If you’re a blogger or podcaster, you’ve already taken an important step forward; blogs and podcasts are two of the most useful tools for establishing your online reputation. However, what you say about yourself isn’t nearly as important as what other people say about you. Any amazing content you create can be quickly overshadowed by negative reviews on Yelp, less-than-complimentary blog posts, and social messages recommending your competitors over you.
What’s a blogger or podcaster to do? Here are my best tips to make sure your content shines online in a way that boosts your online reputation:
Tip #1: Always put out your absolute best work.
You’ve probably heard this piece of advice in the past: Content is king. It’s a universal truth in blogging and podcasting. What you put out there for consumption by your fans needs to be good or they won’t be back. If you want to be seen as an expert in your field, your content has to be expert-level.
Tip #2: Back up your opinions with experience.
To go along with the last point, make sure that whatever content you create is backed up with experience. A strong opinion is worth a lot more when you can tell people why this is your opinion. For example, on my food blog, we write posts about our personal experiences in the kitchen and we test out every recipe we share. We wouldn’t share a recipe we’ve never tried because if that recipes ends up being bad, our readers will stop trusting us.
Don't have experience yourself? Find people who do and quote them or even invite them to write a guest post on your blog or be a guest on your podcast.
Tip #3: Define your persona.
How do you want people to know you? Online, we all have personas. It’s not about putting on a fake face for your readers or listeners; it’s about sharing a certain aspect of yourself. For example, Chris Brogan is the nice, friendly, mentor-type online; if he wrote a snarky, mean-spirited post it wouldn’t fit in at all with his persona, even though I’m sure those thoughts run through his head sometimes. (Hey, we’re all human!) Blog posts and podcast episodes should all support the persona you’ve created.
Make sure that what people are saying about you fits well with the persona you’ve developed. Online reputation isn’t just about managing negative comments; it’s also about making sure that the comments fit what you’re trying to portray.
Tip #4: Make your mantra: “Create and wait.”
We all get heated about issues sometimes. When you find yourself creating emotional content (for example, you’re writing an angry rant about a product you’ve used and hated), use the “create and wait” technique. Create the content, but instead of posting, wait 24+ hours before hitting that publish button. Often, our emotions dissipate over time, and you might regret something you wrote or said in the heat of the moment. Give yourself time to calm down before deciding if you really want to post something.
Tip #5: Give some thought to SEO.
Many bloggers and podcasters don’t give any attention to SEO, because they believe it’s more important to write for people rather than writing for search engines. But guess who uses search engines? That’s right: people! Don’t stuff your articles with keywords or otherwise sacrifice on the quality to appease search engines, but learn basic keyword research techniques and how to optimize your content so search engines users can find you. Remember, the top results are the ones given the most clout by your audience. So, if the first result when someone searchers your name is a negative review, you should use basic SEO techniques to take over that top spot. You can’t get rid of a negative review, but you can push the result down on the page so it isn’t so prevalent.
Rand Fishkin is my favorite SEO expert (no affiliation - I just really love Moz!). Search Engine Land is another great SEO resource if you want to learn more.
Bonus Tip: Respond to comments where they happen.
If someone writes something negative about you in a blog post, your gut reaction might be to respond with a blog post of your own. While you can do this, make sure you also respond to any negativity where it is happening. People who see the negativity may never make it to your site to see your response, so leave a professional, polite, comment wherever you are mentioned. (Remember – use the “create and wait” rule if you are emotional!)