November 4, 2020
How to Bounce Back After Negative News Coverage

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Combating negative news coverage successfully must focus on positivity and that work begins long before bad news strikes.

Bad news happens and sometimes there’s nothing you can do to prevent it. Many companies face this uncomfortable truth, but the true test of an organization’s resolve (and longevity) is what they do after the dust settles and the crisis communications team has salvaged what they can of the company’s reputation. This is when you begin to rebuild, and the best way to bounce back after negative news coverage is with a public relations strategy focused on positivity.

Positive Public Relations Strategy to Combat Negative News Coverage

Humans are funny creatures. We yearn for positive reinforcement but thrive on negative news. We complain that newsrooms focus on the negative, but our mouse clicks and choices we make while scrolling through social media reveal that in truth, that’s the news we want. Negative news coverage tends to get more attention and that’s a serious problem when the focus of that negative news happens to be your company. The best way to combat negative news, however, is with a positive public relations strategy.

Communication theorists who study how people react to positive and negative comments will tell you that it could take up to ten positive comments to make up for a single negative comment. Now let’s apply that to your public relations strategy. If you get hit with one negative news story, yes, it could take up to ten positive news stories to get your company back to where it began. In reality, the math isn’t quite that simple, but you get the point. If you want to change the association someone has with your brand after hearing a negative news story, then you need to do your best to ensure they hear a lot of good. That goes double for your employees and key stakeholders who could easily become brand advocates for your recovery.

Don’t sit around waiting for good news to present itself, though. A positive public relations strategy means going out and looking for those good stories. It means highlighting all the good you are doing, have done or will do and make sure people hear about it. As we noted, one good story won’t wipe the slate clean for one negative news story when it comes to your reputation, but if you’re consistent, public relations can help repair the damage to your brand reputation over time.

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How Do I Get Something Removed from Google Search?

When negative news coverage goes big, it has a tendency to hang around in Google search results for a while… kind of like a festering wound. Sooner or later someone will ask the question, “how do I get something removed from Google search?” They’ll ask the IT department, unit managers and even their friends. In the end, though, it will come back to public relations. Sadly, the answer is rarely straightforward. 

Yes, there are technical SEO strategies you can employ to push an unwanted news story further down in the search results, but it’s still there and prone to pop back up when you least expect it. Google’s algorithm is based heavily on math and behavior. The more people that click and share that article and the more time they spend reading it tells Google that even more people will find that article to be relevant valuable content. It is therefore in Google’s best interest to serve the most valuable content to its users at the top of those search results. And let’s be honest, nothing gets more clicks than a juicy bit of negative news.

So how do you get something removed from Google search… for good? You need to fill those results with even more interesting, engaging and positive content. This is where your team has to put in the work. There’s no magic button to make that negative news coverage go away, but you can, over time, prove that it is less important and less valued by those engaging with your brand.

Incorporating Positivity Into Your Ongoing Public Relations Strategy

Positive stories about your company shouldn’t just serve as a Band-Aid to try and repair negative news coverage. Instead, positivity should be central to your public relations strategy. Instead of repairing damage, you should focus on building good faith and strong relationships with your audiences all of the time. In addition to helping build an incredible brand, this strategy also has another added benefit. Think of it as a vaccine. If you can build up enough highly engaging and positive news coverage over time before negative news hits (and it will at some point), the negative is less likely to stick around. 

That applies to your Google search results too. A bit of negative news coverage could still sneak up to page one for a day or a week, but if your body of positive coverage outweighs it as far as clicks, engagement and page authority, it’s less likely to stay there. In that way, the best way to bounce back from negative news coverage is to start long before that bad news strikes. And if you value collaborative, creative, forward-thinking communications and could use an outside perspective in crafting your company’s public relations strategy, the Ghidotti team is here to help.

McDonald’s

Marketing / Communications

We help one of the world’s best brands increase sales and guest counts through reputation management and content marketing that successfully maximizes paid media efforts.
 

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