Online Reputation Management vs. Public Relations | Agital
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Online Reputation Management vs. Public Relations: What is the difference?

Reputation is everything, and these days, it requires constant effort to maintain. Online reputation management and public relations are two strategies that can work together to achieve a common goal: paint your brand in a positive light. By actively managing your reputation, you can keep your online presence as positive as possible and minimize negative customer feedback.

There are differences between PR and reputation management, though. Learn what online reputation management is and tips you can use to help strengthen your brand’s image.

What is online reputation management?

Online reputation management involves actively monitoring your brand’s mentions on websites and social media to address harmful or false comments. You’ll respond to negative customer reviews and comments online, as well as react to stories in the media that speak negatively about your brand.

A significant benefit of reputation management is that it allows you to combat negative claims by directly and openly addressing them. This is critical for maintaining transparency and building brand loyalty. Your focus will mostly be on popular review sites like Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook, and others to address reviews and comments.

So, what does online reputation management involve exactly? When you monitor a brand’s reputation, you are:

  • Using online reputation management software to monitor reviews and comments about your business.
  • Adding a review schema markup to your website.
  • Responding to reviews to thank a customer for their feedback or address a concern.
  • Promoting positive reviews through paid or owned channels, such as posting on websites, sharing on social media and paid ads.

Online reviews are essential because customers now trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations—which means buyers seek out online reviews before doing business with a new company. A study by Moz found online reviews influence 67% of customers, and one negative article in an online search could result in a 22% loss in business.

How is reputation management different from PR?

Public relations and reputation management have the same goal, to portray your brand in a positive light. However, the main difference between the two is how they achieve this goal.

PR works externally—think advertising and coordinated media efforts. It’s typically a proactive effort to strengthen a brand’s reputation through positive media placements to offset any potential negative press. Though, they sometimes handle damage control, PR professionals also build rapport with members of the media, plan and execute events that foster positive public perception, develop corporate social responsibility plans, and create media training programs, among other responsibilities.

Reputation management is a reactive, behind-the-scenes process that involves looking for and responding to potentially damaging content from other people and companies. Simply put, you are deploying strategies to improve, generate and respond to online reviews. But as a full-time job, many companies struggle to make reputation management a priority, which is where a marketing agency like Agital can help.

Reputation Management Tactics

Responding to reviews—negative or positive—is just one aspect of monitoring your brand’s reputation. It is important to keep in mind that its part of a larger, more robust reputation management strategy, which includes figuring out what review platforms to focus on, understanding the critiques your business faces and making sure it aligns with your PR efforts. If you are looking for tips to help you respond to reviews, here are a few tactics to try:

Answer promptly and with empathy.

The best reputation management often happens before a negative review or comment is posted. When users ask a question, you should respond right away and with empathy. Let them know that you are invested in solving their problem.

Automate online reputation management.

Save time by using software that automates reputation management tasks. Google Alerts, for example, sends notifications of media and news stories when your company is mentioned. This allows you to respond quickly if necessary. Other software solutions include:

  • ReviewTrackers – ReviewTrackers aggregates and analyzes online reviews from all major review sites. It helps multi-location businesses discover and interpret key customer insights to optimize operations, increase local SEO and build customer loyalty.
  • Trustpilot – This tool helps you connect and build trust with customers by automating your review collection process and gathering feedback. Trustpilot can also increase CTR and conversions on paid search with Google Seller Ratings.
  • BirdEye – BirdEye allows you to get customer reviews on sites that matter most to you all from one dashboard. You’ll receive new review alerts via email or SMS so you can respond to customer feedback within seconds.

Address negativity up front.

While it can be tempting to ignore unhappy customers, you are doing your brand a disservice. The next time a customer leaves a negative comment or review, respond to it. Here are a few things to keep in mind responding:

  • Keep your comment simple, short and sweet. Three sentences for your reply is a good rule of thumb and will prevent you from saying something that may cause the upset customer to add more negative feedback.
  • Don’t include the business name or any relevant search keywords in your response so that it doesn’t end up in search results.
  • Move the conversation offline and provide contact information for someone at the company to discuss the issue in person.
  • Acknowledge the customer’s concerns and show sympathy that they had a bad experience.

Own up to your mistakes.

If your brand faces scrutiny, it always helps to apologize. This shows customers that your company is honest and transparent. You’ll want to craft a genuine apology that owns up to and resolves the issue.

Strengthen your brand’s image with Agital.

While this is a brief overview of the difference between PR and online reputation management, the key takeaway is this, customers will judge your brand by what they read on the internet. Strengthen your company’s image by implementing a reputation management strategy to show customers that you are there to solve any problems.

If you are ready to make your brand’s online reputation a priority, Agital can help. Contact us today to help you minimize negative feedback to maintain your company’s public image.


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