An Introduction to Quality
If you are familiar with public relations and SEO, you know that costs vary considerably from one company to another. At the lowest level are individual consultants and do-it-yourself software. Then in the middle are small regional companies with less than 20 employees. At the top level, agencies and specialized companies provide services to large companies, brands, and CEOs.
Reputation management pricing works the same way. Like these disciplines, experience and quality are critical to success.
Ultimately, the cost of reputation management at the corporate level is largely determined by the scope of the SEO and much greater integration with client teams, including marketing, public relations, human resources, product, engineering, legal, and customer service.
This integration level is critical if you're a Fortune 500 CEO or if you run a billion-dollar company. When the stakes are pretty high, it is essential to work with a company that operates with integrity, discretion, and full transparency.
So how much does reputation management cost?
The average cost of reputation management is between $0 and $100,000 per month.
This is too general to be useful. So let's see why there are so many variations. Next, we'll look at some common pricing models. Finally, we'll review what constitutes a typical contract for our clients. In the end, you'll have the tools you need to make the right decision for your situation.
Why do reputation management prices vary so much?
I'm willing to bet that you've already paid for the repair of your roof. When you received the estimates, some were probably five times more expensive than others. That's because cheap companies use fewer materials, inferior products and often employ inexperienced workers. As a result, your roof will start leaking again within a short period, damaging the interior of your home.
Repairing your online reputation is the same as repairing your roof. You get exactly what you pay for.
On the surface, the cost is determined by three main factors:
The number and mix of FTEs assigned to the project.
The number of actual hours required to successfully complete the job.
The expertise of the workforce.
As you can imagine, reducing any one of these factors can lower the cost of services. For example, increased automation through technology can reduce work time. Eliminating monitoring will reduce the need for administrators. Reducing quality or outsourcing to inexperienced workers can reduce labor costs. All of these cost savings can lower the cost of reputation management services significantly.
However, these savings are not worth the risk.
Inexperienced and unsupervised teams, amplified by uncontrolled automation, can make dangerous mistakes. Poor quality of work is noticeable. Also, minimum budgets do not take into account essential safeguards to ensure compliance and mitigate risks.
Let's look at some specific examples.
High-Risk Reputation Management Software Packages When you look at these reputation management statistics, you can see why negative Google search results can be devastating. Unfortunately, many reputation management companies operate with reckless abandon, either using risky tactics that don't comply with Google's guidelines or severely degrading the quality of their results. Let's look at a few examples.
54% of business owners believe that reducing the number of undesirable search results will increase their revenue.
Smokescreen is one of the most common tactics to reduce the cost of reputation management. Companies create dozens of fake social media profiles and other content using their names. As a result, these digital doubles confuse the search engines and temporarily lower the negative search results.
There are a few drawbacks to this tactic:
It is not viable. As soon as the search engines realize that these accounts are inactive, they will no longer rank them.
Flooding search results with fake versions of yourself will dilute your real online self.
Search engines understand entities.
If you are a very visible person, these profiles may not outweigh the real content about you - including the information you want to bury.
It is very important to create an online profile that is most likely to be rewarded by Google.
Content: High-quality content is critical to the success of ORM. This is because what is written online influences the public's perception. However, high-quality content is very expensive. Most companies can't meet the demand for content on their own, so they outsource the project to foreign or domestic content firms that don't understand their brand well. Therefore, they sacrifice quality and perpetuate branding problems when users find inaccurate, thin, poorly written text about you or your company online.
Link Building. Another way to reduce the cost of reputation management is to outsource link building to reduce the cost. They often overstep Google's guidelines and buy links or use private black hat blog networks to manipulate PageRank, not considering the impact these placements have on your image.
Websites. Even personal websites commonly outsource reputation management projects to reduce costs. Unfortunately, this can also lead to an over-reliance on free themes and templates. They're also generally full of spelling and grammatical errors and leave an easily traceable footprint.
Fake customer reviews that are easy to spot
Some review sites will remove blatantly false negative comments if you provide them with proof, but it can be a tedious process. They rarely remove legitimate bad reviews. Also, websites that remove complaints in exchange for payment expose you to even more risk once they know you're willing to pay. Don't be surprised if the same negative review pops up on a sister site they run as soon as your check clears.
Because it's difficult to remove negative reviews online, black hat companies don't even try to remove them. Instead, they buy hundreds of fake positive reviews to compensate for the bad ones. This tactic is often in clear violation of the review site's policies and is obvious to the end-user. Fake reviews put companies at risk, damage brand reputation, and disengage end users.
The Value of Risk Reduction
The cost of online reputation management is directly related to risk. Inexpensive companies don't take proper precautions and operate with discretion. As a result, their businesses are exposed, introducing unnecessary risk and amplifying their customers' reputation problems.
Additionally, small businesses that cut corners cannot navigate compliance with federal regulators like the FDA and SEC. If your company operates in the healthcare and financial sectors, it's critical to work with a company that understands how these agencies work. Contact us if you need any reputation management services.