How to use Google to win affection online

I’ve just met a sweet Aussie colleen who we’ll call ‘Ms O’Irish Name’.

Thanks in no small part to Google, she thinks I’m quite marvellous. After our first meeting, she checked me out online; found tons of blog posts, online press releases, forum contributions, book reviews and conference presentations. There was even some fairly decent photos and a video clip, too.

I told her it was me – a PR spinner – who created and drove most of this ‘positive profiling’ material; it’s what I do for client companies. But she just thinks I’m being modest!

The fact is that when anyone meets someone new, socially or professionally, they Google them. In the search results there’ll be a mix of findings; some will seem impressive and be full of praise. Others – directly from dissatisfied customers, competitors or critical media – might contain off-putting criticism. And as Jupiter Research claims “…(sic people) are three times more likely to trust peer opinions over advertising…”

Yet you can quite easily ‘influence’ online conversations to make sure your company or business looks good in the online space; and this new kind of digital PR needn’t cost a fortune, either.

Are you prepared to handle bad online PR

Today, many companies and individuals are struggling to learn how to control or at least influence what’s said about them online. Connex and PacBrands are bearing the brunt of brutal online commentary right now. As more citizens and stakeholders participate and publish their views online, the danger of their opinions adversely affecting your reputation or business is greatly increased.

Because your name and integrity (and that of the company you represent) is on the line, online, 24/7, 365, Online Reputation Management (ORM) is vital if you want to monitor and manage PR coverage in this digital media environment. With your competitors and customers using the Web to promote their own agendas it’s imperative to know how to:

  • Find negative online coverage
  • Deal with online rumours
  • Counter online criticism or damaging blog comments
  • Engage with online activists

While most of us in comms and marketing are all pretty web-savvy, not all of us are as PR-smart online.

Here are a few ‘free and easy-to-adopt’ suggestions that give you real control over your online PR.

Fightback for free

Tip #1: start to monitor what’s being said about you or your business; use Google Alerts to get free email notifications whenever your company or industry is mentioned. To ‘amp up’ your monitoring, check out – it’s a manual search, but pretty comprehensive, eh?

Tip #2: start to build a robust stakeholder network using free online networking tools such as LinkedIn and Naymz; this promotes your name and links you to colleagues who could help promote and defend you when you really need them.

Tip #3: sack your web developer! Refresh or rebuild your website for free, using a blog-based software such as WordPress or TypePad; your new blog content can be better found by Google, which can provide balance to anything bad said about you online.

Tip #4: use free online press release distributors – such as PR Zoom – to proactively push your company news to online and citizen journalists; Google loves this content!

Tip #5: remember, in the Google-able world, your reputation is attached to you in electronic code, like an indelible e-tattoo. Be very careful about everything you say and write.

Increasingly, audiences and consumers are relying on peer-to-peer online tools including blogs, IM (instant messaging), user-generated content and social media to find out information about individuals and organisations. Marketing Sherpa states that 87% now trust a friend’s recommendation over a critic’s review.

In today’s fragmented, judgemental online media space every marketer or agency needs to become their own PR person. Doing so might just save your brand or organisation’s reputation. Even better, it might just create an affectionate sparkle in the eye of a ‘Ms O’Irish-Name’.