Reputation Repair & Management, Learn from the Worst and be the Best
Reputation repair and reputation management is a hot topic today as social media and blogs are exploding in popularity. Social media is making it increasingly easier for an irate client, customer, or employee to smear your company name and make it very public. In fact, without a great deal of skill it is fairly easy to create negative content via social media and blogs that will rank in Google or Bing searches such as Company Name Scam or Brand Name Scam. On twitter the popular hashtags for this are #FAIL to indicate a company or brand has really screwed up or #LAME for a less offensive, but still stupid move.
So how does one go about actually implementing a reputation repair campaign. Below is our 7 Steps for Reputation Management, or How to Do Reputation Repair, but first let’s explore the issue and challenges.
Google and Bing search engines are giant calculators, they run huge algorithms to analyze content and webpages to determine the credibility, authority, content quality, along with over 200 other factors to arrive at a search rank for specific keywords. Thus a blog with Your Company Name Scam in it along with a few keywords will rank at the top of that search result in absence of any competing content. Likewise, dozens of blogs with Your Company Name Scam will dominate the first and second page of search results, a potential disaster for your reputation! Add websites like Ripoff Report and press releases or public records for litigation and it is easy enough to have an ugly page one for search results.
The best way to learn how to conduct a great reputation management or reputation repair campaign is to look at some companies that have had severe image or reputation problems (many well earned by the way) to see how they turned this around.
The simple answer is content, content, and more content, but successful implementation actually more complex than that. The picture I choose for this post illustrates the point well, it is a matter of counteracting and displacing the negative content with your positive content. Content is absolutely vital and it is equally important that the content is published with the right keywords and on blogs or websites were the search engine spiders will find the content and index it. There is a bit of art to selecting the right keywords, to borrow a phrase from George Orwell’s book it is “double speak”. For example, to rank against Your Company Name Scam, you would write blogs with those negative keywords in the content, BUT in a positive context.
To illustrate this I wrote a blog a couple of weeks ago titled “SEO Scams, You Need a New Website, Is this Really a Scam?”. If you do a Google search for Esotech Scam this turns up on page one in several other positions. Thankfully no posts about other companies with similar names have any negative posts and this is all positive for our firm and it illustrates this point well.
How to do Reputation Repair, 7 Steps for Reputation Management
- Research: Do Google and Bing searches for your organization name, brand names and key management. List any keywords or phrases that need attention.
- Google and Bing search each name and phrase.
- Google and Bing search each name with scam, sucks, ripoff, etc. in search terms.
- Identify Keywords: Make a list of words and phrases that either are causing a problem or could cause one in the future.
- Offending Keywords: List all of the keywords and phrases that showed up in your research above. Be sure to list exactly how it showed up in search results and exactly what you searched for.
- Potentially Offensive or Harmful Words: List words that are likely choices or targets for complaints or a campaign against your brand or name.
- Develop Content Strategy: This is a very critical step. This is where you develop your content strategy to either combat and attack an existing problem or defend against potential attacks in the future. Use the research and keyword list from above to develop your content strategy.
- Identify blog topics and keywords.
- Identify article topics and keywords.
- Social media posts and content strategy to leverage the above.
- Implement Social Media and Blogging: With your research and keywords identified and your content strategy in place now it’t time to implement your campaign. Quality content is vital for a successful campaign, make sure you create quality content consistently to achieve the best results.
- Crisis Plan: Develop a crisis plan. What will you do if something goes wrong in your business? How will you respond? Who will respond?
- Low Cost-free option: Set up Google Alerts for Your Company Name Scam, Sucks, Ripoff, #Fail, etc. and also the same for your personal name and key managers, and brand names.
- Paid Monitoring: You can use systems like Radian 6 to monitor chatter on social networks, blogs and new search results for your brand. These platforms offer a comprehensive solution to social media monitoring, however, they are not cheap and generally start at several hundred dollars per month for basic service.
- Be Proactive and Respond Promptly: Now that your campaign is in place and rolling it is vital that you respond to posts, comments and complaints promptly. It is also important to be proactive and act immediately if something happens and get out in front of the problem. Don’t wait for the tsunami of complaints or jeers, be proactive and get in front of your clients, consumers, or constituents immediately.