How To Control (Correct) Rumors
Everyone in PR knows that you need to control rumors before they damage you or your business. You don’t always get the luxury of being able to squash, but you can always do your best to combat the false stories with the truth. Let me show you how to do it through a real-life example.
How about MINE?
First of all, let’s get the truth out there. I’m not ugly. I’m also not fat, old, or dumpy. I consider myself to be a Gen-Y, funky type of business owner. Young, energetic, full of great ideas, ambition, “piss & vinegar” (geez, that’s got to taste awful), and multi-talented, and yep, reasonably attractive. Well, since I was a dorky little kid with huge teeth and a gangly little body, I’ve wanted to be a model and/or actress in addition to being a fabulously successful pillar of strength. What awkward little girl didn’t?
Mid-2008 was the time I decided to see if I could. Mind you, I’m now 28. A little late to get into the modeling game, if you ask me… but I digress. I sat with a local agent to see if I even had a shot in the dark, and turns out, I do. She liked my look. She suggested I drop 10 lbs (I did) and get some photos taken (I did). I was then signed with a local agency, and have picked up a few paid gigs here and there.
Know why I’m doing it? BECAUSE I CAN. I don’t have children, a boss or a demanding schedule. What I DO have is a very understanding husband who thinks it’s good for my self-esteem and my self-fulfillment. I also have an awesome business (this one) that has a steady stream of consistent business (yep, even in this economy) that allows me to have a lot of flexibility in my schedule.
So where is the rumor control coming into play? HERE.
I’m starting to hear things through the grapevine about people thinking that I’m “going off in a different direction” and not doing marketing anymore. Ladies and gentlemen, let me tell you RIGHT NOW, that it is a crap-tastic assumption, and is completely wrong.
Contrastingly, the truth is that I’m enjoying the modeling/acting as a part-time endeavor that pays (well), and it is actually funneling more business to the agency. I’m one hell of a cross-marketer, and yes, I am marketing my über cheap $500 web site package and social media workshops to every model, designer, agent, actor or human (haha) that I come in contact with, and it’s providing a substantial amount of additional revenue for the agency. The agency is doing well, is still my #2 love in life (next to the hubby!).
So upon hearing this, I don my super hero cape and mask, and leap into action! I immediately start writing this fun lil blog post, start working my social networks, and get the word out there.
Now let’s say people continue to think I’m moving away from the agency, blah blah blah. It shouldn’t come to that, but let’s say it does. Here’s my plan of attack to combat the rumor mill and spread the truth.
- Leverage Social Networks <– This is where I am in the process
- Contact Clientele to Reassure Them
- Address BNI Group
- Send Blast to ALL Contacts
- Issue Press Release
- Contact Media for Interviews
- Renting a BillBoard <– OK, probably not – but you get the idea
And if none of that works, I can at least enjoy the fact that people are talking about my business, and apparently have that much confidence that I can be famous for my modeling/acting talents.
You should have a plan to combat things like this. People are genuinely interested in neat and DIFFERENT things that come into their fields of vision, so of course they’re talking about this. Hundreds of people know me in the Central MA area alone – for my work with the agency, my public speaking and my workshops. Hundreds more for personal reasons.
I’m not shocked this is happening, but it could have been prevented. Had I just announced it properly in the first place, I wouldn’t be facing this. But why didn’t I? Well, that’s a tricky one. I’ve always felt that models don’t have the greatest reputation, unfairly. Some people think that models are vapid oxygen theives with no brains, others think they’re really vain creatures that skulk around in expensive shoes, and yet others still think that they all slept their way to where they are. While there are instances of that (in every field, btw), much of that is based in jealousy. How do you tell people that you’re doing something that most others (usually women) only dream of, but never do? How do you tell people that you’re being financially rewarded for being beautiful – not something you earn, but a genetic spin of the wheel? Oh, AND you’re having a ball? The whole thing CAN be frought with jealous negativity. Remember: misery loves company.
In addition to all that, I am not an egotistical person, despite what people think, and am still shy to mention it to people that “HEY! I MODEL AND ACT!!” I have enough problems to deal with. I told a few people close to me, and those people told more people (apparently really happy for me!), and then it got back to my ears. The age old game of telephone, I guess.
I should have been more forthcoming with it, but I wasn’t. And here we are.
I hope you can find this helpful should you ever find yourself in a rumor-control pickle.
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Curious about my moonlighting? www.laurabriere.com
Thanks for your support, and of course, not buying into the BS.