Reputation PR: What is it and how to get it right

Defining exactly what constitutes PR can be surprisingly difficult.

The first thing most people think of will be sending out press releases to the media to try and persuade them to publish positive stories. Or maybe they’ll think of swanky events where you invite people along to promote your products and services.

However, these are only a small part of what PR should be about and it can become even more confusing when people start throwing around jargon like reputation PR versus traditional PR.

What do people mean when they say reputation PR?

Back in the old days before the internet one of the most powerful PR tools was, indeed, getting positive stories into the media. Traditional media like TV, radio and newspapers dominated the public discourse and had a major influence on what people thought.

This is what people refer to as traditional PR.

Reputation PR has come to be used as the term for controlling your reputation online. For example, trying to remove negative sentiment, responding to online comments and reviews and projecting a positive message via content and social media.

To us, all PR is reputation PR

Before we continue, let’s make something clear. The phrase ‘Reputation PR’ may be useful to differentiate between different types of activities, but in reality, all PR is reputation PR. As a PR agency, our job is to protect and enhance the reputation of our clients by having an influence on everything they do that can affect it.

Yes, this might involve media relations, events or online content but it also includes things like branding and customer service. A good PR agency will be aware of and have an opinion on every form of engagement people have with your brand. A PR practitioner who doesn’t is not doing their job properly.

Controlling your reputation online

If we do think about reputation PR just in terms of online then there are a few core principles and activities to be aware of.

Put out lots of good content 

When people search for or stumble across you online, you want the things they see to be on brand and positive. Probably the most effective way of making this happen is by publishing great content, which is interesting, clear, useful and sends out the right message about your brand.

A strong content plan goes hand in hand with effective media liaison. What people read, see and hear about your brand in the media is just as important as the content you create yourself. Make sure you have a solid strategy for getting your stories out to the websites that matter.

Monitor and respond 

While you can control your PR and content output, what other people say about you is up to them. Anyone with an opinion can (and probably will) air it on social media, in online reviews or on their own blogs. You can’t stop people from sharing their opinion but you can monitor it and respond.

Understanding what people are saying about you is really important. Firstly, it can alert you to valid complaints to help you improve your products and services. Secondly, it gives you the opportunity to interact with people online (eg. via social media) and react to what they are saying. It may be a matter of pointing out (gently) that what someone is saying is wrong or asking them to give you more detail so you can help resolve their problem.

Exactly how you respond to what people are saying online and the tone and language you use requires careful thought. It’s also just as important to interact with people who are being complimentary and supportive – it might just help turn them into a lifelong fan.

Out with the bad, in with the good

In extreme cases it may be necessary to try and get content taken down. For example, if something is inaccurate or even dangerous. This requires prompt action to communicate with whoever has published it in order to remove or correct it.

There will also be times when something you don’t like goes online but you have no grounds to remove it. In cases like this, a good PR and content strategy can fill the internet with positive articles and push the bad stuff further down the search rankings. It takes time and effort but you can get there eventually.

Get ahead of the game

Sometimes bad things happen. It’s a fact of life. When they do, it’s often better to break the news yourself and own it, rather than let someone else do it and lose control. It may even be possible to turn a bad situation to your advantage for extra publicity and even some sympathy.

If you’re facing a crisis, the worst thing you can do is cover it up. You can guarantee the news will get out somehow and trying to keep it quiet will only make it worse.

Be real

(No, not the social media platform)

The first rule of PR is that it is a lot easier to build someone’s reputation when it is based on reality. You can’t pretend to be a great brand that is doing good in the world unless this is actually true.

Think about your purpose. Perhaps there are specific actions you can take to be more sustainable or to support local causes or to look after your staff. If you are doing this in real life then this will naturally begin to enhance your reputation and give you lots of great opportunities for positive content and media coverage online.

We can help

At Platinum Live we work with people and brands all over the UK to help them build a great reputation.

Get in touch to find out how we can help. Drop us a message at






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