The Feelings of the Online Reputation Management Repair Process
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An ex-client just wrote something negative about you online, and–yikes–it shows up on the first page of Google. “Holy…what the hell just happened?” is probably some first thoughts, along with that sinking feeling in your stomach. “Uh oh, now what…”
Having a ruined online reputation, being the victim of an online smear campaign, and seeing libelous information show up for all the world to see is…well, rage inducing.
It’s a Violation
It feels like a complete violation of yourself and your business. Its something that no one really talks about–the emotions of going through internet reputation management repair process. But there are a-plenty. So, go ahead and have them.
Feel the anger, the rage, the disappointment, the fear, the anxiety, the shame.
It could seem like the world is closing up, making it hard to breathe. Or you may just want to go to bed for a week or month until it’s all over. Or probably, its a combination of everything, all at once. In reality, it is very traumatic and it’s common to feel “shell shocked” while going through an online reputation repair.
Feel the Feelings
Usually, the first feeling is anger, or fear, or both. “How dare they write this?” Or, “What does this mean–will my practice dry up and what will happen to me?”
Next, you might feel resentment. “Why should I have to clean up this mess?” Or, “They have no right to do this.”
Then, maybe depression or the realization that this is a painfully long process that must be dealt with.
Along the way, there might be the thought of seething, simmering revenge, plotting ways to get back at them. “I’ll make them pay.”
Go through them all and don’t repress them. Cry, go to the gym, watch the sunset, take up boxing, eat chocolate, throw darts, swim in the ocean, rest.
Usually, when I meet a client for the first time, I listen. I hear their reputation problems, which is important, because my job is to solve them, but I hear all the emotions they are going through.
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What Some Go Through
One client, a woman in her late twenties, cried on the phone because of feeling violated and unsafe after articles began to appear about her supposedly cheating on a professional exam (this lead to anonymous Twitter threats, unfortunately). Another client, a lawyer in his forties, complained about an ex-partner who turned against him and wrote negative reviews, and this made him feel betrayed and angry. Another client in the non-profit sector, felt remorse about an interview he gave–but clearly negative article that resulted was not his fault.. An art dealer was out for revenge but felt devastated by comments an ex-client wrote about him.
Try to turn those feelings, after you’ve had them, into something positive, but don’t aim the rage at the author since this will only flame the fire further (while it’s tempting, don’t write back with anger, or spread negative things about them. This is bad “karma,” and importantly, nothing good will come from it.)
Then, Move On
After a day or a week, use that anger to fuel your resolve. “They can’t get over on me,” or, “I won’t give in.”
Online reputation management and repair is a hard process and it usually brings a full of a range of emotions and feelings. So be ready to have them, and then try to move on.
I, Steven W. Giovinco at Recover Reputation do understand, so if you’ve any questions, feel free to reach out.