Q. My company just received negative press in a major media outlet. Should I put out my own press release stating my side of the story or stay quiet?
The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
1. Stay Quiet, and Wait It Out
Negative press happens even when you do great work. Instead of playing into the hands of trolls, just keep quiet and stay above the fray. If the story builds and becomes viral, then yes, maybe you should think about providing a response. Otherwise, focus on just doing good work; this is the best way to get great press in the future.
- Eric Bahn, Webflow
2. Share Your Side of the Story
You should respond, but don’t be defensive. If the press release makes valid points, express what your company is doing to rectify the situation. If the press release is inaccurate, respectfully clear the record, and offer your side of the story.
- Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance
3. See Past Any Negativity
It’s important to respond, but also to rise above the negativity. If there is an issue with how your company performed, address it. Never resort to personal attacks or negativity. Address the issue, and stay positive. Never attack the individuals involved. Remember that you will be judged as much for your reaction as for the initial issue. Always maintain your personal integrity.
- Mitch Gordon, Go Overseas
4. Get Professional Help
Professional PR specialists will help you to not only answer it, but also help to bury that negative press on search as quickly as possible. Definitely be proactive, and tell your side of the story as well.
- Andrew Howlett, Rain
5. Refrain From Using a Press Release
Sending a press release is not the answer; it could come across as defensive or desperate, and it also highlights the bad press. Instead, reach out to one trusted member of the media, and ask to tell your story from your point of view. Once the new story hits, share it as many places as possible, and leverage it for more press to help bury the old story in search engines.
- Brittany Hodak, ZinePak
6. Defend Your Name
You must always defend your name. Not only should you write your own press release, but you should also contact the author. First, write a personal letter explaining why you don’t find the press to be factual, and ask them to amend it. If you get no results, consider suing for defamation. Once people know they can walk over you, they will turn you into a bridge!
- Gideon Kimbrell, InList Inc
7. Don’t Pretend It’s Not There
Address in a non-reactive way. If there is ANYTHING in the negative press that rings a little true, own it and share what you are doing to fix it. Do not directly attack the story / reporter. If there are incorrect facts, absolutely state the truth and back it up but avoid any passive aggressive or defensive comments. Make sure that you have a lot of great content and positive press to counter.
- Christine Hassler, Twenty Something, Twenty Everything
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