How To Run an ORM Campaign by Yourself: Our 1-Year Plan
Online reputation management is a skill that anyone can acquire.
That’s kind of a bold statement, I know.
But, we really pride ourselves on being transparent with our customers. Even if we don’t end up working together, we want to make sure you’re better off than when you first arrived on our site.
So, over the course of this article, I’m going to tell you exactly how to run your own online reputation management campaign. I’ll try to use layman’s terms, just so this can be accessible to anyone. If you are familiar with web marketing techniques and have a good grasp of the jargon and tools required, there’ll still be plenty of useful information for you.
And as a last caveat, even though online reputation management is a skill that anyone can develop, it’s still a skill. That means it takes hard work, time, and persistence in order to get good at it.
In your pursuit of ORM (online reputation management) knowledge, you’re probably no different than I was when I was doing some office repairs the other week. We moved facilities, and we had two choices:
Option 1… Pay 20 grand to a contractor for paint, wallpaper, and brand new wiring.
Option 2… I could figure it out with the help of my Father-in-Law and youtube and spend the next 8 weeks working on the project.
We chose the latter.
And even though the job wasn’t so perfect, with splatters of paint along the floor and big air bubbles behind the wallpaper, I’m still really happy I gave it a try.
We had to hire professionals in the end, in order to help repair some of the bigger problems that we made, but that’s fine! When dealing with the contractor, I felt a lot more confident in my knowledge of the tasks.
Most importantly, I felt like I could actually trust him.
That’s perhaps the most advantageous part of trying to tackle a project on your own.
After you give it a go, you’ll have experiential knowledge of the tasks involved and the end goals. So you’ll be able to call out ‘B.S.’ whenever someone tries to take advantage of you. You’ll also feel a whole lot more comfortable, and a whole lot less paranoid, because you’ll actually understand the project’s undertaking. You know… as opposed to worrying constantly whether or not the contractor’s screwing you over because you don’t know anything about the topic, and you can’t tell if things are going great or terribly!
With that in mind, let’s hop on a journey of exploration as we discover how to run an Online Reputation Management campaign.
Why do you need ORM?
You either have something negative ranking high in Google results or you want to prevent future negative results from Google results.
Who actually uses ORM?
Are you a company that wants to have a good reputation online? Do you want to produce great reviews and great word of mouth? Do you want to minimize and run triage on negative interactions on the internet?
Then you’ll need ORM.
Are you a public personality or someone who uses their name for business? Are you a realtor, doctor, lawyer, or accountant? Are you a streamer, youTuber, influencer, or celebrity? Then you need ORM for the same reasons that companies with online presences need ORM.
Are you an individual with an embarrassing and damaging result on Google? An arrest record, mugshot, news article, DUI record, divorce, embarrassing photo, embarrassing video, etc…
Then you also need ORM.
What’s the actual goal of ORM?
Suppressing negative links from the front page of Google. You want to push down all of those negative search results by creating high ranking, high quality, positive results.
How NOT using ORM can ruin your business
95% percent of search engine users don’t move beyond the first page of results.
95%!!! And before they click on one of those 10 options, they usually give everything a good once over. If the first page of results for ‘John Smith Realtor’ is a few social media links, a real estate review site with a 4 out of 5 star rating, and then your personal website… then you don’t have much to worry about.
But if the first page of results features a real estate site with a horrible 2 out of 5 star rating, with only a handful of reviews, and one very lengthy review that tears you limb from limb… then you are going to lose money.
Negative links, reviews, and articles cause customers to flee.
93% of potential customers won’t make a purchasing decision until they’ve searched for reviews online. (Don’t believe me? Check it out here https://learn.g2.com/customer-reviews-statistics)
So, if you have a negative review of your realtor services, your medical practice, or anything in the professional space… then you are going to lose customers by the bushel until you fix your reputation online.
How NOT using ORM can ruin your personal life
If you have committed a crime, were arrested, were written about online, or have an embarrassing photo or video, the consequences of each of these can damage your personal and professional relationships.
Your friends will Google you.
Your new associates will Google you.
Your potential bosses will Google you.
Let’s take the most common example: driving drunk. If they find a DUI mugshot from that one time you drank too much at an office event, and against better judgment, decided to drive home instead of calling an uber because you need your car early in the morning… they’re going to judge you. They’ll consider you ‘less’ than others. You have poor decision making skills and might not be fit for responsibility.
Another common example: is embarrassing pictures of drinking or drug use. This, again, screams ‘poor decision making skills’ in personal and professional relationships. Even though many of these moments are natural parts of life, they scream ‘unprofessional’ if they’re so easily found on the internet.
Remember, 80% of potential employers google job applicants. (https://www.huffpost.com/entry/job-search-tips_b_4834361)
How to get started
I’m going to tell you, from A to Z, how to discover your negative search results, and how to build a basic plan to suppress them.
Identify negative results
First things, first! Let’s identify which search results are negative. You can do this pretty easily. Clear your cache and browsing history. If you can, use a public computer at a library or local university, to absolutely make sure that your search results aren’t skewed by your search preferences.
Search your name. Search your name + university. Search your name + arrest. These are your different keywords.
“Beth Cooper”. “Beth Cooper University of Missouri”. “Beth Cooper arrest”
Search your business. Search your business + field. Search your business + location. Search your business + reviews.
“John Smith Realty”. “John Smith Realty Real Estate Agents”. “John Smith Realty Columbia, Missouri”. “Jon Smith Realty reviews”.
What did you find?
Did you find nice things? Bad things?
Write all the negative results in an excel file. Then, write down where they rank according to what you searched.
So, if you search “Beth Cooper”, you find a “Beth Cooper DUI” search result at #4 on the first page of Google. But, if you search “Beth Cooper University of Missouri”, that same result is #6.
Track each negative listing according to each keyword that you searched.
This can be a pretty tedious activity. If you don’t want to do this, you can try using a premium service. We like RankTracker, but there are plenty of others that you can try.
Identify positive and neutral results
Now that you’ve figured out what your negative results are, it’s time to find the positive. Through the same process, write down the first 20 results that are positive, and write their ranking relative to each keyword. Also, some reputation management services like our auto complete fixing help change the dynamic and way that people are searching for your brand.
Identify links that you control
Identify links to websites that you control. These are likely to be your social media profiles, personal websites, and professional listings on your employer’s pages.
Build a strategy
Now that you’ve identified your keywords, your negative results, your positive results, and the links you can control, it’s time to build a strategy.
In order to suppress your negative results, we want to build a network of positive content that is linked together.
As we link all of our content together, Google will collectively increase its ranking in Search Results, and in that way, we can build a wave of positive content that will overwhelm the negative results.
In this stage, you want to figure out what you can realistically commit to this process.
Be realistic and set weekly goals
Just like painting and rewiring my office, running this ORM campaign isn’t your main job. Between your day to day work, your home life, and your relationships, you probably don’t have a ton of time to run it like we would.
Remember, this is an educational experience, more than anything else.
But, there’s no reason to shoot yourself in the foot before you get going.
If you set unrealistic goals for yourself, then those goals will burden you. Day after day, as you remember “Oh no! I’ve got to do X, Y, and Z!!!”, you’ll just want to put it off.
There’s no reason to add that extra stress to your life, and there’s really no reason to set off with the wrong mindset.
So… make realistic, small, weekly goals.
A basic ORM strategy that wins
Alright, so now that we’ve talked about realistic goals, let me tell you about a basic ORM strategy that will get you an easy win in a year’s time.
This differs slightly between business and personal ORM, but the principles are the same.
1. Clean up all social media platforms
2. Create 10 profiles on new social media sites and profile based sites
3. Create one, 1,400 word blog post per week
4. Create one, 4 minute video per week
5. Create 5 posts on every profile you control per week
6. Comment on 10 large online publications per week
7. Make a website for your business or name (for example: BethCooper.com)
Warning… this is just the tip of the iceberg
Listen, there’s a lot of stuff that we do that isn’t on this list. For good reason, too. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you can end up damaging your search results. You’ll be worse off than when you started. But we also have some other pretty great tactics that we can’t share. For example, we have relationships with large site networks, and a collection of our own, that helps us get our clients’ names into high ranking domains. This means we can get our clients’ positive content about the negative content quickly. But that’s not something you’ll be able to do on your own, so just stick to the plan we’ve provided, and in a year’s time, you’ll be better off. For sure!
Clean up social media platforms
Go to your social media platforms and make sure you get rid of every embarrassing post, photo, and video. If you’ve ever cursed online, gotten into a random fight, or done any number of unsavory things… get it all gone!
And make sure that you update your social media platforms throughout the lifetime of this campaign with new links to your new profiles, blogs, and YouTube channel in you about sections.
Create 10 profiles per week
The internet’s great. There are communities and blogging platforms for almost every type of niche. You can use these to your advantage. Create 10 new accounts on these and be productive. Interact with the community! Don’t just make a ghost account.
For blogs, try Tumblr, wordpress.com, blogger.com, etc…
For social media, hit Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc…
But don’t stop there, make profiles on medium, Photobucket, Unsplash, quora… there’s no end to the places you can go! Just make sure that you actually use them and interact with the content and community.
Create one 1,400 word blog post
Content is king! Write a massive blog post, and follow SEO best practices (again, just do what MOZ tells you to do), and you’ll have a great anchor for your profiles to connect to. Remember, to link and share this bad boy around. After 1 year of ORM, you should have 52 of these… which should dominate the front page of Google. Remember, your name or business is your keyword, so find a way, however cheesy, to include it.
For a business, it’s pretty simple “Smith Realty’s 23 Favorite Homes in Columbia MO This Year”.
For an individual, you can get pretty creative, “Beth Cooper’s Guide on “How To Survive Columbia MO this summer”.
Create one 4 minute video per week
Don’t be intimidated. You can base this on the same content you’ve made for your blog post. Just make sure to share this around as well. And embed it in your blog posts!
Create 5 posts on every site that you control per week
Don’t worry, this isn’t too daunting. One of these posts should be your weekly blog, another should be your weekly video, and the other 3 can be photos or funny memes you found on the internet.
Easy peasy! 30 minutes a week and you should be done!
Create 10 comments on major online publications per week
Hit up your favorite newspapers, clickbait sites, and entertainment magazines on the internet. Sign in using your name, and leave clean, safe comments. Throw in a few links to your blogs when you can.
Create a website with your name or business in the domain name
If you don’t already have a website just for your name or for your business, then create one asap! This is a great way to take advantage of Google’s search algorithm, which places unique authority on a domain name.
If you need help making your site, contact us and we’ll give you a hand.
Don’t be a robot
That 6 point strategy seems pretty easy. It is, in a sense. But don’t let the simple plan fool you.
You can’t be a robot. You can’t just throw anything on the internet.
If you do that, you’ll just be damaging your reputation.
All of this needs to be organic. Which means, all of this has to be sincere!!!
So, if you write a blog post, make it something that you’re passionate about. Think about your favorite youtubers. Your favorite influencers. Your favorite bloggers. Do you think they simply spin out their content and call it a day? Nope… they carefully consider everything they put on the internet because they know they’re interacting with real people. And so should you.
Your name or business is your keyword
If you don’t know basic text hierarchy and SEO principles, then hop over to MOZ and get started learning! Basically, you need to make sure that your name or your business, whichever is the focus of your keywords, is in the title of every blog post, social media post, and profile you make.
If it’s not, then you’ll just have been a random super active internet user, which isn’t the point of this endeavor!
Link back to everything
Make sure you link to all of your profiles and your blog posts. Whenever you create a new video, embed it on all of your blogs and of your social media profiles. Whenever you make a blog, place it in the description of your videos and share it on your social media profiles, and backlink to it from other blogging sites. Whenever you build a profile on social media or a blogging site, make sure you link everything you can control in the about section.
Link, link, link!!!
Track Weekly Results
Make sure you update your excel sheet with weekly results. Once a week, at the same time, and the same day, check the ranking of your negative results and positive results. After about 3 months, you should start to see some major results. After about a year, you should see some huge results!
Remember to clear your cache every time. Personally, I’d recommend using a search ranking tracking software, like RankTracker instead.
After a year, marvel at your results
In a year’s time, you should be able to see some pretty huge changes in your results. If you’ve followed this plan, then your sincere, worthwhile content should have risen in Google’s search results, and the negative results should’ve dropped.
At this point, it’s time to sit back, relish in the fact that you’ve developed an awesome new skill, and breathe a sigh of relief.
If you gave up halfway through, don’t worry
Listen… this stuff takes a lot of elbow grease. It’s time and effort, plus a bit of ingenuity. There’s a reason that most folks don’t do this type of thing themselves. It’s the same reason why I go to the mechanic to fix my car or hire an electrician to fix my crummy wiring…
Yeah, it’s easy. But… it’s also not.
If you have any questions about this plan or want us to help develop a specific one, give us a shout.