Sarah Wood

Questions and answers about online reputation management.


    1. What is reputation management and how does it differ from marketing?

      A. Reputation management shapes the message people associate with a brand or personal name. Marketing builds interest in and drives sales for specific products, services, or public interest initiatives. Reputation management complements marketing by building, maintaining, or repairing the credibility of individuals and organizations in the eyes of the general public.

      Online reputation management shapes your image for the Internet. Your online reputation may be impacted by antagonistic commentary published on news Web sites, blogs, in forums, or on personal Web sites. Your latest product releases or career achievements may receive immediate attention in the social media or blogospheres, important parts of the online community where immediacy and transparency go hand-in-hand.

      Through online reputation management practices, we help clients improve their marketing efforts, identify consumer relations issues, and reinforce the message they want people to see when searching on personal names or corporate brands.

    2. How does search reputation management differ from search engine optimization (SEO)?

      A. Search engine optimization focuses on building convertible traffic for a unique Web property. Search reputation management promotes favorable, accurate information from multiple sources into protected queries. Search reputation management combines some standard SEO practices with more sophisticated metrics and strategies to build a holistic query space for protected keywords such as corporate brands and personal names.

      We have been providing search reputation management services since 2008. Our strategies and methodologies are state-of-the-art, based on the latest scientific theory and practical application. We have a full-time staff who specialize in planning, implementing, and monitoring online reputation management campaigns for elite clients with complex online information needs.

    3. What value does reputation management offer me or our brand?

      A. Numerous studies have shown that reputation has both a direct and indirect impact on sales, marketing ROI, and personal career objectives. Although past activities may be a matter of public record, if more recent achievements do not receive adequate recognition people will continue to judge you by the past. Reputation management helps ensure that your message is not lost in a sea of hostile or disengenuous remarks or old news.

      Our clients realize improvement in consumer relations and reduced negative media attention on old issues. Improving your online profile several months in advance of a media event helps ensure that public attention stays focused on what you are doing.

    4. We have worked with Search Engine Optimization firms in the past. How does your service differ from theirs?

      A. Traditional SEO firms design plans to promote one Web site at a time. We work to protect the entire name space, typically defined to consist of the top twenty listings for the major search engines. Comprehensive search management requires greater resources and higher-level strategic planning than traditional search marketing (SEO).

      Furthermore, SEO firms leave very visible footprints of their activities. Without violating search engine guidelines, we foster the growth of substantial natural content that is relevant, informative, and accurate as part of our reputation management methodology.

    5. We already work with a PR communications firm that specializes in reputation management. Why would we hire you?

      A. Our staff is specially trained and experienced in analyzing, managing, and monitoring Internet reputation issues. We have the dedicated resources required to build successful online profiles that are natural, informative, accurate, and faithful to the message you need to deliver to people on the Internet. Simply issuing press releases and coordinating media tours does not ensure adequate coverage in the search results or social media for your message.

      Traditional PR firms work closely with our service to ensure their clients receive the best, most sophisticated online reputation management services available in today’s industry. If your PR firm does not currently provide an Internet solution for your online reputation management needs, we offer that solution today.

    6. Can you work with our PR firm of record or do you require that we use one of your partners?

      A. Although our partner firms are experienced in bridging their clients’ needs and expectations with our services, we work with many clients directly and occasionally form new partnerships with PR firms. We will prefer to support your existing communications strategy, leveraging the work your PR firm has already done for you. We actively seek direct engagement with your PR firm to ensure they are included in the process.

    7. What do you require from your clients through a campaign? How can we help make your service more effective for our situation?

      A. Although each situation is unique, we generally work closely with clients to identify appropriate content and content sources. Any new news or content you make available for us to leverage into our work assists in building a successful campaign. We may ask that you review new content from time to time to help provide a robust body of online literature that conveys your message to the broadest possible audience.

      If your circumstances are particularly challenging you may be facing some hard choices. We work with you to understand the costs and benefits of your choices. We help you understand what is achievable and what requires special effort. You must take an active role in the decision-making process to ensure that your expectations remain in line with ours.

    8. How do we measure a return on our investment?

      A. Simple ROI measurements include the change in search results, the growth in social media profiles, or t level of engagement with consumers you achieve due to our services. More sophisticated measurements may help you assess changes in perceived value through analysis of news stories, blog and online community discussions, and other new content.

      Reputation management does not directly affect costs of sales or acquisition of conversions, but it does have a significant impact on the quality of conversions and the costs of marketing.

    9. Is online reputation management ethical and legal? Do you break any rules or laws?

      A. The online reputation management business is still in its teen. We make a commitment to our clients to violate no laws and to respect search engine guidelines. Your Web properties will not be placed at risk by our activities. We do not use unethical or sneaky SEO practices that may cause search engines to view your sites with suspicion.

      We provide a framework of consumer-facing content that delivers the message you want to convey. We may supplement that framework with content in a larger network of consumer-facing content. We always strive to maintain the highest standards and best practices. We work to protect and rebuild the integrity of your name. It would be counterproductive to utilize risky or suspicious practices.

    10. Is this easy to do? Why do we need to hire a specialist?

      A. The truth is that some people have successfully managed their online reputations. Our philosophy is founded on the belief that some people and organizations reach a point where they have done all they can and their results are still not good enough. We offer those people the advantage of working with an experienced, professional team that has the resources to take their online reputation management efforts to greater success.

      Our service is cost-effective for you when you are unable to manage your online reputation within your own skills and resources. Often, we do what the average person or organization cannot do for themselves. Our resources scale because we are experts in the field. Reputation management is our specialty. Our experience will guide you through the difficult challenges facing you in the world of online reputation management.

      And because we stay current in the knowledge required by our field, we are aware of and understand the latest best practices. We have the resources to develop new methodologies for managing the ever-changing landscape of search and social media. In short, do-it-yourself online reputation management is possible and feasible within a narrow scope. We extend your capabilities beyond the limits of what you can achieve on your own.

    11. Do you guarantee results? What happens if nothing happens?

      A. We guarantee to perform the services. In reality, if “nothing happens” we quickly change what we are doing to ensure that “something” good develops. We are not a one-trick shop relying on a formulaic approach. However, since we do not own or control the social media and search resources that serve as the media for conveying your message in the online world, we cannot reasonably guarantee specific results. No ethical service provider would ever make such a guarantee.

      We’ll help you identify important keywords that we feel should be protected. We’ll work with you to place relevant, informative, accurate information in the proper venues (such as search results or social media). We’ll monitor and regularly report on the progress of our work. We’ll advise you when we feel changes are necessary or helpful. We’ll discuss your concerns with you so as to improve how we manage the results. In short, we custom-tailor the solution to your specific needs, thus ensuring the best probable outcome based on industry best practices and standards.

    12. Let’s say I do hire your service. What can I do to improve my online reputation in the meantime?

      A. We’ll need your help in fully understanding your situation. Prepare to discuss your needs and concerns in detail with our staff. We’ll provide you with guidance on what to do, what information we require, and what to do at every step in the process.

    13. Are your services confidential? Will people know that I hired you?

      A. We operate under strict confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements. We do not publish our client list, although we may from time to time ask some client representatives to provide us with references. You can always decline to do so.

      Our processes are designed to include a measure of opacity so that it is not obvious you have retained a third-party to do your reputation management for you. Depending on your circumstances, including how much news you generate and how much information you publish through multiple sources, your reputation management campaign may not be very obvious at all. We strive to provide you with the best possible choices for your needs.

    14. Who will I be in contact with if I hire you?

      A. You will be assigned a client communications specialist who acts as a liaison between you and our services team.

    15. Can you give reputation/SEO advice for my company’s existing websites?

      A. Because your own Web sites can have a great impact on your reputation, we do provide some general guidelines and suggestions to help you leverage existing content. However, specific SEO services must be contracted for separately.

“We’ve found Webutable.com to be a valuable part of a company’s corporate communications and positioning program. If what’s coming up in the search engine results isn’t consistent with the corporate reputation a client is trying to build or protect, we work with Webutable to improve the results. They are great to work with and our clients have been very pleased.”

-Jennifer E.