You worked hard to build your business and your brand. What people think and say about your business both off and online are crucial to it –and any other businesses’- success. Even the biggest brands face the occasional PR crisis online and survive. Granted, these companies can pour tons of manpower, resources and money into keeping their image: something many of us cannot do. However, I will outline some cost effective strategies you can use before something bad happens and during to save your brand’s image.
Before The Storm
The worst thing about bad press is that it is almost always a surprise; making it even harder to deal with. Follow the simple strategies listed below and we can guarantee that any future crisis will be much less painful than had you been completely unprepared.
- Create and manage a network of social networks profiles. Leveraging company profiles is often overlooked as a way of protecting your brand. Creating these profiles across dozens of high quality sites will take up real estate in search engines for your brand searches. However, it is not enough to just sign up. It is important to have photos, company information and content updated regularly (weekly is fine.)
- Claim your brand. Claiming your brand means taking control of your brand name on as many popular websites, forums, and review sites as possible. Being in control of your brand name everywhere is an easy way to make sure it is protected from people who wish to do harm.
- Claim your brand domains. Ever typed in the name of a business in Google and the auto complete suggests “business name + scam” or “business name+ review”? Chances are you have and chances are you have seen a website created by some customer with the brand name + scam in the website title or url. Prevent this happening by registering your brandnamescam.com, .net, .org and other negative terms(ie brandname+scam, scam+brandname). I’m not endorsing posting fake reviews or building in-genuine websites but I am endorsing making your life easier by controlling these fair game domains now.
- Create and company blogs on popular blogging websites. Creating profiles on blogging platforms like WordPress.com, Blogger and other are crucial to protecting your brand. One of the first places people go is to these websites to post negative information. It is incredibly difficult to get these websites taken down and furthermore they rank highly in the search results since they are on trusted domains. Once again, being in control of these profiles is vital to protecting your brand across the web. It is a good idea to update these websites regularly as well, because the more content you have on them, the easier getting them ranked in search engines will be later on.
- Create a Google alerts for your brand name, variations of your brand name, employees and anything you think could be used to mention your business. Check these daily to stay on top of things.
After something bad has happened
Is there already a negative article or complaint about your business? Fear not because we are going to go over some killer strategies to help you gain control over the results for your brand name. If you have already taken the steps outlined previously; then this process will be much easier than someone who has not. The first thing any businesss should do during a PR crisis is grabbing control of your brand profiles (registering accounts with brand name in it) on social media and blogging platforms.
Steps To Take During PR Crisis
- Grab control of domains matching the negative. Gain control of social networking profiles, blogging profiles and profiles on popular pages for your brand name as well as the user names for the name of the negative press.
- Create and syndicate content explaining the negative press across your blogging, social media and any property you have control of.
- Leverage PPC on Google Adwords to take up more results real estate. Bid on your brand’s name, bid on the name of negative result and bid on the domains and all permutations of the negative result. Bid on any keyword that shows the result in search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. You can send the traffic to a landing page that explains the article from your perspective.
- Press releases are a valuable asset for controlling the search engines. A well written press release on a high quality website will most likely rank on the first page with ease. Press releases can be used to further clarify the negative result. Furthermore, writing and releasing a press release regularly will help you further control your brand even before a PR crisis.
- Leverage bloggers and industry experts. Reaching out to industry experts and especially bloggers can soothe an irritable public. Reach out to these bloggers with the intent of explaining the issue from or from an apologetic nature.
- Paid/Sponsored blogger reviews. If you cannot get bloggers to talk about your business for free the next best thing is paying them for it. You can leverage a sponsored review to try and clarify the negative press.
- Create a video. Youtube videos and other popular video sites rank very well in search engines. Furthermore, they get clicked more and can be a much better way of explaining the negative press than landing page can. Once you create your video distribute them to your social media and the blogging websites you created earlier (WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger, etc.) not only will it add content to your blogs but it will help the videos rank higher as well. Make sure your video has the negative search term in the title tag or descriptions.
Social Networks and other sites to be active on
- I have also included a list of blogging websites to create profiles on as well. It can be found here: http://pastebin.com/vgixGf6C
- Press Release list Free and Paid. I have had great results with sbwire
- BrandYourself.com is great tool you can leverage to better manage all your social media profiles. The service is free with a paid option for $25 per year. What it does is give you suggestions to help interlink all your social profiles more effectively to help them rank higher.
Grow Fuse Media is a Minneapolis SEO agency focusing on local search. Grow Fuse works to empower local businesses through free content and high quality search engine optimization services. Connect with Grow Fuse via Google+