Gini Dietrich

Seven Principles to Building an Online Reputation

By: Gini Dietrich | March 29, 2012 | 

Today I’m speaking at re:think in Oslo, Norway (more on the city later).

The conference organizer, Arnt Eriksen, asked me to consider speaking on something that is near and dear to my heart, but a topic I hadn’t yet created a presentation around.

The topic? Principles of Building an Online Reputation.

So I thought I’d do something a little bit different today and share with you the presentation.

Because it’s all images, it likely won’t make sense without some explanation.

Therefore I give you the seven principles to building an online reputation.

  1. Create a strong online monitoring program. I stole a lot of my recommendations for this principle from Lisa Gerber’s blog post yesterday. If you haven’t read it yet, head over there now.
  2. Create engaging and valuable content. Also on the speaking docket today are Valeria Maltoni, Chris Brogan, and Maggie Fox so I used a lot of their work as examples throughout my presentation (see principle five). The content can’t be sales-y or boring or highly technical. It has to be informational, educational, and engaging.
  3. Comment on other content. We’ve talked about this here before, in terms of creating your own media relations program…or a response campaign, as we call it. I show examples of how this works, from a traditional media perspective. By commenting on a USA Today article, the author did a follow-up story and used me as a source.
  4. Build community. Mitch Joel famously (at least to me) once said you don’t have a community until people begin talking to one another without the help of the blog’s author. This principle goes into detail about how to make that happen so you can watch it all unfold.
  5. Stroke egos. And not in a fake way that makes you seem like you’re doing it just to get something, but in a real and genuine way. This principle talks about how, when people comment or engage with you online, the don’t want to be ignored. Think about it this way: Have you ever made a witty or funny comment on someone’s Facebook status update only to have that person go right past it and engage with everyone but you? It doesn’t feel good. People just want to be heard.
  6. Have a crisis plan ready. It doesn’t have to be formal, but you should follow the five P’s of crisis planning: Predict, position, prevent, plan, and persevere.
  7. Write a book ahead of its time. Mitch Joel (who speaks later today) and I have gone round and round about some of these principles, particularly about blog commenting and stroking other’s egos. In fact, last year he wrote about the other side of comments, completely disagreeing with me. So I joke with him that not everyone is smart enough to write a book ahead of its time (cough, Six Pixels of Separation, cough) so most of us have to do the really hard work of building a reputation without it.

I’ll let you know how it goes. But, in the meantime, I thought I’d share the slides with you so you can dig further into each principle.

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • Above all, I would love to hear you speak to the Bones and Gini slide! 

    • ginidietrich

       @JoelFortner I’m kind of proud of myself. I didn’t think the slide would work here, but it did!

  • GrandmaOnDeck

    @ginidietrich That great big Avitar smile gets a “Grandma Grin” Award.It is so good to see smiling faces.

    • ginidietrich

      @GrandmaOnDeck Thank you!!

  • JeffRice63

    @ginidietrich From my own experiences on twitter, I think # 5 is hilarious.

    • ginidietrich

      @JeffRice63 Well, not everyone can be as charming as me. 🙂

  • I’m so good at #5 that it’s not even funny. It’s likely my most redeeming quality! I’m genuine, though, so it’s ok for me to pet people into submission. I’ll even ascertain that it’s the most underrated on the list because who doesn’t want to feel appreciated? That’s why I’m here, to celebrate people.

    And if I may add on to the list, #8 – front like you’re a superhero. To quote Spiderman’s Aunt May Parker – everyone loves a superhero.”

    • ginidietrich

       @SociallyGenius I’m pretty sure that’s what you’ve done to me.

      • Oh @ginidietrich You say that like it’s a bad thing.. I’m just helping to prove your point

      •  @ginidietrich did you know that @SociallyGenius gets free upgrades on Jetblue?

  • Please put a Worldcom logo on this so you can save me a ton of time. kthxbai. Also, I’m 1/4 Norwegian, and love Oslo. Have a great time!

    • @JayBaer Curious, since you may know, do the Scandinavian countries generally get along with eachother? I’ve developed an affinity for Swedes since the Red Wings basically adopted their National Hockey Team (sans the Sedin’s)!

    • ginidietrich

       @JayBaer Because I stole a graphic from you a couple of years ago, I’m happy to do that for you. But, how will you explain the Bones slide?

  • patrickreyes

    In the time that I’ve known you, I’ve seen you practice every one of these things.  Great ideas that have practical applications for brands as well as individuals.

    • ginidietrich

       @patrickreyes And you’ve known me a loooooong time.

      •  @ginidietrich totally strokes your ego @patrickreyes . She is always saying ‘oh that Lions Fan is the coolest guy ever. I should be a Lions fan too’

  • ginidietrich

    @patrickreyes So glad that is over!

    • patrickreyes

      @ginidietrich I’m sure you did great! How is Oslo?

      • ginidietrich

        @patrickreyes I have the worst jet lag. I NEVER have trouble sleeping. I’ve read three books.

        • patrickreyes

          @ginidietrich Oh geez….hopefully you’ll sleep soon!

        • ginidietrich

          @patrickreyes Me. Too.

  • Awesome!!! I’m sure it went REALLY well. 

    • ginidietrich

       @Lisa Gerber It’s over! Now dinner…a few hours of sleep (I hope – though my record isn’t great here) and then headed home!

  • TaraGeissinger

    I am sure you did great! The slides look fun and the principles are spot-on. I am one of those mostly shy people who fell into marketing — so I sometimes struggle with the social networking. I am trying to get better at it though (hence the comment here!) 🙂 Thanks for the great tips!

    • ginidietrich

       @TaraGeissinger I’m with you – an introvert all the way through. I love social networking because I have an outlet that breaks the ice before I meet people face-to-face.

  • KDillabough

    @ConnieMcKnight @ginidietrich Thanks Connie:) We have SNOW here, eegads, after record high temps. Ugh

    • ConnieMcKnight

      @kdillabough That sounds like something that would happen in Southern Alberta. Thank heavens it won’t last long.

  • John_Trader1

    Hope the presentation went well and you had them engaged, interested and entertained. God knows, that’s the only way I learn anything from a presenter. Hope there may be an audio version available soon.

    • ginidietrich

       @John_Trader1 I hope so, too! My sarcasm doesn’t translate very well, but I got a few laughs.

  • mdyoder

    Just got off a Skype call with a client talking about #3. Good stuff! Thanks, Gini.

    • ginidietrich

       @mdyoder It does take some time, but it works phenomenally well.

      •  @ginidietrich @mdyoder #3 is really overlooked a lot, but I can attest that it works. Over time. 

  • Wow! Oslo, Norway! Presenting! About a Great Topic! Good for you!

    • ginidietrich

       @rideboulderco Yep! Though the jet lag is killing me. I’m one of those people who can sleep no matter what. Except in Norway, apparently. 

  • ginidietrich

    @John_Trader1 No way. Telluride is the most expensive city.

    • John_Trader1

      @ginidietrich Actually, we are both wrong…but I was closer.

      • ginidietrich

        @John_Trader1 I still contend Telluride is up there.

        • John_Trader1

          @ginidietrich Being the globe trotter you are, I don’t doubt it for a second. Nobody tells me how to ride though, no matter how expensive.

  • Norway, that’s great, never been there but everyone says it’s beautiful. I hope you’re enjoying yourself there. And yes, interesting post as always. 🙂

    • ginidietrich

       @Andrea Hypno Um, I keep hearing it’s beautiful, too. But I haven’t seen the beauty part. All I see are cramped buildings and a city that takes less than an hour to run across and back.

      •  @ginidietrich Well, given that I grew up in a city with 40.000 citizens surrounded by mountains Oslo should be nice for me, not the cramped buildings though. 😉

  • SociallyGenius

    @saving4someday thanks for the tweet, how’s it going, Sara?

  • You left out
    Number 8. Have an alias. Something really cool related to space, space travel, planets, stars, or extraterrestrial life forms.
    Number 9. Use Facebook. A lot.
    Number 10. Use the word dude a lot when commenting on Six Pixels. @mitchjoel loves that (see that allows number 5 to come in).
    But the first 7 are great tips Gini!

    •  @HowieSPM Dude that alias thing rocks.

      •  @TheJackB Yeah Mr Witness Program…………you should know…..

    •  @HowieSPM But most importantly, don’t piss off Pete Cashmore……

    • ginidietrich

       @HowieSPM  Number 11: Fight every social network you can with real stats and analytics.

  • trontastic

    These are really great @ginidietrich . I’m wondering if you could shed some light on what to do if you’re a small business that hasn’t been doing these things and has a more immediate need to control a situation. If you don’t have time to write a book, build a community and God forbid, never put together a crisis plan, how would you approach a flamer who is gaining reach?
    And I’m not talking about a single tweet or review but someone who took the time to write something on ripoff report or other lame site that does well in the SERPs.

    • ginidietrich

       @trontastic I don’t think any of these things have to be huge and laborious. A crisis plan can be as simple as a social media policy and a statement for how you manage criticism (when to respond, how to respond, when to ignore). You also have to know what your business strategy is and never waver from it, no matter what people say. We have one client who has what you’re talking about in your last sentence. It happened in 2007. It still appears in the second result of Google searches. It’s taking us some time, but we’re working hard on other types of content to get it pushed down by pages. It does take some time.

  • Thrilled for you to be across the pond G’….have a blast!!

    •  @Marcus_Sheridan she is coming home back row boat I heard.

      • ginidietrich

         @HowieSPM  @Marcus_Sheridan As long as it took me to get home, it felt like I came home in a row boat.

  • I’m guessing you could have talked about anything you wanted to since they don’t even speak English anyway. And I’m sure if you used a translator he was just making up stuff, regardless what you were saying. The tip off is when they start laughing and you didn’t even say anything funny….
    You probably have to be ‘seen’ to have an online reputation, huh? All I know is all my local LinkedIn community have dropped me because they say my tweet stream was ‘too much traffic’ for them. I really didn’t expect to be known as ‘that guy’. 
    Social I can do, so by just showing up I probably have survived 3-4 of those principles. Just like in golf when you get lucky; even a blind hog finds an acorn every now and then, huh? Wait, that didn’t sound like a golf metaphor did it? 
    I’m guessing you probably didn’t want to hear all about me; but because of my popularity I will be starting my own network a la Oprah so it will be ok to talk about me all of the time…….pretty cool, huh? 
    Have a safe journey home; can’t wait to hear the ‘social’ lessons you learned. 

    •  @bdorman264 your reputation proceeds you.

      •  @HowieSPM That’s what I was afraid of; I tried moving to a different town……

    • ginidietrich

       @bdorman264 They TOTALLY speak English. They start learning it in fourth grade. Everyone speaks it! 
      When you start your network, can I be a guest?

  • ginidietrich

    @CraigMcBreen Nothing wrong with that!

    • CraigMcBreen

      @ginidietrich Like I said, at least I’m honest 🙂

  • Narciso17

    7 Principles to Building an Online Rep [Good Thoughts fm @GiniDietrich | h/t @rachaelseda]

    • rachaelseda

      @Narciso17 Thanks for sharing!

      • Narciso17

        @rachaelseda You Betcha

  • I’m so glad you deviated from the norms on this blog post and threw in a few curve balls, Gini. Your number 6 and number 7 were pleasant surprises. I hope your speech went well, and that you have fun in Norway!
    Side note: I’ve always thought you resemble Emily Deschanel, so it’s funny that parallel made your slideshow! 😉

    • ginidietrich

       @Jill Tooley EVERYONE asks me if I’m her. I had a guy come up to me in the Atlanta airport and ask for my autograph. People.

  • blfarris

    @ginidietrich Are you in NORWAY? How cool is that?

    • ginidietrich

      @blfarris I am in Norway. Headed home soon. Which is good because I just chipped a nail.

      • DebCE

        @ginidietrich @blfarris And how is Norway, other than the chipped nail?

        • ginidietrich

          @DebCE It’s been a very long trip. Very. Long.

      • blfarris

        @ginidietrich What do vegetarians eat in Norway? The only thing I hear people talk about eating there is Reindeer

        • ginidietrich

          @blfarris LOL! They had reindeer last night. I had salad.

        • blfarris

          @ginidietrich I’d be worried about what a Norwegian salad would have in it. Where do they get vegies in the frozen north?

        • ginidietrich

          @blfarris They actually grow them. Lots of root veggies.

        • blfarris

          @ginidietrich That sounds pretty yummy,

  • ginidietrich

    @cmcpointsofview I feel like you and I have Twitter all to ourselves this early.

    • cmcpointsofview

      @ginidietrich Now’s obviously the best time to be online. I hope you enjoyed your stay in Norway.

  • Love the prezy, Gini! And of course, your tips are spot on! 😉
    Hope your trip was well worth it!

    • ginidietrich

       @EricaAllison It was a looooong trip, but today I feel like I”m back in the swing of things. Finally.

  • Leon

    G’Day Gini,
    Good stuff! But I’m fascinated by what amounts to the obsession online people have about publishing a book.
    My first book was published by an English publisher in 1984. In it I said that conventional management training was totally misguided because it didn’t reflect workplace reality. It was launched  by the then Head of Australia’s foremost specialist management school.
    In 1991 a major international publishing house published my second book on the topic  of staff selection
    Both these books were so far “ahead of their time” that I’m still preaching much the same messages today and I’m still seen as “way out” and unconventional. Sadly, the only place they sold well was in New Zealand; not a major market.
    In the early 90s, someone pointed out to me that I could cobble chapters of the books together, sell them as “Special Reports.” and sell the reports for more than the price of  the actual book. Then, someone suggested that I could make audiotapes of the content and sell the tapes for up to ten times the price of the actual book.
    Theses strategies formed the cornerstone of my business. They were very successful. The audiotapes became CDs. Then I moved my business online and discovered the eBook! At last count I’d published 19 eBooks and have a couple more in the pipeline. I’ve already revised a lot of the content and continue to do so.
    At this stage, I don’t intend to write any more books. Of course. were a major publisher to turn up on my doorstep with a fat advance cheque,………..
    Woody Allen once said, “I don’t want to be remembered because of my work. I want to be remembered because I didn’t die.” I sorta know what he means. Incidentally, Have you seen “Midnight in Paris ”  his latest movie? It’s a little gem. And if you’ve ever visited Paris it’s a much bigger gem.
    Anyway….why is it that youse guys are so obsessed with writing a bloody book? I’ve been there twice. Can’t say I’m keen to go again.
    Strangely enough, it aint much fun.
    Best Wishes

    • ginidietrich

       @Leon Funny…I just posted on Facebook that, after watching Midnight In Paris (for the fourth time) and reading The Paris Wife, I’ve decided to re-read A Moveable Feast. I just started it.

      • Leon

         @ginidietrich Danny warned me. “She’s really a romantic at heart” he said. Isn’t confession good for the soul? But be careful. Re-reading Hemingway always occurs between 45 and 49.
        Wait until you start re-reading “Brighton Rock.”  That’s telling. 
        Best Wishes

      •  @ginidietrich At we help you achieve your dream career/goal, whether it would be getting a promotion, upgrade your education, change your  profession, confused about the right career and/or Institutes or need more options to compare from. We provide free information/counseling and try our best to  connect/match with the right source for you to prosper no matter of your current location and/or circumstances.

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  • ManyCUES

    CUES:. #in Lists. 7 Principles & other lists help People focus Attention, refine Answers or define Questions. @ManyCUES @nlapirdo @JLDenhart

  • Gini, you are awesome on this front. Hope you have already given a mesmerizing performance at Re:Think  🙂

    • ginidietrich

       @vikassingal I am finally home…and it was  a really good conference!

  • allenmireles

    @nakeva Thank you for the retweet, Nakeva. How’s your weekend shaping up?

  • Viksn

    Great article, actually)) and what about using special software? For example, I know the to be a great site for monitoring online reputation. I guess it is even a tool that can be used as a single mean)

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