Putting a Positive Spin on Any Story – The Art of Public Relations

Public controversy can impact public opinion regardless of the source. When Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie announced their separation, people chose a side and pretty much stayed with it until now.
Photo from Flickr in CC

Although both stars had their own public relations teams working to change perceptions, it was ultimately Pitt who received most of the blame. Any person pursuing a career in public relations at George Washington University has instant ideas of how to present spin on the worst public news reveals. Whether a major corporation with a conservative image is shown engaging in questionable conduct or a politician has a personal matter uncovered, there’s always a way to bring out a silver lining.

Washington University / Photo from Flickr in CC

An Immediate Response is Critical
[dropcap type=”1″]T[/dropcap]he worst thing an online public relations degree holder can advise a client to do is to say nothing. No more than 24 hours after a public relations disaster has been uncovered, there must be an official response. Some situations merit having a public conference while other times, no more than a public statement should be released. Everyone is going to want to hear your client’s side of the story, so make sure the story is good, authentic, and complete. Whatever response you client gives, it needs to answer all pressing questions fully.

Coaching Clients to Say the Right Things
[dropcap type=”1″]S[/dropcap]ince the press will undoubtedly be swarming after a public scandal breaks, your client is going to be followed, photographed, and generally hounded by paparazzi for a while. Reporters will use almost any opportunity to catch the subject of a scandal off guard to ask very difficult questions. Your job is to prepare your client to handle the high-pressure moments with style and dignity. Tell your client not to get angry or have an emotional breakdown. Unfortunately, people will use an emotional public display as proof of guilt. You may want to stay on hand to divert questions or abruptly end interviews if your client is not able to handle the stress well.

Countering a Public Scandal
[dropcap type=”1″]W[/dropcap]hen something negative is released that can ruin a client’s public image, there has to be an immediate focus shift. You may instruct your client to carry on like nothing has happened or work to put out stories that are more positive. What your client should not do is become hard to find or behave in an elusive manner. It might be hard for your client to behave normally when it feels like the world is gawking, but that’s an element that can’t be avoided when you are in the public realm.

No public corporation or figure is free of scandal; it’s just a matter of how their PR professionals have them addressed. Strong, decisive responses are needed to put a positive spin on things. Scandals usually phase out when there’s nothing new to report and then the press will go on to talk about something different. So long as you are able to help your clients get through the first few days of a scandal without having a public meltdown, it won’t be hard to make something positive out of the new publicity. This is when your public relations masters degree will come in very useful!

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