Content creators may be pre-occupied going live on Twitch, uploading their latest YouTube video, or posting a new video on TikTok, but they shouldn’t ignore the importance of protecting their online brand.
This morning I received a DM from a Twitch content creator who told me that someone had created a flurry of social media pages and accounts pretending to be them, and trying to manipulate fans into thinking their brand was operating these new social pages.
The sad reality is, these things happen far too often, and content creators are seeing their content, and brand names being utilized by other people, who simply want to pirate their content and brand.
So, how does a content creator, protect their content and brand?
Here are the following tips on doing just that, with free and paid options.
Register a DBA
Depending on where you live, this can be as easy as simply going to your Town Hall, paying a small fee, and registering an official DBA. While it may not seem like much, it lays the foundation on your creating a professional brand.
Do plenty of research, as some processes can be done online, but keep in mind that the easiest, and cheapest route may be you taking things into your own hands.
Stray away from brands such as LegalZoom, who are good in many areas, but are obnoxiously over-priced in the DBA registration area.
Once you register a DBA, you can then start the process of an LLC and open a bank account under an official business name. This has a ton of benefits and protection for your personal assets, funds, and gives you more recourse in the event of any infringements or pirating attempts.
Register an LLC
The next step is a bit more expensive, but worth every penny.
Registering an LLC makes your brand official, and it would be beneficial for you to do your research on the tax laws in your area to ensure you setup your company as best as possible. Some states (in the United States, for example) charge more fees and require additional registrations. Florida, for example, not only requires you to have an active LLC and pay annual fees, but also requires you to be listed in SunBiz in order to open a business bank account.
This is where LegalZoom can be a better option, but given the pricing of LLCs, you definitely want to shop around.
Buy Your Domain Name
One of the first things I would suggest, and perhaps the most important right off the bat, is getting your domain name.
There are a number of websites to register, but I recommend GoDaddy as they are often the easiest option. However, where Godaddy is strong in registering and managing a domain property, it’s not the best at helping you find a wide range of available domains for your name.
For this, I would suggest Name.com. Simply input your brand name and select the domain extensions you wish to do a search for and you’ll instantly get a list of available domain extensions.
While your specific .COM may not be available, you can always get creative with your URL structure, and you also have .GG, .NET . Biz, .CO, .IO extensions, among many others, to choose from. Granted, they don’t pack the SEO punch that a .COM does, but they still will help you significantly.
Research Your Brand on Social Media
As the social media landscape becomes more saturated, the potential names a brand can choose from continues to decrease.
My suggestion for choosing your brand name, start with a .COM search and then circle back on a name that is available widely on social media, particularly on the big platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch.
A great, free tool to do this KnowEm, who can give you a basic list, but will charge you for automatically setting these profiles up for you.
Setup Your Website
You may be versed in web design and may have already setup a website in the past, but just in case your not there are very affordable options.
I always recommend building your own web environment, using a great CMS as WordPress, as Wix is often lagging behind on the search front, and WordPress has a number of free and affordable tools to help you get going.
Even if you’re an absolute noob, WordPress has a endless galaxy of tutorials and video guides to help with setup, and management.
If you’re looking for cheap, straightforward hosting, HostGator’s Baby Plan is great, especially if you’re website is essentially static, and not adding a lot of bells and whistles.
Search Engine Optimization
Now that your social media profiles are set up, your domain is locked in, your brand name established, and a website setup, you now have to consider Search Engine Optimization (aka SEO).
Let’s be honest, SEO is an expensive process, but for establishing your brand, it’s important in ensuring you’re brand is properly listed in search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing. While you may not be ready to invest in SEO, there are free ways to at least plug a bit of SEO power to help get your brand name and content connected and listed in search.
Gamactica has a number of directories to be listed in, and our basic SEO is at no cost, meaning you can get a base line SEO foundation established for your brand name, which can potentially help get your brand in the search radar, and help steer fans to your actual content and social pages.
Combating False Profiles
This will all help in combating any fake profiles or instances of your brand online. Many platforms will ask for some sort of evidence that your brand is established and that you have ownership, and with a website, DBA, LLC, and a bit of SEO you’ll have more than you need.