A crisis will put any organization on its heels, forcing teams into a quick reaction that may – or may not – strike the right tone, much less achieve the goal.
Tough situations are made easier through a strong communications strategy.
Clear communication is fundamental to saving or building a reputation.
Here are the tools you need to survive a crisis.
DEFINE YOUR MESSAGE
Step 1: Identify Your Goal.
Tailor your message to reinforce the overall goal.
Step 2: Cut Through the Noise and Confusion.
Be concise and keep it simple. It is critical when forming your messaging that it does notcreate panic or rely on unsourced or potentially inaccurate information.
Step 3: Make Your Message Relevant.
Tailor this message to the info your target audience needs to hear. If you ignore the crisis, you risk coming off as tone deaf.
IDENTIFY YOUR AUDIENCE
Knowing the groups you are talking to is a must.
Sample target audiences include:
- For Elected Officials –
All constituents in their jurisdiction or those constituents most negatively impacted by a crisis, such as Seniors or Parents of School-Aged Children.
- For Campaigns/Political Organizations –
Volunteers, party-members, and/or voters likely to vote in an upcoming election.
- For Non-Profits/Trade Associations –
Key stakeholders such as members, elected officials, donors or your existing online following.
- For Businesses –
Your current customers, prospective customers, or even your employees.
A website is a must in any crisis response.
Be sure your website has information about the issue of concern and how it affects people.
Keep it easy to navigate as well as easy to update and change.
Mobile-friendly is key, too, as mobile internet usage continues to grow.
Social media will allow you to quickly spread your message and provide your audience with timely updates.
Posts can be promoted to audiences to increase their reach, but don’t forget to urge your audience to proactively share and repost content.
Ads can supplement posts and be targeted by geography, demographics, or behavioral traits.
Display ads that run on apps and websites are best for quick informational messages and generating traffic to your website.
Display ads are a great way to encourage sign ups and/or opt-ins.
Sight, sound, and motion work together to create a powerful user experience.
Video is a highly-effective persuasion tool – build confidence, dispel myths, and share important facts.
Keep your videos short and to the point.
With a near 100% open rate, text messages are a quick and easy way to get your crisis communications message out.
Use text messages for short and quick updates, especially when time is of the essence.
Examples include sending critical or time-sensitive information, asking for simple feedback, and providing important health or safety updates.
A trusted and personal form of communication, direct mail is a good vehicle for delivering reliable information.
Postcards can direct your target audience to hotlines or websites. Personal letters can convey a human element. Informational fliers can provide additional resources and more in-depth explanations of current issues.
Ready to learn more? Download our “How to Communicate in a Crisis” resource.