Buyers make decisions based on lots of information. While your product or service is critical in their evaluation, so is your brand’s trustworthiness and credibility. If you’re not paying attention to your online reputation, it could be sinking your opportunities. Thus, online reputation management should be part of your content strategy.
When you develop content that supports your online reputation, you can win the hearts and minds of your audience. In this post, we’ll discuss what online reputation management is, why it matters, and how to use content to keep it positive.
What Is Online Reputation Management?
Online reputation management describes the process of managing your brand’s digital persona. It includes all the online content that reflects your brand’s integrity and authority.
When undertaking this approach, the goal is to control online conversations about your organization, including countering misleading information. The key component of this is winning the search landscape. That can be challenging depending on your industry and your website’s authority.
These hits to a reputation aren’t always inaccurate. Companies go through situations outside their control, like a cybersecurity breach. If this happens, it will be big news, and you’ll need to leverage content to take control of your brand’s story online. Your content will need to push those results down to at least the second page since most searchers never go past this.
So, what can a negative online reputation cost you?
The Impact of Not Managing Your Online Reputation
Controlling your brand’s narrative gets harder the more visible you become. Of course, you want your company to be the leader in its industry, but with growth comes challenges. That can range from competitors attempting to smear your brand to customers that want to vent about how you failed them. Additionally, as mentioned, incidents will occur that get the media’s attention, which can create a negative brand reputation.
If you let the rest of the online world carry the conversation, it can have negative consequences. That’s because customers believe reviews to be credible and a big part of the buying process.
At least 72 percent won’t make a buying action without reading them. For B2B buyers, 92 percent are more likely to purchase after reading a trusted review. In the case of negative reviews, they can prevent customers from choosing your company.
Understanding the power of what third parties say about your business is critical. Once you determine if it should be a priority in your content plan, you can begin strategizing how to use content to elevate the positive voices and minimize the negative.
How to Use Content in Online Reputation Management
You have multiple channels to manage your online reputation. It includes all types of media:
- Owned (e.g., your website and social media profiles)
- Earned (e.g., PR, publication articles, review sites)
- Paid (e.g., sponsored content, search ads)
Each can play a role in the management of your online reputation. Let’s dive in further.
Owned Media Content
Your website is the core of your online presence. Ideally, your website’s content will rank the highest when searching for your company name. You can also use it to optimize for search times like “company name reviews.” You can have dedicated pages for reviews, testimonials, and case studies. These are all things you source from your customers. The more “real” that they seem, the better. Accomplish this by including a name and company.
Social media profiles provide another way to bolster your reputation, but these sites can also present negative sentiment. Some have reviews as a part of your page. If you allow reviews here, monitor them to ensure they’re verifiable. If they aren’t, you should report them immediately. If they are, and it’s negative, respond to the customer in the most respectful way.
Social media can also get challenging with lots of negative comments. Again, you have to monitor your posts and quickly respond to them. That can require some research and investigation. If the comment is crude or untrue, you should delete it. And, if a user tags your company in a takedown, you have the right to remove this. Moving conversations like this off social media is critical to resolving them amicably.
Earned Media Content
You don’t have much control over earned media. You can issue press releases, and such action may be appropriate to respond to an incident. You can also pitch article ideas to journalists, positioning a subject matter expert as a good source. Other than that, things aren’t within your purview.
This type of media is crucial to those making decisions. They want to see your reputation on third-party listings and review sites. They may find it more credible. This content can be great when positive sentiment is most of what they find. Google will even recognize your brand as more authoritative, leading to higher rankings.
However, there will be naysayers who may or may not be legitimate. That requires ongoing monitoring, just like with social media. Responding to these reviews can demonstrate that you want to resolve issues and help customers.
Earned media content that shines a positive light on your organization is critical to your reputation, so it should be a priority.
Paid Media Content
Paid search ads will help you grab the attention of people looking for your brand. Its value isn’t as great as owned or earned because, well, you pay for it. It’s another way to reinforce your company’s story. Sponsored content can do similar things, and if it’s in a trusted publication, it can be a top search result for your company. You also have the benefit of positive association.
Online Reputation Management Begins and Ends with Content
Content is everything online, so making sure your company’s search results are positive and credible matters. Otherwise, your online reputation can quickly spiral, leading to lost business and internal strife. Content is your secret weapon for this effort, so make sure it’s part of your strategy and plan.
Are you dealing with a negative brand reputation? It’s not too late to rescue it.
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