Dave Oates: Welcome again to another Public Relations Security videocast. I’m really thrilled that we were able to get Michael Caroff of Caroff Communications. Michael, thanks so much for the time. Good to see you. Give us a little bit of background on you.
Michael Caroff: Caroff Communications is a digital marketing agency that only focuses in two areas. Websites, everything to do with websites, and search engine optimization, which includes both organic SEO and paper click, the Google Ads. We’ve been doing both for 24 years.
Dave Oates: Well, and you’re also an accomplished guitar player. That sort of dovetailed, if I remember from history, into your digital marketer profession.
Michael Caroff: It did. As a musician I was able to secure a position for Fender Guitars, the biggest electric guitar company in the world. I started a magazine for them, and that’s what led me into the opportunity to build and market websites, as well as the background and ability to do it.
Dave Oates: I love stories where people sort of find what is their profession through, I’ll call it, unconventional means.
Michael Caroff: Unconventional would be a good description of it.
Dave Oates: How do negative stories, be it a blog post, be it a social media post, be it a news outlet, on a particular organization impact its search rankings?
Michael Caroff: The first thing you have to remember, and you probably know this I’m sure, is that as humans we are seven times more likely to spread negative news than we are positive news. So right there anything negative has a leg up on anything positive. Then, you add in the fact that there are so many channels to redistribute content. We’ve got aggregator sites that which automatically go out and find content and repost it. We’ve got people that have blogs, social media accounts, they’re on websites. There are so many ways that this negative content can get picked up and redistributed that going viral is sort of euphemistic way of saying it.
Dave Oates: How long does something like that stay as a, at best, annoyance and some points debilitating online for an organization?
Michael Caroff: In many cases, forever. First of all, many people don’t know this but content online never goes away. So, as long as there’s a reason, A, for it to stay top of the search engines and, B, nothing else replaces it it will stay there.
Dave Oates: So, that leads me to the follow-on question. Then, given the fact that you really can’t make it “go away,” which is what a lot of companies and organizations want to do, what is it from your standpoint that organizations can do to combat a negative posting?
Michael Caroff: Think of it like a bunch of floating toys in a pool. What you have to do is put other toys on top of the bad toys and push them down. They’re still there but they’re much harder to see and get to them.
Dave Oates: How is that done? Is that done through paper click, is that done through organic postings? How do you see it from your perspective?
Michael Caroff: It’s done through all of it. The important thing is what you’re trying to do is get any number of neither neutral or positive content pieces to rank in the search engines so that they get above the negative pieces, which eventually pushes them down.
Dave Oates: I guess, in those type of circumstances when organizations come talk to you who do you bring in to support that effort? Who else do you come in, resources wise, to support those kind of initiatives?
Michael Caroff: My first choice would be a crisis PR company for two reasons. One is that a crisis PR company is expert at creating an alternate narrative. A positive spin on the situation that has gone negative. There are so many ways to look at a situation that, that’s essentially possible to do. The second part is that when that crisis PR company creates that positive narrative they are creating new fresh content that we can then leverage by spreading it out, by rewriting it, by writing axillary pieces so that we can then begin to build an entire positive narrative that can push down the negative content.
Dave Oates: When you and I have worked before-hand with companies, and certainly refer each other in those lights, one of things that I like is the quickness by which you operate. I didn’t really ask you this question before in our prep but I’m curious as to what is the imperative when a negative piece is out there. How quickly should an organization get an initiative in place along those lines? Can they wait? Can they hold off on it? What is the-
Michael Caroff: There is no specific timeline. But, the quicker the better because the longer that negative press stays in place unopposed the better the chance that it will spread and own the search engine real estate. That’s what we’re both going for. The negative and the positive, is basically the real estate. So, once a negative piece has gotten entrenched it’s more difficult to dislodge it.
Dave Oates: Good words to live by. Tell people how to get ahold of you if they want to reach out.
Michael Caroff: The best way is the website, Caroff Communications, and the URL is just Caroff, C-A-R-O-F-F, dot com.
Dave Oates: Perfect. Michael, always a pleasure to talk to you.
Michael Caroff: David, it was great.