Online Reputation Management (ORM) is the marketing practice of building and maintaining brand reputations online and repairing the damage done by bad reviews or other online content. It’s a two-fold process, not only to improve a brand’s presence but also to assess damages and minimize their effects. ORM is essential to any company or personal brand if you want to stand out among competitors. It can be used to improve online presence, improve customer loyalty as well as bring trust to a company’s name.
ORM is similar to SEO in that it is highly integrated with content marketing. But, the focus of ORM is on the content that’s already present on the search engines. Companies want to own as much of the content that appears on the search engine results pages (SERPs) as possible. You don’t want customers to see content about your brand if it isn’t positive or coming from your own website and social media. ORM specialists create content plans to help you rank in the search engines above competitors and negative URLs.
Both individuals and businesses can benefit from ORM. Businesses should integrate ORM into their PR campaigns. Because customers rely heavily on reviews and referrals, contributing to your business’s online reputation is key to customer acquisition and retention. Individuals should consider it if they’re looking for a job or new clients for their business/self-employment. An employer may search your name to find endorsements from past job experience or other signs that you are right or not for the job.
Reasons Why You Need ORM:
In a world with over 1 billion internet users, your online reputation is something you can’t ignore, and can’t passively maintain. Active engagement is the key to any person or business’s ORM success. Here’s what you can do with a reputation management campaign:
Impress potential customers with positive reviews
Consumers look online before they contact a business or make purchases. Reviews, both good and bad, can shape a potential customer’s first impression. Reports show that 80% of consumers trust online reviews just as much as they do referrals from those they know. ORM campaigns can improve your online reviews so those first impressions are positive.
Improve job prospects
Poor online reputation can hurt job prospects. If an employer finds incriminating information about you in a Google search, they may toss out your application. However, if you have a strong online presence with a website and multiple professional social media profiles, they will be more likely to hire you.
Generate leads with proactive ORM
Proactive ORM helps with SEO and lead generation. Proactive ORM can include content marketing tactics that draw qualified customers to your content and brand. We’ll get into the differences between proactive and reactive ORM later, but know that a proactive approach (building brand reputation before a crisis event) will aid in your SEO and online lead generation campaigns.
Take control of your search engine results
Much of what’s on the internet is untrue or irrelevant. You don’t want third-party information to reach your audience instead of your own, especially if the information is false in some way. A proactive ORM campaign helps update the search engines with more relevant content about your brand that YOU control.
Different Approaches to ORM
There’s no “one size fits all” ORM strategy. Your campaign needs to reflect the individuality of your brand. Royal Reputation uses a different approach for each client, but with a few standard practices that have proven to produce results. These are the different approaches we use for clients, depending on their ORM goals and the strength of their current online presence:
Proactive ORM is the development of a brand through a mix of content marketing and review management. ORM specialists create the content, optimize it for search engines and distribute it across multiple platforms (company blogs, microsites, and social media). They also monitor reviews and content written about the company on third-party sites. The goal is to encourage happy consumers to leave positive feedback about the brand while creating their own positive content that boosts search engine rankings for owned media.
Branding is one of the primary objectives for proactive ORM campaigns. This is similar to search engine optimization, but ORM doesn’t just focus on the company’s website. It focuses on multiple platforms to boost a brand’s online presence and reputation.
Reactive ORM is used in response to negative content showing up on the SERPs for branded keywords and relevant search terms. It’s the online equivalent to crisis management practice in public relations. If a brand is criticized online, it’s the job of the ORM specialist to assess the damages and repair the brand image. This is done in two ways:
Some websites publish content online that is falsely leading or completely untrue. This content could come from the website’s users, or from someone whose poor opinion of the brand led them to create incriminating posts. In some cases, you can ask these websites, or Google to remove the information. They may be required by law if the post is untrue and considered internet slander. However, most content online, whether it’s true or not, is subject to the website’s approval only.
If you cannot remove the content online, you can effectively suppress it in the search engines. While the information is available, most people won’t see it if it’s not on the first or second SERP. You can suppress content by optimizing your own sites and social media channels.
Examples of Good and Bad Online Reputations
ORM campaigns can be used for both businesses and individuals. An individual’s online presence is usually minimal, except for those in high-profile positions or those who have gained some sort of internet fame. Below are some examples of positive and negative online reputations for individuals. While each of these people has good and bad press associated with them, some have better online reputations than others.
TV show stars often have positive reputations online, and Lori Greiner is no exception. On the first page of her Google search results, you see her personal website, her Wikipedia bio, links to her social media and guest blogs, and information about her shows on QVC and ABC. She has done an excellent job of maintaining a positive image in the press, including what others say about her online.
Even the most powerful people on television can be hurt by what is posted online. The NBC news anchor was recently affected by accusations against his professional conduct. Over half of the organic search results containing his name contain negative content about him leaving NBC, and how his misconduct will permanently affect his career. Even if the scandal isn’t at the forefront of television, his online reputation will be forever tarnished.
It comes without shock that Google’s CEO has a great online reputation. Though his name is not immediately recognizable, his name appears on page one for over 500 SERPs. What’s surprising is that none of the organic search results for Pichai are from his own content. Almost all of his online reputation has been built from others’ content.
Walter Palmer’s online reputation has been taken over by a lion; more specifically, Cecil the Lion, whom he hunted and shot in an African safari trip. The Rhode Island dentist faced serious backlash in the public eye, and his professional reputation has yet to recover. When you search for Walter Palmer, most of the results are about Cecil’s tragic killing, and how Palmer’s dentistry career has since plummeted.
These examples of good and bad online reputations illustrate just how fragile someone’s reputation can be, and how well it pays off to have an active online presence. ORM isn’t just for businesses and branding. It’s used to protect individuals from public scrutiny and can save them from career-ruining online content distribution.
How We Measure Results:
Royal Reputation offers ORM services for businesses and individuals, using the methods we’ve discussed in this guide. But, it’s not enough to just distribute content and hope for the best. We track our efforts and their impact on search engine results. This way, our clients can see when their campaigns are producing results.
We monitor the SERPs and new mentions of your brand with tools such as SERPWoo, SEMRush, and Google Alerts. We can also see how you’re ranking for certain keywords. Keyword optimization is a big part of our ORM strategy, and we want to make sure you’re improving in organic rankings for the terms that best match your target audience.
We watch negative content to see when it’s knocked down to the second or third SERP, at which point the content is effectively suppressed. Most content past the third SERP is irrelevant to users. After the desired results are achieved, we switch our focus from content suppression to proactive brand management.
If you have any more questions about ORM, please feel free to contact us today for more information.