How do you get rid of damaging information about yourself online—like arrests, scandals and offensive activity?
You don’t get rid of it, you add to it.
Earlier this month, federal prosecutors charged 50 parents in a bribing scheme to buy their children admission to top universities. The individuals charged—including actresses and a famous fashion designer—face fines, prison time and damaged reputations.
Unfortunately, some of the students involved had no idea that illegal activity helped them get into college. Several are now seniors facing job rejections and other fallout from the scandal because their parents are on the list of those charged.
We’ve all heard how some college grads miss out on jobs due to off-color Facebook photos or offensive Twitter rants. Employers and hiring managers often use search engines and social media searches to glean info on job applicants. Even though these students were not named in the bribery scandal, a few Google searches easily link them to their parents.
We all make mistakes and atone for them, so how do we repair our online reputations when those mistakes become permanent fixtures on the web?
A real-life example
I had a client years ago who was a successful business owner, community advocate and all-around good citizen. He had a stroke of bad luck one day when a policeman arrested him for possessing an illegal hunting rifle. He went to court, paid the fine and did community service.
Though he had a great reputation in his community, Google searches for his name led with the negative news stories.
Why did his arrest story come up first? It was the only information about him online.
When you’re creating content, you control the story
There’s no way to delete the bad stuff, so just create more good stuff.
Create truthful content that tells your story how you want to be portrayed. By creating content that highlights how you’re benefiting the community, your business or the planet, you’ll:
- Control your story
- Promote your good reputation
- Compete with the negative stories in search results
It’s not just spin
Using a content strategy to repair your online reputation is really no different than how anyone defends their reputation in real life. You tell your side of the story after you’re accused. Even if you admit guilt, sharing your good deeds might reduce the punishment.
My past client had done so many good works in the community, but none of them came up in searches. Why? Because neither he nor anyone else had written about them online.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, start a personal website with a blog and share those stories. If your issue is a bit more complicated, you can hire a reputation marketing consultant to create SEO-friendly content and tell your story.
Call us today at Mammoth Undertakings if you’d like some suggestions on how to get this done.