Published On: Sat, Apr 17th, 2010


I gave a presentation yesterday to some Public Relations students at London Met University, having been kindly invited by their lecturer Gareth Thompson who got in touch after our paths crossed at the Euprera Spring Symposium.

The presentation details my thoughts on Personal SEO and how this is often a more accurate description of what people term ‘personal brand’. It contains quotes from senior PR colleagues and explains how blogging, putting real work online and networking can generate strong Personal SEO.

It’s always great to meet current PR students and see how other university’s ‘do’ PR education. I was impressed by this group of young people and look forward to seeing how they get on in the industry.

Here is a copy of the presentation – if you have any questions, please do get in touch.

About the Author

- Marketing Manager with a passion for inbound at HubSpot, Founder of Growth Hack Talks, Blogger at and Chief Quaffer at .

Displaying 11 Comments
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  1. I’ve known Gareth for a long time (we first worked together in 1989) – and personal relationships still count.

    But there’s now a means of knowing people (and forming a view about them) even though we’ve never met.

    You’re right to point out how important this is for job seeking graduates, though it tends to be the older practitioners who use social media for networking purposes.

  2. Ben Cotton says:

    Whilst, I recognise older practitioners use social media for networking purposes, I’m also confident it’s not the preserve of senior industry figures. Indeed, I’m aware of a large number of younger people working within the industry who are wising up to the value of social media as a networking tool.

    In my experience, Twitter, Linked In and PROpenMic have all proved invaluable for finding out about jobs, discussing industry issues and general reputation building.

    As you mention, these virtual networks allow people to know a lot about you, without actually meeting you. For me, I feel this represents a huge opportunity for all.

  3. Eric says:

    Hi Ben,

    It seems like you are an expert on the personal SEO front. Can you please look at my blog-, and give me your thoughts. Thanks!


  4. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by bencotton: Slides of my presentation on Personal SEO:

  5. Hi Ben,
    Great work as always! I like it because you lay everything out so simple, explaining how individuals can benefit by different tools for greater personal SEO.
    However, I have a question to ask, you mention we should blog and in general make our ‘real work’ evident on the online community. But when the time comes for us students to be looking for a job, and that company Google’s my name or reads my blog, and sees all the real work I’ve done, what’s left to talk about in an interview?
    And why should all this is made so visible to people all over the world? Why does my former employer get to judge me on my tweets? You have a slide on Stuart Bruce and he says he goes through the hundreds of Tweets someone has made to see the ‘real him’. Fair enough, anyone is allowed to do that, but why judge someone on his Tweets? And why does his Tweets prove to be the real you?
    I think personal SEO is important, but I don’t think just because there are so many tools out there that can improve someone’s personal SEO we have to use it…
    Maybe it’s just different from a student’s perspective, because as a PR professional yourself, I can understand why this would benefit yourself, but not quite sure about us students…

  6. Ben Cotton says:

    Hey Sophia,

    I must say that I think it is beneficial to publish work you have done online! Why? Because you can show a large number of potential employers the work you have undertaken and more importantly the skills and experiences gained. This will also enable the employer to build up a positive understanding of your competencies before you even meet. You can also demonstrate digital skills and if done well, all this will create something of a ‘wow’ factor. Essentially, it’s different. Most students don’t put their work online, so this will immediately distinguish you.

    I’m not saying you must protect your Personal SEO, however it seems that virtually all employers ‘Google’ potential candidates. So it does seem a wise move to do your upmost to protect and enhance your Personal SEO.

    Whilst, I would not wish to answer on Stuart’s behalf, Twitter offers a great insight into someone’s personality, enthusiasm and views e.g. do their tweets make them sound unsuitable for the role or a great hire? Twitter is a real-time, public network, whereas a CV is a very polished document – so I do agree with Stuart on this one. Perhaps, don’t be careful, be thoughtful.

    I would be interested to hear your thoughts.

    • Hello Ben,
      By all means, I think it’s a great idea to boost your personal SEO! As you can see from the video that I was inspired by you. I think it’s great and very important to also be different and definitely show the world, and future employers you ‘get digital media’ and also into it.
      However, I am only thinking from an employer’s perspective, when an individual has so much work online, and the real work he/she produced, will they still be curious to find out about you? Or will they be judgmental by what they see? Of course if they like what they see, that would be great, but if by any means they don’t like what they see, there is a higher chance of not being called in for an interview.
      So I’m just saying it’s quite unfair to judge what you see online, because let’s not forget, meeting people face to face and talking to them in person show much more. Someone’s work online may not be “as great” but in person, may be genius! 🙂

      PS- I understand where Stuart’s comment comes from and why you would agree, after giving it some thought you both may be right. But still, I think it would be unfair to just judge what people see online and be put off by it, and maybe not giving an individual the chance to be interviewed and met in person.

      Nevertheless, it’s important to boost your Personal SEO and the good thing is an individual may always control what he/she puts online!

  7. […] 05/06/2010 · Leave a Comment I received a Google Alert the other day, alerting me to the fact that Sophia Fantis had written a blog mentioning my name, only to discover that she had in fact, produced a video based on the presentation I gave to London Met a couple of weeks, ‘WTF is Personal SEO’. […]

    • Ben,

      It is a great honour you have posted something about me and the video I made.

      I really appreciate it 🙂 And I’m glad you think it’s great and effective!!

      Thank you very much!!!!


  8. Ben Cotton says:

    Hi Sophia,

    Thank you for making the video – it articulates the points a lot better than a standard presentation deck.

    Going back to your previous message, whilst I appreciate the points raised, I feel that an e-portfolio is a great tool to boost your chances of getting to the interview stage. I acknowledge that an e-portfolio if done poorly, will probably mean that you do NOT get the call for an interview. However, if done well, I believe the potential benefits far out weigh the risks. There is still no substitution for face-to-face meetings, but an e-portfolio allows you to demonstrate the work you have undertaken and enables the organisation to build up an impression of your experience, skills and attributes.

    Essentially, an e-portfolio is a great way to impress a potential employer before you even meet.

  9. Hi Ben,

    I agree with what you are saying. We are so caught up in the Web and all the things you can do with it, but it’s also important to remember that face to face meetings are the best, and the most effective I believe.

    Thank you for all your advice and the fact that you are actually engaging with all of us.

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