While not equally relevant to all people who work online, bad press can be crippling to a certain segment of the internet business world.
Many people who work online are content creators, or personalities whose livelihood is tied directly to the way in which they are perceived online. If this sounds like you, you can’t afford to have certain perceptions persist about you online. If you are concerned about this possibility, or you are currently losing business because of this or a related problem, here are some tips to make the situation right.
- Work Above the Fray. It is possible to be altogether too paranoid about how your brand is perceived online. Chances are that simply by producing better work, providing better service, or producing inspired results, you’ll overpower bad press that comes out about you. Another way to think about it is that no brand will have universally positive things said about it. If you want to figure out which bad press is worth worrying about, consider each instance in relation to your core brand values. What are the most fundamental principles that you business stands for? If you have a lot of people speaking out against the core quality of a product that you produce, for instance, this may actually be worth your time. But if you have some blogger smearing you for a TED Talk that you gave which rubbed them the wrong way, it’s better not to address the problem at all. In that latter case, online haters may actually mean that you are doing something worthwhile.
- Get Someone Else to Fight Your Battles. If there is legitimate bad press out there, which you want to suppress or contradict, it’s best not to get your hands dirty in the process. There are specific service providers who can show you how to bury negative news online without appearing to be petty or paranoid or irrational. The best brands do this all the time, and they do so without seeming like they are strongarming the opposition. It’s almost impossible to do this on your own, so if this is important to you, hire the pros and let them do what they do best.
- Pivot. If there is an aspect of your brand which just isn’t working, or is causing you a specific kind of conflict every time you perform it, why not pivot into something that works better? There are probably many aspects of the service you provide, some of which work better than others. Rather than constantly defending an aspect of your business which is troublesome, it may be worth your while to double down on the things that work.
If you spend long enough working hard online, someone somewhere is going to say bad things about you.
There may even be a whole bunch of people who say bad things about you. But take a lesson from Taylor Swift: shake it off and keep doing what you do. If you do what you do well, you’ll have more than enough people to sustain your business, without having to give too much time or energy to the haters.