For any company, particularly one that's in the public eye, a crisis, such as a bankruptcy, the unexpected death of a beloved CEO or a financial scandal, is going to require a well-calibrated mix of smarts and good old-fashioned moxie when dealing with the press. The following are ten ways to craft and manage an effective media response:
• In today’s media and blog world, never say, “No comment.”
• In a crisis, have your game plan ready.
• Be prepared for the unexpected. There will always be more to respond to.
• Have a bulletproofed, updated media list and keep a copy at home.
• Make sure key reporters covering the story have your cell number.
• Make sure the person at the center of the crisis does not respond to press directly but refers calls to the PR person.
• Do not put anything in e-mail that you won’t mind seeing in the press. Don’t let the client use e-mail, except in responding to you. Otherwise, it is bound to leak.
• If your client is being flogged in the press on a daily basis, pick a select few outlets that you want to give access to.
• To deal with a flood of press calls, hold a telephonic press conference and get it all over with at once. Take no more calls that day.
• Keep the message simple; change it as needed to keep up with developments.
• Once the crisis has been going on for a while, take a step back and see if your approach is working or needs revisions.
These tips were excerpted from PR News' upcoming Crisis Management Guidebook. It was written by Andrew Blum, a media relations manager of Chadbourne & Parke LLP. To find out how you can order this book, please visit www.prnewsonline.com/store for regular updates.