strategizing and general doing my thing, for the past seven years, I’ve been co-hosting a radio show. But I only use the first letter of my name as an identifier – K. I did my last show last night and it occurred to me that nobody will know that I’m no longer on air – not because I didn’t say much, but because I wasn’t actually there in the first place. Not as me. Which has been absolutely fine, until now.
Now I’m trying to market my services to all and sundry. So, all my anonymous blog posts, radio appearances, tweets and book writings don’t come up when a potential client does the obligatory Google search. Even my Instagram account isn’t in my name. It’s there in the bio, but not in the name.
So, I have to step into the light. The cyber-light.
Of necessity, I have to pepper cyberspace with my actual name. It’s not that easy – not from a digital perspective – but a psychological one. Suddenly I’m going to be there for anyone to see. My words, opinions, failures and successes will be available for scrutiny.
Not that I’m ashamed or embarrassed in any way of my work. I really do think I’m pretty fantastic. Nor do I believe I’ll have the paparazzi following me around simply because I’ve come into the light. I’m not the famous-person type and nor does my work warrant that.
But, people who are thinking about engaging your services want to be able to find you. You’ve got to come up in a Google search on top, or at least close to the top and all your social links must reflect what they want to know and see.
Most of my work is through word of mouth, so marketing isn’t a major requirement. But, as anyone in this digital age knows, cyber stalking a person you’re going to meet, professionally or socially, is what everyone does. We want to know everything before we have to face someone.
Gone are the days when you had to wear a rose in your button hole as an identifier when meeting a person for the first time. Now whenever I walk into a restaurant or coffee shop to meet a new client, I immediately whip out my cell to call them – we seldom have to complete the call, because as the rings sound, the person I’m meeting invariably stands and waves. They know what I look like – not because they’ve been able to cyber-stalk me, but because I’ve got a little picture attached to my number. That picture used to be a little girl holding a suitcase and walking away, but a few months ago I made the brave decision to put an actual photograph of myself there. Baby steps.
So, here goes. If you know my name, you may well see it popping up here and there. And if you don’t, you’re probably going to do a little bit of cyber sleuthing to find out, which is cool because that’ll give me a few hits and move me up in the search rankings.
Time to step out from the shadows – hopefully I’ll catch a ride on an algorithm!