Using Random Affinities for Reputation Management

A little while ago, Ian Lurie, CEO at Portent, wrote about an interesting tactic he uses to get more ideas for marketing as well as better target his own marketing. Lurie uses Amazon, Facebook advertising, Google suggest, and more to find out what random topics come up when he searches for products similar to his (or his clients’). What he is searching for are “random affinities” (and you can read about his methods here).

Random affinities are topics and interests that are shared by a number of the people who all buy the same product or visit the same website repeatedly. Basically, they are things that your customers have in common with one another but have nothing to do with you. For example, Lurie has found that people who like “cycling” also tend to like the Cartoon Network show, Adventure Time. If you were selling bicycles, that might be an interesting insight to have and it might help you sell more bikes if you include Adventure Time references in your website copy or put a picture of Finn and Jake on your local flier.

But what does this have to do with reputation management? Reputation management isn’t just about creating a clean branded SERP, it’s about giving the people who are searching for you a positive view of your company in a way that makes them want to click through to your site, learn more about you, and—possibly—buy the stuff you are trying to sell them.

Essentially, if you can show your users that you are into the same things they are before they even click on your official website link in the SERP, you can begin to build a positive reputation right away. Using the example above, let’s say you own that bike shop and you know your customers are probably into Adventure Time. Part of your reputation management campaign could be to run a contest to give away a new bike with an Adventure Time paint job. Get your contest written up in a few cycling websites, build some links to those references, and then you have yourself a great link in your branded SERP that not only makes your bike shop look great, but it also connects with your potential customers before they even come to your site.

Let’s put this tactic into action. Here are more ways you can use random affinities to your advantage:

Guest Blogging—guest blogging can get boring and tedius, especially if you’re doing reputation management for a company that isn’t extremely exciting. If you can identify some random affinities, then you can shake up your blogging by referencing those topics in your posts or use those random affinities as analogies for your topic. Writing a blog post like, “How Watching Adventure Time Can Make You a Better Cyclist,” and posting it on an Adventure Time fan blog might not only get you a great link in the SERP but could also bring in some new customers.

Infographics—Take your blogging ideas to the next level by creating sharable content like infographics that include references to the random affinity or are outright targeted at fans of the random affinity. Although there could be some copyright issues, make a cycling infographic littered with Adventure Time artwork (or art work similar to Adventure Time). Or, make an infographic about Adventure Time and relate it to cycling. Either way, a great link that connects the two topics will be fantastic for your online reputation.

Contests—Already mentioned above, hold a contest or giveaway that involves the random affinity. For example, what if you created a contest that asked cyclists to send in awesome pictures of them having adventures on their bikes, then give away Adventure Time DVDs as a prize.

The beauty of finding these random affinities is that they open all kinds of possibilities for making great content, getting it published around the web, and building great links in your branded SERP that not only make you look like a positive company but also connect with your audience before they even see your website. And any company that can do that will have no problem building a great reputation, online or off.

Active Engagement as an Online Reputation Management Strategy

Too often, people and organizations wait until they have a reputation management crisis on their hands before considering a strategy to clear their online reputation and get back on track. Ideally, reputation management should be part of any business or individual’s strategy for creating a positive image online and being found by the right people—like customers.

And today’s media landscape makes it easier than ever for anyone to implement a reputation strategy that is proactive and preventative. Through blogs, social media, and more anyone who wants to get their name out in the world in a positive way has many avenues open to them. And being active online is s great way to prevent a future crisis.

Being actively engaged online gives you great advantages for your online reputation. For instance, the more you can get your name (or company name) mentioned, the more instances Google has to draw from when compiling a SERP for your name. And if there are more positive or neutral mentions of your name online than negative, then the SERPs will reflect that. Also, if you are actively engaged online, chances are you will be making friends and acquaintances across the world that can help you if a reputation management crisis should occur.

Being Actively Engaged

The benefits of being actively engaged online before a crisis occurs are apparent, but how do you start? How can you build a positive reputation right now?

1) Blogs

If you don’t have one already, get a blog and use it as a home base for information about yourself or your company. This is a great place to publish content about yourself as well as quality content that other online communities and individuals can access and link to. If you are regularly publishing quality content, your blog will gain regular readership and rankings in the SERPs, giving you a positive online reputation.

2) Social Media

Social media is another great way to prevent future attacks on your reputation. Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ profiles all rank well in the search engines—especially if you have a high number of followers who regularly share your links and comments. This is key: if you are actively engaged online through social networks, you will naturally increase your rank for those profiles in the SERPs and prevent the invasion of negative information should it ever arise.

3) Forums and groups

Another place to be active online is through forums and groups. Online forums connected to your niche or area of expertise are a great way to be helpful and answer questions, raising your online profile and the chance that people will link to your blog, social profiles, and more. LinkedIn is an especially good place to form some great relationship through professional groups. These friendships and positive relationships can come in handy for promoting your content and boosting your online profile to guard against future attacks.

4) Conferences and Meetups

Online is great, but offline encounters can also help you build clout and a positive reputation online and off. The more people you encounter within your field, the better your chances of being mentioned online, trusted, and used as a resource. The result is that you’ll garner more attention for the positive things that you do, building a great online reputation before something negative comes along.

5) Be a Resource

Lastly, be a resource to people in your field. If you can create a website, social media account, or other online repository for great information, your online community will link to you and use you as a source around the web. And when that happens you’ll be sure to create a rock solid online reputation.

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