Dealing with Bad Publicity or Public Relations Nightmares

This article first ran in the July/August Issue of C47Houston News and Entertainment Magazine

Managing the news cycle when mistakes are discovered or the facts misrepresented
By Andy Valadez, Marketing Strategist of Marketing Dynamics

It has been said “There is no such thing as bad publicity.” However, no one wants to make the front page as a feature in the headlines in a negative light. Lately, there have been a few national headlines like Planned Parenthood expose, Ashley Madison (cheaters revealed), Trump and McCain (supposed veteran insult), Benghazi, iPhone Watch, border politics, police “abuse”, and many more.

Bad news is bad news and there is no easy way around it. It is best to have an operational plan in place before headlines, just in case. Have a strategy available to prepare your team.

Often times, the media may just plain get the story wrong and that is much easier to deal with before the story goes out into the public or afterwards.

Another danger is not having an understanding of managing communications that are offline or internal (some of the principles listed here may apply).

Ways to handle bad press:

  • Prepare a statement and get it out to the media correcting wrong information, details of your position, provide an appeal to give your team time to respond, etc.
  • Have one person or team to be responsible to answer internal communications and with the media.
  • Be aware of the legal and political environment when answering (you don’t want to create another problem with your response to the coverage).
  • Tell the truth, it will come out later and it is best to clear the air and answer honestly.
  • Make it right and resolve the issue or share a general plan with how you will do so.
  • Share the good news too.
  • Consider the source; there may be no need to respond.
  • Return your calls from the media and don’t say “No comment” (that creates more scrutiny from readers and viewers).
  • If you messed up, admit it (unless you have been advised by your legal team to maintain silence to build a proper defense).
  • Have an active media model in place so that you have a good relationship with the press.
  • Read the resulting coverage and determine if there is a need to clarify or update the press with further information.
  • And more!

Send me an e-mail about your media strategies by e-mail at or tweet me @StealthMarketer.

About Marketing Dynamics

Marketing Dynamics was founded by Andy Valadez, graduate of Texas A&M University with a BBA degree in Marketing and Tulane University (Applied Business Certificate). He is a former United States Marine (serving during Desert Storm/Shield).  Andy is an entrepreneur who enjoys advising his clients on how to capitalize on their opportunities by adopting best practices and principles in marketing, with a focus on strategy and tactical implementation. He is also trending producer on and community volunteer.  Marketing Dynamics serves these key sectors:  technology, broadcast, entertainment, publishing, sports, and start-ups. To learn more visit:

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