Data people spend a lot of time collecting data about customers. We then spend hours analysing it to find information about income, children, home value, and so on. We can target like crazy and build campaigns with dozens of micro-targets.

We know quite a bit about our advertisers as well: number of employees, approximate revenues, Facebook followers, SEO score, SEM keywords they buy, and so on.

But have you ever turned that information collection and analysis work upside down? Have you ever looked at the digital fingerprint of your own company?

Media companies need to carve out time to ensure their online presence is accurate and updated.
Media companies need to carve out time to ensure their online presence is accurate and updated.

Are you presenting your company’s message and values in such a way that anyone doing a data dive into your operation will get the picture you wish to convey? I know that when I arrived at my latest position, the company profile on one of the social sites described us as “a daily general circulation newspaper in North America.” And that was it.

Another had products and contact names that were years out of date. Just for grin’s sake, I took a quick look at a few other publications to see how they were doing with the information updating. Poorly as well.

So, publishers, when was the last time you looked at your own digital bread crumbs? Are you managing your digital profiles? They are the first place everyone goes when trying to find out about you.

How about pushing the information down one more layer: Do your sales reps have LinkedIn profiles that appropriately represent themselves and the company?

As a player in the digital strategy for my company, I spend a good deal of time working with our sales team to help them prepare for sales calls. We look at companies’ Web sites and find them on LinkedIn, Facebook, and the like. Then we run each company’s presence through digital rating/ranking software tools to see the SEO/audience extension and other digital services opportunities.

This is all part of knowing the customer before you make the call or knock on the door. The information we glean from the digital dive is a key added value in showing expertise beyond being just a newspaper.

When you turn the data analysis perspective to that of the business looking at us, and the way many people think about traditional media, it is extremely critical we manage our “first impressions” with the businesses with which we engage. If you are going to talk the talk of being a digital agency or media company, you had better … well, you know the rest of the cliché.

Here’s the game plan:

Find your company’s bread crumbs:

  • Google yourself.
  • Search LinkedIn for your company.
  • Search LinkedIn for your sales reps.
  • Look at your Facebook page.
  • What does Yelp! say?
  • Look at the Yellow Pages.

Look at your own Web site for digital direction:

  • Is your media kit online?
  • Are your company contacts up to date?
  • Are your products up to date?

Be honest. If you ran a small business, and all you knew about The Daily Miracle was what was online, would you see the Miracle as being in touch or living in the past?

Now is the time to do something!

What do your digital bread crumbs look like? Is the message you convey one that shows you are looking forward or do you still tout the Pulitzer you picked up in 1989? Geez, that was probably before the person you are talking to was even born!

My favourite burger place has all kinds of best of awards from 2012, 2013, and 2014. I guess it has lost its mojo because it hasn’t noted anything since then. Like the burger place, what have you done lately?

A presence alone does not drive any excitement. Use social media as an advertising message. Build a digital media kit. Manage your message. Remind people you are much more than a stereotype of “old media.” You know your competitors are not out there saying “buy The Daily Miracle.” Do something about your message!

This is your chance to fix first impressions.