How do you deal with negative press when it threatens to do you damage?
I am writing this blog post with the permission of a client, on the understanding that they remain anonymous.
I was recommended to my client as they had been trying to deal with issues surrounding negative press, but were unsure how to deal with it and had unwittingly, made the problem worse. What could be worse than negative press you ask? Well, how about sites you have approached then writing blog posts about how you tried to buy their silence by offering to pay for the removal of said negative posts?
The back story here is that my client is not exactly a household name, but in their field, are very well known. The sit in a market where the spend is somewhere in the region of £3 billion annually. This appeared to start from a disgruntled customer feeling as though they had been taken for a ride about 18 months ago and ‘this hadn’t been handled particularly well’ (my clients words, not mine). The result was that the story was then told on a forum, which gathered pace and eventually fizzled out, but not before it had been picked up by others in the industry (competitors and potential customers), who would post on blogs and forums naming the client and linking through to the original article using their name and the word “scam”.
How to approach negative press
The primary golden rule is you absolutely must never offer to pay for a link to be taken down. This can come back and bite you very hard and cause you even more of a headache than you want. Remember, the damage has already been done, so don’t make it worse.
Think of press burial as something that can only really be moved away, and when you are talking about it being found in Google, all you can do it increase other activities in order to drop those of a negative nature, and there are many ways of achieving this.
This was approached by first identifying all of the negative search phrases and then purchasing domains to match these. In this case, there were only 2 primary phrases being used, so exact match domains were purchased. This gave the client a front on which they could explain their story unhindered.
We also registered a HubPages account, a Squidoo page, WordPress blog, Blogger page, Tumblr account and a number of others, and started to populate them with content. There was also a great training video that had been hanging around and doing nothing, so this was uploaded to YouTube and optimised.
While content was being written for the sites and blogs, we needed a good supply of great content to be posted on different article publishing websites. 40 pieces of content were written and submitted over the course of a few weeks.
Results are looking good!
Skip forwards 8 weeks and 9 of the 10 results on Google were controlled by us, much to the delight of the client. This is how it looked for one of the negative phrases:
- EMD 1
- YouTube Video
- [not our site]
- Main Website (internal page)
- EMD 2
The idea of burying any negative press, is to try and take control of the landing pages of as many negative phrases as you have been hit for. You never truly remove the negative pages, but the less people that see them, the more they will diminish over time – especially if you continue with the burial process and carry on writing great content and having it seeded around.