No matter how careful your company is, when it comes to the press surrounding your company, chances are at one point or another you will have to deal with negative press. This type of negative press can be relatively small or threat the future existence of your company. No matter how serious the negative press is, it is important that you know how to minimize the damage of this press before it completely ruins your organization's reputation.
Don't Pick Virtual Fights
If you are dealing with bad press, the Internet can seem like your worst enemy. Not only do you have bad stories coming from all different types of virtual media outlets, but that bad press can be spread on social media as well. To make matters worse, comments are typically left open on these scathing articles so that the public can respond. This can make it very tempting to comment on stories or to defend yourself against commenters who have negative things to say about your company. Do not respond to criticism negatively, don't insult others and don't try to pick fights. The best thing you can do is to leave these things alone. The only way to move forward from bad press is to apologize and look to the future or ignore the issue.
Listen to Others and Remember that Silence is Alright
When the public is commenting negatively on your company or the media is torching your brand, take a moment to listen to what these individuals are saying. It can seem like a PR nightmare, but bad press can also be a learning experience. This is ultimately feedback, and information you should use to perform better in the future. As you listen, remember that staying silent is okay. It is better to stay silent, until it is time to issue a public statement, or to ignore the issue altogether until it blows over, rather than make an emotional or angry comment and fueling the fire of bad press. One word of caution however -- do not stay silent for too long. This will make it look as though you are completely indifferent to the issue. You should address the complaints, but only after you have collected your thoughts.
Talk to Those Who Are Closest To You
While you may be staying silent in the public eye, it doesn't mean that you have to stay quiet with those closest to you. Clients, partners and staff members should be fully aware of what is going on. You need to get rid of any misconceptions, promote positivity and make sure that everyone on your team is on the same page when it comes to your company's current situation and what the press is saying.
Find a Spokesperson
When it is time to speak to the public, make sure you appoint a spokesperson that will be able to stay calm when talking to the media. They should be able to handle media questions, pressing comments and scrutiny while staying calm. If the media attention is particularly negative, then you may want to post a public comment on your company's website. This way the public is fully aware of what your stance is on the negative press you are receiving.
Start Finding Good Press
It may seem like an uphill battle, but if you want to minimize the damage of negative press, you need to start putting some positive press out into the market. Try to find positive angles and spin stories to be more positive wherever you can. You need to be on the good PR train and doing whatever you can to get some positive attention on your company, even if they are only small stories. The more you do this, the more you will counteract the negative press that is out about your business and the less damaging that negative press will be.
Keep these tips in mind for the future. While you will hopefully never have to deal with a serious issue regarding negative press, it is always important to be well-prepared to handle this type of press, should it ever impact your company in the future.