While you’re busy creating a carefully crafted image of your client or company, the majority of your stakeholders will form an opinion based on information available online, often drawing quick conclusions solely based on the top results of a Google search. This means that no matter how many news stories you earn or blog posts you write, they will be rendered ineffective unless they appear prominently as part of your client’s online presence. By including digital reputation management efforts in your PR plan, you’ll be able to better build, monitor, defend, and restore your client’s reputation online.
To get started, here are five things you need to know:
- Take ownership of your own content
The first rule of digital reputation management is to take ownership of your online reputation. Your owned channels and relevant content should be the first thing that appears in a Google search; if they are not, you have some work to do. Start by making sure you have claimed all relevant social media and online profiles available, and use them to share content you want your key stakeholders to see.
- Prepare for a PR crisis
If you plan ahead, you can prevent – or at least mitigate – the impact of a PR crisis on your digital reputation. Review your online content to evaluate how it references or addresses topics that might become the source of a PR nightmare. Then play the role of a reporter to unearth unflattering search results that appear when using various combinations of keywords and the name of your client. Don’t forget to search by using nicknames, alternate spellings, and different versions of names and titles. Finally, contextualize your results and formulate a plan for how to address the possibility of a looming crisis.
- Monitor and manage Wikipedia pages
Wikipedia is often a prominent search result and considered by many to be a useful source of information about your company or client, so make sure that the information is accurate and not unfavorable. While Wikipedia strongly discourages editing articles related to you, it is perfectly acceptable to closely monitor page changes so that you can submit content for inclusion within articles. You can also notify editors of inaccuracies or vandalism. To catch any potentially malicious or erroneous edits, track your Wikipedia pages using the free Five Blocks WikiAlerts tool.
- Pave the way to your content
Most PR practitioners focus on pushing content through various channels with the hope that stakeholders will come across the right content in the right place, at the right time. Your target audience, however, is busy pulling information by using specific keywords that may or may not lead them to your client. To better control the pathway to content you want them to see, use a tool such as the Google Search Console to identify keywords that do (or do not) direct traffic to your target website.
- Leverage search engine optimization (SEO) and content marketing tactics
Ranking your desired content prominently in search is important if you want it seen by anyone looking for information online. For content to appear on top, focus on making it both relevant and engaging. If the search is for an individual, ensure the content answers the questions searchers are most likely to have about that person. You might also include video or other types of content the searcher may not have been expecting. Content that is not good enough will lead readers to “bounce” by quickly clicking the browser back button. Content that attracts bounces won’t rank as high as pages with engaging and interesting content.
At Five Blocks, we frequently partner with PR professionals to help their clients achieve a fair digital representation of themselves and their work with the help of data, proprietary technology, and over a decade of expertise.
If you’re looking to implement a digital reputation management program, or need help managing your digital reputation, contact us for a free assessment of your current situation.