How to handle bad publicity

How To Deal With Bad Publicity

Post was last updated: January 27, 2024
How to handle bad publicity
How to easily handle bad publicity

Hello, on this page you will find out exactly how to deal with bad publicity by minimizing the damage or even reversing the damage completely.

Must Do List

  1. Assess where there is potential for bad publicity within your business and do what you can to resolve issues before they become a problem. For example, by returning poor quality products to a supplier, introducing stricter health and safety procedures or dealing with unhappy staff.
  2. Be aware of the phenomenal speed at which information spreads, especially via social networking sites, and take quick action to counter bad news.
  3. Counteract inaccuracies. For example, if you are aware of a Twitter campaign against you, “tweet” your version of the story. Contact editors if incorrect information has been published, and use your own website and social media presence to dispel misconceptions.
  4. Be prepared to say you are sorry. This does not amount to an admission of guilt but will demonstrate that you take your responsibilities seriously. It can also defuse a situation before it gets out of hand.
  5. “No comments”, implies you are hiding something. Designate one person who is authorized to speak to journalists and ensure all of your staff knows that they should direct media enquiries to that person.
  6. Offer a written statement if appropriate. Ask what deadlines journalists face and try at least to offer a holding statement until a fuller explanation is ready.
  7. Understand the media’s need for a story. You may be able to deflect bad publicity by pointing out a bigger story elsewhere. You could also counterbalance bad publicity by pointing out, for example, how many satisfied customers you have.
  8. Review all incidents and consider ways you could have acted differently which would have led to a better outcome.
  9. Rebuild your firm’s reputation by generating good PR for example, through supporting charity or promoting positive news stories. Build relations with journalists, so if there is a “next time” they will have some prior understanding of you and your business.

Bad Publicity Must Follow Rules


  • act speedily to confront and counteract bad publicity
  • turn to experts such as lawyers and PR professionals when necessary
  • learn from your mistakes


  • ignore the power of individuals using social media to destroy reputations
  • be tempted to lie to journalists
  • assume it is best to keep a low profile after an incident
Walinase Mayuni
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