Answers to 18 Standard Questions Every Prospective Online Reputation Management Clients Should Ask
1. Do you have a case study I can view?
There are five case studies covering a range of industries and online reputation management issues; the last one towards the bottom is very detailed:
2. What is your most successful project or client?
I recently helped an extremely successful and well known CEO who had a damaged online reputation that occurred 19 years ago. As a result, two extremely negative articles appeared on the first page of Google search results: one from the New York Times; one from the Wall Street Journal, both of which made it impossible for him to get a new job. I was able to repair his reputation in three months–normally a six to nine month process. He was able to find a new high level six-figure sales position shortly after the repair was completed.
3. What was the biggest turnaround you made for a client?
The biggest online repair project was for a client that had the first five pages of Google search results covered in negative links, mostly from hard to suppress sites such as news sources, television stations, and local newspapers. These there also repaired quickly.
4. What were the steps to accomplish the repair process?
Although suppressing negative links can be very challenging, the best approach includes extensive research, identifying and re-writing existing content, finding the right platforms to share on, connecting with key influencers, and constantly adding articles, links, images, videos, etc.
For example, for this client, I focused on the creation a handful or more new general social media related platforms; optimized his LinkedIn and other profiles; wrote a detailed Wikipedia article, highlighting past accomplishments; added a strong presence on several industry specific platforms and sites; promoted all existing good content and articles; created comments on other industry blogs; identified and engaged with key influencers online, etc.
5. What is your team and business structure like?
To maximize efficiencies, be nimble and offer customized hands-on solutions, all work is done by me in-house. This also reduces the possibility of any security leaks. I’ve found this approach to be extremely successful and effective.
6. What are the philosophies that guide your organization?
Very simply, my philosophy is to be of service, listen, be honest and work hard.
7. What are your strongest skills as a online reputation management specialist – i.e. a focus on social media marketing a whole brand, public relations of an individual, crisis management? Why?
My two main strengths are online reputation repair and online brand building. Most of my clients are individuals or professionals, and have a negative web reputation is resulting in a loss of trust, loss of income, or both.
Personally, I love the repair process because I can clearly see successful progress, and it’s clear when I make a positive difference in other people’s lives and business. If something bad is showing up on the first page of Google searches, that’s a problem; if it’s moved to the second or third page, I’m successful, and both the client is happy.
8. What is the timeline you work on?
Most projects take about six months; sometimes longer, for about nine months; and sometimes shorter, depending on the issue. However, I’ve had a brand building project last two months and a limited repair case last three months.
9. What are some tangible goals you can make for yourself in regards to what we are looking for?
I usually have a basic milestone framework, which includes the first few weeks being dedicated to research, strategy and further assessment; often in the second month, the repair process is fully initiated; in the third month, some of the new content should be visible; by the fourth and fifth months, additional content should be pushing down the negative links; by the end of the sixth or seventh months, successful conclusion of the case.
10. What is your usual process for working with a client?
Usually, I have one or more phone or in-person meetings to understand as much as I can about the issue and client. Then, I send out a series of survey questions to gather additional background information as well as to learn what I need to be cautious of and which topics should be avoided. Then I create a customized strategy and start to implement it. For some clients, they want to work closely together. For others, they want approval before major actions are taken. Others just want the problem solved and are updated with a progress report.
11. We are looking for a close-knit relationship – how do you think your company aligns with our in-house team?
I’m extremely flexible and can work in any capacity, either alone, with partners, or other firms.
12. What do you love about a client usually? What do you not love?
I’m very easy going and have dealt with a range of clients, different personalities and those with high expectations. Generally, I love a client that is just ready to move on and get their reputation repaired. The thing that can be challenging is if they don’t understand the time required or the impact Google has in this process.
13. What is your business’ pace like?
Flexible, thoughtful but very focused and striving for perfection.
14. What press outlets your company mostly works with?
None–that is more for my PR partner.
15. What are the range of costs?
Prices also are flexible depending on the scope and budget. Some projects are a one-time flat fee of $1,500 or $3,000. However, most require ongoing monthly charges, such as $1,500 for very low level issues, to $3,000 for moderate cases to $6,500 for complex damages.
16. Any additional services not included?
Things not included could be anything other than what is listed in the agreement. These usually are very minimal such as domain name charges and web hosting fees. Higher costs could be other services that my strategic partners might supply, such as extensive press relations services. If there are any additional costs or services, written approval is required. Usually, however, the vast majority of clients never are charged any additional fees.
17. Do you have any competitors you set yourself apart from?
There are many large firms, but my approach is to offer boutique, hands-on services. This allows me to quick, responsive to Google’s changes, and to pivot to the most effective solution. I also only work with a three or fours clients at a time, and only take on projects I think I can be successful with.
18. Do you have any clients or references we can speak to?
Yes, I can provide contact information as requested.