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Imagine this- you spend years working to maintain a stellar reputation. You work countless hours building your brand and business. But within 10 minutes, your company’s name is all over the media and internet. Your five-star reviews have gone to one-star and the media is knocking on your door. You are now dealing with a major public relations crisis and it’s all because of one thing that you may have written or said.

That scenario happens all of the time to large corporations and small businesses. Take for example Google. Most recently a senior software engineer, wrote a 10-page “manifesto” condemning Google’s diversity efforts and claiming men are biologically more predisposed to working in the tech industry than women. That memo was leaked and within hours was all over the media. Google’s CEO was then scrambling to address the issue internally and externally. That employee has since been fired.

You are in a new city and looking for a restaurant to eat dinner. What do you do?  You begin to search online. You look at the reviews, website and social media. All three of these play a major role in your decision-making. Here’s what I do.

Your business just won an award or your company is part of a huge project in the area. You have a story to tell. A really good story. You’ve told the press about it, but you haven’t heard anything. Okay, don’t give up. You may just have to tweak a couple of things.