Rick Santorum: A Compelling Case Study in Reputation Management

Now that Rick Santorum has exited the presidential race, I wonder regardless of whether this will ameliorate or exacerbate his “Google dilemma.” On one hand, the anti-Santorum faction undoubtedly will turn into significantly less driven in their attempts to make confident web sites like Spreading Santorum stay at the best of search engine rankings. On the other, without having the everyday news cycle of a presidential campaign, there will not be as many relevant stories about Santorum’s agenda to counterbalance negative products. Personally, I do not have much sympathy for the guy, and not just because of his views if this were approached effectively, he by no means would have had a search engine problem in the very first spot. His reputation management failure, even so, will continue to serve as a cautionary tale for the rest of us.

In case you do not know, this all began in the spring of 2003. In response to Rick Santorum’s equating homosexuality to bestiality and polygamy, well-known columnist Dan Savage sought to redefine his last name as a crude sexual term. It worked, in component simply because Savage was so motivated, establishing santorum.com and SpreadingSantorum.com, and simply because his equally enthusiastic following happily propelled his efforts. It also gained traction, nevertheless, due to the fact Rick Santorum was not proactive about countering these actions. What could he have done to lessen the influence of this retaliatory prank?

For one, he could have established and maintained an on the web presence that articulated his views and his achievements. If he had created an engaging independent site with good quality content that was updated often, ultimately it would have grow to be the most relevant outcome when you searched for his name. Bear in mind, he had more than eight years to assert himself online and however, he did not. Did he fail to grasp the energy of the world wide web or did he underestimate his detractors? Either way, Dan Savage might have planted the seed for his Google issue, but it was Santorum’s neglect that let it overtake search engine outcomes pages.

When the protest internet site was launched, social media was in its early stages. There was no Twitter or Facebook. If you wanted to share a link, you did it the old-fashioned way and sent an e-mail. Now, even so, we can easily mobilize legions of supporters with a tweet or status update. Santorum does have accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, but his followers require to like and share his content material. That indicates he requirements to develop content worth sharing. Honestly, it almost certainly would have taken years to push the option definition of Santorum down in the rankings even with the support of social networking, but he was a senator when the dilemma originated. Possibly presidential aspirations had not even formed, but for a hugely public figure active in politics that is difficult to think. Even if the presidency was not in play, he nonetheless had a constituency to court and a reputation to safeguard. Complacency really is the largest error 1 can make, and that is precisely what occurred right here. Even though he has left the race, he could and ought to nevertheless reverse that trend and begin blogging and tweeting up a storm. Getting active on-line and continuously creating compelling content material will yield final results, but it requires time.

If you are wondering why Santorum did not basically ask Google to exclude these sites from its outcomes, he did and, really properly, Google turned him down. That is censorship, and no search engine will concede to a request to get rid of relevant material. Also, the significantly less he talks about this issue, the much better. Mentioning it additional only invites media coverage and analysis that makes the protest sites much more relevant than ever. Remember, the goal of all search engines is to return the most relevant results possible. If it is nevertheless part of the conversation, it is very relevant. Rather, he should produce new discussions and shift people’s concentrate to the issues he desires linked with his name. If he does this, his on-line presence will be defined by his personal actions and words, not the mischievous machinations of others.

If it sounds like a lot of function, it is. That is why a lot of public figures and organizations outsource their reputation management. Getting a professional construct and sustain your internet site, monitor what other folks are saying about you, and aid produce positive PR is a single of the ideal factors you can do if you want certain material to rank high when folks search for you. It actually is no diverse than any firm with a product to sell. You require to be conscious of what is becoming said about you and make sure you are the main contributor to that discussion. If you have accessible, interesting, and distinctive content material, you will eclipse other much less relevant links. If something, Santorum’s “Google issue” is an outstanding case study in what not to do. Do not be complacent, do not expect a lackluster campaign website to trump years of adverse things, and do not focus on what an individual else has completed. The only way to reshape the conversation is to in fact contribute to it in a meaningful and engaging way.
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