How will you guarantee success with the media when calamity–fire, embezzlement, possession or management change, office accident, sexual harassment, or comparable events– strikes what you are promoting and catapults you into the highlight?Domesticate relationships upfront. Each group must domesticate the media throughout strange occasions. In an emergency, you do not need to be questioned by strangers, however by individuals who know you and your group’s tradition. Set up relationships by way of excursions, briefings, common press releases, and invites to milestone occasions. Consider these steps as “partnering with the media.”Prepare your individuals. Write and distribute a plan for disaster communication. Clarify procedures for emergencies. Announce who will converse for the group. Put your employees by way of simulated press conferences, videotape them in motion, and critique them to seek out factors needing enchancment. Make certain new workers get this coaching.
Take initiative immediately. When a disaster occurs, by no means await media professionals to method you. Take aggressive steps. Keep in mind, delay fosters mistrust. Name your media contacts earlier than they name you.Highlight your CEO. Put the CEO within the entrance traces because the spokesperson. Whereas CEOs could justifiably delegate different duties, they have to assume prime visibility throughout a catastrophe. Readers and listeners do not need to hear that she is “unavailable for comment.”Be truthful. Inform the reality, with out diluting or withholding. “Little white lies” mushroom into an enormous lack of belief. Even one deceptive comment begins a “feeding frenzy” not solely among the many media, but additionally among the many common public.Keep away from estimates. Make no estimates of greenback harm, accidents, or lack of life. Legal professionals, insurance coverage corporations, and others will make you would like you hadn’t. For this reason CEOs say, “We must make sure the families have been notified” or “We are still gathering estimates.”Chorus from “No comment.” By no means say, “No comment.” No matter you may intend, the interpretation is that you just’re being evasive. Attempt: “I’ll have to get back to you later on that, after we have gathered relevant information.” In fact, ensure you observe by way of on that pledge.
Management press gatherings. Take management of press conferences. You’ve the suitable to say the place, when, and who will attend. Assert management immediately, and do not relinquish it. Videotape the press conferences. The tapes will turn out to be useful when somebody expenses later, “I know what you said on TV.”Comply with up completely and publicly. After the disaster subsides, debrief your colleagues. Assess what you probably did proper, and what you are able to do higher subsequent time. Additionally, preserve the general public knowledgeable about the way you resolved the situation– by way of interviews, excursions, letters to the editor, speeches to civic golf equipment, particular letters to shareholders.