describe the imageIt’s amazing how things work out. Today has already been called Oprah day on Twitter. We’ve spent the week building up to hearing a sportsman attempt to rebuild a shattered reputation. The surprise so far is that we’ve been talking about Manti T’eo and not Lance Armstrong. Today could conceivably be renamed personal brand day as two viable sporting brands from different ends of the spectrum attempt to rebuild reputations.

Of course it’s easy for us to sit in relative obscurity and furrow our brows at the damaged reputations of two sportsmen. It might be harder to look at our own personal brands. To help you celebrate personal brand day, and allow yourself some guilt free judging later on, we’ve compiled a list of questions to help you rehabilitate your own brand online.

1. What do you look like?

Everyone knows the answer to this question, but no one can explain it out loud. A combination of self-consciousness and modesty often leads people to avoid this issue, but it’s vital for your personal brand that you understand what you look like. Are you a formal dresser? Do you present a pristine image? Or do you go for a casual look?

2. Who are you?

The next level is your personality. Are you work focused? Fun-loving? Is there a facet of your personality that stands out over others? Your personal brand is you, as you want people to see you. You need to be aware of who that is.

3. What do you do?

Just like the ‘who’ question, your job title or personal description says a lot about your personal brand. It’s also about how you define yourself. What you ‘do’ may not be what you’re employed to do right now. It may be what you want to do. The key is figuring out how your personal brand presents that information.

4. What do you post and why?

Whenever you set up a new social media account, they ask you to write a little about yourself. A lot of people leave that section blank because they don’t want to write about themselves. The irony is that everything you post on social media is about yourself. It all says something about you and your personal brand.

5. Is that what you see online?

The final question is simple; does your online presence match the personal brand you’ve built in your head? Have you accidentally created a personal brand for someone else? By working on your personal brand you can bridge the gap between the person you want people to find online and the person you see. That process has three basic steps.

Choose what works.

The first step is finding the parts of your personal brand that are already online. Choose a profile picture that best illustrates the image you want to project and then use it across all social media platforms. You’re creating a brand here and brands have consistent images. Then go through your bios and find the parts you like. Use them as a framework to build the persona you want. Finally assess and note the social activity that best illustrates your personal brand. When someone visits your social presence it creates an impression so make sure you keep the posts that send the most appropriate message.

Delete what doesn’t.

Once you know what you want to keep, dump everything else. If a piece of content holds no value for your personal brand, why would you keep it? Just take care not to delete too much. You don’t want to look inactive either.

Replace what you can’t delete.

If there are posts about you online that damage your personal brand you may not be able to delete them. In this situation you need a bit of counter PR. That means posting content relevant to similar topics or in similar locations. Your fresh content can replace the negative content that’s already there; the better your SEO and personal brand work the quicker that will happen.

Rehabilitating a personal brand is not an easy process. You need to put the work in because you can’t change your persona in a matter of hours. Well, you could try going on Oprah.

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