When a crisis affects your organization, it’s vital to react quickly. With social media and other technology, words will spread faster than you can imagine. Every organization should have a crisis management PR plan set up, so you know what to do when the unexpected happens.
Setting up a Crisis Management Plan
With help from a professional who has experience in handling stressful situations, your organization can make it through any tough time. Creating a plan can help you come out of the crisis successfully, and preserve your credibility by your response.
Elements of a crisis management plan should include:
- Knowing your goal
- How to share information about the situation internally
- What media and social media outlets to communicate with
- Who is the contact person for media inquiries
- Clear communication guidelines for staff on how they may and may not share information
When you have a smart plan in place, you’ll know who to turn to if something goes wrong. Having a crisis management PR professional can help. Allowing calmer heads can help you avoid making a bad situation worse. Clear guidelines can help keep information leaks from getting out of hand.
You plan should also be flexible, allowing for backup contacts and communication in case your regular channels are not available. For instance, if someone is injured in a work-related catastrophe and cannot uphold their portion of the plan, you should know who can step in instead.
The Importance of Planning
Crisis management plans need to be in place before a major catastrophe occurs. During the firestorm is the worst time to figure out who needs to know what information, and how to share it. By the time you make a plan, the crisis will have already gotten worse.
Have a written crisis communication strategy in place and make sure all members of your organization are aware of it. If something negative happens, everyone will know who their contact person is, who can speak to media and who cannot, and the guidelines around sharing online.
You should rehearse your crisis management plan. The action of preparing statements for the media to your primary contacts and mock press conferences will help keep everyone calm if a real crisis occurs.
When you react professionally and calmly to a crisis, your organization can weather the storm and come out stronger. All you need to get started is the help of a crisis management PR professional.