Crisis communication is a crucial component of public relations. A PR crisis can have hugely consequential implications for overall business performance. But for most business owners, it simply is not a priority. There are so many other things to worry about when you are the owner and operator of a small business. Unfortunately, hiring a PR firm just to manage crisis communication for you is not a wise use of resources. Instead, you can easily create a crisis communications strategy that you keep in your back pocket just in case a time should ever arise that your business needs to use it. Find out what goes into creating a crisis management plan, or CMP, that works down below.
Identify Potential Problems
The first step to creating a CMP is to identify all the possible crises that could have seriously negative impacts for your business. Obviously, there is no way for this list to be exhaustive. However, it is important to anticipate as many PR problems as you can in advance. That is the only way you will be able to prepare to respond to these PR nightmares in advance.
Form A Team
Next, you want to form a crisis management team. For smaller businesses, this can be a difficult task. But, it is still necessary. You want to identify the best employees to help you devise a crisis communication strategy that customers, business partners and others respond well to. This takes a certain type of person to pull off. Identify those employees with great marketing skills or an innate ability for public relations and communications. Then, build a team around them. They will be the ones responsible for planning for and responding to business PR crises alongside you, the business owner.
Account For All Channels
The best crisis management strategies account for all different channels of communication. You want to develop crisis communication guidelines for social media platforms, news media outlets and local word of mouth, just as you would for corporate event planning. Different marketing channels require different communication styles. Be sure to account for this in your crisis communication plans. That way, you address all concerned parties appropriately and swiftly.
Address All Interested Parties
Your crisis communication strategy should also be sure to address all involved and interested parties. In your CMP, you should have individualized responses crafted for each individual party. That means that your crisis response plan should be different for customers than it is for business partners and the media. Individualized responses will help to address the specific concerns a certain audience is likely to have. This makes for the best crisis communication strategy that addresses everyone’s needs appropriately.
Know How To Respond
You cannot create a crisis management plan without knowing how to respond in the event of a business crisis. There are some PR guidelines that will help you craft crisis response plans that mitigate backlash as much as possible. The best way for a business to respond to a PR nightmare is to be human and to apologize for your wrongdoing. Then, be sure to let interested parties know the actions you plan to take to fix the situation. Be sure to actually follow through on these plans, and alert everyone to updates as the process moves forward. This is best practice for all types of communication, but particularly important for crisis communications in particular.
When it comes to business communications, crisis communication is one of the trickiest to navigate. This is particularly true for business owners, who may not have a degree in public relations. Thankfully, you can still create a crisis management plan that anticipates these problems and enables you to address these crises as they arise. Use the steps listed above to create a crisis communication strategy in advance, just like you would a scanlon plan. This way, you can check it off your list and put it on the shelf until such a time arises that it is needed. Then, you will definitely be glad you did it.
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