Preparing for a PR Crisis

By Dana Sotoodeh

“By failing to prepare, you’re preparing to fail.”

We have heard this quote time and time again, and unfortunately we usually hear it once something has already gone wrong.  If PR had a quote to describe it, this would definitely be in the top three. It ‘s crucial to be prepared to deal with crisis situations in PR  because they will happen more often than you expect.

Team Snackie brings you a few tips for preparing yourself and your team so that you handle that crisis like a pro.

1.)  Plan, Plan, Plan– When it comes time to planning for a PR crisis, going overboard is your best bet. Since it’s impossible for you to know what crisis you may face in the future, it’s important to think of a list of crisis possibilities you could potentially face, as a foundation for  your crisis planning.   Once you have this list outlined, it’s time to think of who is best fit for your crisis team and different ways to go about handling each situation.

2.)  Monitor everything, all the time– A key to being a PR professional is always being aware of what is going on in not only your local market, but nationally as well. It’s important to keep up with local and national news and information so that you can see a crisis coming before anyone else does. There’s nothing worse than not being aware of a bad situation first hand. Keep an eye on social media and news at all times to avoid missing stories that may involve you or your clients.

3.)  Make sure your whole team is media trained- Since you aren’t sure when a PR crisis will hit, and who will be available for what media outlets, it’s important that everyone on your team has at least minimal media training. The last thing you want to do is dig yourself in a bigger hole by saying something or doing something that distracts from the issue at hand. Schedule media training sessions for everyone on your team to prevent something like that from happening

4.)  Build templates: Make sure you have general templates on hand for whenever a crisis hits. From press releases to twitter posts, you will be surprised how fast they come in handy when you need them in a pinch. It’s also easy to grab them and edit them whenever you need them rather than have to build the whole thing.

5.)  Communicate: The worst thing to do during a crisis is to not respond at all. With that being said, make sure that PR crisis’ are responded to in the most timely manner possible. When the crisis comes to an end, don’t go MIA via your social channels. Make sure to keep communication flowing through your Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms to show that you’re still just as involved.