Any size business benefits from positive media coverage, but long-term losses on many fronts can result from negative press. That’s why it’s essential to have a crisis communication plan that can turn things around quickly. It may even be possible to benefit from bad news, if you follow some basic public relations rules and don’t drag your feet when it hits the fan.
Develop a Plan
A good crisis management plan has two parts: the plan and its speedy implementation. Crisis communication involves wresting immediate control of the information flow when a potentially negative story begins to develop. Effectively controlling the flow of information requires that everyone refer media inquiries to the crisis manager, and otherwise keep their thoughts to themselves until the crisis passes.
Develop the Midas Touch
King Midas may have gone too far with his golden touch, but in public relations, the golden touch that’s needed is the one that can find the good news in any negative situation. In tragedy, a good crisis manager puts the attention on the institution’s people and their heart-warming stories and selfless acts. In the face of scandal, the same touch is needed to help the press see how quickly and efficiently the business takes responsibility and cleans house.
Follow the Follow-Up Story
A spin doctor’s work isn’t finished when the redemption story is finally in print. The positive stories that come out of scandal or tragedy should feed a press release juggernaut for months after the story breaks, but be realistic; relate those stories to current events and other positive business news, and try to bury the negativity so deeply that only the good news remains. While you’re at it, frame the positive press you’ve wrestled out of the muck, and pat yourself on the back for making lemonade, after all.
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