Spend this week digging through memories predating the moment you joined the online conversation and start posting them. You can post them as the date they happened in real life, as many platforms such as Facebook and most blogs allow you to define the date of the experience, or you can wrap them as a memory and editorialize who, what, when, where, why, and how in the form of being nostalgic or simply just expressing more accurately all the experience and experience you’ve had before people who know you now knew you. The best thing about this is allowing your friends and followers to know you and your business a little better: in context, in texture, in richness, and in detail; the secondary benefit is search: the more content you have about yourself online, the more Google, Bing, and Yahoo! know about you.
What’s more, the more you can fill in your past on your blog the greater the number of pages that Google will be able to index about you. If you’re just starting to blog now or within the last few years, you’ll have relatively few pages for Google to index to represent your voice, your experience, and the thoughts, mindshare, expertise, and context of your brand, company and corporate history.
To put this in context, my blog, Because the Medium is the Message, has 9,491 blog posts as of last count. So, you only have a couple-dozen? I couple-hundred? Well, how long have you been in business? How long have you been in practice? There’s so much amazing opportunity to dig up all of those awards, wins, relationships, announcements, testimonials, case studies, and white papers that you’ve produced en masse well before blogs existed, and pepper them into your present in the form of “it’s been ten years since” or into your past.
Since WordPress, Blogger, Typepad, and even Tumblr allow you to adjust the post date of your blogs, you can slowly and surely backdate your entire blog offerings to go all the way back to the day you were born, if you like. So, go up into the attic and look around.
Go around the office, dig through your websites, your about us pages, your old newsletters and office news mimeographs and start scanning, transcribing, recording, and transferring from Betamax to HD and upload to Soundcloud, Youtube, Flickr, Picasa, Instagram, Tumblr, Vine, and, of course, onto the proper place and the proper date and time on your own personal or corporate blog.
And, since Google doesn’t trust any of us anymore, make it a long-term project, not unlike the branding equivalent of trying to turn the pile of 5X7 prints you have always wanted to organize into photo albums — but be sure to do it, and do it with as much care one would put together wedding albums, craftily: label everything, make notes of everything, collect your memories, and also get other people to testify, to write in the guest book, so to speak. What’s more, paste in the branding equivalent of the garter, the invitation, the program, and even some grains of the rice. When it comes to collecting the memory and history of your company, your brand, and your experience, go all out.
And, don’t worry about not having done this until now. As the say, the best time to plant a tree is twenty-years-ago; the second best time is today; plus, the bonus of doing it all today, tomorrow, and into the coming weeks and months, is that you’ll have the benefit of a number of things you didn’t have when these things were actually occurring: hindsight is 20/20.
So, write your business, corporate, personal, and professional story now, on your blog as posts that are either posted now as a retrospective of your past work or in order to fill out historical blog posts — sort of like what I did in intermediate school/middle school when I would leave my class journal until the end of term before I would collect together as many types and colors of pen as possible and then go back and do my best to fabricate spontaneous journal entries week and months after events occurred.
So, just go back to the date you incorporated or hung out your shingle and start writing from there. Yeah, that’s a lot of work. Better yet, why don’t you just go back to the most important and impressive and notable dates of your professional and corporate life and then just add those in for now. Submit them under the proper date and even the proper time. Why not, it’s not rewriting the past, really, it’s just accounting for it.
Like I say in all of my online reputation and SEO articles, your biggest vulnerability is your vacuum. If you don’t account for your story, it will either remain unwritten, it’ll be written by someone else, or in a worst-case scenario, your story will be maligned, corrupted, misspoken, and misinterpreted — often haplessly but sometimes with malevolence in order to harm.
The greatest gift of being able to write your past into existence onto your blog and into your social media timeline, especially your Facebook Page, is that you have an opportunity to use modern marketing language, current linking strategies, and everything you know now in order to help optimize your word-choices, increase your find-ability, and to seed Google’s search index with the maximum amount of content and context possible that will allow Google and the other search engines to go from your current pointillistic, minimalistic, or imagistic broad stroke that your current brochure-ware corporate website and brand new blog represent to search versus the very rich, detailed, and photo-realistic representation of who you are, what you do, what you sell, how you produce, and your vision for the future into a tableau that will be cat nip to Google and will benefit greatly the fancy, professional, client-focused, online business card your expensive-though-shallow website represents.
And if you break this down into little bits and pieces, you can make a lot of progress over the course of days, weeks, months; however, don’t write them all over time, keep them off the site, and then publish them all at once because whenever you deluge Google with a bunch of new content, Google tends to pull away, give you some space, assuming that you’re trying to do something sketchy: dropping links, creating shill content, aggregating other content, or just “cheating,” whatever that means.
If you consider it as scrap-booking or doing an historical retrospective of your company’s culture of history, it’ll make much more sense. How to start? Well, like I said in the beginning, it can be as simple as just dumping in each and every newsletter, announcement, and press-release, verbatim, you have ever written into your blog, marking each post with the date that that particular post occurred.
There’s nothing wrong with that — not everything needs to be value-added. Sometimes scrapbooking just means capturing the flowers and lovers of your life pressed into the book as-is. Then you can add photos, memories, and even point-of-view remembrances of times past by yourself and your staff written today but posted on they day of the memory.
And, if you really do want to put them all together, write them all up, get them all edited, put them all into a row, and then get them sorted out once and for all, don’t post them right away. While you’ll be unable to “schedule” these posts because they do, logistically, occur in the past, try to put together some sort of editorial calendar. You’re likely to have weeks and weeks of easy-to-produce-and-edit content, content that’s a no-brainer to get approved by the powers-that be, and also a very convenient source and repository for all of your corporate memories — memories that are so valuable for you and your organization — the fabric and the stitching that can not only bring your old staff closer but is a great way for newer employees to get to know you better and for your prospective clients and future employees to fall in love with you well before they even pick up the phone or drop you an email.
Don’t worry, you’re not alone, either. Most of my clients and friends have made exactly the same mistake: their social media life effectively began on the day they started blogging, tweeting, and Facebooking and it has never and will never occur to them that the Internet isn’t a book printed once onto paper — that it is infinitely editable, hackable, revisable, and adaptable.
You can start today with your brand new blog and, over time, fill in all the missing thoughts, edit the past thoughts you’ve already had and blogged, and even rewrite stuff that you really hate now but loved when you wrote it.
And if that sounds shady to you, don’t worry about it: most great writers have been terribly “dishonest” and “inauthentic” when it came to revising and rewriting their works over the course of their lives to the point of burning tons of revisions, drafts, and rejected work.
Writers are not reporters and neither are you. You have the opportunity to use your social media platforms any way you like: you can revise, you can delete, you can write all the blog posts you wished you had written and post them on the dates when you very well should have written them.
If your company launched in 1975 and blogging didn’t become commonplace until 2006 then why shouldn’t you take all your historical good news and make sure the Internet and all of the indices of the web know that you did very well exist, produce, create, and innovate well before the light turned on and Hello World came up on the Interwebs — something more substantive than the “Founded in 1975″ that may hide somewhere on the about page on your corporate web site.
Bring the richness of your life, your creativity, and your experience to the fore, for people who are looking for you but also for all the spiders and bots who are constantly looking for the best content possible to serve to their customers, all the people of the world who are searching — and finding — things right now.
Your life is a continuity, possibly having pre-dated your registration on Facebook, WordPress, and Twitter.
Why, then, do so few businesses, brands, companies, and even private citizens leave so much context and content behind?
About Chris Abraham
A pioneer in online social networks and publishing, with a natural facility for anticipating the next big thing, Chris is an Internet analyst, web strategy consultant and advisor to the industries' leading firms. He specializes in Web 2.0 technologies, including content syndication; organize search engine optimization (SEO), online reputation management (ORM), content marketing, online collaboration, blogging, and consumer generated media.