When PR goes bad…

Sarah Lee
0 minutes

Well the good news is — there is no such thing as bad publicity.

So, when the newspapers take your story and put a negative spin on it, don’t panic!

(Assuming you are one of the good guys and not doing anything naughty, that is.)

The papers love bad news more than good. That is a fact. It’s not going to change because that’s what we like to read about.

If you have just had your press release published — but they found a negative angle — then stay strong. And use the oxygen of publicity to make some noise.

This is not for the faint hearted so you need to be prepared to fight your corner and argue your case.

Here are some ways you can keep the story running and turn a negative to a positive, as long as you are prepared to take the flack:

  1. Comment in the online comments section with your company statement. Don’t be angry, confrontational or defensive, just calmly explain your position and clarify any misunderstanding.
  2. Contact a rival newspaper and offer an interview to take the story forward.
  3. Contact your local radio or TV station and offer an interview. But be VERY prepared to argue your case calmly and clearly. Write down the message you want to get across and prepare answers to any difficult questions.
  4. Make sure your key messages explain your position clearly
  5. Go to your customers and ask them for support — as case studies for your website, interviews with the press, testimonials, social media help
  6. Ask your suppliers for support.
  7. Write a blog about the negative article and put it in context. Publish on your social media channels.
  8. Forge partnerships with charities, lobbyists or campaigners that are against you so that you are in a stronger position going forward.

If it’s really bad — more than a case of a good story lost in translation — you may need to hire a PR agency. Some stories need years or experience to be able to handle.

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