Eight Tips on Dealing with PR Disasters

Eight Tips on Dealing with PR Disasters

One of the problems that most small business owners fear is a public relations nightmare. Sadly, this can happen to almost any business owner who is in the public eye in some way. You never know when a comment will go viral – and worse, when it will be misunderstood in some way. If you ever find yourself dealing with a PR disaster, you’ll want to try to implement these tips.

1. Don’t Ignore the Situation

You cannot avoid bad situations. If something is harming your businesses or your reputation, you need to confront it. Even if it’s true and you’re ashamed, you can often overcome the problem by being open and honest and then working to fix the problem. If it’s not true, you will only look guilty if you don’t get ahead of the story.

2. Don’t Think That Your Reputation Will Save You

Even if up until now you’ve had a spotless reputation, a particular type of PR situation can overshadow your reputation – even if it’s false. The only way to fix someone’s erroneous perception is to tackle it head on in the bright light of day.

3. Don’t Wait until the Situation Has Exploded to Deal with It

If you already know something might come out to the public that you don’t want to, don’t wait. It’s not going to help anyone. Do what you can to mitigate any situation before it explodes. If you didn’t know about it and it’s false, you still don’t want to let it keep proliferating without a response from you.

4. Be Sincere and Honest

If you did do something that was not true or it was misleading in some way (even if you didn’t realize it consciously), once your public finds out it’s time to come clean. So many social media stars could have kept their careers if only they had responded appropriately to being outed for their misleading information.

5. Don’t Avoid Communication with Affected Customers and Stakeholders

Remember that you have many stakeholders – from your partner, to your kids, to your employees, contractors, customers, and possibly investors depending on the type of business that you are running. Every one of them needs to have communication from you regarding the issue in the terms that they will understand best.

6. Document Everything

When something happens, if you document it, you can often avoid it happening again. Sometimes a breakdown in communication is responsible for the nightmare. Other times it’s trusting the wrong vendors. Whatever it is, if you go through what happened, you can identify the problems that got you here so that you can avoid them next time.

7. Plan for a Crisis

Take some time to consider the various issues that you can face in your line of work. Make a list of possibilities so that you can plan for any type of crisis that might happen. That way, you know what to do. Plus, by writing it down you will often avoid the problem to start with as you identify causes.

8. Don’t Act in a Defensive Manner

If you’re experiencing a PR disaster right now, try not to behave defensively. If you’ve done nothing wrong, explain yourself with confidence. If you have made a mistake, admit it openly and honestly without being angry that you were discovered or that someone pointed it out.

If you really want to avoid dealing with PR disasters, the best way to do it is to create a plan for your public persona for answering questions in a way that your audience responds positively to, while always being honest. If something goes down, take the blame for your poor communication and try to do better next time.

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Dealing with Poor Feedback

Dealing with Poor Feedback

The truth is, if you’re doing a lot of business, someday someone will provide negative or poor feedback to you. It’s bound to happen. In fact, if it never happens you may not be reaching as many people as you can with your solutions. Even though it hurts to get poor feedback, it can actually help your business grow.

Don’t Get Defensive

There is no doubt that negative feedback can be upsetting and demoralizing. However, it’s imperative that you put the feedback in the right context before you let yourself get defensive. Most of the time, a defensive posture happens because you believe the feedback.

Don’t Ignore It (with One Caveat)

When you get negative feedback, you shouldn’t ignore it – with one exception. If the feedback is a spammy attack, you’re best off just deleting it (if possible) or ignoring it. But if there is any validity to the complaint at all, even if it’s not correct, don’t ignore it. Instead, use the information to improve your process.

Avoid Online Verbal Wars

It’s tempting to attack people back when they dis you online in a forum or message board – or worse, on Twitter and Facebook. But the truth is, this is not going to solve anything. Respond kindly, giving them a way to deal with you in private to resolve the situation, and let others know where they can get help if they have the same issue too.

Deal with It as Privately as Possible

If you can take the discussion privately, that’s the best option. However, remember that today, private may not stay private. Pretend you’re in public even when you’re dealing with them in private so that you can avoid any more embarrassment.

Be Open, Honest, and Transparent

Even if you’re wrong, keep it real. You don’t want to be caught hiding information that is important if a complaint has been taken public. You’ll want to admit to mistakes, show how you’re going to fix it, and then move on.

Promote Positive Images of Your Business

Meanwhile, as you are dealing with the poor feedback and if it’s public, work toward getting out more positive information and content. Blog more about successes and show a more positive side of your business so that people who are noticing the issue will also see the good that you do.

Listen Carefully

Whenever someone has feedback for you, it’s essential that you listen very carefully. If someone is upset, they tend to get more emotional and use hurtful words and phrasing. Try to let that go and listen to the meaning of the words regarding the things you have power over. If it’s written, you can take out all the words from the complaint that aren’t useful so you can focus on fixing the real issue.

Be Open to Change

If poor feedback is a one-time thing, you may not need to change anything. But if you notice more than one person complaining about the same issue, be open to changing how you are doing something in order to improve.

Dealing with poor feedback might feel intimidating sometimes, but you can get through it if you have a plan in place before it happens. Consider the types of feedback that might hurt your business and then do everything you can to avoid it happening. And if it does happen, deal with it openly, honestly, and transparently as soon as possible.

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