PR Tips for How to Ride Out #Blizzard2015

Social Responsibility _Weber Shandwick and Yum Brands

The Blizzard of 2015 is starting to bear down on the Northeast U.S.

The epic storm is expected to drop up to 3 feet of snow on Boston and New York before it ends Tuesday.

Officials up and down the Northeast corridor are urging commuters to stay home if at all possible, and we’re betting more than a few PR folks will take them up on their offer.

It’s tempting, of course, but staying at home due to a severe storm isn’t an excuse to binge watch “True Detective” on HBO or curl up with some guilty pleasure. It’s pretty much a normal workday, but with a bit of a spin on what you can get accomplished.

With that in mind here are a few tips for PR pros who are planning to work from home the next day or so and ride out the storm.

> Touch base with your key clients. The storm is expected to affect tens of millions of people from New Jersey through Maine. Via email, telephone or social channels, contact your key clients to gauge how the storm may impact upcoming projects, campaigns and/or deadlines and pivot accordingly. Contact any managers, vendors and partners to apprise them of how things may have changed because of the freaky weather.

> Over-communicate. For companies that are involved with cleanup and/or rescue efforts tied to the storm, the onus is on PR pros to be in constant communication with people on the ground. Communicators need to aggregate the information and craft updates that can then be distributed via social channels, online business networks and/or intranets. 

> Track the internal issues. If they haven’t already, offices up and down the Northeast corridor are starting to shut down for the day. While they may be working from home, PR pros need to take the lead on communicating with their colleagues and keeping them informed of any contingency plans and how the storm may affect any previously scheduled events, projects, meetings, etc.

> Take advantage of an unusual day. You’re at home, so there won’t be the inevitable kibitzing with colleagues or waiting in line to grab some lunch. Take that time to give a holler to some folks in the media who you have been eager to cultivate a relationship. See what they’re working on these days and where reporters et al. see the trend lines in which your message/campaign/client may have some resonance. Picking up the phone to see how you can help a reporter is a lost art. Today is the perfect day to revisit it.

What would you add to the list?

Follow Matthew Schwartz on Twitter: @mpsjourno1