Your company’s reputation – and your own for that matter – is only as good as your least satisfied customer. It’s possible to satisfy nearly every one of your customers and still attract negative attention due to the online rants of one or two who remain disgruntled. Your reputation is constantly at risk of becoming compromised. Moreover, it is under continuous scrutiny by your customers, competitors, and journalists.
One of the least-discussed, and most important, advantages of online press release distribution is that it can be leveraged to protect and improve your reputation. We’ll explain how below. First, you’ll learn how to keep track of what others are saying about your company. We’ll then explain how to choose keywords for your press releases that help push negative comments off the first page of Google.
Your Reputation: Years To Cultivate And Moments To Lose
It’s an all-to-familiar story, a good reputation built carefully over several years can be lost following a single mistake. Examples can be found in business, politics, and personal relationships. This has always been the case, even before the public had access to the internet. But today, when people can publish their thoughts online, it is easier than ever to lose the good favor and opinion of your market.
Blogs can be created, and scathing posts about your company can be published, within moments. So too can online forums be quickly populated with complaints and rants. Social media sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, have been used on numerous occasions to build waves of discontent against certain companies. Some irritated consumers have even built “revenge sites” targeting specific businesses (e.g. paypalsucks.com).
The important point to remember is that many of these pages and sites become indexed in the search engines. Once indexed, they are rarely deleted. By publishing online press releases, you can claim the top spots, reducing the likelihood that your customers will stumble across complaints and negative comments.
The first step is to find out what others are saying.
Keeping Tabs On Your Online Reputation
Most people use Google – and to a lesser extent, the other search engines – to search for people and businesses by name. For this reason, start investigating your reputation on Google by performing queries for your name as well as that of your company. Look for glaring complaints and criticisms that appear on the first page of search results. (Those that appear on the second and third pages matter far less since few people advance past the first page.)
Also, check Facebook and Twitter for mentions of your business. Both host search platforms that their respective members use on a regular basis. With regard to Twitter, keep in mind that many users tag their Tweets with hashtags. Hashtags are essentially a way to organize and search for Tweets that address the same topic. If a dissatisfied customer Tweets using a hashtag that targets your business, the Tweet can quickly gain momentum among other users.
The main purpose of keeping tabs on what others are saying about your company is to note their comments’ exposure on Google and the other search engines. (To be sure, there is enormous value in reaching out personally to annoyed customers, but that topic lies beyond the scope of this article.) Once you have a good grasp of their exposure, you can begin crafting an online press release strategy to push negative listings off the first page of search results.
Choosing Keywords That Suppress Negative Comments
In past columns, we’ve addressed the importance of selecting keywords that attract customers who are interested in your products and services. Such keywords should spearhead your press releases, showing up in your headlines, intros, and body copy. For instance, if your company is based in Fort Worth and sells exercise equipment, you might optimize your PRs for the phrase “Fort Worth discount exercise equipment.” Doing so would drive targeted traffic to your website.
Online reputation management focuses on your name as well as your company’s name. These are the keywords for which negative commentary will display on Google. Thus, part of your online press release distribution strategy should be to dominate as much of the first page for your name as possible.
By publishing a continuous stream of high-quality news announcements on authoritative sites, you can claim several of the top search spots. Unfavorable sentiments targeting your business will be pushed to the second and third pages. As noted earlier, few people check past the first page, which means few of your customers (or potential customers) will see the negative comments.
Search engine optimization remains a core tenet of online press release distribution. But realize that publishing PRs to dominate the top spots in Google, Yahoo, and other engines offers more than merely a method to promote your company. It also allows you to protect and improve your online reputation.
Have you used press releases as part of a reputation management campaign? How did you use them — proactively or reactively? Let us know!
Cute ducky photo courtesy of ymorimo.