“Online reputation management (or monitoring) is the practice of monitoring the Internet reputation of a person, brand or business, with the goal of suppressing negative mentions entirely, or pushing them lower on search engine results pages to decrease their visibility.” – Wikipedia
Since reputation management is a big part of what I do, I was intrigued when I got Ryan Deiss’ email promoting a new course called “RepMogul” from Ross Goldberg created under Ryan’s Infomastery umbrella. I’d gotten good results with other products from Ryan’s company like Kate Buck’s Let’s Get Social and had met Ross a few years ago at a seminar and knew he’d done some good things in the SEO world so I ordered a copy.
The idea behind the marketing is you can get paid $300 an hour erasing online graffiti. Do I believe that’s possible? Well, I’ve had a client happily pay $5,000 per month for reputation management and the demand for this service has only increased in the past few years. The question I had before seeing this course is if it was thorough enough to teach a beginner not only how to do the work but how to get clients.
After spending a few days going over all the material and the included software as well as having a few brief email conversations with Ross Goldberg, here’s my review:
The course is broken down into 8 modules accessed through a password protected website. Each module includes video, audio and handouts as well as other files which you’ll find below. The audios and handouts are downloadable, the videos aren’t. Within each module, you’ll get an overview video (and audio) along with a video labelled “Live” in which Ross gives you additional insights. He plans to update the Live files as needed to let us know about any new developments.
One thing I really liked about this course is that in all the videos where Ross is either showing you how to do something online or with software, you can clearly see what he’s doing onscreen. Many courses, including this one, use software called Camtasia to record the screen. In many online courses, it’s difficult if not impossible to clearly see what’s going on onscreen because the video is too blurry. In this course, you’ll be able to see all the details.
RepMogul Module 1: What is Reputation Management?
In this module, Ross gives you an overview of Reputation Management as well as providing multiple examples and case studies as well as demonstrating how you can build a business around providing this service either to global/national or local businesses. The included handout is simply the slides he uses in his Powerpoints presentation along with a space to take notes.
RepMogul Module 2: Understanding SEO
This module includes five videos totalling a little over 30 minutes, the PDF handout, a glossary of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) terms and a copy of Ross’ 318 page ebook, The Web Traffic Book, which is the digital version of the book he sells on Amazon. It’s a pretty comprehensive course on SEO and there’s a nice bonus included in the introduction from Eric Stafford with a free course on how to build a website quickly and affordably.
RepMogul Module 3: The RM Process
- Finding Leads
- Initial Research
- Client Sales Process
- Secondary Research
- Creating Content
- Distributing Content
- Reporting to Clients
He also breaks down the process for doing this for local clients.
In the “Live” video, he points out how social media managers and SEO companies can create an add-on package providing reputation management to their current clients. I was also very happy to see Ross spend time discussing the ethics involved in this business and how to avoid doing things which might get you (and your clients) into trouble. He also promises (and delivers) some low-cost methods to getting started in the business if you’re strapped for cash. Best of all, he shows you, in detail, how to outsource almost all the work and still be extremely profitable.
RepMogul Module 4: Getting Clients
With this module, Ross starts to get into the real ‘how-to’ portion of the course and you’ll want to take lots of notes. This module includes eight videos and runs about an hour. In the overview, he covers where to find clients, choosing the best candidates to work with and how to approach them. He claims getting clients is easy. I’ve heard this claim in a lot of courses but Ross makes a very good case for why it’s true with reputation management. He gets all his clients without doing any advertising and after watching this module, you’ll understand how you can do the same.
From there, Ross presents, as he will in several modules, methods for those that prefer to do it themselves and methods for those that prefer to outsource. Both are quite thorough and he covers clients like web based businesses, local businesses, brick and mortar stores, service based businesses as well as authors and consultants.
Next, Ross covers what to charge clients and he goes beyond what I’ve seen in other courses by providing you with a detailed formula to make sure you’re profitable. There’s also an Excel spreadsheet that you can use to quickly and easily calculate what your costs will be and provide you with a recommended minimum fee to charge your client.
Finally, you get a method you can use to help your clients prevent the types of problems that got them negative reviews in the first place so they don’t happen again.
RepMogul Module 5: Research and Content Creation
In this module, you get 6 videos as part of the overview, 5 videos for those that want to do all the work themselves and 2 videos for those that prefer the outsourcing route.
We also begin to get an appreciation for LinkBounder, the software that’s included with the course. Once I saw what it could do, I realized that the software alone was worth the cost of the course. I know that’s used frequently in sales letters but, in this case, it’s not hype. The software is pretty amazing.
When I first went through the how-to videos in this module, I found a few of them to be confusing because I felt like a step was skipped. However, once I went through modules 6 & 7, everything was crystal clear. So if you find yourself getting a little lost, stick with it. And I actually discussed this with Ross who told me he plans to update or add additional content as questions come up during the initial coaching calls.
RepMogul Module 6: Distribution
I won’t go into a lot of detail here because it won’t make sense until you’ve gone through the course but this is an essential part of the process and Ross’ methods are different from others I’ve seen. They’re also simpler and more effective, as you’ll see with his case studies.
In this module, you’ll also learn about four or five tools/websites that you’ll need to join. These sites could run you a few hundred dollars per month. However, you don’t need to join any of them until you have paying clients so that cost is passed on to the clients. In fact, in several modules of the course, Ross warns you not to sign up for these until you have clients. He also has wise recommendations on which are essential and which can be added as you get more income. And none of these are his products or services and there weren’t affiliate links.
RepMogul Module 7: Going Local
Ross lets you know that he prefers online clients to local clients and explains why that’s his personal choice. However, he’s got plenty of experience working with local clients and gives you a thorough understanding of the pros and cons of both types. What it comes down to is that local clients can be easier to get and make you feel a part of your community but they generally don’t pay as well because they usually can’t afford to spend more than $500 to $1000 per month. Also, local clients usually want more direct access to you since you’re in their city.
Still, he thoroughly covers what do to get and service these clients and, as I mentioned earlier, if you’re already working with local clients, this can be a great add-on service. Ultimately, it comes down to whether or not you enjoy a lot of client interaction and what type of income you’re seeking.
RepMogul Module 8: Managing and Growing Your Business
In this final module, Ross talks about how to manage your clients and, more importantly, manage their expectations. He covers billing, invoicing and reporting to clients. Also covered is hiring and managing employees if you go the outsource route. Finally, there are some cool strategies for handling the two biggest problems that clients bring up when hiring you. He also covers the basic steps to setting up your business the right way along with some good common-sense advice.
In addition to the training, you get the LinkBounder software which, as I mentioned earlier, is by itself, worth what you pay for the course. Here’s a screen shot to give you an idea of what it can do:
You also get a number of useful documents, charts and templates including:
- Additional Lead Sources
- Advertisement Template for New Employee
- Battle Plan Worksheet
- Checklists for both DIYers and OUtsourcers
- Checklist for Managing Clients
- Sample Reputation Management Contract
- Hiring Outsourcers Instructions
- Icebreakers for Getting New Clients
- Local Reputation Management Process Map
- Sample Menu of Services
- New Employee Instructions
- New Employee Interview Questions
- New Employee Test Task
- Outsourcing Lead Generation
- Press Release Example
- Press Release Template
- Postcard Template
- Reputation Management Process Map
- RSS Mashup
- Sample Client Evaluation
- Sample Invoice
- Web Traffic Book
- What to Charge Worksheet
- YouTube RSS Sneak
The main product, which includes all of the above, costs $94 (payable in two monthly payments of $47). I think this is, truly, a great deal given the amount of quality content and the Link Bounder software.
There is also a One-Time Offer for additional software for $297. I didn’t order it but probably would reconsider now that I’ve seen the main course but it was a one-time offer and I don’t see a way to order it later. After you’re presented with this 2nd offer, you’ll see an additional offer for a free trial which includes four weekly Q&A calls. Unless you cancel, you’ll be billed $39 a month after your first free month for ongoing coaching. I’d recommend taking them up on this offer. If you don’t feel like the first four calls provide value, you can always cancel before you’re billed. The calls are usually recorded in case you miss one or prefer to listen on your own schedule.
The way I see it, if you go through the course and start doing reputation management and have multiple clients paying you $500-$5000 per month, it seems worth it to spend $39 a month to be able to mastermind with Ross and the other participants once a week. If I feel differently after sitting in on some of the calls, I’ll come back and update this review.
I think this course provides tremendous value and, unlike many promises we’ve seen online, this one does provide the training you need to actually do the job as well as get clients. I like Ross Golberg’s training style and don’t think this will be too complicated for a beginner to do. You don’t need a sales letter or even a website to do this based on what Ross teaches you.
You will, as I point out in the review, need to spend money, but not until you actually have a paying client. You won’t need to spend money, beyond buying the course, to get started.
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