News Industry

How to Respond to Negative Press

responding to negative press

Online Presence Management is Key

This morning, we were notified of a blog post that was published yesterday that said our company gives poor advice to bloggers and citizen journalists, and that we said a lot of things that were untrue in our blog post.

Disclaimer: We are not going to mention names of who wrote the blog post, or provide a link to it, as a precaution. We do not want to provide additional reasons for these people to continue their work.

Although this is a new situation that's still developing, we're going to use this event as a lesson to help others that might end up in a similar situation, and provide guidance in how to respond to negative press or negative blog posts. We also want to note that this does not refer to a negative review on a site like Yelp or Angie's List, as that a different set of steps are required to handle that situation. This is a how-to regarding blog posts, articles, press releases etc. that could potentially harm your business and its reputation.

Step 1: Assess the Threat

Just because you can across one blog post, doesn't mean that it's the only one out there. Do a little research to find the extent of the press, and if possible, who is behind it. It could be one unhappy customer who has to let the world know of his/her bad experience. It could be a competitor who's using unethical tactics to get ahead. However, the threat could be much worse, such as a series of articles or websites about you, especially if they are found on top news sites or publications. Document what's out there and the extent of the damage.

Step 2: Ignore It if the Threat is Small

If it is one person, who in the long run poses no threat to your business i.e their opinion will be washed out or not considered a credible reflection of your company, then don't respond. Don't show this person that you've affected them, that his/her tactics are working, or any inkling that you could be guilty of anything. Instead, focus your efforts on doing the right thing, such as providing great product/service to customers and building a trustworthy brand. By doing the right thing, it'll be hard for a negative portrayal to have any solid standing.

Tip: Check on the threat from time to time, making sure the situation doesn't change. You don't want to ignore it only to be caught off guard later on.

Step 2.5: Come Clean if the Threat is Larger

Make sure to come clean in as many places as possible. Don't just post something on your blog or website, leaving your social media presence for others to control (which was exactly what happened to BP during the big oil spill). Take control of content and the message as best you can, in as many places as you can.

Tip: Be as respectful and diplomatic as possible. If the tone of the negative press is harsh or accusatory, then using a similar tone doesn't make you any better or different from the press of which you are defending.

Step 3: Be Honest

Yes, if you do have to address the threat, the whole thing does turn into a public relations campaign. Public relations may be all about spinning the situation to make you look good, but do that without lying. If your company is being accused of X, Y, and Z, then be honest on how your handling those allegations, or at least show that you are willing to give a statement or provide a comment, even if all you're saying is that you are doing to do your best to figure this out and to fix it. Show that you care and are taking responsibility.

Step 4: Boost Your Own Online Presence

The absolute best way to get ahead of a situation as this one is to boost your own online presence, and to make sure that your SEO and online reputation are solid enough so that a single blog post or incident doesn't ruin everything. You want to boost, and to continue to boost, your own online presence with blog posts, social media profiles, and other content that you create, optimize, and share with the world. Essentially, this ensures that everything that comes up in search results under your brand or company name is your own work, not the negative press. By consistently and successfully managing your online presence from the beginning, it'll be tough for others to destroy what you've taken months, maybe years, to build.

What Great Press Releases Can Do For Your Business

With all the buzz about content marketing and online marketing, a medium that's been missing from the discussion is press releases. I find this rather odd, since press releases are definitely an aspect of both online marketing and content marketing, and can accomplish things that blogs, white papers, and ebooks aren't really meant for.

One of the biggest things that press releases can accomplish that its provides an avenue for businesses to toot your own horn. Yes, with press releases, it's completely okay to talk about yourself and any good things you are doing, whether it's the launch of a new product, a new partnership, a new addition to the team. As long as its news, you can write about your and your business all you want. You can also easily distribute the press release across platforms such as, PRWeb, and PRLog.

If you're worried about search engine rankings and SEO, then publishing press releases on a regular basis is a good idea. Although the press releases aren't tied directly to your domain name, they do add visibility to your business if optimized appropriately. If you do weekly press releases optimizing the keyword "how to blog", for example, then those press releases are going to come up when people type in "how to blog." Hopefully, you've included contact information and a link or two in that press release, further boosting visibility.

There are lots of press releases going out each and every day. Not all of them are very newsworthy or even written very well. The point of press releases should be to increase visibility online in the search engines, not necessarily with other blogs or online publications. If you want visibility on those sites, then you need to get in touch with them directly. The people who handle the content for those sites aren't trolling press release sites for story leads, but they do appreciate it when press releases are sent to them directly. It's not guarantee, but it's more proactive then simply putting it on

If you'd like some help in getting press releases out for your company, then contact me today for a consultation.