The subject of reputation management has changed somewhat with the advent of blogs and social media, but the core concept remains the same – making sure that positive press about your brand gets as much coverage as possible while negative press is buried.

The most straightforward method of measuring brand reactions is to check the Google search results. A good example is how domain registrar 123 Reg has trouble with its search results.

The negative results could be moved from the front page quite easily if 123 Reg created 5 or 6 sub domains of the main site such as the inside.123-reg.co.uk section. These sub domains, if promoted and constructed correctly, would push the negative content down to page two.

Another good tactic is to find positive articles and promote them in such a way that they move into the top 10 at the expense of the negative articles.

Reputation management extends further than simply protecting your brand from negative press - it also means making sure that people who search for your brand are finding the right results.

Take a look at the results for the search term “aa insurance”. Notice how The AA is paying for a sponsored listing above the natural one. This is likely to be attracting more traffic than the natural listing and costing thousands of pounds a week. Worse still, Google is listing a competing website on the right hand side, which is likely to be stealing some of the traffic and at the very least distracting potential customers.

As long as you have a registered trademark in the UK, it is quite simple to remove Adwords ads for your trademarked terms. A ten minute email to Google would save The AA a huge amount of money and improve its brand marketing.

Reputation monitoring for large brands is extremely difficult because so much happens every day. Smaller brands have a much easier job and can use some simple tools such as Google Alerts to notify them of any mentions in blogs, news articles, groups, forums and even video. Other tools exist such as Technorati, which will notify you using an RSS feed whenever a blog links to your site.

Once you have a system in place for monitoring your reputation the next step is to manage it. If you see a blogger has written a positive post about your brand, then leave a comment thanking them and maybe submit the post to a social news website such as Digg or StumbleUpon if it is appropriate.

If the blogger has written a negative post email them in private and leave a comment asking if you can help to resolve their issue personally.

Maybe if you can help them they will be happy to edit their post to tell people how helpful you were.

Related research:

Online PR Roundtable Output