Setting aside a portion of your marketing budget for sponsoring events and partnering with non-profits can be a great way to help bolster your company’s reputation both online as well as within your local community.
As a modestly sized law firm, we try to engage local organizations with goals closely tied to our own. Over the past year we’ve been able to cultivate relationships with some amazing non-profits like the California Bicycle Coalition and TransFormCA. In the process of building relationships and supporting the fundraising efforts and goals of organizations within our community, we’ve received the ancillary benefit of getting the type of press and visibility that might not otherwise be available.

By looking at an online cross promotion we did with the pedestrian advocacy group WalkSF, you can see some of the ways partnering with local non-profits can positively impact your online reputation.

The cross promotion was centered around Walk to Work Day, and in addition to encouraging Bay Area residents to commute on foot, we also wanted to get people talking about the event on Facebook and Twitter. In order to incentivize people to update their status or Tweet about their involvement, we offered to make a $25 donation to WalkSF on behalf of each person who participated in Walk to Work Day and was vocal about it online. We capped the donation amount at $2,000, and promoted the match we intended to make on Facebook and Twitter in the week leading up to the event.

Our logic was that anyone passionate enough about Walk to Work Day to participate in the event could probably be enticed to take one additional action (requiring minimal effort on their part) if it would secure some money for a cause they’re already passionate about. The campaign worked alarmingly well. The final number of participants involved was 235, and we easily reached the donation cap of $2,000.

Here’s a selection of Tweets from the day of the event:

Along with raising awareness for Walk to Work Day and promoting pedestrian advocacy through WalkSF, our firm benefited with press attention from SF Weekly, The Bay Citizen, SF Appeal, multiple articles from the Examiner, and a post on Streetsblog.

This sort of campaign is easy to replicate if you can find a non-profit willing to work with you towards a common goal. The articles and mentions you’ll receive not only help cement your company’s website as an authority, but also can help round out search results for your business name with exactly the type of positive content you want potential customers to see.

Even though the specifics of your individual campaign may vary, forming a symbiotic relationship with other like-minded organizations can be a great investment toward building your company’s online reputation.

Jason Arango is currently the Director of Community Outreach for GJEL Accident Attorneys. He’s been involved in online marketing since 2007 and has worked with companies such as Village Voice Media and Clear Channel Communications.