OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen I was working on our book, The Reputation Gamewith my co-author, Peter Roper, we came to a conclusion – reputation is based on gossip!

If nobody is talking about you, you don’t have a reputation.  Of course, it is important that the gossip is positive if you want to have a good reputation.  If people are saying negative things then your good reputation is going to vanish in a puff of smoke.  So, if your reputation depends on people talking about you does that mean it’s out of your control?

Quite a few people have suggested that you can’t tell people what to say, so you can’t do anything about your reputation.  I don’t agree.

You can not only create the reputation you want, but you can take steps to protect your reputation and actively plan how it develops.

Your PLAN should include an outline of what you’d like people to know, think and say about you.

  • What do you want to be known for?  Your core skills and abilities?  Your USP?
  • Where do you want to be known?  Locally, nationally or internationally?
  • What kind of businesses do you want to be talking about you?
  • What kind of comments would you like to hear them making?

Like any other business plan, without a clear vision of what success looks like you’ll struggle to achieve anything you can measure.

The next step is to PROTECT your reputation.  This can include a number of activities:

  • Checking your privacy settings on the various online platforms where you are active are appropriate.  This is particularly important on your personal Facebook account; don’t forget that anyone you have befriended can post information that may appear in your timeline.
  • Googling your own name and that of your business to see what is already out there and making sure that anything negative is dealt with.
  • Taking control of any ‘blips’ in your business history that might come back to bite you.  If you are in control you don’t get into the situation where something has been hidden and then someone reveals it when you’re least expecting it, leaving you in a weak position if you have to respond rather than making the opening statement.

Step three is to PROMOTE your reputation, in other words, tell people what to gossip about!  Post plenty of information to get people talking:

  • Educational blogs
  • Testimonials telling people how happy your clients are
  • Free downloads that give people valuable information
  • Regular posts on your chosen platforms to keep your visibility high
  • Interaction in forums where your audience are found to demonstrate your expertise and help people

The more positive information that is out in the public domain, the more people will think and talk about you.

So ARE you a gossip?

Do you talk about other people and businesses that you know?

How often to you rave about people you rate to your network online and offline?

What gets your attention and makes you want to share information?

Don’t hold back, if your suppliers are doing a great job, tell people.  If someone wants a recommendation for a particular skill or type of business and you have that contact in your network make the connection.

One rule to follow:  If you hear something negative about someone, don’t gossip about it – go to the person it’s about and tell them what you’ve heard and ask them for their comments.  You’d rather someone told you if there is negative gossip about – it’s wise to give people the opportunity to defend their position, there are some poisonous tongues around.

If you gossip positively you’ll find the people you gossip about start to send you new connections.  Who says gossip is pointless?


If you’d like to find out more about reputation marketing please look on www.insidenews.co.uk.