Book Review: Repped: 30 Days to a Better Online Reputation by Andy Beal
In these days of heavy business books laden with theory, we still encounter a few that are short, action-oriented, and eminently practical. Andy Beal’s Repped is one such book.
Beal offers readers a 30-day program to evaluate a company or individual’s online reputation, set up monitoring, and begin the process of fixing any problems or deficiencies.
Of course, any major reputation makeover is going to take a lot more than a month, but the bite-size chunking of the process makes a daunting task seem more accessible.
Beal explains how to benchmark your reputation, and points out that most of us have multiple reputations – our own name, social media nicknames, a company name, product and brand names, executive names, and even slogans identified with the company.
A strong focus on owned websites is important, according to Beal. Spending 80% of your time building owned content will pay dividends since it won’t be subject to filtering or the whims of other firms. Facebook, for example, is notorious for changing the way content is displayed and who actually sees it.
Beal’s years of experience in both search engine optimization and reputation management show in the many tidbits of practical advice. For example, when writing your bio (for social profiles or websites), Beal recommends avoiding pronouns. Rather, use declarative statements with your name. “Andy Beal is an expert in reputation management” tells Google more than the similar, “I am an expert in…” Similarly, it makes sense to name an image “firstname-lastname.jpg” instead of “headshot2014” as it is more likely to be returned in an image search. (Yes, people will see image results when they search for you in Google.)
Naturally, Beal devotes space to dealing with negative information like bad reviews and unfavorable commentary. His actions run the gamut of possibilities, from ensuring a flow of real and accurate reviews to increasing the amount of content that ranks higher than the offending page or pages. Beal also provides experience-based advice on dealing directly with those who publish negative information.
Beal discusses optimizing your various social profiles, and also seeking help from other sites that you don’t own or control. Will a business partner post a testimonial? Can you sponsor an event with a local charity or organization that will result in a profile on their site?
While perhaps a bit simplistic for a Fortune 500 firm, Beal’s book is a great starting point for small and medium businesses seeking to improve their online reputation. Individuals, too, can benefit. In my Forbes review, 30 Reasons To Put Your Job Search On Hold For A Month, I focused on the benefits for anyone planning to look for a new job.
Author Brian Solis contributed the book’s Foreword, so it’s no surprise that Beal echoes one of Solis’s themes: be the reputation you hope for. Reputation management isn’t about spinning a false image or papering over problems, it’s about ensuring that one’s image is as accurate and undistorted as possible.
From Around the Web
The reaction to Repped has been overwhelmingly favorable. Elmer Boutin, at The Crossing of Marketing & IT, called it, “a great guide to ORM for individuals, those who run SMBs or those who wish to improve their online reputation practice skills.” Gretchen Egeberg of AimClear proclaimed, “This guy really knows his stuff.” Ivana Taylor of Small Biz Trends said individuals, small businesses, and even big brands “will all find solace and strategy inside the pages of Repped.” Blogger Richie Norton said, “Every page seems to have practical advice that keeps me jumping back and forth between the book and my computer to put the principles into practice.”
Brian Solis reprised his foreward blog post, and summed things up nicely: “Repped will help you earn digital significance.”