If you run a business or you are yourself a public figure, then you are going to find yourself in the spotlight. You will be covered by the media and the press and you will find that sometimes this coverage won’t go precisely the way you want it to.This can of course be harmful to your business: whether you’re not getting the amount of coverage and exposure that you need, or whether that exposure is negative in tone. The old adage ‘all publicity is good publicity’ actually does not hold up under scrutiny. So, the question is: what can you do to affect this? How can you control the press?
The first rule to understand – as many a fallen celebrity has discovered – is that there is no controlling the press. In fact, attempts to manipulate the press will often backfire. This can be met with resentment by journalists and reporters, which can create a backlash. Otherwise, it can come across as the company, brand or individual being disingenuous, manipulative or out of touch.
When the message you are putting out does not gel with the way you are perceived, this is always damaging. That is why the better response to bad PR is often to simply own it. You can make it into a joke, you can accept it as a limitation of your company. You can strive to do better.
With that said, there are also other ways you can gradually get the press ‘on your side’. Granting interviews and providing quotes and exclusives is a good way to get better press coverage for instance. If you are providing genuinely big news, then smart news outlets won’t want to burn their bridges and miss getting exclusives. Create a newsroom or blog and use this to put forward your side of the story. And consider hiring a PR specialist who can help you to predict how certain actions may be perceived.