Want to know what to expect during a corporate reputation repair campaign? The steps below outline a typical timeline:
- Kickoff with your team
- Campaign setup
- Research the online environment
- Reputation strategy
- Development of technical assets
- Content brainstorming and development
- Outreach and negotiation
- Promotion and amplification
Kickoff with your team
You can expect to receive a Welcome Letter from your dedicated Project Manager. Your project manager will work with a Project Coordinator for all aspects of your campaign. The Welcome Letter will introduce your team, outline the timeline for your project, and and generally set your expectations.
The kickoff meeting usually takes place over Zoom. You'll get to meet and interact with various members. Team members often include your Account Manager, Project Manager, Project Coordinator, Reputation Strategist, Content Manager, and sometimes other specialists as needed.
You'll be asked to give an overview of any issues, ask questions of your team, and will learn about best practices for a successful reputation management campaign.
Behind the scenes, your project team is hard at work setting up various aspects of your campaign. These include:
- Project management environment
- Online listening tools for your brand
- Campaign tracking
- Technical analysis tools
- Content collaboration tools
Research the online environment
After we've gotten to know each other a bit during the kickoff meeting, and the various tools have been set up, we begin the research phase. Reputation research often involves the following:
- Competitor analysis
- Similar entity analysis
- SEO analysis
- Content analysis
- Research authors (especially if the campaign involves Wikipedia)
The things we learn during the analysis phase inform the reputation management strategy. For example, during the research phase we looked at similar entities. These might be entities that share similarities with your situation. We're looking for clues as to what tactical considerations perform best for these entities. Then we apply what we've learned to your custom strategy.
The strategy meeting
Every strategy developed by Reputation X is completely custom. We present the entire strategy line by line, explaining what each action is, and why we're doing it. Clients can veto any aspect of the strategy, and we'll adapt as needed.
Development of technical assets
Once the client has approved the reputation management strategy, we begin work on various technical aspects. Since each campaign is different, there is no one size fits all approach. But here are a few types of development we often embark upon:
- Social media development
- Development of websites
- Schema creation
- Business profile development
- Graphic and image creation
- Video development
Content brainstorming and development
One key to a successful campaign is great content. Content is at the heart of a strong and positive online profile. You can expect to approve content more at the beginning of the project than later on. This is because, at the beginning, we need input from you about branded content (content about your brand that is ostensibly created by you).
It would be a big ask to require clients to approve every piece of content, so we only ask you to approve initial branded content. Once the direction has been set, we generally continue on that path with fewer approvals on your part. Highly regulated industries will require more approvals than most others.
Outreach and negotiation
During the research phase, we identified possible publication targets. These are targets that have a high likelihood of moving the needle. Part of the content development process is publication. In order to publish, we need to build relationships with publishers.
The outreach and negotiation phase is all about placing content, and sometimes the removal of content (when appropriate).
Promotion and amplification
Content amplification is one of the key factors in changing the visibility of search results. Negative content that cannot be directly removed is effectively suppressed (pushed down) as positive content is promoted above it.
We use many tactics to promote online content, including search engine optimization, social media, owned site and owned social property tactics, and more.
That which can be measured can be improved. We measure many things, including branded mentions, positive and negative sentiment, location-based position tracking of both positive and negative online content, as well as SEO audits of some owned properties.
How long does a reputation campaign take?
A reputation management campaign gets started quickly and can often show early positive results within weeks of initial execution. But every campaign is different. A reputation campaign usually requires six to ten months to solve the issue fully. Again, improvement begins long before that, though.
About the author
Kent Campbell is the chief strategist for Reputation X, a San Francisco Bay Area-based online reputation management services firm. He has over 15 years of experience with SEO, Wikipedia editing, review management, and online reputation strategy. Kent has helped celebrities, leaders, executives, and marketing professionals improve the way they are seen online. Kent writes about reputation, SEO, Wikipedia, and PR-related topics.