June 21, 2012
Fresh Perspectives: Using News to Strengthen Your Reputation Management Strategy — In Unique Ways
By Don Sorensen, Online Reputation Management Expert; CEO, Big Blue Robot
Stop the presses! Reputation management isn't just about promoting positive information about your company. In fact, if your reputation management strategy has consisted of solely filling the first page of a Google search with gushing reviews and company-sponsored blog posts about how wonderful your company is, you're missing the point of reputation management altogether.
Natural Search Results
The point of reputation management isn't just to make your company look good when someone searches for it online. It's about creating a search engine results page that looks as natural as possible without focusing on misinformation or negative reviews. In fact, if a Google search for your company name looks too positive, people will think it's been manipulated. And they'll look elsewhere for more information on your company. That's why you need to include both positive and neutral, third-party information and Web content in your reputation management strategy. And one of the best ways to get that third party, neutral information is through the news media.
Harnessing the power of news outlets online can give you a more natural-looking search page, one that will nonetheless give searchers a varied set of search results. For example, here are three ways you can harness the power of the news to create a more natural looking results page.
1) Press Releases: One way to add to the variety of your results page is to publish a few press releases. Press releases can be expensive to publish through wire agencies, but they very easily show up on the Web. You can create press releases for your successes, but you can also create press releases that are more informational.
Usually, the point of a press release is to get the attention of media outlets and compel them to do a story on your company. But that does not have to be your goal. You can just as easily get a press release out on the web that discusses the hiring of a new member of your executive team or other neutral information. Then you can promote the press release on a site other than your own to help it appear in the search results.
When your press release appears in the search results, searchers will see that it is information that is not posted on your own site, and it will look more natural, which, in turn, will give your company a positive results page that boosts confidence in the searchers mind.
2) News Stories: You don't have to be the #1 company in your city—or create the next iPad — to get some news coverage. All you have to do is get your company name mentioned in a news story somewhere and it can be used to populate a results page for your company. For example, stay in contact with your local media outlets and let them know when you do something that might be interesting to your local community.
For example, create an opportunity to give service to your community, and invite a local reporter to come along and observe. Things like helping rebuild a local park, starting a food drive in your community, or donating something useful to the city, are all actions that might interest your local media and could get your name in print (both on paper and on the web).
In addition, offer up yourself and your company as experts who can be consulted on news stories. When a news story comes along that is in some way related to your industry, you can give your expert opinion and your company's name can get mentioned in the story.
3) Business Listings: Like I said, you don't have to be newsworthy to be featured on the news — or at least a news website. Many local newspapers and television networks have websites with sections devoted to finding local businesses. Often times a listing may be free, but you may also have to pay a yearly or monthly fee. Include your business name and contact information as well as a short blurb about your company. Google likes displaying results from news websites, and if you optimize it the right way, you can get that business listing in the search results, giving a more natural feel to your results.
It's News to Them
When people search for your company name online and they see a variety of results from a variety of trusted sources, like news sites, they'll build confidence in your company. But having a results page that is too filled with positive information may turn a potential customer off, because they'll think they're not getting the full picture. Harnessing the power of the news can help improve your online reputation and give you credibility at the same time.
Don Sorensen is a recognized online reputation management authority whose expertise and insights have been featured in the New York Times, Newsweek, USA Today, CNNMoney.com and numerous industry publications. His firm, Big Blue Robot, was created to improve and manage the online reputation of corporations and their executives. Taking from his decades of experience working as a consultant, trainer and practitioner, Sorensen has just made available the new eBook, Online Reputation Management: Corporate & Personal. This how-to guide is designed to help individuals and corporations improve their online reputation or develop a positive reputation with:
- Recommendations of strategies and tools to most effectively monitor your reputation online,
- Social media and link building to create and support a positive online reputation, and
- Things NOT to do if you want a positive reputation online.
The eBook is available for purchase ($9.95) through Amazon.