Reputation management might sound like a job that doesn’t require much time or effort. Besides, doesn’t the marketing department deal with the reputation of the company? Far from it. Reputation management is about more than the messaging that the marketing department puts together. It’s about controlling the way your company name is used online, in what context, and—especially—how a search engine results page (SERP) looks when a customer Googles your company or brand name.
It’s about being aware of everything going on around your company, battling online trolls, and the dragons of so-called “scam alert” sites. In some ways it’s kind of like being a wizard. So when it comes to corporate reputation management, do you want to be Frodo or Gandalf? (Who doesn’t want to be Gandalf?) Here are a few ways you can be a corporate reputation management wizard.
Gandalf didn’t become Gandalf by sitting around waiting for magic to happen. He had to learn his art, and learn it well. As a reputation management specialist, you should learn basic and advanced SEO principles. Follow some of the top SEO blogs and influencers and emulate what they do to achieve great search results.
But also don’t forget about dabbling in marketing as well. Reputation management isn’t all about technical SEO, it’s also about nuance, dealing with people, and crafting the right messaging to your audience—whether that means a search audience or another blogger. If you can master both, you’ll be a wizard to be reckoned with.
Part of the reason Gandlaf was effective was that he kept his ear to the ground. He listened to people and he saw trends in the culture around him. You need to do the same thing to defend your company against the figurative reputation onslaught from Mordor. Use tools that will monitor the web, like Google Alerts, for mentions of your company online as well as links to your main websites. When you see negative mentions or links, seek to understand them before jumping in to execute a plan.
3) Put out small fires
Gandalf knew well ahead of time that war was coming, and he started to gather his forces and put plans into action before the Orcs assembled a full-scale attack. When you find negative mentions of your company online, focus on them right away. It doesn’t matter if the site is small or if the mention “isn’t that bad.” Small things today can turn into big problems tomorrow. So, if you can keep on top of the small tings, putting out little fires as they arise, you’ll have fewer problems down the road.
4) Start with the small stuff
Why did Gandalf start his plan with Hobbits—small and simple creatures that knew no violence or war? Because he knew they were loyal, hardworking, and would follow the plan through to the end. He knew that the battle wasn’t about how big his army was or who had the most armor. He knew to came down to the details. As an SEO wizard, start with the small stuff. Create social profiles, buy domain variations of your company name, and more. Reputation management is not a war about the biggest swords. It is a battle of the most tenacious player. So start with the little things that will help provide a solid base for the rest of your strategy.
5) Be resourceful
Why use a sword, when a staff will do? Why send a knight, when a Hobbit can sneak through the cracks in the wall easier? To truly be a corporate reputation management wizard, you have to think strategically and look at ALL the angles. For example, if you can control your branded SERPs, why not try and control a branded “scam” SERP as well? Look for angles that haven’t been explored and new ways to attack the same problem.
With a little creative thinking and knowledge on your side, you can stand up to negative links in your branded search and yell, “You shall not pass!”