Putting the “Strategy” Back in Reputation Management Strategy

Most times, when you tell your friends or family that you do online reputation management, they either think that what you do is so complicated that they’ll never understand it, or they just think you have the most boring job in the world. Fortunately, neither of those is true. Reputation management can be fun and challenging and the basic principles behind it are not that hard to understand. Executing on them, however, can be a different story.

Although at the heart of reputation management there are a number of easy principles to follow, sometimes we can get so involved with all the little things that we forget about the big picture. So maybe it’s time to take a step back, look at your current strategies, and evaluate what they are doing for you.

Coordinate Your Efforts

Sometimes getting down in the weeds on a daily basis can blind us to the fact they we should have a diverse set of strategies that we are employing for any given client and that they should be working in concert. This may be especially true if you have a large staff or use a number of independent contractors. No reputation management effort should be working alone. Social should boost web properties, web properties should boost content and links, high ranks should encourage more social interaction, etc. Don’t get so involved in one method of reputation management that you forget about other efforts working in concert to provide the best results for yourself or your client.

Understand Your Audience

This is, perhaps, not a focus we normally have, but we need to keep in mind who we are building this reputation for. It’s not for ourselves or our clients—it’s for the people who are performing branded searches. You can create a beautiful SERP with a ton of great content, but if that SERP does not instill confidence in your particular audience, you’ll be failing. Find out who is searching for you or your clients online, understand what they think is positive or what will give them a positive sense of the brand. Then you’ll be creating not just a great SERP but an effective tool for building trust with your audience.

Solve Problems, Don’t Just Offer Solutions

When we’re in the thick of a campaign, sometimes it’s easy to simply implement the first strategy that comes to mind. But the easiest solution is not always the best solution for the long term. Before trying to offer solutions, try to understand the problem first. Back up, look at the cause of the bad reputation or negative press. Oftentimes, getting to the root of the problem will offer a clearer, easier solution than starting a whole new campaign or adding more work to your already large load.

Follow Your Plan and Evaluate It

At the creation of a strategy, you should define what you want the outcome to be and set a goal to reach it. Then stick to your plan. Remember what the Cheshire Cat said to Alice: If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there. Remind yourself of what your goals are on a regular basis and when you’ve reached the end, look back and measure how that success came about, so you can repeat that success again. On the other hand, if you’re not reaching your goal, it could be because of unclear expectations or becoming derailed by not staying focused.

Overall, remember that reputation management will be much easier and more effective if you know where you’re going, can coordinate your efforts, understand your audience, and work to solve problems, not just offer solutions.