The rise of social media and mobile devices has empowered consumers with 24/7 access to the latest news and speeding delivery of information, and crises can quickly snowball. PR Newswire’s upcoming webinar “Navigating the Waters of Reputational Repair: The Steps to Effective Crisis Communications Planning,” will discuss proactive measures that communicators can take to ensure brand stability during a PR emergency. Prior to the discussion, speakers Shana Harris, COO at Warschawski, and Gerard Braud, Media Training Expert at Braud Communications, shared the most common mistakes made by crisis communicators and how to avoid them.
Prepare a plan in advance
“One of the biggest mistakes public relations people make is that as the crisis is unfolding, they open a blank document on their computer and start writing a news release,” says Braud. Action is delayed and the crisis intensifies while the press release works its way through approvals. Braud suggests using a clear, calm day to write out as many potential news releases as possible, leaving blanks to fill in the actual details of the event. These documents can be pre-approved by senior communicators and speed up the ability to respond to the public.
Make sure your plan is clear and to the point
A plan that is too generic or too complicated is useless when swift action is needed. To address this problem, Braud has spent extensive time developing a base plan that dictates specific, easy-to-follow tasks that can be delivered within a short time frame. According to Braud, the plan should be so clear that “anyone who can read can execute the plan flawlessly.”
Communicate honestly and effectively with the audience
“Eliminating fear is the #1 goal of a crisis,” asserts Harris, “the best way to achieve this is to be upfront and honest with people.” Knowing the audience is crucial toward assessing the right mediums for effective communication, whether it is email, social media or traditional media. Communication must be frequent to let people know when they can expect an update or where to find it and more importantly, it must be transparent and authentic.
Preparing for action in advance of a crisis can be the difference between success and failure. Using a clear, calm day to address potential controversies can avoid panicked decision making or a delayed response time. By planning ahead, PR pros hold the power to take immediate control and prevent competitors from responding first while maintaining trust with key audiences.
Want to learn more about effective crisis communications planning? Join us Wednesday, November 20 for a FREE webinar, Navigate the Waters of Reputational Repair: The Steps to Effective Crisis Communications Planning and learn how to protect your brand in the wake of unforeseen dilemmas.