3 Strategies to Clear Up Negative Press
You have probably heard the expression “There is no such thing as negative press.” While there can be some merit to this saying—it’s good to have people talking about your company—it can also have a dark side. Negative press can definitely impact your business, and not in a good way.
In order to deal with negative press and come through this type of situation unscathed, please consider having the following strategies in place:
Be Prepared and Proactive
The best time to prepare for negative press is before it happens. Be proactive and take the time to write up a standard operating plan for handling negative press and publicity. Cover all angles in your plan, from Negative Nellies who blast your company on social media to a newspaper story that says something unflattering. Determine during a period of calm who will be the face of your company and speak with the media and post on social media. You can work with a public relations company if you have the funds in the budget or you can ask a trusted fellow business owner for advice and create the plan on your own.
Tell the Public the Truth
While you might want to ignore an untrue rumor about your company or other negative news story, some people may equate your silence as a confession of guilt. To prevent this from happening, it’s best to take the proverbial bull by the horns and address the negative stories and rumors by educating the public about the truth. A classic example of a company that took this approach is Amway; when the company realized that some people believed that it might be a pyramid scheme and were asking their friends “Is Amway a scam or not?” the company posted blogs and videos explaining its purpose and business model. This strategy not only helped the company provide consumers with correct information about how pyramid schemes operate but it provided reassurance that Amway does not operate this way.
If There Was a Mistake, Acknowledge It
If your company is actually in the wrong about something and there is at least a grain of truth to the negative press, it is best to address the mistake. Instead of going on the defensive on social media and the press, acknowledge the error, apologize genuinely, and assure the public that you have already begun to take the steps to make things right. This approach can be especially useful on social media, where negative reviews can take off like wildfire. Instead of letting the comments build up, step in and offer to fix the problem and/or refund the customer’s money. Also, in order to take the negative review offline, ask the customer to please reach out to you directly and leave a phone number or encourage him or her to private message you on the social media site.
Take a Deep Breath—You Will Get Through This
It is always rough to hear or read negative press about your company. But by creating a plan as soon as possible to deal with these situations, using these occasions as a learning opportunity for the public and—when it is justified—apologizing for any errors and making things right, your company will emerge from negative press issues stronger than ever.