1. Find a Professional
Anyone can handle public relations. It doesn’t take anything more than a computer and Internet connection to type and send out a press release, or post an article somewhere. But to actually build an effective PR campaign that has a chance of changing public perception and shift the tides back against those trying to drag you down, you need a professional who has been in the game for a long time. In public relations, there is no substitute for experience. Having the connections and knowing what you are doing is vital because you don’t get two shots at a second chance.
You can’t delay when bad press breaks against you. Once people have developed an opinion of a person, company, product, or idea, they tend to hold fast to that interpretation, and not change their mind, out of fear of admitting they were wrong, or pride in their original assessment. The public hates admitting they were incorrect, so get to them before they can be imprinted. Time is always of the essence when handling spin on bad PR.
The communications world is a giant, vast landscape with so many pockets, holes, and pitfalls that you will never get penetration of a story into all of them. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. When bad news breaks, it breaks wide and far, and trying to combat that means getting the same positive press coverage into every corner that the negative press had exposure in. Getting a positive story on CBS after the negative press has broken on every network won’t get it done. Being torn down on Drudge Report, and responding with an article on Salon.com won’t reach the same people. It’s a tall order to get coverage on all the same sites, but that is how complete the counteroffensive has to be to start seeing signs of turning back the tide.