Recover From Bad PR With Digital Marketing in 5 Steps

Reputation has always been important, but perhaps never more so than in the digital age. Now, we have access within one click to more options than ever more-and more information concerning any company we might be interested in doing business with.

Everyone, and every business, makes mistakes, whether it's a "bad apple" employee, a product launch that didn't go as planned, or a customer service snafu. In the digital age, those mistakes can have long lasting consequences, especially when a story about those mistakes gains traction online. Use these tips not only to help recover, but to strengthen your company's search profile so that your are ready to meet any PR issues head on.

1- Don't click the link!

Every time a client calls us and tells us about a problem entry for their brand that they want to get rid of on Google GOOGL -0.28%, I always ask them. Did you click on it? They usually answer "EVERY DAY". Just because your booboo itches does not mean you should scratch it. It can be tempting to keep clicking that dreaded story. Resist temptation and request that anyone working on your team do the same. Why? Because clicking on the link tells your search engine that it's relevant, when you want to make it less so. Google and other search engines aren't consciously trying to bring your reputation down; they just promote the links ther algorithms tell them are the most relevant. Create new stories and distribute them on all of your company networks to provide these engines with newer, more relevant places.

2- Start Producing Digital PR

One of the fastest ways to get new positive content into the pages of major search engines like Google, Yahoo YHOO -1% and Bing is to use digital press releases. There are a number of options for distributing press releases so that they will show up in quality media outlets. Some, like PR Newswire, require a subscription fee, while others are free. Paid distribution channels tend to lead to better quality placements, but even free networks can help you show up on Google news. Depending on which network you use, there may be slight differences in formatting, but generally PRs are simple, concise news stories. This news can be anything from a new hire, to a new product offering, to charitable works by your organization.

3- Optimize Your Social Media Profiles

Social media profiles tend to rank quite highly in search, so it's important to make sure yours are up to date and producing new content to keep them relevant. Facebook and Twitter are obvious picks, but make sure to consider Google Plus (Google's baby) and LinkedIn, plus Instagram and Pinterest for images and Youtube for videos (more on that later).

4- Start Blogging

And not just on your company blog! Open accounts on sites like Medium or utilize LinkedIn's blogging platform to share stories relevant to your company's offerings.

5- Multimedia

Sometimes, the problematic story isn't just a story- it can be a series of images (think those occasional pieces on... unusual and unappetizing things found in fast food). Creating and posting great images such as infographics or photos with appropriate, keyword optimized tags helps keep your images clean. Ditto for video content- YouTube has an enormous search volume. Podcasts, while less common, can be a source of quick, quality content and are easy to upload to Itunes and other reputable sites.

It can take months to get a problematic story off the first page, especially if the story is recent or from a popular publication. The key is to just keep giving search engines and audiences quality, timely content that they can turn to instead. In the process, you'll create not just a quick fix but a library of content with lasting value.

Thanks for reading, and I hope this tips will help give your business the second chance it deserves. If you enjoyed this article, please like, comment, and share.

BIO: Joe Apfelbaum is the CEO and co-founder of digital marketing agency Ajax Union. He is a public speaker, certified Google Trainer, and published business author. Joe enjoys speaking and writing about a broad range of business topics in his seminars, webinars and articles. Joe is a member of the Board of Directors of the Entrepreneurs Organization in NY, a group with over 10,000 CEO's. Joe is a trusted advisor for the Vistage community of 18,000 CEO's and a contributing member of the INC Business Owners Council, a community of the fastest growing companies in the United States. Joe is proud of all his accomplishments, but most of all he is proud of his successful foodie wife and beautiful four kids.

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