Although every company tries to avoid it, there are times when bad press happens. It could be as a result of false stories being shared, or it could be due to a mistake or poor judgment on your part. Whatever the reason, knowing how to implement damage control is key.
For this reason, having an effective PR team on the ground—whether in-house or outsourced—is essential. This article offers some insights into effectively dealing with negative PR.
Decide on the best type of response
When a bad story comes out about your company, one of the first things you may want to do is panic. Although this is a natural response, it isn’t always the best one to take. Instead, one of the first things you should do is decide on the best response to take and do so as quickly as possible.
The response that you decide to take is heavily dependent on the type of bad story that you’re dealing with. If, for instance, a bad story is factually wrong, then you should respond differently than if it’s a matter of opinion.
Irrespective of which approach you take, you’re likely to need a press release or statement to control how the story develops. In addition, getting someone in your company or another spokesperson to answer any questions from the press in a calm and sensible manner should also help you get the right messages across and avoid more negative press.
Always be honest and upfront
An absolute must for dealing with negative PR is to be as honest as possible. This is especially key if you’re at fault. Owning and taking responsibility for your wrongdoings is key to avoid making the situation worse and losing the trust of existing and prospective customers, clients and employees. If, for instance, a client has had to contact The Compensation Experts because of an accident at your company, a public apology is most likely the best way to deal with it, as opposed to denying it or trying to brush it under the rug.
This apology could take the form of a social media message, video, or statement as mentioned above, and will likely go a long way in restoring your image. Beyond an apology, compensation and reviewing your policies to ensure it doesn’t happen again may also be necessary.
Create a positive message
Another key element of dealing with negative PR successfully is devising a positive message about your company. The purpose of this should be to redirect people’s focus to the positive aspects of your brand. You could, for example, start a new blog for your business to share positive information regarding the work you’re doing, as well as educate your audiences. The idea should be to write for your customers and create valuable content as a means of reassuring your audience that the negative press doesn’t represent your brand’s true values. You can also consider positive campaigns, social media content, and videos as well.
Learning to deal with both the good and bad that comes with being in the public eye is essential. You should always be prepared for the possibility of negative PR and have a contingency plan that will help you nip it in the bud as fast as possible.