Friday, October 9, 2009

The TIP Sheet: Bad Press Shouldn't Get Worse

Whether you're a small business owner, a rising actor, or a city councilperson, the thought of bad press can completely freak a person out. When individuals feel threatened by bad press, they want to defend themselves, even when they haven’t been accused of actual wrongdoing. Over-reacting and being overly defensive are the worst moves to make and prove an absence of control.

The closed mouth catches no feet. So when a media crisis happens, be as non-reactive as possible. Breathe, focus, assess, and take real control.

Ask three questions:
1. Has my reputation or career been misrepresented by a biased article?
2. Will this press threaten my business success and consumer base?
3. Is reaction, like an interview or public statement, truly necessary?

If the spotlight isn’t actually focused on you, keep it off. Don’t solicit interviews or issue a press release. Instead, prepare short concise responses to serve as statements to the media as needed. Share these responses with your employees (and I mean all your employees), family members, representatives and anyone else who could approached for a statement so that everyone knows what should and shouldn’t be said.

Respond to direct media inquiries as quickly and personally as possible. Keep the answers contained and don’t get too conversational or chatty. Maintain a cool head and strive to not let the situation go from bad to worse.

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