Public Relations

Media Mastery: How Positive, Negative and Neutral Press Drives Business Outcomes 

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In the world of media and public relations, there exists a pervasive belief that “all press is good press” — a notion that any publicity, whether positive or negative, is beneficial.

And while some may adhere to this belief, the reality is far more nuanced. Different types of media coverage wield varying impacts for businesses, and although controversy can grab immediate attention, it also has the potential to overshadow positive news and achievements. 

By understanding the distinction between positive, negative and  neutral press coverage, businesses can adopt a more proactive approach to managing their media relations. Rather than passively reacting to media narratives, organizations can strategically leverage positive stories to amplify their achievements, actively address negative coverage to mitigate fallout and capitalize on neutral narratives to foster industry relevance and thought leadership.

Let’s dive deeper into these aspects:

Positive Media Coverage 

Positive media hits are the gold standard for companies. They come in many forms, such as news of  venture capital or private equity funding, accolades for excellence in the industry or recognition as a game-changing solution provider.

Press hits with a positive sentiment often recognize the company’s innovation, culture, solutions, accomplishments, and other factors that paint a favorable picture of the company in the public eye. Most companies seek to achieve these types of hits when interviewing a PR agency.

Examples of positive media coverage

For B2B tech companies, positive press can look like a feature article highlighting their innovation. Several publications, including Fast Company, regularly recognize innovative companies in their ‘World’s Most Innovative Companies List,’ and they also publish feature pieces that highlight why each company was selected. 

Positive media coverage may include a quote from a company spokesperson, customer or investor speaking to the positive impact the company had on a particular topic or issue. These quotes promote further validation of the company, especially if they come from a third-party source.

Positive press coverage can help your company build brand awareness with new audiences, help repair a tarnished reputation, and further communicate to your existing customers that they are working with a trustworthy brand. 

For example, suppose a technology company is launching into a new market. In that case, positive press articles in multiple key trade publications that call out the business’s success and happy customers in other regions can significantly increase positive brand awareness within a target demographic. As a result, these positive stories can help achieve PR goals, which, in turn, support larger business goals. 

Brands can further promote positive press hits to achieve business goals in several ways. By leveraging positive media hits in digital marketing channels, including the company’s social media page and website, the company can promote the story to those who are already familiar with your brand as well as new audiences. Positive media coverage can also serve as an asset in targeted marketing campaigns and sales engagements, where the positive press hit supports the larger conversation or message the company is trying to get across.

Neutral Media Coverage

Neutral media coverage is just what it sounds like: the content or coverage does not have a sentiment or tone that overwhelmingly conveys a positive or negative sentiment to the reader. These pieces simply tell a story or neutrally convey information about the company or industry. 

Neutral media coverage is extremely valuable for multiple reasons, such as market education about your company, increased brand recognition and overall brand positioning.

Examples of neutral media coverage

This type of coverage can come in many forms, but some of the most common may be new product news, where the media outlet covers the launch but does not include external sources to speak about their experience with the product.

Company mentions are another example. If a company publishes a data-driven report and the data is simply used by a media outlet with attribution but no other context about the company that is neutral. A neutral mention can also look like a company listed as a provider of a specific type of product or service without any further reference or public sentiment regarding the company. 

Thought leadership content is also typically neutral in nature, where a company spokesperson speaks to an industry hot topic or trend. This type of coverage positions the expert as a leader in the industry on the pulse of emerging trends, often including a small section of neutral explanation about what the company does. This neutral media coverage also helps align the company with issues and industry conversations that matter to customers. 

When combined with positive coverage, neutral coverage can also help a company achieve PR and business goals. Neutral pieces provide additional market context to increase brand awareness, ensure target personas are updated on company developments, and align your company with trends and critical issues that matter most to not only the company but also its customers and key stakeholders. 

Companies can leverage neutral media coverage to move the needle on goals. For example, a neutral piece of coverage in a national business publication that includes a backlink can improve SEO more than a backlink in a positive press hit from a trade publication. Each business will have different measures of how to demonstrate PR value to senior executives, but neutral media coverage can significantly impact metrics depending on which key performance indicators matter to your company. 

Neutral media can have just as big of an impact on the market and your target audience as positive media coverage if you effectively leverage and elevate the stories in ways that support more significant initiatives.

Negative Media Coverage

Negative media coverage is some companies’ worst nightmare, while others believe that as long as they are in the news and top of mind in conversations, it is positive. No matter which side of the argument your company falls into, the ability to identify a negative piece of press fast is essential.

Examples of negative media coverage

Negative press is an article that paints the company in a poor light, giving the reader a poor sentiment and overall bad connotation with the company. Negative press can move the needle just as much as positive press when it publishes. It can also have more far-reaching effects than positive press when it comes to market sentiment, employee attraction, retention, and more. 

It is important to understand how negative press typically occurs. A company may make a public announcement, comment, or decision that it knows will lead to negative media coverage, such as widespread layoffs. In this case, it is best for the company to set internal expectations and create a wider strategic public relations plan that accounts for the forthcoming negative press before the company makes the announcement.

On the other hand, there is also unexpected negative media coverage. This can be an employee who chooses to speak with the press about internal company issues, such as quality control, suspected insider trading, employee scandals, and more that the company would rather keep within its legal department or in coordination with necessary government authorities.

Alternatively, the company may fall victim to a cyberattack or other business disruption that leaves customers dissatisfied with the brand. These cases may be more unexpected, and the immediate next steps are critical since negative media coverage has the potential to tarnish your trust, reputation, and overall brand image.

Our approach at Channel V Media

At Channel V Media, we partner with clients to secure positive and neutral media coverage while swiftly addressing negative sentiments through our comprehensive approach to crisis communications.

Our goal is to empower businesses to navigate the complexities of public perception with foresight and resilience. 

To better serve our clients, we have put together a complete guide on how to respond to negative media coverage that your company can leverage when it receives negative press. You can also contact our Channel V Media team to learn more about how we can help propel your company forward in an increasingly competitive and scrutinized media landscape.  

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