Combating Negative Coverage During a Crisis
Any company has the potential to face negative and harmful media coverage, and it’s important for businesses to know what to do during those times. Plenty of people believe that there’s no such thing as bad press, however, that’s not always the case.
Of course, there are times when companies can benefit no matter what’s being said about them publicly, because the people who hear those news stories are going to remember the name of that company. Nevertheless, in most cases, companies are always trying to get positive media coverage, which means they utilize proactive communication that includes their unique vision, strategy, products or services, results, successes, and more.
However, communicating with the target audience through media outlets isn’t the same as free publicity or direct communication, as that content is influenced by editorial freedom.
When companies start communicating with journalists and media outlets, they give them the chance to make their own judgments.
Then, when a product or a service doesn’t meet the journalist’s expectations, it could lead to negative media coverage, which can spiral into a PR crisis. Furthermore, negative media coverage can also happen out of the blue.
For instance, an investigative reporter might uncover something disheartening about a company, the company might be going through a separate crisis, or they could uncover past negative actions from someone involved with the company. Although these types of situations were very common in the past, it still happens now every once in a while and results in negative coverage.
Plenty of times when those situations happen, the company starts looking for the best way to reply to the public and the media outlet and clear things up.
However, that rarely benefits the relationship that companies have with their consumers, or even with the media outlet that’s involved. If there’s a news story about a company that’s negative yet accurate , the business shouldn’t react to the news, but have an explanation ready should it be necessary. Instead of reacting, the company should be working towards finding a solution and improving its product or service that landed the negative coverage in the first place.
In the type of case where a news story has misleading or inaccurate information, the companies should first provide the right information.
The next step is to take the opportunity to strengthen relationships with the media so that they’ll get a better idea of the company itself. Alternatively, if the negative news coverage stems from a biased piece of media or unfair reporting, it’s best to directly communicate with the relevant reporter or their outlet’s editor.
As with the last point, it’s also smart to transform bad coverage into something positive, such as by strengthening the relationship with a given outlet. And where possible, companies might request to review any media coverage of it before it’s released to the public.
Finally, no matter whether a company is receiving positive or negative media coverage, it’s best for businesses to create relationships with journalists long before they have a need for any coverage in the first place.
Ronn Torossian is the CEO and Founder of 5W Public Relations. 5W PR is a leading digital pr and influencer marketing agency.