Reputation Management: How Content Establishes Credibility
How important is reputation management for the success of your business?
Consider this: 89% of shoppers use search engines to research products and brands before buying. 65% of shoppers also turn to social media for inspiration and research.
If your business doesn’t have a good reputation or presence on search and social media, there’s a good chance you’ll lose most of your customers.
This is where content marketing comes in.
By consistently creating high quality content, you can shape how your business is seen online. From showing up in the SERPs to establishing a presence on major social networks, good content marketing can help you manage your reputation and get more customers.
In this post, we’ll show you how you can use content marketing to control your online reputation.
Change Search Results
Here’s a quick inbound marketing exercise: open Google in a new tab and search for your business’ target keywords.
You’ll find that the top results in Google are invariably held by established brands with in-depth content.
In fact, according to SerpIQ, the top 10 results for most keywords are at least 2,000 words in length.
The days when you could dominate the search results with mediocre content and simple SEO are over. To change the search results in your favor, you need to produce high quality content consistently.
This is where content marketing comes into the picture.
Content marketing is the process of creating and distributing high quality content that builds your brand. When you produce great content regularly and spread it through good SEO, you will naturally show up in the search results.
Most experts even agree that content marketing and SEO are two sides of the same coin. Which means that if you want a better reputation online, you need to produce and market content on a regular basis.
Become a Thought Leader
A big part of content marketing is thought leadership.
A ‘thought leader’ is anyone who is recognized as a source of innovative ideas, thoughts and research in an industry. This can be anyone – a grizzled industry veteran or an up-and-coming brand. As long as you can share unique perspectives and ideas and spread them in your industry, you can be a thought leader.
However, thought leadership requires that you produce high quality, insightful content on a consistent basis. Producing run-of-the-mill articles on stale topics isn’t enough; you need to deliver exceptional insight and value in order to be recognized as a thought leader.
And of course, content production isn’t enough; you also need to back it up with a strong distribution strategy.
This is where content marketing comes in handy.
Content marketing can help you stand out in your field by spreading your ideas and perspectives across the web. Whether it’s guest posts, popular industry forums, or social media, every time you create and distribute innovative ideas, you’ll strengthen your reputation as a thought leader.
You’ll find that being known for thought leadership will naturally help you attract customers.
Control the Conversation
The internet is a free platform. Anyone can say anything about you and your business. It doesn’t matter whether what they have to say is positive or negative; if you don’t have content of your own, you have no way of countering others’ thoughts and opinions.
This is a recipe for your online reputation.
Content marketing helps you get back in the driver’s seat and control the conversation about your business. Instead of letting third party publications dominate search engines and social media for your business keywords, you can create compelling content and change how customers see you.
This is a powerful change in how you represent your business. It gives you control over your brand image and helps you craft the reputation your business deserves.
A 3 Step Guide Process to Reputation Management through Content Marketing
There’s more to reputation management with content marketing than simply producing content. You also have to strategize and distribute your content on the right platforms.
Follow this 3-step process to manage your reputation online:
Before you can produce content to influence your online reputation, you have to first figure out what people are actually saying about you.
To do this, you need to keep tabs on both search and social media. Fortunately, there are plenty of tools online to help you do this, both free and paid:
- Search monitoring: Google Alerts is your best friend for monitoring search results. Any time anyone mentions you or your brand name, Google will send you an email alert. TechWalker alerts is another alternative you can try.
- Social media monitoring: Mention is the most powerful tool you can have for keeping track of social media. It starts at $29/month for individual users. For an alternative, check out Topsy.
Ideally, you want to create alerts to monitor your brand, business and personal names. You can also use this as a lead acquisition tool by keeping close eyes on trending keywords in your industry.
Once you know what people are saying about you (worse if they’re not saying anything at all) and what’s happening in the industry, it’s time to start creating content.
What kind of content you create will depend on whether you want to dominate the SERPs or become an influencer. The former requires that you produce search-focused content (i.e. actionable, useful advice that revolves around your target keywords). The latter demands that you produce original thought pieces which get shared on social media.
Ideally, you’d want a healthy mix of both. You want to show up strong on the search results, but also position yourself as an authority on social media.
Even if you have the best content online, no one will care if you don’t spend time promoting it.
The 80/20 rule (or the Pareto Principle) applies here as well – you should spend 80% of your time promoting your content, 20% writing it.
Some smart methods to distribute your content to a wider audience are:
- Guest post on authority blogs in your niche – this guarantees you instant access to a large audience.
- Share your content on niche social websites such as org, GrowthHackers.com, DesignerNews.co, etc.
- Share your content on niche-specific sub-reddits on Reddit.com. Use com and MetaReddit.com to find appropriate niches.
- Spread your content wider on social media with paid advertising. Even a $20/post budget can really get you far ahead of the competition.
This is just the tip of the promotion iceberg, of course. There’s more than one way to skin this cat. Find out one method that gets you good results, then stick with it.
Your online identity is critical to the success of your business. What your prospective customers read and see about you online has a big impact on your sales and reputation. Thankfully, by producing high quality content and distributing it on the right platforms, you can easily manage your online reputation and give your business the recognition it deserves.
What processes do you follow for reputation management at your business? Let us know in the comments below!