– AM:PM PR Guest Post
Sometimes things don’t always go to plan though and you get media attention for all the wrong reasons. Here’s how To deal with bad PR.
I have worked for a number of companies that have been very high profile for all the wrong reasons. The worst thing you can do when things go wrong is bury your head in the sand. Also, responding to a question with: “no comment!” makes you sound guilty straight away.
You need to be prepared. Develop a crisis/issues management plan. Think through every possible scenario and develop specific plans, messages and protocols for each. Doing this will make you feel a little more confident when a crisis does happen at 4pm on a Friday and media start calling asking for statements ASAP.
Include protocols for responding to media requests in your plan. Whoever takes calls from reporters should be writing down all the questions so the communications team can craft solid responses.
Often reporters will accept responses/statements via email. If they do, this is the way to go. It eliminates risks of saying too much. If you are asked to call the journalist back then, unless you know the journalist well, don’t go off on a tangent in your discussion. Keep it to the agreed points and don’t add any personal comment or feelings. The old adage about, “nothing being off the record” is very true.
A few more tips when preparing for the worst:
- Be truthful and hold your hands up if it is an obvious mistake.
- Don’t try and cover things up un-necessarily
- Remain calm and definitely don’t get angry
- Make statements clear and short
- When all has settled down, ask for feedback from the media