11 Tips to Prepare You for a Public Relations Crisis

Author: Larry McAlister
Posted: Dec 9, 2014

Every company needs a crisis communications plan.

Because like companies themselves, a crisis can come in any shape or size, in any industry sector, any geographic location, on any day at any time of year.


And when crises come, usually without warning, you better have a plan of action in place. Reputation, business, customers, brands, companies can be lost in a matter of hours without proper communications practices in action in a timely manner in the aftermath of crisis.

The size and reach of your company, and the size and affect of a potential crisis will determine the breadth and sophistication of your crisis plan.

But the fundamentals apply to all crisis plans:

  • Have a crisis plan (updated annually) and crisis management team
  • A company spokesperson should be identified and trained
  • Have key messages prepared for anticipated crises
    - The most important thing you want the reporter to know about an issue
    - They answer the question, “what do we want the public to know about this issue/story/controversy?
  • Be the first source of information
  • Express empathy early
  • Show competence and expertise
  • Be honest and open
  • Never speculate
  • Avoid technical talk
  • Be positive
  • Have one social voice

Anticipation and strategic planning are essential to a good crisis communication plan. Get one. You never know when a crisis will call – and yes, you can talk.

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