It’s never easy to repair a damaged online reputation. But for someone who’s constantly in the spotlight, this challenge becomes monumental. That’s why celebrity reputation management is critical for A-List stars, well-known entertainers, directors, producers, politicians and professional athletes.
Celebrities aren’t just people, they’re also global personal brands. As a result, they require a level of upkeep similar to that of a corporation. Unfortunately, this also means that celebrities are vulnerable to the same reputation issues that affect major brands.
Whether recovering from a viral negative news cycle or repairing a ruined career, bouncing back may seem insurmountable. Whatever you’re up against, we’ve seen it, and we’re more than capable of handling it.
We’ve tackled this challenge for CEOs of multibillion-dollar companies and other highly visible leaders and entertainers.
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How we manage celebrity reputations
Celebrity crises tend to unfold over short sprints of four to six weeks. During this time the media focuses heavily on the breaking story before moving on. Our celebrity reputation management services extend far beyond the damaging news cycle to maintain your online image for the long haul.
First, our SEO experts carefully analyze your search landscape and gauge your personal brand sentiment to discover threats and opportunities. We also conduct keyword research and execute a thorough backlink analysis to identify what’s driving authority to certain positive or negative pages.
This assessment informs our strategy recommendation, which frequently includes targeted editorial publication, press release distribution, social media recommendations and backlink creation. Unique to our celebrity reputation management clients, we may also recommend certain public statements, photos and videos.
Once we begin work, we’ll use our extensive knowledge about search engine optimization to push positive press to the first page of your search results. Continuous online reputation monitoring of news and social media sites ensures that we aren’t caught off guard.
After we mitigate negative publicity, we continue to fortify your online presence and keep it rooted in well-built, positive content.
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Unique challenges of celebrity reputation management
The viral nature of bad press
Needless to say, famous people are more likely to attract bad press when things go wrong. But it’s not just cheesy tabloid magazines spreading false gossip. Respected news sites will also pick up your negative stories.
Make no mistake about it, these websites are incredibly hard to dislodge from your search results. In fact, other reputation management companies claim it’s impossible to remove them. The good news is we’re not the average celebrity reputation management agency.
Celebrity search results are also incredibly volatile because of a constant influx of fresh content. Whether sipping a latte, hitting a club or making a racist comment on Twitter, someone will probably write about it online.
As we’ve written before, businesses in crisis management mode need to monitor their search engine results and social media websites round-the-clock to keep their public image in check. Similarly, celebrity brand management requires crisis-level vigilance because of the sheer volume of content generated each day.
If a negative article is especially controversial or newsworthy, it could become entrenched in a celebrity’s search results. When this happens, the only way to push it down is with a powerful SEO reputation management strategy. You’ll need a team of professionals working to write, publish and promote positive content that overpowers the negative Google, Bing and Yahoo results.
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Celebrity social media monitoring
We must also carefully monitor social media sites. As you can imagine, this is no small undertaking. Although it may not be possible to look at every Tweet, Facebook post or Instagram picture, we can sift through them and get the gist of the public’s mood.
- Is it positive or negative?
- Do any of the posts seem to be staged attacks or defamation?
- How real is the threat, and what’s the appropriate response?
- Is there an underground channel of positive content we can leverage to flush out the negative information?
We’ll take all of this into account as we configure the most effective strategy for your unique situation. Contact us for a quote.
Celebrity online reputation management is a click-through rate game
The first five search results amass the bulk of clicks within Google and Bing. Therefore, it’s essential to secure these key positions to influence public perception. We’ll create and deliver strategic recommendations to push down negative content in Google.
The situation varies based on celebrity type
There’s a level of customization to the process when dealing with a celebrity client. For instance, we wouldn’t approach an athlete’s case in exactly the same way we’d approach that of an actor or actress. Let’s take the athlete, for example. There’s a great level of disparity in personal opinions and beliefs among sports fans. If an athlete weighs in on a controversial issue, the outrage among offended fans could trigger a slew of negative mentions. While you can’t satisfy everyone, you can take steps to mitigate reputational damage.
Celebrity social media blunders are more probable
Most celebrities are at least moderately active on social media, and rightly so. It’s a great way to connect with fans and reinforce your brand. However, a momentary lapse of judgement could create a viral explosion of negative news that pollutes your search landscape. In fact, most celebrity online reputation management issues these days are self-created on social media.
Why are social media gaffes so persistent?
The internet never forgets
In our cyber-driven world, it only takes one person to screenshot a social media post to make it last forever on the internet. People are drawn to social media missteps that are funny, outrageous or scandalous. Within minutes of posting, an ill-advised post has likely been saved by thousands of people who will gladly share their copy if you delete the original. News cycles will move forward and your name may fade from the media, but your mistake will live on on the internet.
The inherent nature of search engines
Google’s algorithm was specifically built (and is frequently updated) to maintain neutrality and relevance. The algorithm examines trillions of articles, images and videos in an effort to suss out how they all relate to each other.
When Google recognizes that various topics are repeatedly mentioned together, it concludes that there must be a correlation between the two. The more frequently these topics co-occur within your entire body of indexed content, the stronger this correlation. This is called search density, and Google uses it to suggest related search results.
This is also the basis of our content recommendations for a celebrity reputation management plan.
Good celebrity reputation management
Martha Stewart is known as America’s homemaker. She transformed herself from a caterer and cookbook writer into a multimedia lifestyle mogul. However, Stewart also earned a reputation as a financial villain. Her illegal stock trading case and conviction threatened to destroy her brand. Yet Martha Stewart bounced back and became bigger than ever.
What went wrong
In late 2001, Stewart sold all her shares of ImClone Systems after illegally receiving information that the stock was in trouble. Ongoing media scrutiny and a highly-publicized trial prompted Stewart to step down as CEO and chairwoman of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia.
She was found guilty in March 2004 and sentenced to a five month federal prison term. Following her incarceration, she served two years of supervised release, including five months of electronic monitoring. The federal prison stint threatened to undo Stewart’s carefully crafted positive image. Media speculated that her conviction and prison sentence would be the end of her empire.
How she fixed it
Martha Stewart owned her mistakes rather than hiding them. While her lawyers identified issues that could have led to an acquittal, she faced the music and started serving time early.
After serving her sentence, Stewart returned to her roots as a lifestyle icon. She wasn’t shy about her comeback attempt, and it paid off for her. Stewart launched two TV shows, wrote a book, developed merchandise deals and more. In 2011, she rejoined the board of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. These days, when Martha Stewart makes headlines, few stories make mention of the fact that she’s a convicted felon.
Her celebrity reputation management strategy
Prior to the stock trading scandal, Martha Stewart had a great reputation as a lifestyle guru with a massive fan base. Her fans wanted to see her pull through, so it was no surprise when she did. Additionally, she owned her mistakes, served her time and then moved on.
Bad celebrity reputation management
Roseanne Barr was once a beloved comedian and the title matriarch of one of the most-watched sitcoms of all time, Roseanne. That all ended when oversharing her personal thoughts on social media led to the downfall of the once-adored actress. Her comments not only affected her own career, but also impacted her costars, producers and the network.
What went wrong
On May 29, 2018, Barr posted a racist tweet aimed at Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to former President Barack Obama. Within hours, ABC cancelled the highly-rated revival of Roseanne and pulled reruns out of syndication. In June 2018, ABC ordered a spinoff entitled The Conners, which would see Roseanne’s sitcom family continue on without her following the death of her character.
How she fixed it
She didn’t, really. Roseanne initially took a defensive stance and said she composed the tweet late at night under the influence of a sedative. This is the opposite of exercising accountability.
Nearly a month after posting the offensive tweet, Roseanne finally issued an apology. Barr said, “I should have known better, I should have not done it, I caused a lot of pain and I know that. It’s the worst feeling in the world. Are you kidding? I’ve lost everything.”
Not long after this seemingly clear-headed apology, Barr posted a video to her YouTube channel wherein she could be seen smoking a cigarette before launching into an expletive-filled tirade about how she “thought [Valerie Jarrett] was white.” The bizarre video did nothing to save Barr’s career and reputation, and The Conners premiered in October 2018 to generally positive reviews.
Her failed celebrity reputation management strategy
Barr ran the gamut of possible responses rather than immediately offering a clear apology. She repeatedly blamed medication and even claimed that she’d believed Jarrett to be white.
Although she did delete her initial tweet, thousands of screenshots and articles remain in Google search. Her reaction to the situation was messy and disjointed, and it wasn’t enough to salvage her reputation. Her case displays the personal and career consequences of an improperly managed reputation.
There are plenty of unique challenges that come with maintaining a celebrity’s brand, but there’s nothing too big for our reputation management firm to handle. Contact our team to see what we can do for you.