Spent nearly half of this week ensuring that a certain issue wouldn’t appear in the media for a  client of my crisis PR agency, and happily I can report – nothing was published. As such, I thought to share an excerpt from my new PR book: “For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations”:

Life Happens: Manage Crises Immediately: Problems Ain’t Going Away on Their Own, and You Can’t Outwork Them – “There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.” —Henry Kissinger

Working in PR is often like working the ER night shift on a 100-degree summer weekend. You never know what’s going to happen next. Product recall. Sexual harassment. Not wanting to rat to the police. Involvement in a shooting. Bankruptcy. Corporate merger. Affair with a secretary. Fraud. Government investigation. Protests at corporate headquarters. We have worked through all of these situations and more with our clients. I’ve helped major corporations, small businesses, and celebrities get through a fair number of troubling times, from financial scandals at a Fortune 100 company, to countless indictments and accusations, to arrests at New Jersey construction companies, to trials and legal proceedings for celebrities like Lil’ Kim, as well as average Joes.

One key lesson learned from these experiences is that even though there are times when you can get away with burying your head in the sand, a crisis that brings media attention isn’t one of them. Drop what you’re doing and address crisis situations as they happen; it’s impossible to sit behind a computer and “outwork” catastrophes. Your entire business, or your whole life, can be changed by one article or one rumor, true or untrue. And that can leave a permanent negative hit to your company’s reputation. The old scandal may appear at the top of your Google search results for a very long time; even if you use a great search engine optimization campaign, bad news can be found, and will forever live online. Worried? You should be.

“It takes twenty years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” —Warren Buffett, investor

Ronn Torossian is the CEO of 5WPR, a crisis PR firm.

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Ronn Torossian is the Founder, President and CEO of New York-based 5W Public Relations. He has overseen the company's rapid growth and expansion to the Inc. 500 list, as well as provided counsel to hundreds of companies, including members of the Fortune 500, Inc. 500 and Forbes 400. His work spans global interests, corporate entities, high-profile individuals, regional business entities, government agencies and academic institutions - both on routine public relations matters and extremely sensitive issues. One of the foremost public relations experts in the U.S., Torossian is known for his aggressive, results-focused orientation, as well as his close working relationships with members of the media, influencers, decision makers, politicians and celebrities. At 5W Public Relations, Torossian's client experience has included programs for Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Anheuser-Busch, Barnes & Noble, Cantor Fitzgerald, IHOP, McDonald's, Evian, EDS, VeriSign, XM Radio, Seagram's, The Loews Regency, Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment, Marriott Hotels, Vail Resorts, Pamela Anderson, Snoop Dogg, the Government of Israel, and others. Referred to by The New York Post as a "publicity guru," by Fox News as a "high-powered PR CEO," by Tyra Banks as a "crisis management guru," and by CNN as "a leading PR expert," Torossian is regularly featured in and quoted by the media, including by CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, NBC, The New York Times, and others. CBS National News said "Ronn Torossian knows spin," and a New York Times feature story on Torossian referred to him as "The consummate hard-driving, scrappy NY publicist." Earlier in his career, Torossian was a Vice President/Group Director for one of The InterPublic Group's (IPG) largest PR agencies, where he was responsible for significant client growth and successful client programs, including work for Clinique, Fox News Channel, DHL, Hard Rock Café and others. A resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Torossian was named to the Advertising Age "40 Under 40" list, PR Week's "40 Under 40" List, is a regular lecturer at universities and conferences, a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of numerous non-profit organizations.