Most individuals and brands only think about managing their online reputation after a crisis strikes — a negative review is posted and starts ranking in Google’s search results for their name, an unfavorable news article is published and syndicated across multiple authoritative news sites, etc. The reality is that unexpected emergencies are likely to happen; waiting to act until they do will cause greater damage than if you had been actively building a strong online presence.

While reactive, counterstrike reputation management strategies are necessary in critical situations, the more effective way to minimize damage before it happens is to be proactive, where you essentially build immunity against future urgent situations. Your time is important, so you should be spending it building a solid, infallible reputation instead of combating a negative one. This approach puts you in control.

How to Build a Proactive Reputation Management Strategy

A proactive reputation management strategy is built on the following core practices:

Cultivate Positive Engagement

Encourage your audience or consumer base to leave positive reviews and to write favorably about you or your brand by sparking natural conversations and by regularly engaging with them in appropriate ways.

Become Your Own Publisher

It’s not enough to let others do all the talking. Doing so will only put you further in the passenger seat of your online reputation. A more effective way of gaining control over your online image is by becoming a publisher yourself, writing content on topics you’re an authority in on your own sites and on other reputable platforms.

Maintain an Active Presence

Similar to becoming your own publisher, you should be actively and regularly engaging on social media, where a majority of digital conversations start. Make sure your profiles are verified and optimized for your name to increase the chances that they’ll rank in your search results. We recommend managing these profiles under the guidance of a skilled and experienced team.

Combine Efforts with PR

Your reputation management efforts should be treated like an extension of the work of your public relations firm. Ensuring that both teams are in sync will make the work of each that much more effective.

Leverage Cutting Edge Tools

Online reputation management can feel like an overwhelming task because of the rapidly-changing environment that is the Internet. Google is constantly updating its algorithms, and staying ahead of the curve means implementing the best that technology has to offer. This means tools that monitor your online image, such as Google mentions, social media search tools, sentiment analyses, and proprietary software like the Chorus platform offered by ReputationManagement.com, should be a core part of your strategy.

A Better Approach

To effectively manage the challenge of staying proactive in this rapidly-evolving landscape, a reputation management firm can be an invaluable asset. High profile, public-facing individuals and successful businesses already have limited time, so having a team dedicated to monitoring and building an immune reputation for you will not only save you time and money, but it will make handling moments of bad press or crises much easier.