5 Crisis Communication Tips for Public Relations Professionals

5 Crisis Communication Tips for Public Relations Professionals

It is often said that crises happen during the lifetime of every organization. For this reason, it is crucial for public relations professionals to be prepared to manage a crisis at a moment’s notice. Keep reading for five crisis communication tips for public relations professionals.

1. Assess Your Risk

In order to respond to a crisis quickly and effectively, public relations professionals should develop crisis communication strategies before a crisis occurs. Consider all possible crises your organization could face and develop messaging to be used in response.  This ensures that the crisis will be handled appropriately and the company’s reputation will remain intact. Develop a communication plan for each potential crisis.  This plan should be continuously updated so that it contains only the most relevant crisis communication information.

2. Decide on Communications Channels

Determine the channels that will best deliver your crisis messaging to your audience.  You can post on your corporate blog, on a press release, through social media or a combination.  Social media will require a dialogue with your audience whereas a press release or blog post will allow you to have more control around your message. 

3.  Respond Quickly

Having a crisis communication plan in place will allow public relations professionals to respond quickly.  If a company does not address the crisis in a reasonable amount of time, people will assume that the brand is either at fault or is not in control of its message.  Always provide truthful and consistent communications making sure to correct any false information.  Timely responses to the media will prevent the appearance of hiding something.  One principal that’s existed in PR for decades is that if you don’t tell your story, someone else will.  The ability to respond quickly and to put the crisis in context is only going to help an organization.  Stay calm and stick to the crisis communications script developed in Tip 1 and do not deviate from the plan. 

4. Put the Victims First

Not only should public relations professionals respond in a timely manner, but they should also acknowledge the pain, suffering and frustration of any victims. Even if the company did not cause the problem, it is still important that the company recognizes the people who were negatively impacted. However, if the company is at fault, it should take responsibility and apologize to those affected.

5. Be Transparent

When a crisis occurs, public relations professionals should be transparent. Under no circumstances should they engage in cover-up or deceit, as this type of bad behavior will always find its way to the headlines – eventually, further damaging the company’s reputation. For this reason, public relations professionals should always be upfront with the public.

We hope these tips help when dealing with a crisis! Let us know if there are any other strategies public relations professionals should use to effectively mitigate a crisis.