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Online reputation management for companies using content marketing

Online reputation management for companies using content marketing

You can’t talk about PR today without mentioning good old President Trump. Depending who you ask, he’s either a PR genius or a nightmare. But no matter which camp you’re in, one thing’s for certain: his team doesn’t often get a day off.

That’s because with this tumultuous leader, there’s always a crisis to mitigate.

Businesses don’t want this. While constantly reacting to bad reviews and other issues may work for some, effective organisations will take a proactive approach and use content to manage their online reputation.

Online reputation management (ORM) is different than PR, but there are some key overlaps. Let’s take a look at why your brand needs to control the dialogue and how to do so with content.

The importance of telling your own story

If you’re reading this, you already know that customers finding you on the internet is a good thing.

In the good old days, you’d never need to deal with bad reviews or other online horror stories, but you’d also never get as much exposure. Let’s be clear: the need to manage your online reputation is a good problem to have.

As a marketer, you have countless digital and social tools to help build more links to your website and improve the quality of those visits. You also have the power to tell your company story and foster customer relationships – but you have to seize it.

So how do you control that dialogue? As we alluded to earlier, there are a few schools of thought. You can either wait for the you-know-what to hit the fan, or you can create meaningful content all along.

Search and online reputation management

When it comes to Google, businesses strive to be first. First page, first result – it’s always a good thing to rank, right?

Well, not if those results are accompanied by negative reviews, a court case or another debacle. In a world where everyone Googles everything, search engine optimisation goes hand-in-hand with brand reputation. Free organic traffic can be invaluable to your business, but only if the content is favourable.

Promoting the good and negating the bad is all part of ORM. ORM includes:

  • Managing what’s said about your company online,
  • Addressing negative press,
  • Using SEO to minimise online criticism,
  • Removing defamatory information,
  • Creating positive content to complement what’s out there.

Think this sounds like PR? While both involve promotion and communications, ORM is more about publishing for a marketing role and spreading your promotive message in a more subtle, less direct manner. ORM means generating positive perception of your business by engaging users online.

Put on your customer hat. Say you’re looking for an honest mechanic to service your German car. With no personal recommendations to go by, you turn to your second most trusted source of information: your favourite search engine, Google.

A search for ‘good foreign automobile mechanics near me’ yields heaps of results, but one in particular stands out. This guy appears not once or twice but three times on page one, with two links leading to his own landing pages and one to his business Facebook account. He’s got five star reviews and you’re sold – this mechanic now has your business.

Do search results prove this mechanic is better than another? Not necessarily. He could have an equally talented and even less expensive competitor right next door, but the fact is this guy’s online reputation won your attention and he did so with content marketing. His well written landing pages were more pleasing to Google than his counterparts and the fact that he personally responded to each review on Facebook boosted him as well.

Do you know how to win search like him?

How to manage your online reputation using content marketing

We say this a lot on our blog, but we’ll mention it again: it’s not enough to flood the web with content and expect results. You need a strategy built around ORM.

Here’s how to use content marketing to control your company reputation and win search:

Monitor your search result

Managing what’s said about you online starts with knowing what’s said about you online.

Savvy marketers know this, which is why they take the time to monitor Google and track their search results meticulously.

Run a quick search for your company name and see what results. The purpose of this is to gain an understanding of what terms matter most to your business. Scan results pages to identify relevant results as well as troublesome findings.

Don’t stop there though. Do your best to recreate the customer experience by entering various related terms. If, for example, you were that German car mechanic we mention earlier, you wouldn’t just search for your own business name, you’d also look up:

  • Best German car mechanics in my city,
  • Who can fix my German automobile in my city?
  • German car specialists in my city,
  • Service my automobile + my city.

With each result, pay attention to what is – or isn’t – being said about your company. Once you know this, you’re much better equipped to improve your ranking.

Set clear goals

Equally important is identifying the story you want to tell. With so much content on the web, it would be nearly impossible to rank in every area. Therefore, begin by identifying the most valuable aspects of your company and focus content creation around these.

Which products and services are most vital to your business? What are your unique selling points? The mechanic, for example, may have found it nearly impossible to rank as a general auto repairmen, which is why he focused his efforts on his specialisation in German cars.

Create multiple profiles

Google is like the game of Monopoly: you win by having the most real estate. OK, there’s a lot more to the search engine’s algorithm than that but the fact is the larger your online presence, the more likely you are to be indexed.

To extend your company presence and influence, curate accounts on several platforms, including:

  • Facebook,
  • Twitter,
  • YouTube,
  • LinkedIn,
  • Flickr,
  • Slideshare.

It’s also important to take ownership of your business Google profile and ensure information is up-to-date and accurate.

Keep in mind, however, that quality is more important than quantity. If you have poorly curated social accounts that aren’t in line with your brand, your audience will be confused and look elsewhere. Keep profiles updated and ensure you have a consistent keyword strategy across each.

Evaluate your web presence regularly

Another aspect of staying on top if your company reputation is evaluating your content routinely. Examine your website and social accounts objectively, and ask:

  • How good is my content?
  • Are my competitors outperforming me? In what areas?
  • Is my offering clear?
  • Does my content seem to address customer questions and concerns?
  • Am I projecting my company values? Is a sense of personality apparently?

Evaluating your own efforts can be difficult, so don’t be afraid to enlist the help of an experienced content strategist.

Create, create, create

So far, we’ve talked a lot about the management side of things, but ORM is much more than monitoring, measuring and evaluating your reputation. It’s also about creation.

To this end, never miss an opportunity to shine a positive light on your company. Develop and implement a content marketing strategy that sets the stage for the content you’ll create. Your strategy should address:

  • The kind of content you’ll produce,
  • Content goals,
  • Publishing frequency,
  • Platforms you’ll use,
  • Main customer concerns and expectations,
  • How you’ll address bad reviews and feedback.

Essentially, you need to ask yourself, ‘What do I want my company reputation to be?’ Then,’How will I make this happen?’ Your answer will lie not only in creating positive content, but also handling the negative.

Overview

Who’s going to control your business reputation? You or internet trolls?

With content marketing, you possess the power to inform and put meaningful information in front of your audience. To this end, ensure your content is valuable. Your customer will judge your company based on what they see online. If it’s useful, they’ll assume your product or services are as well.

 

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Natalie Fortier About the author