Tips for dealing with a PR crisis
Journalists, publishers, bloggers and broadcasters are always on the look out for their next story. Add to that newspapers, television and radio – and the amount of content out there on a daily basis is absolutely overwhelming. This is definitely a double-edged sword, especially in case of a PR crisis.
Since such a crisis can happen to both big and small businesses, your response is crucial. This post will arm you with the knowledge you need to prepare you for public relations issues.
Dealing with a PR crisis:
– Prepare a plan to deal with the media
When a public relations crisis occurs, you cannot avoid the hot seat. This is why it is essential to have a plan for dealing with the media. Moreover, you need to choose whether or not to comment on the story. If you do decide to give an interview, remember the following:
- Your interview can be (and probably will be) edited. So choose your words wisely.
- You will probably fail to convince the reporter not to run your story.
- Whatever you say can be taken out of context and misstated to the public.
Therefore, if you decide to accept an interview, make sure your message is simple and straight to the point. Also, avoid getting sucked into any conversations that you are not thoroughly prepared for.
– Choose a person to speak to the media
Do not allow random employees or those who do not have the full story to participate in interviews or comment about the story. Instead, instruct employees to refer all questions to a specific person you assign. In a small business, the spokesperson is ideally the business owner or the senior manager. In larger organizations, you might want to assign someone from HR to respond to all interview or statement requests.
– Don’t hesitate to hire professional help
Sometimes, when the story is too big or severe, you might not be able to deal with it internally. In those cases, hiring a crisis management consultant is probably your best bet. Furthermore, if the PR crisis can cause you to get criminally charged or face a civil lawsuit, make sure you hire an attorney with an experience in such issues.
– Be careful of your following actions
After the crisis, you want to avoid taking any actions that can make the situation worse. Instead, carefully think of each action you take when you are under the spotlight. This includes handing out bonuses, holding celebrations or promoting employees.
– Admit your mistakes
If you have made a mistake due to your shortcomings, admit it. Then make sure you take the necessary steps to fix it. Trying to cover things up is the worst thing you can do. Of course, avoiding being placed in those situations is the best course of action. However, you are more likely to resolve matters when you face them rather than try to run away from them.
How do you handle a PR crisis at your firm? Do you have a set plan of action? Don’t hesitate to share your tips and insights with our readers in the comment section below.