If you have a brand you have probably used a traditional PR manager. This can be a great boost to your brand and it can also be a good starting point from which to understand online reputation management. However, you will have to understand that while there are similarities, there are also some major differences.
One of the similarities is that they are each great when there is a reputation crisis. In either sphere the appropriate reputation manager is necessary; without one, you face taking on the negative media head on without any type of barrier between the brand and the bad news. It takes a lot of work, whether in online media or otherwise.
The ways they go about their goals is strikingly different. With traditional PR you take a bad event and spin it, making it come out looking better or diverting your attention somewhere else. Sometimes that redirection is to good news about the client, sometimes to news about something else entirely. With online reputation management it is impossible to make sure that a story doesn’t end up in the media. If anyone wants to publish it, they can. What can be done, however, is that the results can be controlled, monitored, and directed to good results that paint the client in a better light.
Since these two things are so similar and so far apart, you will usually need an expert in both so to best serve your brand.
Merging Online Reputation Management and Traditional PR Transcript
How do traditional PR strategies compare to online reputation management strategies?
Traditional PR needs to merge with online reputation management. It needs to become part of any PR campaign. This is now traditional PR. The internet has been around for a very long time. It’s just strange to me that we still have brands that put a lot of money into traditional PR and none of that funding tends to go into the online space until there is a problem.
With traditional PR if there was a problem with a brand or a perception of a brand or an reputation crisis, then traditional PR will try to control that — control perception, control what gets into the media, spin it, basically, and you can not spin it. It is very important for PR agencies to survive that they embrace the fact that PR is online and that is where they need to be concentrating their efforts. For me, personally, PR professionals that I’ve worked with bring so much to the table of their understanding of public relations that we as search engine optimization specialists do not have. What I would like to see is a merging of the two because that professionalism that the PR team brings to the table is very important and could really enhance the online reputation side of things if we worked closer together.
What is the matrix for measuring an online reputation management campaign? How does that differ from traditional PR strategies?
For us, for what we do, it’s control of the top ten and the top twenty and what’s the perception, what’s the results. We also do monitoring of brands and that is very different from traditional PR. It’s how many times you get mentioned online, what’s been said about you, is it positive, is it negative. We can produce those types of reports using different tracking tools and then, depending on what comes up in those results, advise the client on what to do. Whether to leave it, whether to respond, and we can put together a response strategy for the client. Now that is similar to traditional PR. If there is a reputation crisis then any sort of crisis management the PR agent will put together a strategy for the client, we do the same thing. In that respect it is very similar. I think what happens is that with traditional PR they don’t understand the online space in some cases, so they know there is a problem, but they don’t know how to advise the client to respond, how to deal with it. I think that is where we are different. To be honest, offline, I wouldn’t know how to put together a strategy for the client either, in an offline world. We just need to get the two skill sets to come closer together.