Investing in your professional online reputation is an important Crisis Ready strategy—and ReputationDefender has launched a service to help make this process easy for you.
Have you put strategic thought into what people find when they google your name? Unfortunately, in my experience, most professionals don’t think about their professional brand, how well it represents them, and how strong it is within the search engine result pages, until it’s too late. This is why I was so pleased when I learned of the unique offering my friends at ReputationDefender have developed to serve this sorely underserved professional need.
Most online reputation management companies focus solely on helping their clients fix their online reputations. ReputationDefender’s new offering, ReputationGrower, offers a strategic and proactive way to help professionals—from solopreneurs to C-suite executives and everyone in between—ensure that their online reputation:
- Properly represents them; and
- Is strong enough to sustain negative online attention in the event of an online attack.
When ReputationDefender asked me to put my crisis ready lens on and review its ReputationGrower service offering, I was excited to do so knowing how many professionals could potentially benefit from such a proactive initiative and service offering. The following is what came out of my and one of my team member’s review of ReputationDefender and its ReputationGrower service.
Note: While this review was sponsored by ReputationDefender, it was important to us that we take an unbiased approach at experiencing ReputationGrower with the hopeful intent of providing you, your team, and your organization with a valuable additional resource for your crisis readiness.
Who is ReputationDefender?
When it comes to online reputation management, ReputationDefender is the oldest and one of the most reputable players in this space. It has a long, positive track record of serving brands—both personal and professional—in their times of need, offering services that range from:
- Corporate cybersecurity
- Defensive reputation management
- Online privacy protection
- Online reputation management solutions
- Online review generation
Today, ReputationDefender is a member of The Stagwell Group, and after spending years helping individuals and SMBs pick up the broken pieces of their online reputations after an incident occurs, the company has decided to offer proactive and strategic solutions to help its clients crisis ready their online reputations prior to a threatening incident ever happening—an approach that can save professionals and brands undue stress and thousands of dollars of recovery.
Why your online reputation matters and how ReputationGrower helps you protect it
What’s the first thing that a future employer, a prospective client or investor, or a new contact is likely to do upon meeting you or being referred your name?
If they were to do this today, what would they find? How well do those findings represent you and the brand that you represent?
Furthermore, if someone were to publish something negative about you online—be it negative allegations, unwanted news stories, harmful social media attacks, defamation, or a crisis for the very organization for which you work—how confident are you that your online reputation, your good name, would withstand such an attack? Would you be at the mercy of, and overtaken by, the choice narrative of others? What consequences could that present to you and your career?
In my professional experience, when people think of “online reputation,” two things most commonly happen:
- They think about it too late, when impactful damage is already in the midst of happening; and
- They solely consider the reputation of the brand and rarely the reputation of the individuals who represent the brand.
Neglecting either or both of these aspects of your crisis readiness leaves a vulnerability gap that you can otherwise protect against. The stronger your online reputation is before something like this happens, the less likely you are to suffer material consequences as a result—and ReputationGrower was designed to give you a strong advantage here.
Building a strong online reputation with ReputationGrower
As a service, ReputationGrower is designed to provide busy professionals with an easy and meaningful way to strengthen the baseline of their online presence so that they can better control the overall narrative of their personal and professional brands. ReputationGrower does this by:
- Creating a professional website.
- Reviewing and enhancing your web presence.
- Auditing and optimizing your social media presence.
- Monitoring your personal brand.
Let’s go into each of these to better explore what they are and why they matter.
Creating a professional website
Having a custom website that ranks well for your choice search term, i.e., your name in this case, provides you with a solid foundation for your online reputation, and ReputationGrower makes this process simple and search engine strong. When creating your professional website, ReputationGrower:
- Helps you acquire and own your domain name, i.e., yourname.com.
- Populates your website with content that properly represents who you are as a professional and an individual.
- Customizes the website to your taste.
- Enhances the user experience with a strong narrative and your choice-photos and videos.
- Uses white hat* search engine optimization tactics to help solidify your search engine rankings.
- Gives you the opportunity to set up a blog—which is a tactic that goes a long way towards helping you anchor your rankings over time.
Reviewing and enhancing your web presence
ReputationDefender takes the time to review your current web presence and then helps you build professional business profiles on the sites and channels that matter to you and your professional brand. This includes:
- Identifying professional third-party sites that will enhance your web presence and get you found by those who matter to you.
- Helping you optimize your resume and professional profiles for strong search engine rankings, e.g., your LinkedIn profile, amongst others.
- Creating a career milestone showcase for you to confidently display.
Auditing and optimizing your social media presence
Social media provides a powerful platform to help you own and share your story, your narrative. It’s also easier to get wrong than most people realize… and then find out the hard way! ReputationDefender makes sure that you are not one of those people by:
- Conducting an audit of your current social media presence.
- Creating and/or enhancing your existing profiles.
- Providing you with an extensive social media best practice guide to help you continue to strengthen your presence moving forward.
- Assisting with your social media presence by offering strategically automated posts, relevant to your area of expertise.
Monitoring your personal brand
If someone were to publish or share something about you online—whether it be positive, negative, or neutral—would you know? ReputationGrower includes an automated monitoring system so you can feel confident in knowing what is being published about you, in near-real-time. ReputationDefender does this by:
- Conducting a deep-dive search to establish what is currently published about you online.
- Offering you access to a cloud-based dashboard that is set up to track your online presence.
- Setting you up with email alerts so you stay current in the convenience of your inbox.
The ReputationGrower investment
ReputationGrower gives you a powerful start at establishing, owning and monitoring your online presence and your professional brand. One of the best parts is how accessible ReputationDefender has chosen to make this service offering—it is not just geared towards executives of big brands who have big budgets.
The entire ReputationGrower service is available for a one-time investment of $995 USD.
Maintaining your online reputation once you’ve been set up with ReputationGrower
The ReputationGrower experience provides you with a proactive, accessible, and seamless way to establish the foundation of your professional online reputation. From there, you can choose to maintain your online presence yourself or continue to work with ReputationDefender to help you strengthen and solidify it over time.
Continuing to work with ReputationDefender
If you choose to continue to work with ReputationDefender, the company offers a range of opportunities for you to do so, including more extensive monitoring support, publishing support to social media and to your blog, and more.
Choosing to maintain your online reputation yourself
If you choose to do it yourself, ReputationDefender still offers you support by providing you with an extensive social media best practice guide that offers additional SEO best practice tips to help you strengthen your rankings and results on your own. ReputationDefender also has a Self-Help resource center on its company blog, where you can find downloadable guides and hundreds of long-form blog articles with practical tips.
Not a one-size-fits-all approach: You’re unique, so should be your professional brand
While there are fundamentals of your online reputation management that provide the staples that give you the best possible advantages, if anyone tries to sell you a cookie-cutter approach, walk away!
As you can see, even though ReputationGrower is a service designed to serve as many professionals in the simplest way possible, ReputationDefender has found a way to make it scalable to your needs and objectives.
Whether you or your team members have zero platforms and rankings, or whether you have a few profiles and want to beef up the strength of your online presence, ReputationGrower is adaptive to help each individual meet his or her needs.
My experience with ReputationDefender and its ReputationGrower service
In order to write this review, I took the time to experience the ReputationDefender brand and its ReputationGrower service firsthand. The following is an overview of my and my team’s experience:
First and foremost, ReputationDefender demonstrates a true care for the clients it serves—which is something important that I always look for when collaborating, supporting, and recommending service providers.
While the majority of online reputation management companies gear their businesses towards the most lucrative business model available to them—helping people and brands manage a disastrous online reputation situation after it has already occurred—ReputationDefender designed and launched ReputationGrower with the aim of proactively supporting professionals and their online reputations before they’re stuck picking up broken pieces. This, of course, speaks to me as it aligns perfectly with the Crisis Ready® Model and Methodology.
The 4-step process of working with ReputationDefender’s ReputationGrower service and the timeline for results
- 1. The onboarding process:
- The process kicks off with a conversation with an online reputation management expert who helps you establish your goals and decide on your desired search term, i.e., your name.
- ReputationDefender conducts an analysis to better grasp your current rankings and online presence.
- ReputationDefender returns with recommendations for your best path forward. This includes a report on any negative links**, a recommended strategy of approach, recommended platforms to create, etc.
- 2. Provide ReputationDefender with the information it needs, which is all done virtually through the ReputationGrower online platform:
- Provide the ReputationDefender team with your professional resumé, bio, images, videos, etc.
- Fill out the ReputationGrower questionnaire, which is designed to help you provide deeper context into who you are individually and professionally.
- 3. ReputationDefender goes to work for you:
- The ReputationDefender team will use what you’ve provided to create your copy and set up and enhance your online platforms.
- They optimize your copy for strong search engine rankings, while also creating a powerful, reader-friendly narrative.
- 4. Approval and publishing process:
- Once everything has been drafted and created, you will be notified and prompted to review and approve it.
- Upon approval, ReputationDefender publishes it all for you.
This entire 5-step process goes by your timeline. The faster you are at providing ReputationDefender with the information it needs to create your website and optimize your channels, the faster you’ll start to see results. The average ReputationGrower experience takes about four weeks, from on-boarding to approval, and then you typically begin to see the results appear in Google within an average of a month from publication.
What ReputationDefender’s clients have to say
Evelyn is a savvy small business owner who first heard about the great work ReputationDefender does in the media. At the time, she didn’t think she would have the budget to be able to work with such a reputable and well-established leader—and she was thrilled when she learned that ReputationGrower was within her budget range.
When I spoke with Evelyn, I was curious to know what compelled her to work with ReputationDefender in the first place. As she explained it, she had two reasons:
- She didn’t like what came up in the search results for her name; and
- She has watched other professionals be deeply impacted by unexpected and unwanted online coverage, and she wanted to protect herself from being amongst them. (I told you she was savvy!)
When asked about her experience with working with ReputationDefender, she said it was everything she hoped for and more.
“The folks at ReputationDefender were fast and easy, and I didn’t have to do a lot,” she told me. “They worked really quickly, were right on top of everything, and provided me a great customer experience.”
Evelyn went on to say: “before [working with ReputationDefender], I had a hard time finding things I wanted to come up [in the search engines] and now they’re at the top of the search results for my name. The best part,” she continued, “is not only do I feel better represented online, but I feel better protected, and I now I have a team that I trust that I can reach out to if I ever need online reputation management help.”
Some particular things that Evelyn noted about her experience included:
- It was a seamless, digital experience that was as simple as filling out an online form that pulled from her resumé, and then she would receive notifications to review and approve ReputationDefender’s writing work.
- The ReputationGrower questionnaire posed good questions that pushed her to specify her values and thoughtfully think through her personal brand in ways that she hadn’t before considered.
- As a writer herself, she found ReputationDefender did a great job at drafting her copy and web content.
- She felt well looked after the entire time.
- She was pleasantly surprised when she started seeing results within a couple of days from publication.
Investing in your professional online reputation is an important crisis ready strategy
In my experience as a crisis management professional, I’ve seen firsthand the consequences of neglecting both a brand and its team’s online reputation management. As mentioned earlier, it’s too often an afterthought that comes with impactful consequences.
Not only has ReputationDefender developed an effective and practical way for professionals to get ahead of this risk and maximize on the opportunities that a strong and accurate online presence provides, but it’s also developed a service offering that is both simple and robust, depending on one’s particular needs.
After spending time with the ReputationDefender team and the ReputationGrower service offering, I’ve come to the conclusion that ReputationGrower is:
- Strategic and important
- Easy and effective for busy professionals
- Custom-tailored to support your goals and needs
- Beneficial to both the professional and the organization
- An added value to your crisis readiness
Investing in you and your team’s digital crisis readiness offers a multitude of beneficial opportunities for you, your people, and your brand—both in and out of a crisis. ReputationDefender has done a great job at making this important process easy, seamless, and accessible to all. If it’s not something you’ve thought of or raised internally yet, I highly recommend that it be placed on the docket for internal conversation.
If you’d like to learn more about ReputationDefender and its ReputationGrower service offering, click here. The sooner you get ahead of this and become intentional about what people find when they google you—and how solid those rankings are—the more opportunity you’ll have and the more crisis ready you’ll become.
* “White hat” is a search engine optimization (SEO) industry term that refers to ethical SEO practices that meet the search engines’ best practice guidelines for honest and fair optimization. “Black hat” is the term that refers to the opposite.
** Negative links are any articles, links, or posts that don’t align with your objectives. This could be outdated content, negative articles, misleading information, or others.
As mentioned above, this review was sponsored by ReputationDefender.
Author of Crisis Ready: Building an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World, Melissa Agnes is a leading authority on crisis preparedness, reputation management, and brand protection. Agnes is a coveted keynote speaker, commentator, and advisor to some of today’s leading organizations faced with the greatest risks. Learn more about Melissa and her work here.
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