Fight negativity on your own terms

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Joe Lovett
Joe Lovett


Today, content comes in a variety of fla­vors. Some is positive, some is neutral, and some can be…well, downright negative. Often this less than flattering material appears in the form of blogs and reviews, and can be particularly damaging when visible on branded terms. So what's a marketer to do? Combat it.


One of the best ways to deal with such content is to leverage review sites — either existing ones that already have credibility, or new ones that you create yourself. Doing so will help you displace negative content, and allow you to claim more page real estate in the process.

And while it's easier to let the kudos come as they may, savvy marketers know that com­pliments are usually less forthcoming than criticism. Given that, the key to this strategy lies in motivating customers to post reviews when they have a good experience.

To start, create the opportunity to comment. Develop a review section or forum on your own Web site. Not only will it allow you to start amassing reviews, but each new post will provide fresh content for the search engines and help your site gain more credibility. It will also provide you with a means to moni­tor negative reviews and thereby facilitate customer service. And, when reviews are integrated into pages with high abandonment rates, it can help to improve conversion.

Be sure to give commenters options. Regu­larly monitor third-party review sites and blogs, and proactively address concerns with the same urgency as if they appeared on your own site. You also need to actively participate in sites that your customers visit, and that are relevant to your industry.

But don't try any cloak and dagger stuff. Instead, be sure to quickly identify yourself as a company representative. Doing so will go a long way in gaining community trust and garnering goodwill for your company.

Finally, make it easy for them. Assign an easy-to-remember name to your review site, then put this URL in the signature block of company e-mails and on business cards. Also, try to motivate employees to solicit feedback from customers. In certain instances, you may want to send out follow-up e-mails that include an incentive to respond.

Overall, leveraging positive customer reviews can be an effective way for market­ers to keep negative content at bay.  

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