Bloggers have become ubiquitous in cyberspace. They share their insights, opinions, and information with countless readers who are located all around the world. Even though almost all people who follow blogs have never had a face-to-face meeting with the writers of these blogs, there is still a bond that is forged between blogger and reader that is stronger than logic would dictate.
The Importance of a Good Online Rep
But this bond cannot ever take root and germinate if the blogger does not have a solid online reputation. That’s because most people won’t spend time reading prose written by someone who does not possess some level of expertise or generate a significant amount of empathy. More importantly, a negative online reputation can stunt blog growth and erode readership in a relatively short time.
Therefore, it is vital that every blogger do everything possible to ensure that he or she has a good online reputation. Bloggers can do everything else right – increase output, vary topics, build links, practice targeted marketing, and diligently work to improve search engine rankings – but their audience won’t grow if their online reputation is poor.
In fact, bloggers may even see readership dwindle as a result of a subpar online rep. And in extreme cases, an awful online reputation can have problematic ramifications for bloggers’ non-virtual lives, including speaking engagements, consultancies, job opportunities, professional relationships, and even personal reputations.
So how does a blogger go about protecting and strengthening his or her online rep?
Search, Eliminate, and Overwhelm
It starts with a simple Google (or other search engine) search of a blogger’s name, blog title, and/or website. In a perfect world, the top two or three pages of links would consist of neutral (or positive) references to the blogger and his or her work. But if one or more of these entries links to negative or irrelevant content, it’s a strong sign that a blogger’s online reputation is less than ideal – especially if the entry is on the first page of a search engine.
There are certain measures that can be taken to address this problem. If the blogger controls the site on which the questionable content sits, then he or she can delete it and remove it from cyberspace entirely. But if the content is situated somewhere else on the Web, the blogger can do several things.
First, he or she can contact the administrator of the site in question and ask (not demand, unless the content is objectively false or defamatory) that the content be removed. If the request is denied, the next strategy is to respond to the content directly, which works well if it is a negative comment or disparaging opinion.
When crafting a response, it is important for a blogger to acknowledge any truths or errors in the author’s statement before explaining his or her side of the story calmly and objectively (rude, snarky, or spiteful responses will ultimately hurt the blogger’s online rep).
The final approach is to “overwhelm” the offending entry with positive content about the blogger. This may include extra blog content (perhaps on other sites or blogs), testimonials from others about the blog or blogger, additional and detailed social media profiles, and other news about the blogger’s other pursuits. The idea is to “flood” the Web with more information that can be displayed on search engines, thus relegating the problematic content to a lower-ranked position.
Trust is the Key
The importance of a blogger’s online reputation cannot be overstated. Since readers do not have any sense of a blogger’s personal character, they rely on a sense of trust that is established between themselves and the blogger. But this trust is fragile, and even a single piece of information can damage a blogger’s online reputation enough to wear down that trust. On a larger scale, this erosion in trust can manifest itself in lower blog readership.
So not only does a smart blogger consistently search the Web for potential online rep issues, but he or she also takes a proactive approach in reinforcing and building his or her Internet reputation on a regular basis. Because at the end of the day, a blogger’s online reputation is his or her most important marketing weapon.
Author Bio:- Chris Martin is a freelance writer who writes about topics ranging from auto insurance to consumer finance to Reviewreputation.com