The internet is made up of trillions of web sites, blogs, reviews, forums, press releases and every other good and bad thing you can possibly image. Among the mix of content is your reputation and what people are saying about you and your brand.
Before attempting to improve your online reputation, you must first understand why, when and how your name is getting tossed around the internet.
The internet is always changing, but the common theme at all times is content. Content is what ranks in Google and it’s what people find and share online. If you aren’t producing it yourself, there’s a good chance your customers and competition already is.
One of the most effective and powerful ways to rank in the search results is through the use of your own web site or blog. With blog posts you can continually add new content to your site, while also establishing you brand and creating specific niche articles that provide value and answer questions your audience might have.
In terms of value, think of your blog as being your main hub where all of your online marketing efforts refer and link back to. With enough backlinks, branding and content creation, your blog will start by itself as your online marketing and branding tool.
When someone is looking for information online before making a purchase, most of the time they will search for “product name reviews”, which will bring up a number of resource and review sites.
As a brand or business, these sites can be of great value to you for many reasons, such as learning more about your competition, seeing what customers are saying about your (and other) products and also discovering what people are learning through these reviews as well.
It’s also important to note that it’s not just product reviews that play a huge part in the reputation game — it’s also sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, PissedConsumer and RipOffReport that influencer millions of internet users every day.
By focusing on what these sites are saying about you and your brand, you can better understand how others are seeing your reputation online.
Very soon there will be over 3 billion users across major social networks like Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. With so many active users on one platform, it doesn’t take much for reviews, comments and content on your brand to go viral.
More often then not, you will find rants, complaints, questions and recommendations from customers on a daily basis. If you are already active on social media and have an account for your brand or business, you should be able to respond to each of these requests directly through the social platform.
As an individual, social media is also important because what is said on social media, stays on the internet forever. We continually see individuals, employees and celebrities in the news for making stupid comments on social media and it spreading throughout the world for everyone to see.
This is just a simple reminder that social media plays a huge impact on reputation management for both businesses and individuals.
While forums aren’t what they used to be, they are still a huge asset for brands to understand what people are talking about in a community atmosphere.
Even with social media being the main attraction these days, forums still get a lot of attention and they usually rank very well in the search results too. If your brand is being talked about in a forum and you aren’t there to represent it, there is no telling where the conversation might go.
The rule of thumb in reputation management is to not only “be everywhere”, but also “be monitoring everywhere”.
Just like forums, press releases aren’t what they used to be, but they are still being used by millions of companies and news agencies that are still scrolling through thousands of releases daily to see if any stand out.
This is where you can use press releases to your advantage. In the past, individuals and brands would use press releases to try and rank higher in the search results for their name. Now it’s about gaining attention and trying to get media pickups from other big sites.
For example, if you are an expert at trading stocks, it might be in your best interest to create a press release about how the stock market is performing, while also fitting in your expertise in the process.
Should any media agencies find your press release and already be doing an article or coverage on this topic, they might call you in as a reference — further establishing your credibility and reputation.
The good news is that this tactic works in nearly any industry.
Your direct and in-direct competitors are also a great way for you to keep an eye on the competition, but also for how you can improve your existing business and reputation as well.
Not only should you be looking their sites, but also their online reviews through sites like Yelp and PissedConsumer. By better understanding your competition and what their customers are complaining about, you can implement these changes into your brand or business to make it even better.
On the internet, content can make a world of a difference — however, it’s not just about creating content, it’s about promoting to and engaging with the audience that might be seeing this content.
If you are currently attempting to manually manage your own reputation online and searching through search and social media for brand mentions, there are plenty of tools out there to help you along the way.
Take a step back from your business for a moment and start using the internet as if you were a customer looking for answers. Type in the keywords customers might use if they were looking for information and ready to buy from your brand — you might just be surprised at what you find!