3 Ways to Capsize a Reputation Management Campaign

Reputation ManagementWhen a reputation management campaign is being put into action after the surfacing of potentially harmful content, one of the primary objectives is to solve the issue as quickly as possible. This quest for a fast and efficient solution, however, is loaded with the potential mistakes that can capsize a campaign, delay resolution, and/or increase the size of the original problem.

These potential mistakes include:

  • Failing to define the nature of the negative content – Negative commentary does not just show up on the search engine results pages. The most efficient way to counter a negative piece is to ascertain where it first appeared, the topic, and the relevant keywords that are included in the text of the content. Only by defining these factors can an efficient strategy be formulated to deal with the issue.
  • Choosing quantity over quality for content – Papering the web with low quality, spun, and/or duplicate articles may have worked in the past, but updated algorithms used by the search engines can now see this type of content for what it is, meaning it will be relegated to the back pages for results or ignored in total.
  • Throwing fuel on an already burning fire – Once a reputation management issue surfaces, the last thing anyone needs are communications from the targeted business that make the situation worse. Trying to cover up the problem, shifting blame, and combative responses to comments are just a few of the ways in which a company can make its reputation management problem bigger than it already is.

The surfacing of negative content should be met quickly but not without first building a cohesive strategy. By avoiding these mistakes, you can build a reputation management strategy that counters the issue quickly and efficiently while allowing you to regain control of the messaging related to your business.

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SEO on Steroids equals Reputation Management

Search engine optimization and reputation management have many similarities in the tools and methodologies used in successful campaigns. The major difference between the two types of projects in defining success is that an SEO campaign is probably going to be considered a success if selected keywords can get optimized, resulting in a page that makes it to the front of the search engines.

A reputation management campaign, on the other hand, isn’t as concerned with getting something specific on the front page; the primary objective is to get something off of the front page, namely negative content. While a single high ranking spot may be considered a win in SEO, a reputation management campaign would have to potentially occupy ten spots on the first, second, and third pages to be considered successful.

A reputation management strategy tasked with knocking negative content off of the front pages of the search engines employs a broad spectrum of actions to accomplish the objective. These actions include:

1) Assessment of the negative content – Assessing the extent of the damage, the quantity of damaging content, and potential ownership of sites where negative content is being posted will determine the necessary size and force of the counter measures. Keywords are analyzed so that the response is geared toward the same search terms that are returning the negative content on the search engines. Different strategies may be required for content originating from social media sites.

2) Developing a strategic plan – Once the assessment of the content is completed, a strategy to counter and bury the content will be put in place. If the timeline of the reputation management strategy is extended due to challenges in burying the negative content, it’s common for a team to be assembled to play off of skill sets that will be required over the long haul to achieve the final objective.

3) Executing the plan – Putting a reputation management plan into action will likely include a combination of the following actions; blogging, article distribution, website building, building social media profiles, press releases, and link building. New content, along with existing company content on the web are then search engine optimized and marketed to start moving them up the rankings of the search engines to replace the negative content.

Executing a successful reputation management strategy is a time and labor intensive endeavor. A growing number of companies are employing the services of firms which specialize in online reputation management services. For a free initial consultation on protecting your company’s reputation, visit http://www.reputationmanagementllc.com/

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Resume Enhancement, Fluff, and Reputation Management Marketing

Standing out from the crowd in the reputation management industry can be difficult for one specific reason; a company’s biggest successes aren’t likely to want to be run up the flagpole as a shining example of how bad press was relegated to the back pages of the search engines. The hesitancy is based on the fact that a testimonial would bring the negative issues which necessitated the reputation management campaign back into the spotlight. If the targeted negative content carries some degree of truth the reluctance from a client-company is even greater.

Enter resume enhancement, which allows a company to come up any kind of testimonial they want to create under the cover of “protecting the privacy of their client.” This is not to say that all testimonials are fabricated but “client privilege” leaves the door wide open for glowing performance reviews whose sources can never be verified.

Another method of resume enhancement comes in the form of the “As seen on…” claims which are included in banner ads and on the websites themselves. Recalling a bygone era when an “As seen on TV” claim granted instant credibility with their audience, the new “As seen on” claims now relate to major websites like CNN, Yahoo, MSN, etc., inferring that that the website has covered or implicitly approved a online reputation management company. While there are articles written on online reputation management which might appear on some of the busier websites, a vast majority of the “As seen on’s” refer to an ad which was placed or a comment which was left at the end of an article.

Google certified, AdWords certified, Internet Marketing certified, and other certifications can also be used to fluff up a reputation management company’s resume. Essentially meaningless, these designations can be considered as placeholders waiting to be replaced once real information becomes available.

So how does one determine the best reputation management company to address their specific issues? By having a plan of attack mapped out by each company you interview. The plan of attack should be accompanied by a timeline listing measurable benchmarks so that the progress of a reputation management campaign can be monitored. Companies which include performance- based provisions such as money-back guarantees or fee discounts if timeline objectives aren’t met are likely to have those provisions in place because they believe they can accomplish those objectives. An incentivized reputation management company is much more likely to deliver results than one which is getting paid whether they are successful or not.

Reputation Management LLC offers both rebate and discounted fee programs based on performance. For a free consultation call Reputation Management LLC today at (866) 530 7703.

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Bids on SEO and Reputation Management Services

As increasing amounts of corporate money are directed toward establishing or maintaining a visible presence on the internet, so are the efforts of competitors that attempt to disrupt these SEO campaigns with negative attacks on their products, services, and reputation. While the monetary return of a direct attack on another company may be relatively small, the damage inflicted can be huge for the targeted company. In coordinated attack, the monetary return for the sponsoring company typically comes from content which trails the initial salvo’s  with commentary like “People tried Company A’s product and found it didn’t work but the product from Company B worked like charm.”

When an attack such as this is optimized and ends up on the front pages of the search engines, its credibility rises dramatically and can literally take on a life of its own. At that point, no matter how much time and money has been spent by the targeted company to get ranked in the top ten of its related searches, it has an extremely large reputation management problem. As glowingly positive as their own content may be, searchers are now seeing authentic looking content casting the company in a completely different light.

Negative content can be posted complaint boards, blogs, forums, and many other venues where postings, regardless of how untruthful they may be, are published without question. Two of the most prominent boards, both favorite starting points for negative content campaigns, are complaintsboard.com and ripoffreport.com. This is due to the ease of posting and the fact that both boards get approximately two million visitors per month. With that kind of traffic, a significant piece of search engine optimization is already done and an online reputation management company has its work cut out.

For the targeted company, action must be taken immediately to counter the attack before more gets posted, further damage is inflicted, and the negative campaign gains even more momentum. It is at this juncture that most companies begin shopping for reputation management services and where one of the biggest mistakes a company under attack can make typically occurs; shopping on price alone. Much like SEO services, price competition between reputation management companies can result in quotes which can range from ridiculously low to exorbitantly high. Ironically, where reputation management is concerned, the more costly of the two extremes will inevitably come from the ridiculously low bid. The reason for that is online reputation management is a time intensive endeavor, much more so than a typical SEO campaign under the same circumstances. The difference is that the objective of SEO and search engine marketing is usually to occupy up to a handful of rankings on the top pages of the search engines, whereas a successful reputation management campaign must accomplish much more than grabbing a few spots on the front page. Burying negative content, depending on its nature and how far down in the search engine pages it must be pushed, could require optimization for a multiple of the rankings of a successful SEO campaign.

Therefore, a bid at or less than the cost of standard SEO is unlikely to get the job done, leaving negative content well within the view of people searching for your products and services. Whether it sows distrust or just motivates a searcher to keep looking, the damage to your company’s bottom line and its reputation will continue.
Your company’s reputation is one of your most valuable assets. When it is attacked, defending it and your company’s products and services is an undertaking which must be executed with maximum force.  When a successful defense is the only option, you need Reputation Management LLC.  Call Reputation Management LLC today at (866) 530 7703.

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Proactive Defense with Online Reputation Management

Negative consumer generated media intent on damaging your company’s reputation can occur at any time from many different directions. Posts can be placed on blogs, forums, and social media sites reaching large audiences in no time. It often occurs that posters will hit and run with negative content on one site and come back to do the same thing on another one. Meanwhile, potential customers, employers, business partners, investors or others can search for your company name, products and/or services at any time of day.

Should they find negative content posted while searching, the finding can give them cause for doubt and lead to a continued search for a company or prospective partner without any negative content attached. This is true regardless of whether the complaint is valid or not. Because of the ease of posting this kind of content, as well as the speed at which it can reach a large audience, it has become critical for companies of all sizes to implement ongoing efforts to protect their brands, products, and services using online reputation management.

This protection consists of three components:

  • Online monitoring – The monitoring of blogs, the news, and social media has now become mandatory for companies wanting to stay out in front of any potential problems which may arise on the internet. Monitoring allows for quick responses, direct communication to consumers, and the potential to guide the ongoing conversations about the negative content.
  • Proactive reputation management – This activity is similar to a typical SEO campaign but with a larger objective. The aim of proactive reputation management is to occupy as many rankings on the front pages of the search engines as possible. The practice can be extremely effective in keeping negative content off of the front pages due to the embedded positive content which is already there. The existing positive content can also make burying damaging content easier to accomplish.
  • Having a reputation management plan in place – By having a reputation management plan drawn up prior to the arrival of damaging content, the response to it can be enacted immediately, thus minimizing its effects. The ability to interact on social media sites or to release countering information quickly can keep the protected company on top of an unfolding situation instead reacting to a crisis in panic mode.

Containing and countering negative content is most effective when defensive measures are already in place. Should reputation damaging content arrive, a counter campaign utilizing experience, skill, and the ability to act quickly and with precision can quell a situation which might otherwise grow out of control.  For a free consultation on protecting your brands, products and services, call Reputation Management LLC today at (866) 530 7703.

Other Sources

Online Reputation Marketing

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Why Social Media Matters in Reputation Management

While estimates vary, it’s likely that between sixty and eighty percent of consumers now research products, services, and the companies that sell them on the web prior to making a decision to purchase.  Because of that new dynamic, it’s crucial for your business to be found easily on the search engines and for there to be positive reviews and/or chatter about your company when users look for conversations about your products and services in social media networks like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and YouTube.

While many still scoff at the idea of Twitter’s 140 character “tweets” carrying any weight, the fact is that social media is playing a larger role in shaping the perception of companies and their products every day and reputation management companies must adjust for that new dynamic. According to Marketing Sherpa’s “2009 Social Media Marketing and PR Benchmark Guide”, “At least two-thirds of consumers agree that recommendations and information from other people online are valuable, relevant, and influence their purchase decision.”

Like it or not, a growing percentage of your potential customers are going to their social networks for at least a part of their pre-purchase research. Imagine this scenario: Someone with accounts on Twitter and Facebook buys a product which has to be assembled but tries to do it without reading the instructions. The resulting experience is miserable, the product doesn’t work, and that consumer now has an ax to grind. Despite the problem being the consumer’s own fault, they send out “tweets” and write on their Facebook wall on how frustrating the experience was, and on, and on. You now have a definite reputation management issue on your hands.

If anyone else joins the conversation, the problem just continues to grow as more people in each network warn their friends about a new “nightmare” product. In this theoretical scenario, you’re not alone. Statistics show that at least 60% of companies do not take part in conversations to respond to negative reviews and commentary and do not monitor what is being said about them. It is a sheepish CEO who finds out from a customer (or a reporter) that his company has been trashed for three days running on the social networks. If you’re not monitoring these networks, you could be at risk of the same type of outcome.

This makes online monitoring of the social networks at least as important as monitoring the search engines and traditional media for news. In fact, the growing popularity of the social networks and the ability for consumers to generate media about whatever is on their minds makes it ever more likely that at some point your company is going to come up in conversation. If that conversation is headed toward the negative, being able to jump in with reputation management techniques at the earliest point possible can save you a lot of grief and probably a lot of money as well.

There are online monitoring tools available for companies comfortable with doing it themselves but there is growing trend toward professional monitoring for the purpose of online reputation management, faster, and more effective responses should  the need arise. Reputation Management LLC offers comprehensive monitoring across the web and social networks for a nominal monthly fee. Call Reputation Management LLC today at (866) 530 7703.

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Reputation Management – Politics in an Online Age

In case you hadn’t noticed, the Internet has changed the world quite a bit.  One area of life that’s being altered the most is politics.  Political ads, political scandals, rumors, elections, campaigns and just about every other area of a politician’s life are being radically changed by the presence of the Internet.

The Internet’s influence on political campaigns has made online reputation management all the more important, because at any moment a hundred different special interests could be working to destroy the reputation of a politician.  Reputations can be made or destroyed online, and some major presidential candidates have made their mark by having a savvy eye for online reputation management.  In 2004, Howard Dean’s candidacy took off due to his Internet campaigning, and was taken down when his antics at one fundraiser was plastered online.  Even Barack Obama’s main weapon during the campaign was his super use of online reputation management tactics over his opponents in both the Democratic primaries and the general election.

There are many examples of politicians being taken down by Internet as well, often those who had no clue what was happening.  For example, in the 2008 presidential campaign, Rudy Giuliani was mocked by a Website with a common misspelling of his name.  The Website took you to a clip of him in drag at a 2000 press roast dinner.  Obviously, that’s not the kind of thing you want being put online about you, especially if you’re a Republican.  Then, during the same campaign, details of former Senator John Edwards’ affair was being broken online.  Having a savvy reputation management technique is know how to deal with things before they happen, such as buying every website that has your name.  You should even buy every variation of your name, every misspelling and so forth.

However, during the 2008 presidential election, the online reputation management of both parties wasn’t very good.  Only 5 of the 17 candidates purchased keywords on search engine, and in fact the Republicans did a much better job than the Democrats.

Blogging
One of the major players in politics from 1996 until now has been blogs.  Blogs have crushed the reputations of some presidents, going all the way back to Matt Drudge breaking the Monica Lewinsky scandal on his Website in the mid-90’s.  Blogs attract attention to some candidate and distract from others.  One great example of seemingly accidental online reputation management is the case made about George W. Bush during the 2004 election.

On CBS, Dan Rather broke a story about George W. Bush not actually attending his military time for the full term.  However, the hand writing expert they found to analyze signed documents was barely qualified to be called a professional, let alone an “expert.”  Within hours the bloggers interested in the story had discovered that the hand-writing expert’s qualifications were suspect (to say the least) and the story was immediately deemed false.

Reputation management can be an almost unstoppable force when coupled with the Internet.  It can make a nobody with a cool Youtube video a god and can turn a senator with a great record into a pariah.

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Online Reputation Management: The Basics

Bad publicity is just a reality of doing business these days, especially for any company that is even moderately in the public eye.  With hundreds of television channels, a print media network larger than the entire European Union and the Internet, negative comments are hurled at everyone from the Pope to Oprah.  All it takes is one negative comment on a blog or Website with the right mix of traffic to drive your reputation down the tubes.

All of this mean’s that today, probably more than ever before, the need for online reputation management is essential.  Think about how many celebrities are made and then erased in a matter of days, or how many movies collapse even before they are released because of bad press.

Online reputation management is the process of following online references to your brand, your company, your service or to you specifically, as well as having a plan in place to deal with the negative comments.  Here are some online reputation management basics you can follow so that your perception isn’t tarnished.

  • Monitor – You need to figure out a way to regularly track and log what comments are going about in relation to you on the Internet.
  • Evaluate – Take into consideration what’s being said, he’s saying it, how it’s said, who might be reading it and so forth.
  • Act – Discover or create effective and efficient ways to comment on the information being published about you.

Why You Need It
To be quite honest, there are hundreds, if not thousands of scenarios in which a competitor, a friend or a total stranger will wipe the matt with you in terms of online slander and negative comments.  The most frustrating reason of course is having no reason at all.  There are malicious individuals who simply seek to attack the character of others without any provocation.
That being said, here are a few real world scenarios that come up with some regularity which dictate the necessity of online reputation management.

1. If you’re a business-to-business service provider pitching a particular client, a competitor may do their best to smear your online reputation by either posting ghost blogs, commenting on other blogs, setting up websites complaining about your or some other “dirty trick.”  The Internet offers everyone on earth the opportunity to anonymously make bold statements, and countless companies are taking advantage.

2. A client/customer who has a bad experience with your or your company either posts a website or goes on the attack on your company blog, making outlandish statements or just causing trouble.

3. A company with a name close to yours, and a url similar to yours, gets a load of bad press and people lump you in with this company.  Online reputation management can help erase this sort of problem, which happens far more often than people think.  This one is a bit trickier because the neighboring company may be doing some online reputation management of their own.  Many a company though has seen it’s reputation damaged simply because their name was similar to another company’s.

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Growing Need for Online Reputation management

An unfortunate statistic was revealed recently about how people perceive the importance of their online reputation.  A recent study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that over sixty percent of online users are not worried about their online reputation, demonstrating little or no attention to reputation management.

So, even though everyone under the sun googles everything from Alpha Romeo’s to ZZ Top, no one seems to think they will ever be Googled.  One statistic that came out showed that if you took around 100 random names and looked up search activity, you could find that there are roughly 200 searches per name.  Business contacts, prospective employers, relationships and anyone with Internet access can look up your name anytime they’d like to and get mountains of information.  With this being the case reputation management becomes all the more important.  If you aren’t sure if your online reputation is crystal clear, you can search your own name and see what comes up.  Blogs, message boards, forum posts and other sites may bring up specific criticisms about you, impacting your career choices, relationship options and even loans. Quality online reputation management doesn’t just involve googling your name once to see what comes up, it involves monitoring your online presence regularly.  If you don’t, a couple of problems can occur.

First, if you don’t know what’s being said about you, you can be caught completely unaware of negative comments, libel and more.  If you’re a business, competitors could be posing as customers and writing terrible posts on blogs, or leaving nasty blog comments.  If you’re a teacher, students may be leaving horrible comments about you on Myspace and/or Facebook.  Negative comments have a knack for spreading beyond where they originate, and could damage your reputation in the long term.  You may not want to believe you could be the target of negative online comments, but it’s completely possible.  With the Internet, anything is up for discussion, and once the quality subjects have run out, people are more than willing to gossip.  Seventy percent of job recruiters use Google to check out job candidates. IF the information which arises from a search is negative, even if those negative comments are inaccurate, your career and life could suffer.

Another problem is actually the opposite. You may find that there is no news about you online, and with nothing being written, nothing is being read.  No public opinion could be just as damaging as negative public opinion.  It could make you look like you are shady, that your business isn’t savvy and so forth.

As the Internet and its influence continue to grow and dominate the business world, online reputation management will only increase in importance.  Instead of having to maintain your reputation in your community or in your state, you’re going to have to pay attention to a much wider audience.  Contacting a highly-qualified reputation management company that is capable of handling online reputation management can be a major tool and a way to both monitor and improve your online reputation.

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Reputation Management

The Internet provides numerous opportunities, both good and bad.  In a strange way, the Internet is extremely democratic in that it allows anyone with access the chance to use or abuse the Web however they see fit.  As such, reputation management has become a major area of interest and concern for millions, if not tens of millions, of Americans.

Reputation management is the process of tracking an entity’s actions and other entity’s opinions about those actions, meaning the search for what people are doing and what others think about what people are doing. It’s a bit like online gossip, but reputation management goes further than just People magazine.  Entire Internet related responsibilities, such as search engine image protection (SEIP), were created for the sole purpose of protecting a person’s name and reputation from undesired public information. Reputation management is important to individuals, businesses, non-profits, politicians and more, because it affects so many areas of life. There are many ways to execute reputation management on the Internet; one way is to overwhelm and eliminate negative listings that show up when people search a name or term in Google.  However, things have changed and online reputation management is evolving and new services such as online image consulting and litigant image enhancement is growing.

Growth
More so than ever before, it’s easy for an individual to post slanderous, untrue, injurious and hurtful information based on nothing more than the wind.  In the past, a person would have to use a print medium, newsletter, newspaper, to produce a wide spread negative message, but those days are over.  Now, anyone with Internet access can make wild comments. Another reason why reputation management is important is that companies are producing as much hurtful information as individuals, if not more. Comments regarding a person’s credit rating or debt could be posted online, individuals can use the forums on various company Websites to bash the company, the employees, stockholders or whomever they like.  Websites such as eBay, Wikipedia and Slashdot are often abused in such a way.

Solution?
There are a number of ways to combat the type of information that is slanderous or flat out inaccurate.  For example, you can use Search Engine Reputation Management (SERM) to shield your brand or reputation from damaging content.  In the end though, two challenges persist, the nature of Internet search engines and the ability of certain individuals to spread information no matter how much time it takes.

One of the best ways to combat negative information is to produce positive information.  So, reputation management can be performed with SEO/SEM, putting quality information of a positive nature online about the person or entity being attacked.  The goal is to produce enough positive information that it drowns out the negative being produced.  It’s a difficult battle overall, but one that is winnable.

Moving Forward
To enhance your online reputation management, find a reputable individual or company who can protect your brand and your name.  Odds are you don’t have enough time to deal with the rumors flying around about you, or the time to learn how.  Find professionals who specialize in reputation management and let them handle the mess.

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