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Managing Your Reputation

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Have you ever been hanging out, randomly searching online and found something negative about yourself in a search engine results page?

OK, well, maybe you weren’t randomly searching exactly, but I bet when you saw that negative stuff, you wished you had known about it when it first was indexed, so you could have defended your brand, yourself, or your service. Called reputation management, monitoring your site and service throughout the blogosphere has become an increasingly popular service. For any startup, small, medium or large sized brands/companies, it’s best to have someone dedicated to monitoring your reputation online while involving yourself in conversational marketing.

The most important aspect of reputation management is knowing how to handle each situation. This is usually a combined effort on the part of the reputation management service and the corporation that hires them. Remember, bad press can be GREAT press; however, it’s important to look at all the angles to determine what needs to be refuted, what needs to be extinguished, and what fires need to be flamed. The job of a reputation management service is to monitor pages, track mentions of key phrases, propose combatant techniques, and help back a brand with an army of reputable community members.

Currently there are a few programs and services that can help individuals and companies monitor their own reputation. I strongly suggest hiring an outside company to do this; however, if you are determined to bring it in-house, here are some tools you might consider acquiring.

1. Copernic: This program allows you to enter URLs and choose the frequency of updates you wish it to use and the type of checks it should look for. I use this tool whenever a blog post goes up about a client of mine, I make a Wikipedia edit, or I find something on a forum about a company I am working with. This program allows me to check daily on text updates, compares previous to new versions, and alerts me accordingly.

2. Google and Yahoo Alerts are a reputation management specialist’s best friend. These tools allow us to get immediate updates and alerts when phrases and keywords are mentioned online. I normally use both Yahoo and Google Alerts in tandem in order to help ensure coverage saturation.

3. MonitorThis monitors a keyword across 22 different search engines. I do use this pretty frequently, but unfortunately it doesn’t cover Google.com.

4. Monitor the reputation of other websites and bloggers through DomainTools to check out WhoIs information and Icerocket to check blog and search trends.

5. Monitor a brand’s reputation by checking Google, Yahoo, and MSN backlinks periodically for sites that could possibly be talking negatively about your site, brand, product or service.

These are some of the basic tools and means to start you off on reputation management. On my home website of HybridSEM, I’ll be putting out a reputation management guide in the next month or so for anyone thinking about taking up reputation management or looking to find out what else goes into this service.

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