It’s no secret that when it comes to search engines that celebrity searches bring in a lot of queries and a lot of traffic. Many SEOs have spent countless hours building landing pages and optimized sites to capture some of this traffic. What they are ultimately selling really depends on the marketer. Some of these sites sell related ringtones since it fits the same demographic. Others sell movies and albums that the celebrity may have been involved in. While others’ intentions might be a little more crude.
You see, when it comes to celebrities, the age old saying reigns true more than ever: sex sells. This is evidenced with the types of searches that users are looking for. For example, take any celebrity name and simply add “nude” to the end of it and you’ll be surprised by the amount of results (not to mention the varying difference between those results). This is a sad reality of the internet. Well, sad for some, maybe not for others.
The fact that millions of users are searching for nude (and other variations of the type) celebrities is a daunting nightmare for PR agencies and image consultants. If you are a Hollywood agent, keeping your talent’s bits and pieces under wraps is simply protecting your investment. It’s often said that when a Hollywood starlet gives the press a little eyeful that that actress’ career is now officially on the decline. “Jumped the Shark“, as they say. Maybe they have run out of ideas or feel they have nothing else to offer. Public nudity is often associated with a desperate attempt to save a career by working the gossip buzz machine. Think Brittney, Tara Reid, Lindsay Lohan, and to some extent Halle Berry.
When Posing Nude Makes Perfect Business Sense
Let’s say you’re a rising star on a TV show that started as a cult following but has grown into a primetime phenomenon. You’re being booked for talk show circuits, special appearances, photoshoots, and other press sightings. You’re starting to pick up small movie roles and your agent is trying to help you decide what your first feature role will be. You’re very much on the way to becoming a supa-stah!
But fame and stardom comes with a price. Paparazzi are starting to follow you everywhere. You and your manager worry about a photographer being at the wrong place at the wrong time, just to snap an image that will make him thousands of dollars on the tabloid market. You want to be sexy for your fans, but you don’t want the horror of waking up one morning to find your name and picture on page three.
So what do you do?
If you’re Jenna Fischer, you beat the paparazzi at their own game. A few months ago Jenna posed nude for the cover shoot of Wired Magazine, one of the most popular technology and culture magazines in the country. Yes, nude!
This was for an edition of the magazine that focused on transparency in the media and corporate America. What better way to precursor the opinions associated with transparency than by being naked?
Obviously, Jenna had full control of the terms in which she appeared “transparent”. She remained adequately covered to protect her image and her photo was safe for family viewing. This also helped keep a common workplace magazine from being labeled NSFW (Not Safe For Work – a term used when sending potentially inappropriate website links to others during office hours).
What happened next is truly remarkable.
Thousands of bloggers and celeb columnists wrote about Jenna’s photoshoot using titles crafted to generate attention from readers. Titles such as “Jenna Fischer Naked!” and “Jenna Fischer Nude!”. Ironic how the most effective titles are little more than a few keywords, isn’t it? Those article titles then started appearing in the search indexes, often with an associated picture of the event. Searches for “Jenna Fischer nude” and “Jenna Fischer naked” started getting hundreds of thousands of potential result listings. And 99.9% of those result listings would take the user to a page with a picture of Jenna’s controlled photo shoot or some geek blogging about the coolest magazine cover ever. Perhaps not exactly what the user expected, but it was exactly relevant to their search.
What was potentially a reputation nightmare was now a image consultants dream come true!
Nudity Isn’t Just For Hollywood
Another example of using this level of reputation management and transparency comes from the corporate world. Vanessa Fox, once a director for Google’s webmaster tools teams who is now working for Zillow, was fairly popular in search engine and webmaster circles. Someone noticed that one SEO was ranking within Google for her nude name and clued her in. There weren’t any pictures, just a link and a short paragraph. It was just enough for the search engines to grab hold of.
So she played along and went off and took it a step further. She registered VanessaFoxNude.com. Vanessa didn’t post any pictures that one might expect to see on such a domain, but rather offered a personal blog of her own thoughts and opinions. She explains a little more on her about page.
Now she has the number one ranking for the term Vanessa Fox Nude. Since most searchers for that term will end up on her domain, she has the ability to control the content they will see.
Basics of Reputation Management
There are two elements to effective reputation management. The first is the preemptive strike. By creating a solid reputation that you have full control over BEFORE any potential brand damage happens, you have the ability to maintain your message during the reputation crisis and will be able to manage the crisis on all fronts.
The second element is to take prompt and immediate action. If you are facing a reputation crisis don’t wait for the outcome. Strike now and strike hard. Your response needs to be twice as powerful as what they are throwing at you. The sooner our respond, the minimal your damage may be.
In my eyes, both Jenna and Vanessa are a perfect 10 when it comes to reputation management. Well done, Ladies!
- Today is Day 20 out of 30 for My Own Thirty Day Challenge.