One of the best responses to an anticipated crisis to always have a crisis plan in place. This is critical especially when dealing with the media. Following are a few guideposts every PR professional should heed when dealing with the press in this type of situation.
Frequent communication: The public relations department should maintain regular contact with organizational leadership to identify any potential crisis.
You need to understand that it is very difficult to contain a story to interviews with just a formal spokesperson. It is very likely that the media may do other things to get a statement from others either formally or loosely related to the organization. For example, the media may stand in a parking lot or out on a public street to get comments from other people. That’s why you can’t afford to be caught off-guard.
News monitoring: It’s critical to monitor online news services on a regular basis.
Just because the story is a wrap doesn’t mean it’s accurate. You need to monitor how the news is being reported to ensure accuracy. If it’s not accurate, call reporters immediately to correct it.
Media relationships: Public relations should maintain strong relationships with the media during a non-crisis periods. Establish rapport with members of the press so that they are more likely to call you for comment on an issue before running a story.
This was written by Robert Blodgett, a principal at CR Visions Communications Inc. It was excerpted from the PR News Crisis Management Guidebook, Volume 2. To order a copy, visit the www.prnewsonline.com/store.