Media Relations During a Scandal

If media relations is iffy during most of the year, during a scandal you have to handle everything with kid gloves. Suddenly every move you make becomes a big deal and even daring to show your face can be seen as a bold statement. Where you have a lot of freedom to work during “normal” times, when the crazy hits the fan you have to buckle down and be careful.

Ironically, you spend most of your time running a PR campaign trying to get the media’s attention. When a scandal breaks you suddenly want them to go away and leave you alone. You can’t win!

Is there a way to handle all the stress and unwanted attention and turn the experience into a positive?

Know Everything You Say and Do Matters

I mentioned it above, but it needs to be restated: literally everything you do has the potential to make a huge difference. On an average day going to the bank twice in a day means you left something at the office and had to go back. During a scandal it could mean you’re pulling all your funds and running to Tahiti!

It’s not fair, of course, but little in life is, especially when it comes to business. The only thing you can really do is be aware of the reality of your situation. Don’t let it keep you up all night as you’ll need your rest. However, try not to be completely shocked when a news story comes out that makes you say, “Oh, come on, really?”

The good thing about this is with forethought and planning you can slowly and surely change public opinion. Dropping off a bundle of excess clothes during normal times is an act of goodwill; doing so during troubled times could make people think you’re not an evil monster after all.

They Want to Hear From You

You may be spending a lot of your time actively avoiding giving any quotes to the media. But think of it like this: they want to hear from you.

Let me say it again: the media wants to hear from you. Since when is that a thing you had to deal with? Sure, it may be under bad circumstances. But if you think your business is bigger than the scandal (and hopefully you do), then you have a chance to make a big difference.

You’re probably under a lot of stress, and people know this. Even if their opinion is your company is an awful death trap they still realize as CEO or Head of PR you’re pulling your hair out.

So if you handle the situation with grace and dignity, it’s going to make your rise back to power that much sweeter. They’re expecting you to fail; if you manage to make it all work, you’ve got an extra boost to get back into the swing of things. Just make sure you have a plan so you’re not swinging wildly and make a mistake.

Do you have a plan for dealing with the media during a crisis?

This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (, the online leader in press release writing and distribution. Download the free whitepaper The Ultimate Guide to Pinterest here:

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