Media Zone: Managing Your Online Reputation1 Oct, 2009 By: Nancy Lazkani Response
The advent of the Internet as a progressively dominating media outlet affords direct response companies the opportunity to capitalize on millions of dollars via online sales. By that same token, the Internet has also lent a forcibly powerful voice to the consumer. Both consumers and marketers alike witness this firsthand every day. Disgruntled consumers have become savvy in posting their feelings through blogs, forums and online viral videos. Be it a late shipment, a poor offer or anything that didn't meet expectations, consumers want the world to know they are unhappy.
Marketers may be spending millions of advertising dollars to sell a product or service. However, the increased visibility to the consumer opens a door that swings both ways. How do you keep your online conversions high when potential customers can see these negative postings? The answer is public relations.
Public relations can help your brand in the battle of the online rankings by utilizing search engine optimization (SEO), which is a critical tool in online marketing. According to Elliance, an E-marketing firm specializing in demand generation, 62 percent of search engine users selected a result appearing on the first page of search results. An experienced public relations practitioner has the ability to generate content that will effectively push the negative comments to page two or three of a Google keyword search. How is this done? By creating relevant, timely news from a more credible source.
This is where a search-engine-optimized press release comes into play. It is imperative to create content within the press release that can be hyperlinked and associated with your Web site through a few select keywords. After the press release hits the wire, the syndication of that content then pushes the negative blog post (appearing on the Google search) further down the page, thereby becoming less visible to potential online customers.
The credibility of a source can also push off-putting postings onto the next page of a Google search, improving the online reputation of your product or service. For example, if your public relations practitioner had your product reviewed in People magazine, it will rank higher than an article in a smaller circulation publication like People en Español Ideally, any marketer would like to see his or her product or service featured on Good Morning America, Oprah, National Public Radio, or in USA Today, The New York Times and the like. Since these are all widely credible sources, they would certainly be ranked above the blog posting or online video from the unhappy customer.
A Google spider is something that searches for the latest news, postings, comments or information relevant to your product or service on a regular basis. Depending on the product popularity or category size, it is vital to your online reputation to keep producing timely news. The more proactive you can be about generating press releases, earning credible media placements and event coverage to raise awareness, the higher the content you generate will rank on a Google keyword search. Once again, this quickly causes negative posts to fall by the wayside.
Any negative online content about your brand can be counteracted by using the same exact technology that did the damage in the first place. A well-executed PR campaign will utilize tried-and-true methods of generating immediate online press coverage, thus improving your online reputation. By having safeguards in place to protect their brands online, marketers can harness the power of the Internet to optimize sales and reap the benefits of the information age.
Nancy Lazkani is president and CEO of Van Nuys, Calif.-based media agency Icon Media Direct. Media inquiries can be sent to Lindsey Carnett, public relations manager, at (818) 933-9397, or via E-mail at lindseyc@iconmedia direct.com