When you own a company of any size, a public relations crisis is one of your worst nightmares. Most companies hope that these problems will never affect them, and they may even take steps to prevent them from happening. Unfortunately, these crises can occur at any time even with the best preventative measures, and you need to be prepared to handle them when they do. Here are three best practices to help you deal with a public relations crisis affecting your company.
1. Act quickly.
Today’s news cycle moves very rapidly. When new information becomes available, it can spread all around the world in a matter of minutes. Once information about a public relations crisis becomes public, it is much more difficult for your company to gain control over the story. For this reason, your company must be ready to act quickly when such a crisis occurs.
As soon as a crisis has been identified, your company should verify the information and analyze it as quickly and thoroughly as possible. As soon as you have a handle on the situation, prepare press releases and public statements that include not only an apology for your company’s role in any wrongdoing but also the potential solutions to the problem. The faster you notify the public when emergency situations strike, the more likely it is that your company will be able to maintain control over the narrative. To maximize your reach during a crisis, be sure to use a variety of communication channels, such as text messages, email, social media and more.
If you hear rumors of a possible but unverified public relations problem, consider taking preemptive action to get control of the story from the beginning. This may include distributing information via social media networks and/or reaching out to the media.
2. Monitor the news cycle continuously.
When your company is part of a public relations crisis, you need to know what is being said at all times. Thanks to advances in software, it is now possible for your company to monitor activity on social media and in the news in real time. This data can help you understand how the media and the public are responding to the crisis, so you can act accordingly.
A variety of media monitoring and analytics programs are available, and the cost can vary considerably. Some systems even offer free monitoring for smaller companies. Be sure to compare your options carefully before making a decision, as the effectiveness of your monitoring system may determine how well you are able to respond to changing news cycles.
3. Be transparent.
When faced with a public relations crisis, your initial instinct may be to shield your company from the public as much as possible by hiding information or answering questions with “no comment.” However, failing to be transparent with the public after a crisis can significantly damage your company’s credibility. To repair trust, you need to be transparent. If your company was in the wrong, admit the mistake and take ownership of the consequences. If your company’s mistake caused damage, be clear about your intentions to repair this damage. Be open and honest with the public to win back their good favor.
No company wants to deal with a public relations crisis. However, these issues are sometimes unavoidable. By being prepared for a public relations crisis and handling it effectively, you can minimize the damage to your company’s reputation and begin rebuilding trust quickly.
Joel Lee is the SEO marketing specialist at Trumpia, which earned a reputation as the most complete SMS solution including user-friendly user interface and API for mobile engagement, Smart Targeting, advanced automation, enterprise, and cross-channel features for both mass texting and landline texting use cases.