A friend of mine Sue Tosto, a relationship coach, recently wrote a post in her blog titled What Kind Of Attention Do You Want. Her basic lament is how these days one goes onto a site such as Facebook or MySpace and sees these young girls barely dressed and wondering if that’s really how they want to project themselves.

I’ve been reading things lately where both men and women are losing the opportunity for getting some pretty good jobs because more and more companies are hiring someone whose responsibility it is to go online and look for information on these applicants, and they’re going to sites like those above and not liking what they see, and turning down those applicants. It’s not only about qualifications anymore, especially as the web has given everyone the opportunity to express themselves in whatever fashion they so choose. Not only that, but as we learned from the Miss New Jersey situation last year, setting those pictures up as private means literally nothing anymore. I have enough knowledge to be able to figure my way into a lot of things; I just don’t (cough).

I think about that sort of thing all the time as I work towards promoting all of my businesses. In Hollywood, agents may say that any publicity is good publicity, but most of us don’t have the luxury of trying to recover from negative publicity, especially when it gets out to a large audience. And, truth be told, negative publicity doesn’t mean you did anything wrong either; some marketing ideas just don’t work.

For instance, think about your image of a lawyer. Now try to think of that same lawyer wearing baggy sweats and a baseball cap. Now imagine you’re in deep trouble of some sort, and need a very good lawyer to get you out of trouble. Who are you going to when you need help? If you didn’t already know the guy in sweats, you’re going to someone who looks the part, right? If you saw a commercial on TV from a lawyer wearing sweats and a baseball cap and he or she was telling you how good their law firm is, how much credibility do you think that would carry, whether it was true or not? Memorable, sure, but credible?

For my “day time career”, there’s a certain standard that’s expected for me in order to get contracts. Consulting has its own set of rules, and the kiss of death would be to decide to be far away from the norm. I already have an uphill battle, being one of a very few minorities who do what I do, so the last thing I can afford is to be seen as too much of a radical or party guy, both of which aren’t my nature, but on my business blog I will tackle issues that I won’t address here.

I met one guy locally who’s a millionaire, and he was telling a group of us some of the things he’s done over the years in promoting his businesses. Some of those things make good business sense; some of them would basically end the careers of the rest of us.

So, let’s relate this to being online. We all want traffic and visitors, and we all want to be credible. At the same time, all of us knows that if we can find a way to stand out from the crown that we might increase the number of our visitors even more, because people might want to see what the heck you’re going to do next. Now, Rich Jerk might be able to get away with abusing visitors, but most of us can’t do that sort of thing. We also can’t, or shouldn’t, have all sorts of bells and whistles when people visit our site, because those things get really irritating. I talked a couple of posts ago about how much I hate popups, but something else I can’t stand is either music or video automatically playing when I visit a site; irritating as sin. I also don’t like flash start up pages; get me to the content quickly.

So, how far will you go in promoting your business or blog in order to achieve a substantial online status? How far should you go? What kind of attention do you want? Hey, that’s how we started, isn’t it? 😉

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