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Trevor McClintock | What if your name is Walter White?

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Who is Walter White? Are you Walter White?

Breaking Bad, the highly popular show recently ended its stint on television and it got me thinking...when it comes to reputation management or trying to brand your name...how do you do it if your name is synonymous with a known criminal?

Branding your own name can be challenging, but it doesn't have to seem impossible. Trevor McClintock Marketing presents some options and advice if you happen to share your name with someone who has questionable morals.

Published in: Social Media, Technology, Business
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Trevor McClintock | What if your name is Walter White?

  1. 1. Breaking Bad… online reputation: What if your name is Walter White?  The name Walter has been in the top 100 names in the UK for most of the 20th century, up until 1975.  White is the 16th most common surname in the UK. A quick search online reveals there are 157 people called Walter White in the UK. That’s 157 people whose name has become synonymous overnight with the meth cook character “Walter White” in the award winning hit TV series Breaking Bad. What happens if you share a name with someone famous (or infamous), such as a celebrity, actor, politician or businessperson, and they gain some level notoriety due to a negative news event? Your online reputation is damaged too. Or, what if a distant relative of yours has the same name as you, and he was involved with shady business ventures, but people think its you—just as you’re looking to change careers? Its hard enough having the same name as someone famous but it can be extremely harmful if their reputation goes south because of a scandal. This can bring you and your business down as well through no fault of your own.
  2. 2. If your name shows up on the first page of Google search results, there are a few options that can help: Change Your Name to a Nickname Sometimes it’s possible to change your name to an abbreviation or nick name. Often, this change could be enough to differentiate you from the other person. Or try adding an initial or middle name to your online profiles. Note: If your name is Walter White, then avoid using the nickname “Heisenberg” Claim a New Domain Purchase a new domain and add content. It usually works best if there is an exact match with your name and the domain. For example, get www.walterwwhite.com if your name is Walter W. White. If that name is already taken, make it unique by adding an attribute or location at the end, such as “Dr” if you are a doctor or “NY” if you live in New York. Optimize Your Site for Your Name If you already have a web site, make sure it’s optimized for your name. Be sure the Title metatags reflect this and is updated with your name to ensure getting found by search engines such as Google. Also make sure your contact information is included clearly on the site. Blog, blog and blog some more Spread your name around by blogging as much as possible. Write weekly, or more frequently if possible, with a focus on topics that truly interest you or you are an expert in. The better the blog post, the more likely you’ll be treated as an expert in your field, and this helps generate more site traffic, and in turn, pushes your name up in the search rankings. Create New Social Media Profiles Be sure to sign up for new accounts that are either popular or are in your industry to help generate site traffic. Facebook, LinkedIn and others can be extremely helpful, but also look for social media platforms, bloggers or online forums that are part of your business. Tell Your Story Have you won awards? Written articles? Been published? Track down all old content and make sure to post them online. Search for previous news about you—the good kind, of course—and promote it to help move it to the first page of Google search results.
  3. 3. The Bottom Line Having the same name as someone who has a poor reputation can be extremely damaging to your online reputation, but there are ways to overcome it by changing your name, getting a new domain, blogging and adding new, positive content about you.

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