Improving your brand’s online reputation
When your company gets negative press, you may hesitate to publish anything online in your defense for fear of fueling the fire. It’s a Catch-22 because if you don’t control your message, everyone else will. If you are ready for your customers to move beyond a recent incident, here is how you can be heard through the firestorm.
Companies need long-term interventions to address unfavorable reviews and poor customer experiences. A tarnished image requires dedication and resources devoted to rebuilding client trust and loyalty. You need to develop clear steps and intentions to help your team make positive impressions and convey thoughtfully crafted messages to the public. You want to ensure that when potential customers search for you on the Internet and through social media, they see your intended message.
Here are four steps to aid in the process of identifying your brand attributes to educate the online public opinion.
1. Brainstorm. Think about words and phrases that describe how you want your products to be received (these will be your SEO keywords) and then the ways your brand is perceived (these are your online reputation management – or ORM – triggers).
2. Review. Look where your company or product shows up when you research online using a variety of search engines and determine where you want to be and where you DO NOT want to be in these results.
3. Create. Using your keywords, develop new content about your product and brand in order to replace and “push down” the negative content. Newer material ranks higher in search engine optimization and your new driving force of online reputation management.
4. Deliver. You can deliver the same message through different routes:
Work with a public relations firm to create genuine third-party news coverage. These events and articles rank higher than something a company issues itself.
Have a well-developed social media strategy and deliver thoughtful and consistent messaging through various channels.
Post regularly on your company blog. Blogging isn’t easy, but you can learn with practice and pointers from professionals. Use a variety of “voices” and even several distribution points to reach different customers. Don’t limit yourself to blogging only on your own site. Look to expert forums with your brand messages in mind.
If your company reaches a stage where it has to combat bad press in an immediate reputation repair, look to Axia Public Relations to help you succeed. For ongoing and long-term strategies, download Axia’s Online Reputation Management Guide to dive into the strategic process of reselling the brand. It takes time, but every step in the right direction will improve your relationship with customers.
Heather M. Hilliard is a marketing and strategic planning professional with expertise in crisis management communications. Earning two master’s degrees and her international Certified Emergency Manager credential, she has worked during disasters as well as “normal business” to offset impact in preparedness for large- and small-scale events in a variety of industries. She is an adjunct professor for Tulane University and currently focuses on strategic communications and improvements for clients. Heather has worked for Axia Public Relations since December 2015.
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