Welcome back to part two of our content series on crisis communications! Now that you understand the importance of a crisis comms plan when things go awry, it’s time to break down exactly what you can expect from your PR agency during a crisis. Whether you have a PR agency on retainer or work with an agency on a sporadic basis, in the midst of a crisis you want your PR agency to feel like an extension of your own team and not just another supplier you need to manage. A good PR agency will help you seamlessly navigate a crisis, essentially taking things off your plate, rather than adding to it! Here’s our take on what you can expect your PR agency to do during a crisis.
Crisis Support and Advisory
First and foremost, the role of your PR agency in a crisis is to support and advise. You want them to be offering strategic counsel and guidance to your team whenever needed, recognising that crises often transcend standard 9-5 weekday hours. Your agency should be collaborating with other stakeholders as equal partners while navigating a crisis, this might look like sitting in on calls with legal representation or providing frontline workers support in handling enquiries.
Managing the Media
During a crisis, you can and should divert all media enquiries to your PR agency to manage on your behalf. They are highly skilled at handling requests from journalists, finding out what information the media has and what is likely to be published or make it to air. Your agency will use their expertise to provide advice on when to stay silent and when to speak up.
At MediaCast, we can provide in person or online media training to your spokespeople and ambassadors to ensure they stay on message during interviews. Media training ensures everyone in your organisation conveys a unified and consistent message to all stakeholders. Your PR agency should be able to roll this out quickly to ensure anyone fronting the media is feeling confident and prepared.
Preparing Content and Statements
Your team may not have the capabilities or capacity to create media releases and statements during a crisis. Having a highly skilled and well-trained team develop collateral for you ensures your brand presents a comprehensive and professional response. PR agencies can either work in collaboration with you or take the reins and craft clear and consistent messaging for you to address the crisis, convey empathy and maintain transparency.
Media Monitoring and Analysis
Ahead of, during or post crisis your PR agency should be conducting thorough media monitoring to keep you informed of the media coverage and public’s perception. By actively monitoring both mainstream media, social media and online forums such as Reddit, PR agencies can analyse this data to make informed decisions and adjust strategies as needed.
After the crisis has subsided, your PR agency should conduct a thorough post-crisis evaluation to assess what worked, what didn’t and how to improve your crisis communications plan for the future. This is also time for you to take a deep breath and pat yourself on the back, you survived a PR crisis!
If you want to prepare your business effectively by creating a crisis communications plan, or you are worried about a possible crisis, our highly skilled and experienced team at MediaCast can help. Send us a message to chat more about the support we can provide to your business and don’t forget to keep an eye out for our third and final article in this series where we’ll be analysing some of the most memorable PR disasters of the decade!