Do you Google yourself and your company? If not, you should.

Google is the first impression for anyone who doesn’t know you.

It’s common for clients, customers, colleagues and even competitors to use the Internet to form their opinion of you. They want to know who is saying what? Is the information positive, negative or neutral? Do the search results backup what they already know about you?

The Internet has become a huge amplifier of what we say – for better or for worse. At some point, you may find yourself in a situation where your name is at stake. If you do not prevent critical mistakes, or if you don’t act fast with a strategic solution, years of hard work can shrink to nothing.

Whether online or in traditional media, you need to understand the situation, identify your weak points, highlight your strong aspects, clearly define your talking points and work on showing them.

If you find negative or neutral results linked to your name, you should start working on improving your online reputation. Why is neutral bad? Because neutral doesn’t say anything relevant about you. It doesn’t show the key points of your career/company, and it doesn’t make you look good and help you stand out. Neutral is just average. Generating relevant and positive content, having good and complete social media profiles and knowing some basic aspects of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) will help you look better in Google results. Be aware that most people only look at the top 10 results, so ensure that they represent the best of you.

Public relations is all about succeeding in good communications, working professionally with companies, organizations and people. The aim is to be understood, accepted, well-regarded, supported, and influential. If a good brand image and brand awareness are the key to success, fostering sound relationships with specific audiences is the key to progress.

Building a reputation means informing and educating your various audiences. When a crisis arrives, the company may be under attack in the media and social media by government regulators, activist groups or shareholders. Monitoring how you are represented on the Internet is key, as well as building a solid PR and contingency plan. You’ll need your messages, your third-party players and your quick responses at the ready to halt misinformation as soon as possible.

It’s important to remember that what we do and say on the Internet, might very well remain there forever. So it is all the more imperative to ensure our actions reflect our values and principles, and that our words create a positive image.

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