Your organization’s good reputation is one of your most valuable assets; getting negative press can easily ruin your image and your business. Handling negative coverage properly is important in order to keep your good image, so take careful note of these five most common mistakes you must avoid:
1. Engaging in arguments with the people who wrote negative content
Sometimes negative publicity is totally unfair and started by competitors and bored people who just want to stir things up. If it’s a legitimate issue, you should address it and work to make it right. If it’s a groundless accusation, getting engaged with the person who started it will only make things worse and encourage his behavior.
2. Trying to make excuses for bad coverage
If you made a mistake, fabricating stories and excuses to cover it will only destroy your credibility. It’s better to admit your mistake publicly and explain it in a rational manner. Also, explain what you’re doing to correct it and to avoid similar errors in the future.
3. Trying to hide and wait it out
Pretending that nothing has happened and waiting for negative coverage to subside without doing anything will make things go from bad to worse. Posting an explanation on your website that details your side of the story will help curtail rumors and any further accusations.
4. Trying to hide bad publicity from your staff
Sooner or later your staff will learn about the negative coverage, and the situation may even start damaging rumors within the company. Staff should learn about negative press firsthand from you. Keep them informed and tell them how you’re handling the press crisis.
5. Refusing to speak to the media
Staying silent about your situation is not likely to solve your media crisis. Refusing to communicate with the press will allow your competitors to benefit from your silence. The best way to handle negativity in the press is to address media representatives with an honest press statement and explain things as clearly as possible.
Negative press can happen to any business, but it doesn’t have to ruin your company’s good name or your business along with it. Avoiding these common mistakes is your best bet for handling negative media coverage and saving your business.
For more tips and a step-by-step guide on best practices for maintaining your company’s good name, download Axia Public Relations’ reputation management e-book.