So 6 weeks ago I was invited to an online pr workshop hosted by Damien Mulley. These are some of my notes on what was discussed in the session. As it was an all day session there was a lot of different topics discussed and Dave gave a good breakdown of the day already on the redfly blog, so I am going to focus on two areas that were discussed, crisis management and online reputation management (ORM).
Damien had a great example of crisis management and how ignorance of how the internet works can add to the crisis instead of detracting. Damiens example was the Irish Pork Scare of 2008. Even now if you do a search for “Irish Pork” in Google, these are the results you see:
Now you’ll notice from the results that the majority of the results are from News sites, which are authorative sites but you’d expect to see a result from a Government website, such as the Department of Agriculture considering that the pork industry is the 4th largest agriculture industry in Ireland but you won’t because they don’t know how the internet works. If you look at the Dept. of Agriculture site, it is a PR8 site, this is an authorative site but if you search the site for an article with “Irish Pork” in the title it will return no results:
It’s not that they didn’t release a statement it’s just they didn’t put any of the keyterms used to describe the crisis in the Title Tag:
- Use the language that is being used to describe the crisis by the public
- Always have the best team possible – if you do not know how a certain medium works, higher an expert. (Some that I would recommend who understand how online media works would be Damien Mulley (obviously), Piaras Kelly (Edelman), and Simply Zesty (especially when it comes to social media)
- Make sure somebody has ownership for managing the crisis and is responsible for cleaning it up, which obviously wasn’t executed efficiently in this case with these results still showing almost 2 years later. This point will lead us onto the next topic.
Some other sources I recommend for reading:
Online Reputation Management
Online Reputation management is a growing field affecting all businesses with an online presence. The growth in review sites, such as TripAdvisor for hotels, RateMySolicitor for solicitors, Yelp for restaurants and hotels and ReviewCentre.com for multiple industries, means that no matter how small your business is, all consumers have access to online portals to vent their frustrations at substandard products or bad customer service and possibly tarnish your reputation. In the case of the search results above for “Irish Pork”, I think we can agree it is doing the industry no favours and possibly damaging sales, so what do we do about it and how do we manage it?
- Assess how bad the potential damage from the query could be? You want to see what the monthly volume of searches for the query is. To do this you can look at the query in adwords to see how many people are searching for it:
- The volume of searches for “Irish Pork” currently is quite low but was quite high during Dec 2008 as can be seen through Google Insights:
- Identify why these other sites are ranking above you, is it due to authority or links. (Copyblogger has a great article on authority and iCrossing have a great study on the correlation of links to ranking). Some tools that can be used to identify links to an article/page on a site are Seomoz’s OpenSiteExplorer, Majesticseo and Yahoo’s Siteexplorer.
- Ask the Top 10 results link to your article as the definitive source for the query.
- Use other authorative resources as well by putting other related articles on Facebook, Twitter, etc.
- Develop a link building campaign to the articles hosted on sites that you control but also to articles on third party sites that echoes the response you want to be seen for the search results. Make sure you use the keywords of the search query when linking to articles (Anchor Text), i.e. irish pork, irish pork recall, etc.
Finally on occasion you will want to change the sentiment of the results for a query, as in the case of “Irish Pork”. There is no point to address the “irish pork recall” 2 years later so you’ll want to change the results that show up for it.
- Look at the keywords that are used in the results and query, i.e. irish pork recall
- Develop a positive spin on the keywords, i.e. Do you recall the first time you tasted irish pork?
- Develop a campaign around it and release it to the online community
In the video above I showed a spreadsheet I created to identify online influencers and bloggers to incorporate into your campaign. If anybody wants it just ask me on twitter @leofogarty
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