Forbes has a ‘crash course in crisis public relations’

Well, not Forbes per se, but they have an article about it.

A few of the key points of the article:

  • plan for a crisis (what will you do if it happens)
  • ‘no comment’ is never the right answer to a media inquiry
  • “Don’t delegate leadership and visibility.”

All of the above is true. Good advice, not always completely possible, but good advice.

I worked at a large company, and when I started, I asked my boss if the company had a crisis PR plan. The answer was “no, because we manage everything like it’s a crisis, so nothing would be different.”  At the time, I was troubled by that answer, but looking back they were right. Have good processes in place all the time, not just when there’s a crisis. Then, when things do hit the fan, people can focus on getting the work done, not on what the protocol is.

The best piece of advice in the article was a bit flawed:

“In the Internet age, preparation starts with monitoring adversarial groups and blogs that might be inclined to dig up dirt or even spread false rumors. It also means defining–ahead of time–the specific partners, customers, stakeholders and media outlets that you will contact if bad stuff happens.”

Yes, preparation does start with monitoring, but assuming that the problems are going to come from “adversarial groups and blogs” is indicative of the large company mentality of the PR practitioners quoted in the article.

Don’t “monitor” these groups.  Engage them.  Spend the time upfront making things right.

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