Every startup and business should have a plan in place for dealing with negative press. You can even be prepared for dealing with negative comments from backers and bad customer reviews. This is all about being prepared and having a plan in place that your whole team can follow through with.
Your online presence is important – at least it is for most new businesses today. Even though many people believe there’s no such thing as bad press, new businesses are vulnerable. They need to be ready to remedy any sticky situations that come up quickly and effectively.
Flying off the handle and posting something even more negative online can make things even worse. If something like this just happened to you, take a moment to let your emotions calm down and keep reading to find out how you should proceed.
Here are a few tips for dealing with negative press or attention before, during, and after your crowdfunding campaign:
1) Be Adult About It
Responding to a negative comment from a backer, customer or journalist with profanity and indignation might just stir up even more problems. This kind of knee-jerk reaction makes you look immature and unprofessional, which means that they win.
Instead, take a few deep breaths. You don’t need to respond necessarily, but if you choose to make sure you are careful about what you say. Sometimes it’s better to be the bigger person and apologize instead of making a situation bigger than it should be.
That being said, you should stay true to yourself and your values. Don’t feel like you need to change your whole approach because one person doesn’t like it. Be willing to answer people’s questions and acknowledge when you have a difference of opinion with someone and let it go sometimes.
2) Don’t Give in to Trolls
Expanding on that last thought, sometimes the people who give creators of crowdfunding campaigns trouble online won’t even have much interest in your campaign. It’s sad to say of course, but some people don’t have anything better to do than try to make your life difficult.
These people really aren’t worth your time and effort. Responding to trolls just encourages their behavior. Ignoring trolls can get them all worked up. Eventually, people will notice how fake and disruptive they are or the troll will eventually lose interest and leave you alone.
3) Pay Close Attention to What is Said
Even though you shouldn’t give in to pettiness, arguments, and drama online, you should pay attention to negative feedback about your startup or business. Keep track of these types of comments and what they are saying to know how you can improve overall as a company.
One isolated incident might be nothing to worry about but repeated comments could indicate that something you are doing needs to change. These days, running a successful business means listening to what your ideal customer needs and wants.
4) Respond Respectfully and Embrace Change
If you realize that as a startup or business something has gone wrong, isn’t working, or you aren’t acting in your backer’s best interests, own up to it. An apology, honesty, and an effective resolution can go a long way in getting past these kinds of hurdles.
Running a successful business means striking a balance between staying true to yourself and what works but also being open to change and new opportunities. It also means admitting when things aren’t working.
The next step is acting to make the situation better and prove to the press, backers, and your fans that their negative opinions are wrong.
5) Stage a Comeback
There is no better way to recover from bad press than to generate a better, much more positive story for people to tell.
For example, a campaign has gotten very behind on shipping rewards. Backers have been leaving negative comments on social media and your campaign page, and bloggers are starting to write about your ‘disaster campaign’. What do you do?
Stage a comeback! Be honest with your backers about what went wrong and ask for their forgiveness. Try to find a cool and creative way to make it up to them until you can ship their rewards (make that as soon as possible). Maybe launch another campaign and make it your mission to deliver rewards early next time.
Whatever you do, don’t just disappear from the face of the earth. This kind of reaction will make you look guilty of whatever people are saying about you and be tough to come back from later on.
If you want to establish good press for your crowdfunding campaign, you can submit a free or paid press release on CrowdfundingPR.
Remember these tips for handling negative press if you run into trouble with the journalists, bloggers, fans, or the Internet over the course of your crowdfunding campaign. The key is to respond carefully, calmly, and creatively (and sometimes not to respond at all).
Most importantly, be honest and rise above drama. You will be fine. Every business, startup, and crowdfunding campaign gets negative comments from time to time. Whether or not you bounce back and change the narrative is all about how you handle the situation.
Feel free to leave any questions or comments below!