Online Reputation Management – What’s the Internet Saying About You?

Aug 07

As I launch my “John Brennan Digital Business Card“, I thought I would write a quick note on Online Reputation Management and its growing importance.

As most people realise when a new prospect or contact is introduced to you, your company or one of your employees, one of the first things that they are likely to do is to go to Google to find out a bit more about you. We all do it – it’s quick, easy and if nothing else – it feeds our natural curiosity.

The big question is – do you know what the Internet is going to say about you, your company and your senior people? If the wrong message is presented your may never again hear from that prospect and you will never know why.

As an example of poor Online Reputation Management, I was contacted recently by a solicitor who had a website but wanted to rank higher in Google. As I do with most meetings, I went online in advance and did a simple search for his name. The results were damning. On searching his name, the first three entries in Google were from and to say that the comments were negative would be an understatement. Anyone thinking of using this guy and seeing the results would certainly have thought twice.

The even bigger concern was that he had no idea of these results or the impact that they would have.

With a name like John Brennan I am in the fortunate or unfortunate position (depending on your point of view) that there are a number of prominent individuals around the world with the same name. In the US John Brennan is a senior figure in Homeland Security and closer to home the hotelier John Brennan has gained prominence – and there are many more. This does not eliminate the need for me to be conscious of my online position – if someone wants to find me and I don’t appear when they search for “John Brennan”, they will more than likely refine the search and look for “John Brennan Cork”, “John Brennan WSI” or some other combination of phrases.

So what do you need to do?

  • Be aware of the importance of the Internet to your reputation and to that of your company
  • Check it out – spend a few minutes on Google and see what results you get for your name, your company name, names of your senior managers or employees and related derivatives of these.
  • Grow your positive reputation online – you can do this through promoting your website, increased PR or through proper management of the many Social Media channels available (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
  • Regularly monitor your key phrases – there are tools available for this, so it does not have to be a very time consuming task.
  • If the results are negative – take action. We can’t stop people from posting negative comments online, but there are many ways to make sure these are balanced and in most cases surpassed by the positives.

As for my own Online Reputation Management – unless I decide to change my name I’ll just have to share the John Brennan space.


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