Some say there’s no such thing as negative publicity, but most businesses on the receiving end of harsh coverage or public criticism would disagree.
The way you handle a negative story can make all the difference. Here’s how to respond without fanning the flames of a negative situation.
First, weigh your response. Don’t hide. In most cases, a failure to react will only validate the criticisms, so an appropriate response is usually advisable. Yet there are exceptions. If the accusation isn’t credible (a rumor or Internet troll), there’s no need to dignify it. In a high-stakes situation in which the facts aren’t yet clear, respond by saying so, and pledge to get to the truth as quickly as possible.
Don’t overreact. It’s easy to be emotional and use inflammatory or defensive language when attacked, especially if things get personal. Recently, a client drafted a lengthy post on his business site refuting “slanderous accusations” resulting from an intellectual property dispute. We convinced him that the post might raise more questions than it answered, particularly for customers with no knowledge of the situation. It pays to seek objective advice.