As a team of professional PR folks that have been in the biz a long time, we often say “there’s no crisis we haven’t seen.” Admittedly, a global pandemic is a new one, even for us.
The good news, however, is that we have many tried and true guiding principles that can be applied to all crisis communications efforts.
Crisis Communication Recommendations
Once you and your team are safely working from home, consider these recommendations to help keep your marketing and PR efforts on track and relevant during this time of uncertainty.
- Stop all pre-scheduled content ASAP. Now is the time to turn off all pre-scheduled social content, digital campaigns and marketing emails. Instead of business as usual, you’ll want to review each piece of content under a new lens to make sure it reflects the tone and tenor of the day. Focus on delivering quality and potentially helpful content rather than branded messages during this time.
- Shift your strategy. How can you help your audience, followers or customers during this time? Can you offer educational or entertaining content? Do you have expertise that may be useful to media or other organizations? Shift your strategy to think about how you can contribute positively to relief efforts. When the dust settles, customers will remember who they could trust and rely on.
- Don’t ignore what’s going on. It can feel jarring to receive emails from vendors, or even co-workers, that appear to be “business as usual” when nothing about this pandemic seems “normal.” Whether it’s external or internal communication, take the time to check in on folks and make sure they are safe – and washing their hands! – before you reach out with a request or ask.
- Crises are not a great time to learn on the job. If you’re facing something particularly daunting during this time – a plant will need to close its doors, you’re unable to meet orders, etc. – consider seeking outside help. There’s a lot at stake during this time, so your reputation becomes even more important. Working with a professional PR team can help ensure you’re communicating even the toughest messages in a way that helps protect your organization and its people.
- Be ready to rebuild. When this is all over, hopefully soon, we’ll all need to “rebuild” in our own ways. Consider taking time to reflect and prepare for the next crisis. Think about tools you wish you had in your toolbox or other measures you want to take to help stay ahead of the next crisis – big or small.
If you’re struggling with your social media strategy or crisis communication during this time, we would like to help. Please reach out via email at firstname.lastname@example.org; we’ll be in touch as soon as possible.