Nothing makes the heart sink lower than a call from the media at the start of a Bank Holiday to say they are running a negative piece on your business or that of a client. Relaxation goes out the window and you need to swing into action to minimise the damage.
A Bank Holiday is good time to run a “juicy” story as it fills space when journalists are keen to take a break. As most people are off work there is time for them to linger over the papers and watch a breaking story on social media. It catches the business in question off-guard.
So, as we approach the next Bank Holiday season, what can you do to be ready to handle such a situation?
· Are there any media calls which have aroused concern but didn’t appear to go anywhere? Could they represent a story being worked up in the background?
· If there is an issue you are aware of that could emerge?
· Are there comments on social media that are persistent or getting traction?
· Consider what the worst-case scenario might be for your business.
Allocate time before the Bank Holiday when people are still at work to plan.
· Talk to relevant members of staff to ascertain any issues or problems from customer service issues to unhappy staff.
· List any possible criticisms or issues that could be picked up and made into a story.
· Update Q&As and position statements to use as internal briefing notes.
· Find out who is available should any interviews or statements be required.
· Have a head shot and bio ready of the relevant people.
· Update all mobile numbers of key staff and management that may need to check information or be part of a planning call.
· Decide who is on call for the media and update websites, social media and voicemails with their contact information.
· Ensure that whoever is on call has access to the website, social media accounts, photo library, media lists, contact numbers and customers’ information. If not, ensure that someone who can operate the communications systems is available.
Preparation like this is never wasted. The more frequently you do it, the easier it becomes. In fact, as you scan the business and possible issues you can spot issues that need addressed so that they can be ticked off the list of possible Bank Holiday disruptors.
Fresh pair of eyes.
Getting an external perspective on your business to identify and manage PR risks and capitalise on opportunities can deliver a competitive advantage with increased visibility and stronger reputation. As an experienced PR and Communications Director I help businesses and organisations audit their communications and develop tactical and strategic plans in a crisis and for long-term growth.
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