When you are a digital journalist you will almost certainly have a blog as your ‘shop window’. If you don’t already have a blog, you should think about getting one. They are seen as your front door in the digital journalism world. They are the ‘go to’ place for anyone who is considering commissioning your work who may want an idea of your writing style or the kinds of topics that you enjoy writing about.
Building a digital reputation is key, both in terms of attracting readers but also attracting clients. In many ways, the two are intrinsically linked. Clients are looking for work that can attract a wider readership to their site. Audiences are looking for high quality, readable material that can inform them, entertain them, educate them or engage them in some way. The more you are able to successfully engage your audience, the more your digital reputation will grow.
As well as making sure that your content is readable and engaging, you must make sure that there is nothing around on the Internet that could be used to smear your reputation. For example, you should never copy something from another person’s site and pass it off as your own work on your own blog. This has the potential of trashing your reputation very quickly. Further, if your blog is messy or looks unprofessional, your reputation is likely to be tarnished as well. A client who looks at a website that is a bit messy is less likely to hire the work of that person, when compared to somebody who has a professional looking, smart, ‘shop window’.
So, is it possible to build your reputation and, if yes, how do you go about doing that?
Apart from making sure your blog looks good and has great content there are a number of other ways that you can grow your reputation.
Firstly, be active on social media. Make yourself well known in the digital world. Try and carve out a niche and learn as much as possible about it. If you can earn a specialism then you will be surprised how much this gains you a reputation. Once you have this niche carved out, try to write about it regularly, building your reputation as somebody who knows their stuff.
Secondly, try and write on a wide range of different platforms. There are lots of online magazines and specialist sites out there. Try and get your work published widely on these platforms and always search for new avenues to publish your work.
Finally, get actively involved in the blogosphere and make informed comments on other people’s blogs. After a while you will see your own blog visitor numbers grow, as your reputation grows.