7 Steps to Take When Bad News Goes Viral

When bad news goes viral you just want to crawl under a rock and die. Everyone has at least one moment in their lives that they wish they could do again. Unfortunately, life doesn’t come equipped with an “erase” button and those regrettable moments do not simply wind up on the editing room floor. They continue to exist in your memory – and, often, the memories of others. And, occasionally, they go viral – splashed across the internet for the entire world to see.

As tempting as it may be to change your name and move to a remote village in Outer Mongolia, the wiser option would be to fight back. A nightmare gone viral does not have to mark the death of your glowing online reputation. And you do not have to spend the rest of your existence hanging your head down in shame.

If you have opted for the paper bag to shield yourself from embarrassment, you are going to have to make a few minor alterations. Without them, things will only get worse – and yes, they can get worse.

Make Some Eyeholes

Turning a blind eye to negative comments or embarrassing moments can lead to even bigger disasters.  People may assume that they are true. Some may jump on board with their own damaging comments. And others may dismiss you as a coward. You must respond before anyone else has the chance to.

Cut Out A Mouth

You are going to need to address the problem because we have already learned that silence is not an option.  Here are a few steps that you will need to take:

  • Apologize – If you have done wrong, you need to admit it. The best way to win back public trust is to offer a sincere “I’m sorry” and take ownership of your mistake.
  • Fix it – You need to offer a resolution for the wrong that you have committed – whatever it may be. If your business has wronged a client, make it right. Find out what would make that customer happy and do it.  If your faux pas is of a personal nature, ensure the public that you find this behavior unacceptable and that you have taken steps to ensure that this will never happen again. And follow through with your promises because everyone will be watching to ensure that you do.
  • Share your story – If you have been wrongfully accused, you need to set the record straight. This means sharing your side of the story – particularly on the same forum through which the original accusation was launched. If possible, however, share your story on as many venues as possible.

Choose your words, carefully. You do not want to go on the attack, defame anyone, or use foul language. Simply be honest and share the facts in a respectful manner.

Poke Out Some Nostrils

Yes, the nose holes are handy for breathing, but they also serve an important purpose when combating bad press.

  • Sniff out good press. It’s extremely challenging to remove negative reviews from Google and other search engines, but don’t get discouraged. A great way to combat bad press is to highlight your good press. You need to encourage satisfied customers to post rave reviews regularly. One way to do this is to create special offers for people who leave a review at a specific link. If a viral attack is of a personal nature, friends and relatives can highlight your positive attributes.
  • Track future comments. In order to halt future negative press in its tracks, you will need to monitor your online reputation regularly. This will better enable you to respond immediately and better identify problem areas within your business.
  • Hunt down a pro. One of the best ways to win a battle is to enlist the help of an army of professionals. There are companies that are devoted to maintaining online reputations – including repairing severely damaged ones.

Encountering bad press about yourself or your business is a difficult thing, but when bad news goes viral, it can feel like the end of the world.  But don’t fret. You can fight back and restore your good name. By using the tips listed above, you will be able cancel that flight to Outer Mongolia – and finally shed that paper bag.

Image courtesy of photos.com

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