Public relations (PR) has always been an important business concept, but the Internet gave it a brand new boost and revealed the dark side of this phenomenon. Many entrepreneurs, industry leaders, and senior managers still don’t understand the power of the so-called Black PR, but they certainly should, because it’s becoming a critical tool in their competitors’ arsenals.
What is Black PR? What can you expect from it and how can you deal with this problem? Keep reading our post if you want to find out answers to these questions.
What is Black PR?
If you want to solve the problem successfully, you need to understand it in its entirety. That is exactly why we begin by explaining the very concept of Black PR.
By definition, Black Public Relations, also known as Dark PR, is the pre-meditated attempt of destroying a competitor’s reputation. The goal of this PR practice is not to focus on your own advantages but rather to highlight or lie about competitors’ shortcomings. In doing so, Black PR activists make their brands or companies look better compared to the closest industry rivals.
Who are the most common targets of Black PR?
The list of options is almost countless, but negative PR is frequent among politicians, business professionals, startup founders, CEOs, and similar. Of course, you can notice tons of PR campaigns aimed toward popular activists and opinion leaders.
However, anyone can become a target of Black PR, because the Internet is packed with all sorts of personal websites, social media accounts, business directories, professional communities, and other resources about people and organizations.
Namely, every user is looking for information online. For instance, a student who wants someone to write their essay cheap will probably try to buy the assignment and find the best essay writing service for this purpose. The same logic applies to all other situations and numerous studies prove this point.
According to the report, two-thirds of consumers trust search engine results (e.g. Google) the most when looking for news or information. At the same time, 60% of consumers say negative reviews turn them away.
There are many other reports that show the impact of Black PR on online reputation and branding, but it is time to move on to the next chapter and discuss the goals of negative PR campaigns.
Objectives and techniques of Black PR
We already explained the essence of Black PR, but it is necessary to mention its main goals, objectives, and techniques. It can have one or more purposes at the same time, but the most common Black PR tactics include the following features:
Publishing false or misleading information about competitors
The first and by far the most popular technique among Black PR activists is to publish false or misleading information about their competitors. In the world where almost every customer is conducting online researches to learn more about people and organizations, false information can cause huge damage and jeopardize the functioning of entire businesses.
Publishing negative product reviews
Another common Black PR solution is to spread negative reviews about products or services. That way, you don’t directly attack the opponent but rather go for his/her latest or best-selling items. The purpose of this tactic is to influence public opinion and reduce competitors’ sales figures long-term.
Announcing classified documents
This method of Black PR mostly comes from the inside, when current or former employees publish internal files and documents to harm the employer. It’s often not so easy to identify the initiator, so be careful when it comes to your candidate selection strategy.
Complaining about customer service
Customer service is a quintessential segment of modern business. From professional college essay writers to online retail stores, everybody is trying to indulge potential buyers and improve the consumer experience. In such circumstances, even the smallest remarks can undermine business and cause a lack of trust among customers.
Running public campaigns against competitors
This tactic is not too common in the business world, but it is widespread among parties and politicians who are trying to win over new supporters.
Mixing multiple tactics simultaneously
Black PR is not restricted to one mechanism only. On the contrary, campaign initiators can combine multiple tactics simultaneously and maximize the effect of Black PR.
How to deal with Black PR
Now you understand the threats of Black PR, but do you know how to cope with it? There is no magic formula to help you with that, but you can use several strategies to fight off negative campaigns. We selected the five most efficient tactics for you:
The first rule is fairly simple – you need to stay calm and avoid panic reactions. Jake Gardner, an essay service professional, claims that answering rumors and negative comments too emotionally will only get you so far: “Therefore, make sure to play it cleverly and create a comprehensive crisis management plan to prevent further damage.”
Educate your personnel
The second piece of advice is to get your staff acquainted with the crisis management plan. It will help you to build a trustworthy team of employees and train each worker to respond to negative comments quickly and adequately.
Present the facts
Another important rule of PR is to be honest and present the facts. You can’t fight lies with lies – your only chance is to be direct and straightforward with the audience. If competitors are spreading lies about your products, you should answer with proven and data-driven facts, stats, and user reviews.
Publish quality content
Sometimes the best way to outclass competitors and minimize the effect of Black PR campaigns is to publish high-quality content in the long run. Once the audience learns you are a trustworthy source of information, it will be hard for anyone to convince target customers that you are the villain in this story.
Constantly keep an eye on the brand
The sooner you react to Black PR, the faster you’ll solve the problem. This is why we strongly recommend you to keep an eye on the brand using Google Alerts, social media monitoring tools, and all other plugins and programs that can track comments about you and your business.
Black PR is a controversial business phenomenon that can ruin years of hard work and reputation building. The concept has become even more important in the Internet era because anyone can create content, write reviews, or leave negative comments about you or your business online.
For this reason, it is essential to learn the basics of Black PR, know what to expect from it, and figure out how to deal with the problem. You could learn all that in our post, so make sure to use the suggestions we mentioned.
Have you ever faced the problem of Black PR? How did you react to it?
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