Five Steps to Handle PR Crises in 2020

Kailynn Bowling, ChicExecs Marketing Agency’s Co-Founder/Co-President, gives her five steps to navigate your business through crises quickly on Forbes blog.

Business owners often focus on the happy side of PR: the smiling faces, the news segments, the glowing reviews. But the more stressful side of PR, crisis communications, is an essential part of any communication strategy.

The thing is, businesses don’t always make a crisis playbook ahead of time. Or, as we’ve seen in 2020, your crisis plan from 2018 might not cut it in today’s world.

One bad piece of press can undo the carefully curated image you’ve built for your brand. To make matters worse, it seems like there’s a new crisis every day in 2020. In what is shaping up to be a trying year, you have to support your customers and navigate unprecedented times.

Instead of jumping the gun and firing off a press release ASAP, think through your next steps. How will your business respond to a crisis? How will your words affect your customers, the public and your image? During a crisis, you don’t have the luxury of time, so it’s best to prepare your crisis plan now with these five steps:

1. Create (or revise) a plan. Many businesses don’t have a crisis communications plan at all. If that’s you, now is the time to create a plan. There are a lot of free templates you can use to jump-start yours.

2. Keep it simple. Muddy messaging isn’t your friend in a crisis. Consistent and clear information is what you need right now.

3. Be honest. Nothing is worse in PR than dishonesty. Even if you made a terrible mistake, it’s never a good idea to cover your tracks. Instead of feigning confidence or pretending you have the answers, admit the unknowns.

4. Watch your tone. Your customers are going through a really hard time right now. That requires a certain degree of solemnity from your messaging, even if your brand is more casual.

5. Keep your ear to the ground. Communication is a two-way street. Customers will react to your carefully crafted messaging, and not always in the ways you expect. Keep your finger on the pulse of customer sentiment to stay agile with your communications.

Read Kailynn Bowling’s full Forbes blog to learn more about the five steps to handle PR Crises in 2020.

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