I’ve spent the better part of the last year writing, speaking and researching the merits of providing reputation marketing services to our clients. I have done SEO, provided content and basically walked everyone through the processes that entail reputation marketing services, but to date I have never really defined them. I have a website that explains some of them, but I thought it high time to lay out exactly what I mean and maybe even more important, I need to put down in writing an outline for me of what it is we exactly do. We do several different things depending on the situation, but I have not ever had a “step 1, 2, 3″ for all of us to check off when we go to work dealing with a new crisis.
Let me start by clarifying that we have found that the needs are usually different for every crisis, but there are some services that are always needed. Let me start with the basic reputation marketing services and move on from there. You all need to own your brand on page 1 of Google. You need to own 1 thru 10 on page one for your brand name! That is a given and when my phone rings, it is the first time anyone realizes the necessity of this advice. Own your reputation! I cannot prevent bad things from happening, but if you have created enough web posts and optimized them on several blogs, websites and 2.0 sites, you can prevent the bad press from hanging around very long on page 1 as it will not have the SEO strength to last. So, step one is always to “own your brand”.
Step two is also the same with every client (unfortunately we don’t always stress this enough because we are too busy putting out the flames) and that is to make sure they are collecting reviews from the their customers or patients. Now attorneys and professionals usually are uncomfortable with this process, but we have designed a simple way to encourage their patients or clients to volunteer a review whether it is good or bad and we have also devised a way to make sure the venomous ones don’t hit web; more about that in another post but I probably will never explain it all as I don’t want our competitors to copy the process.
Reputation Marketing Services Next Steps
Now the next steps for Reputation Marketing Services vary by circumstance and I will try to list all of our experiences here and what we have had to do in each case. I will have to be general to avoid compromising any of our clients, but I can be specific enough to form a basic list of needs.
If you have been arrested or indicted, we have to clean up the first page of Google, but also need to start publishing press releases to drown out the sabre rattling by your competitors and clients who now find fault with your previous services. And it always happens, especially if they think they can get out of a contract or get some money refunded! We’ve had clients sued for money back after the job was completed and they had received glowing endorsements from the client for the services provided. Look out for school boards and city councils. They are notorious for this cute move to grab some more dough and votes.
The next one is to change public opinion. Most times the newspaper articles online have a place to post comments and the vultures inevitably circle and start picking at the bones. When that happens, we begin organizing supporters to drown out the negativity. There are several ways to do it that we won’t share as it is one of our trade secrets, but the result is lovely. If the loudest and most prevalent remarks are positive, the newspaper removes the comments field because if it isn’t poisonous, it doesn’t sell. This usually takes about 24 hours and the posts are removed.
The last thing that is always needed when providing reputation marketing services is building websites. I love to take the heart out of the detractors. Sometimes this is harder than others because if you have a very aggressive competitor that has been eating your dust for a few years, they usually try to take advantage of your misfortune and bury you with all kinds of lies and 99% of the crap they publish is just that. This is where we buy a bunch of domains with your negative remarks on page one in the URL and then post the side of the story we want you to read and optimize those sites in order to beat back the competitor. I don’t think there has been one client in the last 18 months where we didn’t have to create a few blogs in order pushdown some vocal detractor.
Now here are some of the other Reputation Marketing Services that are what I call “one offs”. They aren’t always needed but can be useful in some cases. The first is adding chat to the websites so that you can answer questions and deal with the detractors. We usually just kill them with kindness until they just can’t spout anymore. It always works and our 24 hour a day Netreps do a wonderful job at diffusing the anger. You just agree with them and tell them that we will pass on a copy of this conversation to the person who deals with this. Sometimes, if they won’t give their name ( and they usually don’t) we just mention that we have their IP address and we’ll attach it to the chat and someone will be back to them within a few hours. Most times that sends them running to the hills, but our client makes that call. However, our chat software always records the IP address and in many cases we can track it back to the person on the other end of the chat.
The last thing we do is empathize. We have all been through bad times and we have all made mistakes. The problem is that when it happens, many times we think it’s the end of the world and we are in shock. We’re scared, embarrassed and angry. Most times, we’re angry at ourselves and are trying to find something to anesthetize the pain. Now is when we step in with walking a client through what is going to happen next so that every time this seems to get worse, they are prepared for it and not thinking about suicide which we have been told more times than we care to say. I can say that to date, nobody has ever taken that drastic a measure but we have had clients that have gone to jail.
I guess that about lays out for the first time what I see as the basic Reputation Marketing Services. There are several very fine points that I will talk about in the future. I can write a lengthy post just about press release marketing that is an art form on its own. Don’t be afraid to post your comments. I read them all.