“Radically Transparent”: A Practical Guide to Online Reputation Management

"Radically Transparent: Monitoring and Managing Reputations Online," by Andy Beal and Dr. Judy Strauss, was recommended to me by several online friends who are involved in PR and marketing. It's a practical and comprehensive book that's designed to help individuals and businesses manage their reputations in a world in which the old rules no longer apply, thanks to the advent of the Internet.

The book begins by providing background on the importance of managing your company's reputation online and the potential consequences if you don't. It follows with practical instruction on using tools like social media and search engine optimization as ways to be proactive about managing your online reputation in order to achieve your business goals. The final section is about online monitoring of your reputation and managing an online reputation crisis.

The big emphasis in "Radically Transparent" is on being proactive in reputation management. The book's practical recommendations center around creating a positive reputation through the use of tools like social media and blogs, instead of waiting to respond to critics in a crisis where you would always be playing catch-up. The philosophy is that actively building and monitoring your reputation can actually prevent a crisis from happening.

Some of the book's sections (such as "The Power Of Blogs") may be somewhat basic for WebWorkerDaily readers, but in total "Radically Transparent" is a very practical and comprehensive textbook on the topic of online reputation management. It won't go over the heads of those who are inexperienced in the online marketing, but at the same time I believe even the most experienced online marketer will come away from "Radically Transparent" having picked up a few new tips and techniques.

If you work in marketing, this book would be a good recommendation for clients reluctant to implement online reputation management. For freelancers or small business owners, reading this book (and then sticking it on your bookshelf for references) will give you a great background in reputation and crisis management.

Although the book uses the stories of the online reputation problems of several large companies like Dell and JetBlue as examples, the lessons it contains aren't limited to large companies — the authors translate the such experiences to apply them to the management of an individual's reputation. Personal reputation management (or personal branding) is especially important to freelance web workers. Their online reputation is usually just as important as their off-line reputation.

In a way, the core message of the book is a slightly down one because it takes a somewhat fatalistic approach to the inherent negativity of the Internet. The core philosophy underlying the need for proactive reputation management is the assumption that it is "inevitable" that all of us will have our reputation attacked at some point. Unfortunately many of us can attest to the truth of that statement.

Interested in reading "Radically Transparent" for yourself? Chapter 1 is available for download as a PDF from the Radically Transparent web site.

Have you read "Radically Transparent"? Are you proactive about your reputation online?