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October 30, 2008
Proactive Online Reputation Management Tips for Companies When Building an Online Brand
 
With the speed and ease that information spreads on the Internet, companies wishing to protect their brand(s) need to stay on top of their reputation management at all times. The popularity of blogs and forums allow ample opportunities for cranks and corporate saboteurs to sully a brand’s integrity overnight. Making matters worse, negative publicity, whether it’s factual or spurious,  can appear in search results, whether someone is looking for it or not. This presents a challenge for any company, and proactive reputation management should be part of every marketing strategy.
 
Here are some proactive reputation management tips for any company to consider when building their online brand:
 
Use social networking to your advantage—Social networking sites are immensely popular and a great way to reach your target audience. Build pages on sites, such as MySpace, LinkedIn, Facebook, and others, and update them regularly with good content.
 
Issue regular press releases—Press releases are a very effective way to generate interest and announce new product features, innovative uses for your products, and promotions. Just make sure that they are well written and newsworthy.
 
Produce videos—Just over three years after launch, YouTube is a household name around the world. Harness the power of that top-of-mind awareness by producing videos about your brand(s), uploading them to YouTube, and embedding them on your site. They can be how-to videos, demonstrations, or new uses for the product—but make sure they’re not amateurish, or the brand’s credibility will suffer.
 
Host a blog on the company website—Then update it regularly with topical content that engages your visitors. Use the blog to announce new products, promote exclusive sales and coupons, and gain invaluable feedback from your customers. People love to share their opinions. Blogs make it easy for them to do so and also lets them feel like they’re part of the decision-making process. Blog posts also rank very well in search results!
 
Include social bookmarking tools—Place them at the bottom of each blog post. The salient point here is: Make it as easy as possible for your viewers to share your content. This will increase targeted traffic to your site and build brand recognition for little or no investment.
 
Issue articles for syndication—These can be about anything directly or indirectly related to your products. Make them funny, interesting, topical, informative, or whatever you’d like; however, make sure they’re written well so that other Web masters will want to snag this content for their sites. This is a fantastic way to proactively build a brand by creating high-quality back links to your site to enhance ranking opportunities.
 
All of these tips are practical, inexpensive, and definitely worth your company’s time to implement. This is because they get your name out there, build brand recognition, and proactively protect your online reputation. Negative publicity can happen to any company, whether it’s warranted or not, but if you take steps like these and continue on a regular basis, the potential impact of bad publicity will be significantly reduced. 

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Nick Stamoulis is the president of the full-service Internet Marketing Firm, Brick Marketing.  Nick’s philosophy and strategies can be found in his SEO blog the, Search Engine Optimization JournalNick Stamoulis is also the editor and publisher for seven Internet marketing-related blogs: Pay Per Click Journal, Social Marketing Journal, Blog Marketing Journal, Email Marketing JournalLocal Advertising Journal, and Online Publicity Journal.

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