Quick Tips – What to do when hit with negative comments or bad press

No-one wants it but in this social-sharing world, it is a very present reality for us all… Negative comments and press can happen – after all, occasionally things do go wrong. I like to think it’s how we deal with it that counts. Being on the lookout for negative comments in your search results is an essential part of being on the front foot. Here is a little checklist to keep on top of it.

1. Find the source

It’s common to think of the person who posted a negative comment as the point of origin – but really it goes further back than this. The first step is to consider the validity of the comment, and assess whether there is something you can improve. If so, consider posting a response acknowledging the criticism and explaining the steps you’ve taken. However, be careful not to get dragged into an extended argument online – keep it brief and polite.

2. Get in touch with the webmaster

If a response isn’t appropriate, or you feel a comment is malicious, try getting in touch with the host website and explaining your situation. Most sites are understanding about bad press, and building relationships with the people that run can really help in addressing these kinds of issues.

3. Create more content

Boosting your content marketing efforts helps to push bad press down the search rankings, and also gives you an outlet to help users and foster goodwill. All in all, it’s a great way of improving your image. Just be aware that the quality of content reflects on your business too.

4. Make sure good press is acknowledged

Some businesses shy away from acknowledging even positive comments they come across on the web, for fear of undermining its legitimacy in the eyes of more cynical users. However, linking positive content to your website is a great way of making it appear higher up the search rankings, and in turn overshadowing the more negative comments that might be out there.
With this approach you can suppress any negative content, and encourage a fair and balanced view of your business. The best way to keep an active track is to set up  Google alerts for your brand name, URL and maybe even the names of your key people, then Google takes over the time-consuming work for you.
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The Quick Tips series is intended as a 2 minute read on digital marketing things – from recent changes in the scene and how to accommodate them, to tips from other marketers we know.