How to Avoid a PR Nightmare
5 Steps to Avoid Losing Time, Money (and Even Your Entire Business) in a Crisis
With new technology, the public relations (PR) process has changed. In the past, PR focused strictly on company news, press releases and the media. Now, it works directly with all of your sales, SEO, social media, content-strategy, and marketing processes to bring in sales, keep loyal customers, compete, and create a successful business.
And today, media members have access to news anytime, anywhere. This means that all of your company communications need to have a strategy, plan and execution that work like a well-oiled machine. Otherwise, you could be hit with a negative issue that can easily escalate into a PR crisis.
What to do? Plan ahead with these…
5 Steps to Avoid Losing Everything in a PR Crisis
- Know your business.
What does your business stand for and what unique products and services do you provide? What are your key policies for working with people on all levels? Better know this information backwards and forwards in advance of a media call.
- Prepare the right documentation.
What’s that? You don’t have specific policies documented?
Now is the time to put all of your company policies in writing. This includes social-media rules for employees, a style guide, guidelines for communicating with internal and external audiences, emergency plans, media-communication directions, and more.
Think about the various issues that are important to your business and document pertinent guidelines and rules. Now is the time to officially establish these policies in writing… before you need them.
- Be aware.
What’s going on in your industry and the world? What are your competitors doing?
Follow all of the trends and issues that relate to your business and customers at all times. This way, you can plan ahead for issues while providing the latest content and marketing messages that appeal to your target market.
- Prepare for the worst situation.
Think about the negative aspects of your business. If you were a reporter, what would you uncover about your company right now?
Try to figure out the worst possible story that could “leak out,” and prepare for it. If you have products and services that don’t work, fix them. If there are issues you just can’t fix, prepare adequate data to fulfill your obligations to customers. This may include return policies, guarantees, instructions, warnings, and more.
Also, get some media training if you are the one who needs to speak to the press. It’s essential to know how to say the right thing at the right time.
Remember… while you may think your “secrets” are safe, they’re not. No matter what, media members will discover the truth, and then you’ll have to deal with it, whether it’s good, bad or ugly.
- Have a content-strategy plan and tracking system in place.
Do you have a strategic, content-marketing plan in place? This is a system where all of your messages are planned out in advance with the goal, responsible party, deadline, and tracking mechanism for each. And this includes all of your Website copy, SEO, marketing materials, social-media posts, articles, newsletters, e-mail-campaigns, press releases, promotions, advertisements, events, and more.
With this plan, you know exactly what is going on with all of your communications now and in the future. Not only does this keep things organized with documentation, but it also tells you exactly what (and who) is working and what isn’t so you can make the appropriate changes right away.
Not only does this plan prepare you for media inquiries and negative issues that may arise, but it enables you to provide the best possible content, products and services to your customers. Plus, a well-organized content-marketing plan can save you an enormous amount of time and money while providing an edge over the competition.
Don’t Think a PR Crisis Can Happen To You?
While you may think your company is prepared, it may not be. All it takes is one, negative Twitter post, an unhappy customer spreading lies or an employee issue. There are many things you just can’t control as a business owner.
But instead of stressing out over a potential, PR nightmare, do something about it!
Know your business, create the appropriate documentation, be aware of what is going on in your industry and the world, and develop a complete, content-strategy-marketing plan with tracking mechanisms in place. You’ll not only be prepared for the worst, but you’ll be able to provide your customers with the best products, services and content possible. This means more business success and sweet dreams!
Do you have a PR crisis-prevention process in place?
Author Melanie Rembrandt helps business owners boost sales, awareness and credibility with targeted, content strategy, SEO copywriting and social media. For valuable articles and assistance, contact her and her team at Rembrandt Communications®, LLC, www.rembrandtwrites.com.
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