What is brand reputation management? First of all, this is not something you want to have to deal with, but it’s good to have the tools necessary to combat it when worst comes to worst. In this episode, Tom Hazzard and Tracy Hazzard share the top dos and don’ts to help you develop an effective podcast brand reputation management strategy. Everything you do or say online leaves a footprint, and it won’t always be good. Knowing what to do to rehabilitate your image or just bury down the bad stuff is key. Don’t miss out on this episode for more tips to tackle negative publicity online.
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Dos And Don’ts To Develop An Effective Podcast Brand Reputation Management
In this episode, we’re going to talk about the dos and don’ts to develop an effective podcast brand reputation management. Tracy, you have some strong recommendations and perspectives for podcast brand reputation management. I want to throw this to you right off the bat to set this up for us.
Let’s take a look at what’s going on in the podcasting market quickly. There are a lot of reputation management issues going on. Brené Brown is having some serious association problems with her brand being associated on Spotify with a network with Joe Rogan. It’s the main issue. She writes about it in her blog. You can read the blogs of what Brené Brown is saying herself about this. She feels that the association with Joe Rogan, right or wrong, doesn’t matter. Whatever it is, she feels that it’s hurting her brand reputation.
While we have this issue of thinking about, “What does brand reputation mean? What is that all about? Is there a way to manage it through the use of my podcast?” There are multiple ways. I’m going to get Tom to talk about this because he is the absolute expert in that Google SEO side of podcasting that is critically important here. When we’re talking about brand reputation, either they want to find out if you have a good reputation or if you don’t. What am I going to do? I’m going to google Brené Brown and all these articles are going to come up.
What if there are a bunch of articles about me that I don’t like? What if they are referencing me in a negative way? What if there are some negative press about me out there? How do I combat that? That’s one side of reputation management. There are lots of publicists out there. One of my favorites is Cheryl Snapp Conner. She is amazing at this and this is her personal area of expertise. Brand reputation management is the rehabilitation of your digital footprint around what people are saying about you.
Sometimes you’re not in control of that. However, using a podcast can get you in greater control of that. Those are the tactics that we have used with other publicists and companies to make that happen. Sometimes it’s guesting on a bunch of podcasts and also having your own podcast that can make it happen so you can drown out the noise that’s negative about you. You can combat it in a very authentic way with your voice and what you’re saying about yourself, instead of what other people are saying that may not be true.
It’s a good point because here’s the one thing that everybody needs to understand. They have a digital footprint on the internet. Even if you have a podcast without a website, your footprint might be a little smaller. You should have a website for your podcast. If you read this for any length of episodes, you know that we’re huge advocates of that because that increases your digital footprint for what you want to be found for. It’s the good things that are going to be out there about you. If there are any negative or unflattering posts about you and mentions of you out there on the internet, you can’t get rid of them or delete them.
What you can do is age them and move them down from the first page of Google to the 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th page of Google. How many of us ever go through beyond that second page of Google? It’s very few. After 1, 2, 3, 4 and even down more pages, the number of people that go to each of those pages decreases dramatically. By creating new content that is relevant and related in a good way to you and fresher content, you’re going to be able to improve that situation. Tracy, I hope I’m not stealing your thunder but the one thing that all you podcasters need to do is publish, publish, publish.
You’re not stealing thunder at all. Please reinforce that because the more we say that, the better off it is. Keep in mind that there are a lot of scammers and things out there and a lot of people who complain about things but they don’t have the time to be persistent about it. This publish, publish, publish that Tom is talking about is a strategy. It’s one of the big dos to developing an effective brand reputation management strategy through podcasting or using podcasting.
It’s one way to do that but it’s also using it in blogging. When we’re saying podcast, we mean multicast. You’ve got to do the video version, the podcast version, and the blog version of everything that you do. Also, do social posts and social links to link back to that and help rehabilitate that. It’s a lot harder to keep it up in a feed unless somebody puts out an anti-you Facebook group. Everyone is against something. It happens out there but that also tends to get shut down.
There are ways to contest that and remove it. Social is an easier place to manage. It’s much harder to manage what’s happening out on Google. I keep hearing that scene with Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts in Notting Hill. She’s all upset about these horrible photographs that were taken of her and that they’re going to live forever. He kept saying that they’re going to line in tomorrow’s waste paper bins.
He says, “They are going to be lining in tomorrow’s wastebaskets,” meaning they are going to be thrown away and forgotten.
She says rightfully so, “You don’t understand that every time they write something about me, they are going to look this up. They will bring it back up again.” The reality is that they won’t remember it if it’s not on the first page of Google because writers are lazy. I know because I am one. We don’t have time to do as much research. The deadlines are there. If we don’t find it quickly or personally remember it, we’re not going to pull it back up as a topic. By bearing things off the first page, we’re helping that reputation management long-term. We can bury it in a wastepaper bin.
It may be a digital or a virtual wastepaper bin. You can age it out of relevance. You’re never going to be able to delete all those mentions off of the internet. They are going to live there forever but the older they get and the more new stuff there is for people to consume before they ever see that old stuff, the better off you are.
The first don’t that I want to say is don’t go after someone else. Don’t fight like with like in this case. If they are being untruthful and nasty to you, don’t do the same thing back. If it’s not your brand, it’s not a part of who you are. Let’s make sure that we live in our authenticity and who we are, and represent that integrity out there everywhere. Be you out there. If it’s not you to scratch back at someone, then let’s not do that here because that’s not going to help our brand in any way, shape or form. That’s the first don’t that I want to give you. Do you have any don’ts that you want to add before I do one more, Tom?
It’s not a don’t. I have a do suggestion that’s opposing this don’t but you can continue.
@podetize Do more and be consistent in your episode uploads #podcasting #podcastingtips #podetize #learnontiktok #fyp ♬ original sound – Podetize
The second don’t that I have is don’t do any direct rebuttal or response without consulting an expert. Please get both an attorney and a publicist to look at it because you can make a lot of mistakes that can harm you should this eventually go to litigation. You could cause litigation by what you do in this publicity world. Think about that. Don’t do this without assistance if you’re going to do a direct response, “Somebody said this and my answer is that. I’m rebutting it to make that clear.” Instead, what we want to do is a bunch of other things. We want to have different things that are going to combat that. What’s your do, Tom?
My do is if you are going to respond in some way publicly, and that is an if. It’s a choice and sometimes the best choice may be to not respond at all. If you are going to respond, consult a communication expert and have a carefully considered rebuttal, but empathize with that person’s need that made that statement in the first place. If you step into this with your response with empathy and compassion, you’re going to come out looking like you’re taking the high road. You’re the adult in the room. You’re not punching back. Generally, you’re going to be much more effective at diminishing the weight of their initial statement.
A big do here from a technical side is when you do respond to something. If you’re responding to something and they say, “How so-and-so is ruining the industry,” that might be the title of it, you want to respond using a variation of the same title. It would be, “Response to so-and-so is ruining the industry,” or “An update to.” You made it a new phrase. They can’t claim you fully copied it. It’s not copyrightable when it’s that generic. It’s a response, so it’s an opinion piece. You’re allowed to do that. You could put, “Rebuttal, call-in, update to, response to.” Do that but make sure that you’re using the full title because when somebody searches for that title, you want to appear above or below it. It’s probably above it because your response is more recent.Here's the one thing that everybody needs to understand: they have a digital footprint on the internet. Click To Tweet
There are a couple of simple ways to do that. You could use the same keyword phrase or title but put a question mark after it as if you’re questioning that. Have that title, a period, and then, “Really?” You’re not agreeing with that statement. You’re creating curiosity for people to learn more and discover, “Is that accurate?” That will get people to click on it.
This is a good strategy to call a favor. If you have other podcasters that you already know and do a lot of business with, and other bloggers and influencers that can help you in any way, shape or form, this is a great way to ask them to do that as well. If you don’t have the ability to do this yourself, write it on your blog or a publication somewhere, then go to other podcasters and say, “Can this be the title of the episode that I do with you? Can we dive deep into what happened here?”
That’s a great way to do it. Please make sure you’re doing it with someone who edits so that if there are any questionable things, you still have the ability to review it by your attorney or your communication specialists. It will help you make sure that you haven’t made any errors that are going to come back to bite you later. You don’t want to see that happen. We’re trying to manage our reputation and not make it worse. That’s a great do in that process.
This is going to help you combat it head-to-head, and that’s what we want to do. The key thing is do not change the keyword phrase and you must figure that out. If you don’t know, get an SEO specialist to come to look at it for you. If for some reason you feel like you have to change the title but you need to keep that keyword phrase, make sure you’re getting it right and exactly the way that it’s phrased and worded for that portion of it. That’s the first big do.
The second do that I have is to do more. That’s what Tom was saying before publish, publish, publish. A lot of times we think these things are so damaging to our reputation but the reality is that they don’t have a lot of listeners or readers in the case of a blog or viewers on YouTube. Check it out and understand what it is and make sure that you’re combating it with enough. In other words, if they only got 100 viewers, you just have to get 110.
You don’t have to get 1,000 and outdo it by so much more. You can and that will help push it down more. If you’re trying to age these things out, it’s also great if I can outdo you by 5 videos that all rank 110 and yours is only 100. I’m going to push you down that page so fast. It’s going to be tremendous. That’s where you want to start variations around the keywords where you’re putting the positive spin on whatever it is.It may be a digital or a virtual wastepaper bin. You can age it out of relevance. Click To Tweet
Whatever they were talking about, industry problems or what’s going on here, you’re going to do the flip of it. You’re still using variations on the keyword in this particular case, but you’re now going to do all the positive pieces, the things you want to talk to about, and the things you want to be known for. That’s how you’re going to push that down. It’s consistency. Do it daily, weekly or whatever it is. Keep it consistent. If you’re going to do it every three days, then you’re going to do it every three days until you have gotten what I would consider a full page of Google.
Get ten items. Those ten items don’t have to all come from one place. They might be ten items where you’re being on somebody else’s blog or you’re featured on somebody else’s podcast. You write a podcast, an article or a rebuttal. You’re getting up there to where you’re covering all these. You’re doing a video, podcast or blog. You’re covering all your multimedia as well. Remember, when we search, Google is smart enough to know what our preferred mode of consumption is.
They know that I’m a reader. They’re going to serve me up more articles. They know Tom likes to watch videos. They’re going to serve him up more videos. You have to be conscious of that and be thinking, “If I’m going to do ten things to push this down, I need to do ten things in each media type so it makes more work.” In the podcasting space, you don’t have to do that as much. It appears on Google but it appears everywhere. Most people don’t end up with 100% audio. It doesn’t happen as often. Having some podcasting mixed in there is going to help you out.
The way that Google works for the podcasts that you do publish when that keyword phrase pulls up results, it tends to give you the same episode on Apple, Spotify and a couple of different apps on that first page of Google. That helps you push some things down too a little more quickly with less content. I agree wholeheartedly. If you want to bury some negative content that’s out there in search on Google, record and create a whole lot of new content. You’re going to push it down a lot faster. You made some great points about YouTube being served to me because I watch videos. You prefer to read. Other people prefer to listen. The results are not identical for everybody who searches on the same keyword phrase. You got to be aware.
We’ve got three dos and two don’ts here. The last do that I have is living in your integrity but associating those with integrity as well. In other words, we want to create this cross association. If I’m going to address the negativity of what’s going on in the industry, I also want to associate myself with someone else who already has a good reputation. They are already brand-recognized for coming out against something or for something. I’m associating with their integrity as well.
That’s great to be able to be in that place and let’s have an open discussion, commentary and discussion about all those things. That’s going to help you with both association and topic at the same time. You’re going to get both things resulting from that. It’s all going to have a lot to do with the bottom line integrity rebuilding in this case if you’re having to rebuild your reputation.If you want to bury some negative content that's out there in search on Google, then record and create a whole lot of new content. You're going to push it down a lot faster. Click To Tweet
Have we gone through all the dos and don’ts? Shall we recap them?
We have. The two don’ts are don’t respond exactly without help and an advisor. Don’t make a response without that advisor because it can open you up to liability. Get a lawyer, a publicist or both communications experts, whatever you need to make sure that you don’t trip over that if you’re going to make a direct response. That’s your first do as well. We will come back to that. The second don’t is don’t do something out of integrity. Don’t do something that is angry and something that’s not in keeping with what your brand is about. Stay in what your brand is. That’s so important.
Your dos on the flip side of that is do use the keywords. Try to do a response in a way but do the positive spin of that response. “Update to, response to, rebuttal to,” you can do that but also take it and say, “Is this right? Is that the truth,” and leave it with that. That’s a great title, “The truth about,” whatever it was, even though it’s the reverse. We all want to read about that. Those are good ways. That’s a do. Your second do is to get someone to support you and help you with everything. Your third do is to publish, publish, publish. Push everything down and make sure that you’re doing that with good cross-linking and cross associations.
We talked a little bit about using the same keywords but twisting it a little bit so you come up in the same searches. Those are excellent dos and don’ts. Publish, publish, publish is my mantra. It generally fixes everything one way or another. Keep in mind, if you multicast it the way we’re talking about video, audio or blog, the more you talk about something, the more content is going to be created. Even though you want that headline to be the same and that title to be relevant, Google has a way of deciding on their own based on what is said in the episode what is relevant.
It doesn’t always necessarily need to be in the title to come up in that search. Although if you’re targeting some particular negative publicity out there, then going right after the title is going to help do that and push those other things down also. I’m more in favor of instead of a laser-targeted approach, a little more of a broad approach. Go right after it but also surround it with a lot of content.
That’s why we say alternative or similar keywords, and things that are associated with it. That’s where we go when we go around something. I hope this doesn’t happen to you that you have to do some brand reputation management. Here’s the thing. Our gut instincts are usually wrong in how we want to respond to something. We want to get angry about it, lash out, tell our truth, and get those things out there. They are not always the best options for you.Don't do something out of integrity. Don't do something that is angry and something that's not in keeping with what your brand is about. Click To Tweet
That’s why we wanted to bring this up because digital footprints matter long-term. It’s a technical algorithmic thing. It’s not a human thing. We have to do something that combines the two together. What we’re saying and addressing in our integrity and who we are and presenting ourselves in the best light is the personal side of things in how we want to appeal. The technical things still have to be there to make sure that they have the functional effect we want them to.
A good example of this is a while ago, we went to do business with someone. I’m good at checking people out. Our attorney is breathing a sigh of relief if he’s reading this because it is true. I do google people and do my due diligence by checking them. Before we were going to sign this $70,000 contract with someone, I google them and check them out. I’ve checked the references, but people give you the good ones. I wanted to see what else was out there.
I do things like I would put somebody’s name or their company name and rip-off, scam or fraud. I use those phrases and see what happens. This particular company had a pretty nasty Ripoff Report article or post because it’s a self-submitted thing. When I looked at that, I was like, “I’m going to read this and understand it.” At the same time that I saw that Ripoff Report, I saw a blog on their website as a response, which I read.
The way that they responded was, “We’re addressing these things in the Ripoff Report because this was a client and something went wrong. We want to address some of those technical things that happened there.” They took the high road. They didn’t slam that person. They didn’t say they were untruthful. They said, “We’re thankful in a way because this person helped point out ways at which we could have supported her more and made sure that she didn’t have this bad experience or negative outcome that she’s unhappy with.”
I read both sides of it because it clearly presented both sides. When we had our next conversation, I asked the salesperson about it or the person was asking me to sign the contract that day. I said, “I read about this.” I watched his reaction. That was why I decided to do business with the company because his reaction was, “These things happen when we’re learning in our business. I wish we didn’t have to respond to that at all and could have ignored it but I felt that we had to address it. It informed these processes that we put in place. Now, I feel the company is better for it. We didn’t still satisfy this customer. There’s nothing that I can do about it. This Ripoff Report will exist forever but we don’t want to handle this and see this happen again.” I believed him and we signed the contract. That’s good. His integrity-based response was what got me to do business with them. That’s where you want to live.
This is another good example of if you feel you need to respond, and sometimes you may not need to but you want to, get some expert help whether that’s an attorney, publicist or communications specialist. Part of this may be less about legal or the ins and outs of publicity, but get some perspective because we all get too close to these things. Having some perspective on how bad is this, how is it going to appear when I respond, and what kind of response will generate what kind of results. Some perspective is very helpful.Push everything down and make sure that you're doing that with good cross-linking and cross associations. Click To Tweet
The last thing I want to leave everybody with is the idea that there are a lot of companies out there that offer brand reputation management. There are these companies that are like credit repair. They are offering to remove things from your credit report or Google. It can go very wrong for you to do that. Whether or not they can do it is questionable in my mind because there are a lot of digital footprints that live forever.
Google is not great at responding to things that aren’t a DCMA takedown, which would mean something that was copyright infringement. That’s an easier one than anything else. If you’re talking about brand reputation management and something you don’t like that they said, that’s difficult or costly to do if you’ve got to go the legal route to get them to remove something. The idea of removing something can also make people angry. They get angrier and find ways around it. It snowballs into something bigger.
It’s better to keep it with one complaint. They said their piece and they are done. You address it all over the place in ways that they don’t know where you’re not commenting back to them or lashing out at them. You’re commenting around everything that they’re doing. The effectiveness is pushing everything down. That’s way more effective and less confrontational. It doesn’t raise the tenor of everything and make it nastier in that process, which can harm you more.
That’s a good place to wrap this episode up. I hope everybody found that information useful. If you’re interested in checking out any of that, as well as all our other topics, there is a way you can search on anything related to podcasting, what we talk about here on the show, and marketing your business using podcasting.