- "Adventures" in Theatre Marketing
- Adventures of Sock Monkey Godzilla
- Belle of Winnipeg
- Dragon and the Unicorn
- End of Year blather
- Ex Machina
- Feed Your Vanity
- Keystone Theatre
- Lyon and the Banshee
- New Links
- nuit blanche
- Out of Character
- Podcast Recommendation
- Rough Draft
- Script Frenzy
- Self Promotion
- Social Media
- Tech stuff
- The Biz
- The Commandment
- The Commandment
- The Last Man on Earth
- The Parliamentarians
- This is a thing
- Web Stuff
Over at LifeHacker.com they have an article on setting up a vanity feed that will pull in results from up to 22 engines, greatly extending your vanity needs.
Hop over to LifeHacker for instructions on how to do it. I followed the instructions there and ended up with 50 new records that Iâ€™d never seen before.
This post is a bit of a departure for this little series, as this article does not tell you how use the internet for your own self promotion, but instead, it will tell you how you can see how your
self promotion is doing.
Letâ€™s face it. Youâ€™re an actor (or performer of some kind). Youâ€™re vain (admit it. You are). You want to know whatâ€™s being written about you in the media. So, this article is going to tell you how to create an RSS feed that will find your name in the news and on blogs and gather it all together in one place for you to see.
Yeah. You can thank me later.
First off, you probably saw an acronym you didnâ€™t recognize there: RSS. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. Most news web sites use RSS, and that allows you to use an RSS reader to pull articles from the news web site to your reader, where you can read all the news articles in one place.
To begin, youâ€™ll need an RSS reader. There are many you can choose from. Personally, I like Google Reader
because I can access it anywhere, and its free. Iâ€™m going to use Google Reader as my example here, but things pretty much work the same for any RSS reader.
Creating your Feeds
Once you have your reader set up, you will now need to create the feeds you will use. Weâ€™ll be creating several feeds, so just follow along below.
First up, go to Google News. In the search bar at the top of Google News, type your name, and click the Search News Button. The next screen will be your search result (just like any regular Google search). Hereâ€™s where things get different though. Look at the sidebar on the left hand side of your search result page.
Under the navigation bar (which you can see the bottom of in the image
to the right), you will see several links. Right now, weâ€™re going to
concentrate on the RSS link highlighted in the screen capture.
Move your mouse over the RSS link, then right-click and copy the
link. Youâ€™ve just copied a link to the RSS feed for news articles that
contain your name.
Your RSS feed will collect any news from Google News that contains
your name and collect in the Reader for you to access at any time. This
isnâ€™t limited to just news either. Google News has the ability to
search Blogs for a phrase. Just click the Blog Search link, and repeat the steps above to find blogs that mention your name.
You can do much the same at Yahoo News.
Type your name into the search bar. Look for the RSS feed icon
(pictured to the right). Once again, right-click to copy the Feed URL
and take it to your reader.
Technorati is an
internet search engine focused on the world of weblogs. As of June
2005, Technorati indexes over 11 million weblogs. If you want more
notifications of whenever a blogger uses your name, use a Technorati RSS feed to keep track of
it. To set that up, type your name in the search field, select in blog
posts from the drop-down menu. Then click search. Look for the Subscribe icon,
right-click to copy the URL, and then take the address to your reader.
Now, youâ€™ve set up a number of RSS feeds that will let you find any references to your name in the news or on blogs without you having to actively search for it.
Chances are, that someone out there is Googling your name. Maybe they are a potential employer (casting director, agent, director, Artistic director, etc). Maybe its somone who saw you in a recent production and is curious about your past work.
What do they find? What comes up at Google when your name is searched?
If youâ€™re not sure, go now and try it.
What did you find? Did you get the results that you would like to see when someone searches for your name? Are you happy with the information that appears?
If you are like most actors, there are a couple of news articles that come up that mention your name, or your name appears on the web site of a theatre company that you worked with.
Take a look at the first item that appears in your google search results. Does that result represent how you want to be portrayed?
For about 99% of people online, it doesnâ€™t.
Letâ€™s see what you can do about that, shall we? Here are some steps on how to take control of your online identity:
1. Get your domain name. This isnâ€™t expensive. In fact, its pretty cheap. You can get a domain name for as low as $9.95/year from www.netfirms.ca. There are other registrars that will sell you a domain for a similarly
low price. Truthfully, there is no better investment in creating your online identity than yourname.com, or even .net, .ca orâ€¦whatever is available. If the .com is available, grab that. I covered more about this in this article.
2. Be selective about what goes on your site. Carefully decide what information to put on the site. Do not put your phone number, your address, or social insurance info. Since you are a performer, make sure you do
put your acting credits, upcoming events, biography and photos online. Obviously (presumably this is obvious, anyway), you donâ€™t want to put anything embarrassing online. You want to be in control, so before you put that picture of that one time you did that nude scene, ask yourself: Would I want my mother to see this?
3. Link to your site, using your name. Having the domain name with your name (eg: yourname.com) helps a lot, but thatâ€™s not all you need to do. Make sure that those linking to your site link with your name. For example, the author is at philrickaby.com, however, the more effective way to link would be to link with the authorâ€™s name: Phil Rickaby. This helps a search engine like Google associate your name with your address. If other actors link to your web site, ask them to link your name rather than your address. If you work with a theatre company, ask them to link your name to your address. This will help to increase the likelyhood that a search for your name will return your web site.
If the first site that appears in a Google Search is your site, the site that displays the content that you want
it to display, then you are in control of your online identity. After all, remember that the majority of people who perform a search online donâ€™t look past the first page, let alone the first returned item.
By following the steps above, you have a better chance of controlling what the first impression of you is (speaking from an online point of view, that is).