Content marketing, online reputation management, search engine optimization — beneath the umbrella of those who work in search, there seems to be any number of subsets and niches, with more of them popping up all the time.
To the novice, these subsets may seem to be more or less identical. But of course, those of us who work in search know this to be untrue. Take content marketing and online reputation management, both of which have experienced meteoric rises in popularity just in the last couple of years. The two disciplines may use some of the same tools and work toward some of the same goals, but rest assured they belong in two very different categories.
Considering the ways in which the two disciplines diverge can be instructive. In fact, there are several facets of online reputation management from which content marketers could learn.
It’s Not All About You
It is often said in ORM circles that reputation management begins with reputation monitoring—in other words,you can’t work to preserve or enhance your reputation unless you know roughly what your reputation is. As such, online reputation management pros place a lot of emphasis on listening — on scoping out Google and social media sites to see what people are saying about you, your company or your brand.
Content marketers might do likewise. They might remember that engaging customers and potential customers is not just about talking, but also about listening. What are the questions being raised about your brand? What are the strengths and weaknesses of your company, according to your social media followers and fans? Listening — monitoring your reputation — can help you fine-tune your content offerings.
Online reputation management is at least partly concerned with the removal of negative listings from the first few pages of Google. Notice that ORM does not seek to remove online listings altogether; this would be more or less impossible. ORM can suppress an unwanted headline or an unflattering review, but it cannot cause it to vanish into thin air, not in most cases.
Similarly, content marketers might understand that their success needs to be measured against reasonable expectations. Yes, creating shareable content should be the goal, but no, most small businesses are never going to have content that “goes viral.” And that’s okay: Small enterprises really don’t stand to benefit from appealing to the masses, anyway.
Every Portal is Important
One of the great virtues of online reputation management is its recognition that a company or brand could be discovered, at any moment, via any number of avenues. There is no guarantee that a company’s first impression will be made by its home page, when users could just as easily discover the company through its Facebook profile, its LinkedIn page, or its Instagram account. This carries over into content marketing, as well.
Content marketers should be maintaining various portals through which the brand in question can be found — and they should ensure that each and every one of those portals is enhanced with the appropriate links, fully completed profiles, company logos, appealing color schemes and so forth.
Stand for Something
More than anything else, though, online reputation management teaches us that every name — every brand — stands for something, whether good or bad. Content marketers need to remember this, because the content they are producing is what helps define the company’s identity.
Does your company stand for authority, expertise and true thought leadership? Only if it is developing content that reflects its knowledge base, and then making that content available — for free. Your brand will stand for something, regardless — so why not seize control of it in your content marketing endeavors?