Shannon M. Wilkinson – Founder & CEO of Reputation Communications

Create a vision and organize your materials, ideas and resources to the best of your ability. Focus on it early every day, make it your priority.

Shannon M. Wilkinson is founder and CEO of Reputation Communications, a New York City-based company specializing in online reputation management for CEOs, executives and other professionals, VIPs and their organizations. She is a public speaker and media resource about the issue; blogs at You(Online), tweets @reputationnews and is a commentator for The Wall Street Journal’s “Crisis of the Week” column.

Where did the idea for Reputation Communications come from?

Reputation Communications evolved from a public relations consultancy I founded in New York City. Before high-ranking Internet became as prized a commodity as it is today, we had developed expertise in this area. In 2008 we began getting referrals to Wall Street investment firms that sought online reputation management assistance. Demand increased. In 2009, I exited my PR agency and incorporated as Reputation Communications.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

It starts at about 6 am. Over coffee, I scan “Page Six,” The New York Post’s gossip column, then The New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal. Because I live in New York City, a quick look is taken at The New Yorker and New York Magazine.
Monday mornings are devoted to a quick review of our financials, our Google Analytics and my master goals for the agency. From there, my work focuses on client relationships, their online Google search results and my agency’s team. Friday afternoons I save for one-on-one meetings with other entrepreneurs and interesting contacts in the business world.

How do you bring ideas to life?

With three steps: a vision, a goal and then the actions necessary to reach each goal. Adding a timetable to each action step ensures it gets accomplished.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and other social platforms increasing safeguards to help block hate speech.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I use a three-ring binder dedicated to my vision and strategic goals. It has sections for financials, budgets, and strategic plans, and concludes with inspiration: notes I keep from articles and books written by successful entrepreneurs. Reviewing it is part of my Monday morning routine.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t worry. Embrace change.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on?

The U.S. really needs to adapt the Google “Right to be Forgotten” law that has been enacted in some European countries. This law provides those citizens recourse to remove defamatory online content more readily than here in the U.S. Of course, any American version of Google’s “Right to be Forgotten” law should be adapted to the unique cultural and political values of our nation.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?


What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Publishing articles and a blog with helpful information about managing reputations in the digital age. I began several years ago with a blog, You(Online). That attracted the attention of media that sought to interview me: Consumer Reports and Banking New York were the first. Bravo TV, a large platform in the U.S., was the most recent. As a result of the interviews, I have become recognized as an expert in my field and a frequent commentator for The Wall Street Journal’s “Crisis of the Week” column.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Early on, forgoing a variety of clients for “whales:” large ones that are appealing but can be all-consuming. My initial focus on them resulted in the lack of development of a range of services serving a more well-balanced clientele. I overcame these challenges by acting upon the advice of a marketing consultant. Of all of his advice I found his suggestion to add consulting services to our offerings to be quite beneficial to our business. Now we provide consultations to a varied set of clients who have found them valuable in planning their Internet branding or reputation reboot strategy.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Create a personal branding service and workshops for high-school students. Include it in the cybersecurity and legal information they need to more effectively navigate the social media world.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

On a ticket to the Broadway musical “Hello, Dolly,” with Bette Midler….for a Wednesday afternoon matinee with a friend followed by tea (and wine) at a hip new British hotel in NYC.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

“Quickbooks” Online cuts financial management in half and our bookkeeper can access it offsite. It is a great resource.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

“The Power of Intention,” by Wayne Dwyer. It is about creating the future and situations you want by visualizing yourself surrounded by them. It also addresses the importance of not resisting reality. In business, this translates into being open and flexible…and being able to move fast on an idea, set back or opportunity.

What is your favorite quote?

“You and you alone create your future.”

Key learnings:

1. Go for clientele composed of varied organizations rather than devoting resources only to large ones.
2. In today’s online environment, it is quality content that best ensures long-term maintenance of a sound, accurate reputation under your control.
3. Despite the efforts of social media platforms to block hate speech, the need is even more pressing than ever for Americans to have recourse to remove false and defamatory online content about them.
4. The key to being a successful entrepreneur? Create a vision and organize your materials, ideas and resources to the best of your ability. Focus on it early every day: make it your priority.
5. Smell the roses every day! Take a break from your routine. Even if you don’t have $100 or have limited time, a short walk in a local park, a snack in a lovely setting or simply doing errands unrelated to work can lead the mind to innovative work solutions.


Shannon M. Wilkinson on LinkedIn:
Shannon M. Wilkinson on Twitter: @shannonnewyork
Reputationnews on Twitter:@reputationnews