Every once in a while, your brand reputation will come under a major attack. It might happen once every few months, or it might happen only once every few years. Whatever the case is, you need to have a fast, immediate response.
If you respond to the assault quickly, you’ll be able to walk away with your brand, business and reputation in tact. On the other hand, fail to respond and you’ll quickly find your customers fleeing to your competitors.
Here are six steps to protecting your brand and your reputation.
Step 1: Acknowledge the Crisis Immediately
The worst thing you could do is try to pretend as if nothing is happening.
On the social web, companies that take responsibility for their mistakes and quickly respond to social media firestorms can put out the fires quickly with a good response. However, fail to respond and the firestorm will spread and spread and spread.
Step 2: Don’t Say Anything Until You Have Something to Say
Until you have a meaningful response, don’t say anything. If you go into the public spotlight and say something that’s essentially an empty apology, you could exacerbate the problem.
BP’s CEO did this spectacularly after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill through statements like “nobody wants this over more than me, I’d like my life back.”
Until you have a solid response, hold off on going public.
Step 3: Learn to Make U-Turns
Know when you’re wrong and when you have to make U-Turns. If you think one thing but your customers adamantly shout something else, listen to your customers.
Apple made a great U-Turn with the iPhone 4 launch. When people started complaining about the iPhone 4 antennae issue, Steve Jobs wasn’t worried. He simply said “just don’t hold it that way.”
Then the issue grew and grew and grew until it was on every tech blog and on the front page of several national newspapers. That’s when Apple realized: They were wrong.
So they made a U-Turn. They issued free bumpers to everyone who bought an iPhone 4. An expensive reversal, but it may very well have saved the brand and the product launch.
For every blog that succeeds and builds a solid following, you have at least a hundred blogs that end up in the graveyard. Building a high quality blog following requires both dedication over the long haul as well as an in depth understanding of what actually works and what doesn’t work in the blogging world.
Here are six tips for building a blog following that follows your each and every post.
Tip #1 – Stop Using “Get Traffic Quick” Tactics
Stop trying to circumvent the traffic generation process. Building a solid blog following is a process that does inherently take some time.
Tactics like gaming StumbleUpon or Reddit, writing deceptively attention catching titles and so on are not the answer to getting high quality long term traffic.
Instead, aim to provide quality content that people will actually want to share. Create content that inspires people to come back time and again. That’ll get you more blog traffic than any quick fix solution.
Tip #2 – Tap Your Customer Base
One place people often neglect is their existing customer base. Often time’s people try to separate their customers from their blog.
For example, they might only send marketing materials using email to their customer list, while they try to use their blog to attract new customers. This is counter productive.
Your customers need to be sold just like anyone else. They need to continually be reminded of your credibility and expertise. Furthermore, by continually providing value in the form of free content, you increase the chances that they’ll buy again.
Try and get your buyers to become readers. Let them know about your blog in your promotional emails and perhaps even in the product itself.
Tip #3 – Narrow Down Your Audience
Does your message hit home? Do your customers feel like you’re talking to them directly?
Many blogs try and be far, far too broad and generic. For example, a blog that’s targeting “internet marketers” is almost definitely going to get lost in the crowd.
On the other hand, a blog that’s dedicated to helping new stay at home moms create a second stream of income could work very well.
What is your core audience? Try and narrow your audience down to the people who would most likely relate to you. Then speak to them directly.
Having a strong online content strategy is integral to the success of any web company or a website. Your content is what keeps people coming back. It’s what gets people to tell their friends about you. It’s the reason they link to you. It’s the reason they “share” or “like” or “retweet” you on social media.
That’s why getting your content strategy right is so important. If you’re making any one of these five mistakes, chances are you’re destroying your website’s chances at success.
Mistake #1 – Not Owning Your Content
It’s very common for people to publish content on websites other than their own. For example, you might publish content on other people’s sites through guest blogging or article marketing.
There’s nothing wrong with this. The mistake comes in when you don’t own any of your best content.
The majority of your top notch content should be on your own website. It shouldn’t be out on the internet. Your best content should be used to build your brand, not someone else’s.
Mistake #2 – Not Knowing Your Target Audience
Who are you talking to? What are their needs? What have they already heard before and what are they dying to hear? What kind of words and language do they use?
If you don’t have a crystal clear sense of who your target audience is, you aren’t going to be able to speak to them in a way that has them feel understood.
Try to get a solid sense of who your target audience is by asking them as many questions as possible. Browse internet forums to see what kind of questions they tend to ask.
Mistake #3 – Relying on Content with No Link Strategy
It’s true that high quality content is important. Yet, webmasters who focus only on the quality of their content and not on SEO are invariably disappointed.
Your content won’t spread virally on its own. You won’t get ranked just on the merits of your content. As great as your content may be, you still need to understand the basics of SEO.
It’s like the parable of the inventor who didn’t know how to sell his invention. It doesn’t matter how great your invention (your content) is, if you can’t sell it, it won’t make an ounce of difference.
Come up with a great linkbuilding strategy to help get your high quality content in front of your readers.