Dealing with bad press. What to do

This happens day in, day out – to people from all over the world. So how should you deal with a negative article in the press? Once again, online reputation management techniques will ensure you keep a clean profile.

Some might say that all press is good press, well, that isn’t always the case. If you have been convicted of a crime and ended up doing time for it, this is hardly going to cast a glowing light over you.

So here are some tips that should help you start to make a positive impact.

Never start arguments

This should be a given, but there are always people who feel they have been hard done to by the press and are featuring on news websites. They exacerbate this by then going after everyone who says that they deserve it or that they should have know better, etc.,

The fact is here, you almost always need to eat some humble pie and get the masses back on side.

Two scenarios:

“Oh, he’s sorry. Look, he’s issued an apology and trying to right his wrong”, or…

“He doesn’t care! He’s trying to argue his reasons, even though it has been proven he shouldn’t have done it in the first place”

Which one do you think is going to help this blow over? This isn’t a time for trying to be clever or to prove a point – it is to stop matters getting worse.

Never try and buy your way out (bribe)

Another obvious one, but still happens. Perhaps not in the press (I dunno – maybe it does…), but certainly on some websites.

I have worked with clients who have made a bad situation worse by offering to pay for a bad review to be removed, but then the site go and publish the fact that they wanted to pay their way out or pay for a retraction.

This rarely works and is always going to be a gamble. Perhaps it might work, but you are taking one hell of a risk.

Be careful shifting the blame

If you have done something and been caught, don’t then try and say it was someone else. Most people will recognise this for what it is, making the situation a thousand times worse.

No-one likes a “it wasn’t me, it was him” disagreement. They tend to sound petty and can sully another aspect of a reputation.

However, if it were wrongly accused of something and can show it, that’s a different matter. This is a decision for you to make, so get out your moral compass and decide what you should do.

Haters gonna hate

It is absolutely OK to walk away from people who are determined to pick a fight for no real reason. This does two things:

  1. Infuriates them
  2. Make others question their claims

Eventually, these people will stop and move on to try and pick a fight with someone else. In the meantime, anyone else watching them become increasingly annoyed will question how realistic they were being in the first place.

But once again, if someone has a genuine grievance, deal with it correctly.

Is it factually correct?

This is how law suits come about – the press report something incorrect which means that the person having to deal with the issues can be caused a lot of undue stress and anxiety.

Never sit back and accept something if they absolutely have it wrong.

Take the recent case with Cliff Richard. His privacy was breached and had his name associated with something pretty horrific. No way was he ever going to leave this to just sit there – he did the right thing and had it corrected, albeit through a court of law.

The point here is that you should also correct anything that is wrong.

Don’t be afraid to apologise

There is nothing wrong with apologising. If you have done something wrong, go cap in hand with an apology or statement that can be issued. This is normally better than doing nothing, but it all depends what it is – and one of the reasons people seek advice from a reputation management expert.

It shows a level of acceptance if you know you have done wrong. This often heads of additional issues before they arise and can sometimes stop a minor indiscretion turning into a big deal.

Start a positive press campaign ASAP

OK, so something bad has happened – do you just leave it there or do you try to counter it with something else?

Positive press is probably the best way to fix a negative press issue. Once the dust has settled, it’s time to begin building that reputation again through a wide range of content that is going to drown it out.

This can be anything from news articles to social media activity – anything that is going to help drop the negative press past the 1st page of Google.

No-one likes anything bad being printed about them anywhere – but there are always ways to correct it.