Blogging and crisis communications

Posted on September 18, 2006 
Filed Under Uncategorized

Been researching lately on blogging and how new media tools can be used during a crisis.

PRBlogger.com has an interesting list on crisis communications plan in relation to the social media community.

Prepare

Have a crisis communication plan in place that everyone is aware of including the procedures, their rol, key contact details, etc. A blog should be set up behind a firewall so it can quickly be released to address issues and customer feedback.

Detection

Monitor, monitor, monitor. You should be using the various monitoring tools available on the Internet: Goog Blog Search, T/rati, PubSub, TalkDigger et al. Keep an eye out for any warning signs or symptoms and if any do occur address them quickly. Monitor every blogger not just the prominent ones. The PR pros that choose to put their heads in the sand will be the ones that suffer most.

Know the facts – ALL the facts

If an issue does arise with your client, find out each and every detail. Some clients will be apprehensive to tell you everything, but it’s your job to be fully aware of the situation. Know everything, assume nothing.

Tell the facts – ALL the facts

Crisis hit companies tend to be very guarded and say nothing at all. This won’t stop the bloggers from writing about your client and they’ll make up their minds from what facts they do have. Bloggers appreciate openness – they’re an entirely different animal from the MSM and giving them all the information is the key. Answer any questions they might have; post comments on blogs addressing the issue, ask for their opinions and get their insight. Work with them, not against them. Bloggers look for the truth and not a scoop so take every criticism as constructive.

By applying a two-way symmetric model, the PR pro’s role is to gain mutual understanding between the client and its publics – they should act as the intermediary which should result in a change in either one of the two parties.

And remember, there might be a situation when the rumours or allegations are completely false. This doesn’t mean you can ignore it. On the contrary, you should be applying the same measures no matter what. A reputation takes years to build but only moments to destroy.

Containment

All of the above is an effort to limit the duration and spread of a crisis. The more information you give, the more you can contain the issue. Don’t let speculation and assumption run wild.

Recovery

Okay, you’ve addressed the issue and you’re on the road to recovery. Remember to keep reassuring and easing minds. Take nothing for granted and continue to monitor, monitor, monitor. Try to develop relationships with your critics; get their opinion and ask them: “what can we do to make our product better?”

Evaluation

What was lost? What was gained? How was the performance of the crisis communications plan? What have you learned from this? Is there anything that could be improved? No doubt it wasn’t perfect so take it back to the start and continually improve it.

MORE.

How a blog came to play in the tsunami crisis in Sri Lanka, just shortly after they were taught how to blog makes an interesting case-study.

Indrajit Samajiva was the person who provided the training.

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