You've worked hard to build your business. Perhaps you have established a robust product or service listing, constructed a professional webpage and set aside a sizable advertising budget. However, your business still isn't receiving customer inquiries. Chances are, potential clients simply don't trust your brand enough to pull the trigger.



The good news is: it's okay! Don't take it personally. Several simple concepts can help your brand go from obscure to trustworthy.


ONLINE REPUTATION MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES

2. Release Content Consistently

3. Monitor Your Brand with Data Analytics

4. Seek Earned Media Opportunities

5. Be Careful With Messaging

6. Share Your Company Values

Why is Brand Reputation Important?


Brand trust isn't a new concept. Before the internet, when people most shopped locally or by snail mail, consumers mostly purchased goods and services face-to-face; a firm handshake went a long way. However, what has changed is how important trust is to buyers everywhere. According to Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report: Brand Trust in 2020, 70 percent of consumers say trusting a brand is more important today than in the past. This belief is shared despite age, gender and income. How trustworthy a brand is largely depends on concepts of personal vulnerability. For instance, you're most likely to bank with an institution with stringent security protocols versus one without these measures. Another key aspect of brand trust is consistency. A prime example of brand consistency is the name, address and phone number (NAP) format. If your company's NAP differs on Yelp, Google and your local chamber of commerce, consumers may be wary of submitting a client inquiry. Consistency applies to content, too. As a brand owner or operator, it's best to maintain consistent social media postings, press release distributions and brand stories to foster your organization's reputation.


1. Think Strategically


Whether you run small or larger business, it's vital to consider your overall strategy. One of the best ways to start crafting a strategy is to acquire an accurate pulse on your brand's online reputation. This concept is simple: if you know how your business stacks up to competitors online, you can begin to assess opportunities for improvement.


An excellent way to evaluate your brand's reputation is to request a digital brand trust score (DBTS). A DBTS weighs various factors to calculate your organization's particular brand reputation ranking. These variables include: third-party mentions in Google News; how optimized your webpage is for ideal search engine ranking; and key citations.


2. Embrace Consistency


As mentioned before, when it comes to trust, consistency is queen. Being consistent allows your brand to better define itself and establish awareness with target audiences. From your brand's color palette to your company's "voice", everything your business conveys to the public should be aligned to company goals. Some ways to ensure brand consistency are:


  • Stick to Your Brand's Purpose - Define your company's mission, audience and offering and stick to it. Understanding your market and speaking to your audience are key to remaining consistent.

  • Follow Through on Implementation - If your business is launching new features or platforms, make sure to actually implement them. Nobody likes to be let down, consumers included.

  • Analyze Performance - Constantly review your brand's performance (for example sales, promotions and customer service) to ensure consistent communication and commitment delivery.

  • Discuss Company Changes - Ensure your team has adequate communication channels and distribute frequent and thorough updates on new business activities.

3. Monitor Your Brand with Data Analytics


To fully understand your brand reputation, you will need to undoubtedly review your company's key data analytics. These metrics include website traffic patterns, social media insights, email campaign engagements and search engine rankings.


Assessing digital marketing successes and areas for improvement can help your organization identify how to pivot promotional efforts for more positive outcomes.


Platforms usually used by brands to monitor data include Google Analytics, Matomo and Crazy Egg. These tools provide users with vital insights such as web visitor interactions, referral sources and browser locations. Haven't thought about integrating data solutions? Want to learn more about how to interpret data? Start by reading our blog What is Data-Driven Public Relations and Why Do You Need It?


4. Seek Earned Media Opportunities


Don't just rely on ads and blog posts! Although sponsored content can generate some webpage activity, nothing replaces earned media, organic third-party coverage of your brand. Some ways to acquire earned media include:


Pitching Press Releases to Journalists- This is a tried and true strategy used by companies for ages. A press release is a synopsis of your brand's news formatted as a news article. How do you pitch your press release? One way is to search for stories related to your news. For example let's say you are opening a juice store in Atlanta, Georgia.


Using Google News, search for 'juice store Atlanta' and pages of news stories about juice stores in Atlanta will appear. Visit these articles, look at who reported this news and find their contact information. Journalist emails are usually listed on news outlet webpages. If you don't have the time to manually pitch journalists press releases, you can use an affordable service like Journalist Direct.


Lend Your Brand's Thought Leadership - Have you ever read an article about how to eat healthier on a popular wellness news site? How about a story about how to write an effective business letter on a reputable press outlet? More often than not, the reporters writing these stories are not subject matter experts. That's why they rely on insights from thought leaders in particular sectors. For instance, do you have a physical therapy practice?


Journalists may be crafting stories about sports injuries and may need your help.


How do you find these reporters interested in citing you in their articles? Sites like Qwoted and ProfNet allow you to view journalist requests for quotes. Most of these platforms charge a monthly subscription, however, some offer trial opportunities.


Offer to Guest Post - Guest posting is when you or someone from your company writes an insightful blog or article for another website. The reason this is so important is because you can link the story back to a webpage you'd like to showcase.


This process provides you with a natural backlink (improving your ranking potential) and spreads the word about your brand organically. Here's a list of guest posting sites that accept pitches.


5. Be Careful with Messaging


This point may sound obvious, but be careful with your company messaging. For every effective way to convey a message, there are about 100 ways to screw it up or simply miss the mark. Knowing how to craft a company message (whether you're issuing a monthly newsletter, weekly social media post or distributing an ad) means understanding your brand voice.


Think carefully and collaborate with your team to consider your brand's personality, what your company does NOT stand for and the 'why' behind your organization's brand voice decisions.


For instance, if you are digital marketing for healthcare, you probably do not want to sound whimsical or playful, as people regard their personal and family well-being with the upmost seriousness. Instead, you will want to assume an educational and informative voice.


Mapping out a simple guideline for your team members can help solidify your enterprise messaging and improve consistency.




6. Share Your Company Values


As a business owner, operator, director or invested team member, you are undoubtedly proud of your product selection. However, most consumers want to know why your company is in business, not just what your brand creates. The most successful companies understand this. Take Johnson & Johnson for example. Here is the beginning of their company credo:


You can see there are no mentions of salves, hospitals or medications. Instead, Johnson & Johnson's team crafted a credo explaining what their company really cares about: people.


It's Time to Reinforce Your Reputation


If you haven't thought about brand trust, today is the day. Start by having a discussion with team members about your company's voice. Jot down a few key brand goals and begin developing corresponding organization messages. Assign one of your directors with jotting down brand news stories to potentially pitch to corresponding journalists. An elephant is easier to chew in small bites, so breaking down reinforcing your brand reputation into incremental steps goes a long way.