When a professional, respected individual “Google’s” themselves, there’s a good chance that they’ll see a handful of information appearing on the front page of the search results. Depending on how carefully that person has managed their online presence, there may be a selection of social media profiles, news reports, press releases, and website articles to browse through.

That culmination of digital information is an online reputation. It’s the combination of the things that someone says about themselves online, through things like websites and social media channels, and the things that other people say about the same person. Online reputation management, or ORM, is the process of taking control of the online conversation, through strategic marketing, SEO auditing, and social media strategies.

Why is Online Reputation Management Important?

Essentially, online reputation management is about using specific techniques and strategies to make sure that people see the right things when they look for you on the internet. When done well, online reputation management helps to create balance, counteract misleading trends, and ensures that people can put their best foot forward. After all, in a world where everyone appears to be digitally connected, how you look online can have a direct impact on your career.

When someone wants to decide whether they should hire a person, work with someone new, or even invest in someone else’s future, the first thing they’ll do is go online and use the information they find there to make a judgment call about what that individual is like. Every day, more than a billion searches happen Google, and people are constantly looking for new ways to decide whether they should trust people based on their online presence.

Perhaps the biggest issue with online reputation management is the fact that anyone can say what they like about another person online without any repercussions what-so-ever. If someone doesn’t like another person, then they’re free to bad-mouth that individual on an open forum or public social media space. The only thing that can protect an individual against this negative press, is a strong personal brand, and a disaster management strategy.

Handling an Online Reputation

For some people, handling an online reputation might be a simple as investing in social media tools and working on building industry authority. However, for individuals who rely on their personal brand – like politicians and authority speakers, the best way to invest in online reputation management is with a PR company that specializes in reputation maintenance.

PR ORM experts know how to audit a person’s reputation, listen out for problems, and provide their clients with the tools and strategies they need to overcome serious issues regarding negative press. Now that the online world has ensured that secrets are harder to come by, everyone who cares about their personal brand should have a defined strategy in place for online reputation management.

In fact, it isn’t just major politicians and celebrities that need to protect their image online. Even the average job seeker could miss that their chance at a critical career opportunity because of one bad review posted five years ago.

Online Reputation Management really matters.