Gossip Drama Soup: Resources For Reputations
Hopefully? None of us will find ourselves front and center in our own editions of Gossip Drama Soup, but it can happen to anyone, even when the water isn’t ethically or morally murky.
All it takes is one determined, disgruntled customer, a former employee or ex lover with an axe to grind, a crazy neighbor who doesn’t like the color you painted your house, or a frustrated family member, and voila! The rumors start, then turn to smears, and pretty soon your reputation is being hammered.
So what do you do when someone takes aim at you and your business? I thought some resources might come in handy, and give us something productive to talk about.
Grabbing The 3rd Rail:
10 Ways To Handle A Smear Campaign
This was actually the last resource I found, but it seemed so relevant that I decided to list it first. It’s written for academics whose reputations are under-fire for unpopular positions, but the advice given is just as applicable to journalists, bloggers, and anyone who deals with (sometimes unexpectedly) controversial topics. Here are a few of the paraphrased points that ring true with my past experience:
- Don’t try to tackle all of the accusations
- You need allies – but don’t be surprised if they don’t all support you publically.
- The better your arguments are, the nastier the attacks.
So go. Read. And let’s discuss this one in the comments.
(Thank you, Professor Walt, for making this available)
Who To Trust
I love this video clip from the mahvelous Pace Smith; it’s about how to discover who we should be trusting in the first place. Her advice probably won’t help much if you’re already in the soup, but applying it carefully to potential associates might keep you out of the pot in the first place.
Fair or not, we’re often judged by the company we keep, and nothing’s worse than seeing your own business reputation be trashed because of an associate with skeletons that keep falling out of their baggage.
One warning, though… the intro song (sung by the equally mahvelous Kyeli Smith, I believe) has been stuck in my head for days now. It’s strangely addictive.
Nicole Fende on
This past week, Nicole’s BlogTalkRadio show took a brief detour from her usual finance/profit focus to talk about smear campaigns, how they can affect your bottom line, and what to do about it.
Yes, she gives me a shout-out. No, that’s not why I linked to it. Truth is? Her infectious laugh is the only known cure for the “Pace Explains” earworm of a theme song, so I link to her often. (Plus, she’s damn savvy)
Professional Reputation Management
I’d never run across a company like Rexxfield before, but their stated focus is protecting online reputations. The founder, Michael Roberts, was the victim of an (apparently ongoing) smear campaign, giving him some unique insights and experience. Even if you can’t afford to hire his firm, there’s some really interesting information there that’s worth a bookmark, like this one:
The site points out that they don’t do “spin”, and clarify the difference between “victims of others”, and “victims of self”, recommending that those who have put themselves in the hotseat with their mistakes would do well to hire a publicist.
Hiring a publicist is something many solopreneurs and microbusinesses probably wouldn’t think of – but it’s just another layer of doing business, and it’s something we should be aware of, in case we ever truly need their help.
Anyone have recommendations of publicists we could talk to?
On AmEx Open Forum
And I found some interesting points about protecting your small business reputation here, on the AmEx Open forum:
It’s A Lot Of Material.
I don’t expect you (or me, or anyone) to read all of it, much less retain it or sit down to plot a full on strategy for what we’d do in any given situation.
But by familiarizing ourselves with the information, we increase our business savvy. We’ll know that if something like this happens to us (deserved or not) there are resources – both information resources, and service providers that can help.
And being armed with that knowledge? We’ll be a little less scared, and a lot more confident.