How Do You Sleep at Night Without a Crisis Communication Plan?

Some professional communicators get it. They want to be prepared. They have statements ready for the public in a crisis. They are trained as spokespeople or have their team members ready to be on camera. They have a crisis communication plan on file that they can refer to quickly in a crisis. They have sought approval and funding from their executives on proper crisis communication planning.

In this video, we ask public relations professional for Coast Electric, Melissa Russo, “Should a PR person prepare for a crisis or should they wing it and rely on hope?” Of course, the answer sounds obvious, but you might be surprised to know that too many PR professionals still wing their response to a crisis.

Melissa explains how she plans for effective crisis communications in the video here:

 

 

Visit this link to enjoy a full replay of this Master Class sponsored by SituationHub.com.

Use this link to schedule a free, private call https://calendly.com/braud/15min

To schedule a free, confidential demo for the crisis communications software SituationHub, visit: https://www.situationhub.com/

 

Crisis communications and media training expert Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC is based in New Orleans. Organizations on five continents have relied on him to write their crisis communications plans and to train their spokespeople. He is the author of “Don’t Talk to the Media Until…”

More crisis communications articles:

5 Steps to Effective Crisis Communications: Master Class #1

The Biggest Lie in Crisis Communications

4 Steps Every Company Needs to Take in Order to Avoid the Default Spokesperson

Crisis Communications Podcast: Be Prepared to Protect Your Revenue, Reputation, and Brand

In this crisis communications podcast, CEO of the Independent Lubricant Manufacturers Association Holly Alfano interviews me about the often overlooked piece of running a business: crisis communications and preparation.

How is a crisis defined? Ask, “Will this event affect our company’s revenue, reputation, and brand?” Stop thinking of only situations such as a fire, a pandemic, or a hurricane. Start thinking of the vulnerabilities of your specific business. Start thinking about your CEO taking a photo with the wrong person, at the wrong time. Start thinking about one of your employees saying the wrong thing on social media.

Start thinking about who should be your spokesperson in a crisis. It may not be who you would expect. Stop thinking a crisis won’t happen to you. Start thinking, if this happens to me, to our company, to our organization, do we have the crisis communication tools to respond and communicate quickly?

In case this sounds overwhelming or stressful, thankfully, there are five simple steps to manage a crisis effectively. Just five steps. And thankfully, there is an automated software that can help you communicate to your clients, customers, employees, and stakeholders in a crisis.

  1. Vulnerability Assessment
  2. Crisis Communications Plan
  3. Library of Pre-written news releases (Use SituationHub.com)
  4. Spokesperson media training
  5. Crisis communications drill

If these sound foreign to you, we take a deep dive into these five steps in the podcast.

Listen to the podcast here.

To set goals, talk about your needs, and formulate a budget, schedule a complimentary, confidential call with me https://calendly.com/braud/15min

Crisis communications and media training expert Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC is based in New Orleans. Organizations on five continents have relied on him to write their crisis communications plans and to train their spokespeople. He is the author of “Don’t Talk to the Media Until…”

More crisis communications articles:

15 Questions to Ask Before You Use Facebook for Crisis Communications

Can You Handle a Crisis When it Hits by Winging It?

Crisis Management Lessons from Hurricane Katrina vs. COVID19

3 Crisis Communications Master Class Recordings to Listen to Before the New Year

The year is almost over, and you may be asking yourself, what have I learned? What would I do differently? Have I prepared my organization for effective crisis communications?

Sure, it’s the busiest time of year. Thankfully, as you are wrapping presents, making Christmas cookies, and trimming the tree, you can pop in your Airpods and learn on the go. Although we hosted many crisis communications Master Classes this year, here are just three you can mark off your bucket list and not feel overwhelmed by the task or what you learned. Consider it our gift to you.

Crisis Communications Master Class: Change the Way You Write

The world has changed and so must you.

The world doesn’t have time to read what you wrote. Yet, you need the world to comprehend your message. So, what’s the secret?

Use this link to access the replay.

You’ll learn 10 reasons why you should change how you write a crisis communications statement.

Crisis Communications Master Class – The Crisis Communications Golden Hour

Minutes and seconds count in a crisis. Preparation is the key to fast crisis response. We dig deeper into the need for speed in your crisis communications and explore the tools you need to effectively communicate.

Use this link to access the content.

We discuss:

  • How to organize communications so that crucial information gets out fast
  • Why some messages work better than others
  • How to choose the right words
  • Skills to be an effective spokesperson
  • What you need to know about special populations or other unique factors in your audience

Facebook Crisis Communication Lessons

The Facebook crisis communications lessons are many. The explosive interview on 60 Minutes and the testimony before Congress from whistleblower Frances Haugen confirms and reinforces the crisis communication lessons we discussed in the SituationHub Master Class that originally aired live on March 11, 2021. The Master Class is called The Social Media Conundrum. You’ll want to watch that program, in which we zeroed in on why Facebook’s algorithms are built against you in a crisis.  

Crisis communications and media training expert Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC is based in New Orleans. Organizations on five continents have relied on him to write their crisis communications plans and to train their spokespeople. He is the author of “Don’t Talk to the Media Until…”

Photo by Lore Schodts on Unsplash

Crisis Communications Master Class: Change the Way You Write

The world has changed and so must you.

The world doesn’t have time to read what you wrote. Yet, you need the world to comprehend your message. So, what’s the secret?

If you missed last week’s crisis communications master class use this link to access the replay.

You’ll learn 10 reasons why you should change how you write a crisis communications statement.

In the class, we challenged conventional writing and crisis management wisdom, we ruffled feathers, we insulted your English teacher, challenged your Public Relations professor, brushed off your legal team, and empowered you to change the way you write crisis communications statements.

We focused on ways to:

  • Increase comprehension by your stakeholders
  • Ensure greater accuracy by the media
  • Speed up the statement approval process
  • …and much more

As a bonus, schedule a confidential discovery call to privately discuss the crisis communications challenges that you want to conquer in 2021 by using this link https://calendly.com/braud/15min

Be well; be safe; be prepared,

The SituationHub Team

Crisis communications and media training expert Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC is based in New Orleans. Organizations on five continents have relied on him to write their crisis communications plans and to train their spokespeople. He is the author of “Don’t Talk to the Media Until…”

More crisis communications articles:

15 Questions to Ask Before You Use Facebook for Crisis Communications

Can You Handle a Crisis When it Hits by Winging It?

Crisis Management Lessons from Hurricane Katrina vs. COVID19

Photo by RetroSupply on Unsplash

Change the Way You Write Crisis Statements

It is time to change the way you write crisis statements and crisis communication news releases.

The world has changed and so must you.

The world doesn’t have time to read what you wrote. Yet, you need the world to comprehend your message. So, what’s the secret?

It begins with using short declarative sentences.

In crisis communications speed is critical.

If something is factually correct and fast it is better than overly word-smithed and slow.

If you tell the audience who, what, when, where, why, and how quickly, they will forgive the absence of writing in prose.

If you write the way people talk, your stakeholders will comprehend your message more quickly.

If you write your crisis statement like a TV news script, you greatly increase the likelihood that the media will copy and paste the bulk of your script into their script with minimal edits.

As a word nerd, I’m probably going to piss off a whole bunch of people with this blog. (Can we say “piss off”?) Ok… we don’t want to offend anyone, so let’s say we’re going to ruffle some feathers.

As word nerds, we were all taught proper writing styles by our English professors, our Public Relations professors, and even our Journalism instructors. If we wrote the way they wanted, we got an A. They were conditioning us.

But guess what? You are a grown-up. Your English teacher taught you something that worked great 20 years ago. Your Public Relations teacher is teaching you old-school techniques.

We’re going to give you permission to be a grown-up and carve your own path. We’re going to tell you to break the rules!

We’re going to dig deeper into this on our next Crisis Communications Master Class on Thursday, November 11, 2021 at 1 p.m. CST. Use this link to register for the class.

You’ll learn 10 reasons why you should change how you write a crisis communications statement.

You will learn how to:

  • Increase comprehension by your stakeholders
  • Ensure greater accuracy by the media
  • Speed up the statement approval process
  • …and much more

Sign up for the live class or sign up for the replay. Your free admission is courtesy of SituationHub.com

Crisis News Release Reality: This Scares Me

With Halloween on the horizon, I thought I’d confess something that frightens me. The question is, am I more frightened than you?

It scares me to think how many companies are ill-prepared to communicate quickly with the media and their employees when they have a crisis. Boom – fire, explosion, workplace shooting, chemical release, natural disaster…

Does it scare you? It should. But most companies kick this can down the road. Being prepared is not a high priority. They think they will just magically figure it out as all hell is breaking loose. Yea… that never works. It’s frightening åhow many executives think this way.

It frightens me so much that I spent four years building an app called SituationHub.com.

In one to three minutes it can automatically write a crisis news release. Most ill-prepared companies take three to four hours to get a first statement out.

We have two months left in 2021. How about you set a goal for us to talk about how SituationHub can take away the fear for all those crises that can keep you up at night.

In the age of social media, you have only minutes to get communications out to the world. Can you get a message out in minutes? If you wait more than a few minutes, the media and social media can destroy you, your revenue, your reputation, and brand.

That should frighten you. But does it scare you enough to take action?

Use this link to schedule a time for us to talk.

Crisis communications and media training expert Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC is based in New Orleans. Organizations on five continents have relied on him to write their crisis communications plans and to train their spokespeople. He is the author of “Don’t Talk to the Media Until…”

More crisis communications articles:

15 Questions to Ask Before You Use Facebook for Crisis Communications

Can You Handle a Crisis When it Hits by Winging It?

Crisis Management Lessons from Hurricane Katrina vs. COVID19

Photo by David Menidrey on Unsplash

Crisis Communications Master Class: The Golden Hour

Last week’s crisis communications master class focused on the golden hour, a very critical time for those facing a crisis. If your company is facing a crisis, you must issue a statement to employees, the media, customers, and other stakeholders within one hour or less of the situation becoming known to the public. If you fail to communicate during the crisis communications golden hour, the narrative will get captured by others who may not know all of the facts.

What they post to social media will likely damage your revenue, reputation, and brand. The effects of that damage can be long-lasting. In this master class, we talk with Doug Levy, author of The Communications Golden Hour. Your host is SituationHub Founder and crisis communications expert Gerard Braud. The SituationHub crisis communications software platform can not only help you communicate effectively during the crisis communications golden hour, but SituationHub can actually write your first communications statement in 1-3 minutes. It turns the golden hour into the golden minutes.

Replay – Free Master Class – The Crisis Communications Golden Hour

Minutes and seconds count in a crisis. If you missed Thursday’s free Master class, the replay is now online.

Use this link to access the content.

Preparation is the key to fast crisis response. We dig deeper into the need for speed in your crisis communications and explore the tools you need to effectively communicate.

We discuss:

  • How to organize communications so that crucial information gets out fast
  • Why some messages work better than others
  • How to choose the right words
  • Skills to be an effective spokesperson
  • What you need to know about special populations or other unique factors in your audience

Your free registration for this Master Class is a gift from SituationHub.com. If your company has the potential to experience a crisis (and you know it does),

SituationHub is the fastest way to:

  • Gather the facts
  • Confirm the facts
  • Notify your crisis team
  • Write a statement for the media, your employees, and stakeholders.
  • …and do it all in a remarkable 3-10 minutes.

Be well; Be safe,

The SituationHub Team

SituationHub.com makes crisis communications move at the speed of social media. Use this link to schedule a free, private call https://calendly.com/braud/15min

To schedule a free, confidential demo for the crisis communications software SituationHub, visit: https://www.situationhub.com/#demo

CONNECT: https://twitter.com/situationhub

VISIT OUR SITE: https://www.situationhub.com/

Crisis Communications Tip: Mind the Gap

Today’s crisis communications tip is to Mind the Gap. There is a gap of time between the flashpoint of your crisis and the time in which your first crisis news release statement is released to the world. You need to communicate the truth. If you fail to do so, you create a Truth Gap.

If you’ve been to the London subway, you’ve seen signs that say, “Mind the Gap.” There is a gap between the subway station platform and the subway train door. If you don’t “mind the gap” you will step into a gap that will injure or kill you. In crisis communications, if you don’t mind the gap, you will injure or kill your revenue, reputation, and brand.

My challenge to you is to close the gap in your crisis communications process in order to release a statement to the media, your employees, and your other key stakeholders much faster than ever before.

In a previous blog, we talked about how the SituationHub.com crisis communications software application can transform the Crisis Communications Golden Hour into Golden Minutes.

Social media has made the gap in crisis communications worse because Twitter and Facebook Live are telling the story in the first minute, while most companies take three or more hours before they release a statement to the media, their employees, and other key stakeholders.

Close the Gap

The three best ways to close the gap include:

  1. Write a crisis communications plan that dictates speed.
  2. Use the SituationHub.com app to write news releases in 3-5 minutes or have a library of pre-written news release statements as Microsoft Word documents.
  3. Hold regular crisis communications drills to test your plan, your process, and your people.

Regarding #1, most crisis communications plans only outline a list of tasks to be done. Very few light a fire under anyone’s butt. Your plan needs to light that fire. Speed is king.

One secret to speed is for your plan to outline how you can release small bits of information a little at a time.

You don’t need to know everything before you say anything.

As long as you are accurate and you do not speculate, a little information is better than no information and it is better than waiting until you know everything. Simply close the statement by saying,

Members of our team are gathering additional information and we will share that information with you as soon as possible.

Regarding #2, most crisis communications plans have holding statements. I like a feature in the SituationHub app called “The First Critical Statement.” Depending upon the situation, the app will ask you 10 to 20 questions, then based on your answers it will automatically write your holding statement. It covers the basics that all reporters want to know, such as who, what, when, and where. To the delight of your lawyers, why and how are addressed in sentences that deflect speculation. And to add a cherry on top of your news release statement, lawyers and executives can pre-approve the language the day you subscribe to the app, rather than on the day of your crisis when seconds count.

At the time we are writing this, SituationHub offers 50 to 75 detailed news releases for a variety of companies, including electric companies, chemical companies, credit unions and banks, schools and universities, and general businesses. We’re told that the app will be adding government and healthcare options next.

Regarding #3, a crisis communications drill lets you make mistakes in private, so you don’t make mistakes in public. This allows you to test your plan to make sure it works as designed. You also get to test the ability of your people to follow directions and evaluate who goes “off script.” You get to test your ability to mind the gap and close the gap with pre-written news release statements. You also get to test your spokespeople in mock news conferences.

Oh, and regarding spokespeople and news conferences, the SituationHub crisis communications software also generates a written script for spokespeople to read at a news conference. The script pre-answers questions before they are asked by reporters, thereby reducing the number of questions asked during the news conference.

In conclusion, the gap is closing on you because of social media. Take steps today to mind the gap by putting tools in place on a clear sunny day, in order to be your best on your darkest day.

Here are some resources to help you on your crisis communications journey:

  • There are several good videos on the SituationHub page that show the app in action
  • Visit the BraudCast Channel on YouTube for tons of content
  • Dig through our blog for decades of content

The Crisis Communications Golden Hour

The crisis communications golden hour is all about the emphasis for companies in crisis to take bold, decisive steps in the first hour, in order to manage both the crisis and the public’s perception of the crisis.

But the crisis communications golden hour really needs to be reduced to the crisis communications golden minutes.

Have you heard about SituationHub.com? It is a new crisis communications software application that allows a company to quickly gather information about a crisis and generate a news release or crisis statement in 3 to 5 minutes.

SituationHub is a game-changer because it is the first time crisis communications can move at the speed of social media.

The flaw with the crisis communications golden hour concept is that Twitter and Facebook Live happen during the first minute of a crisis. SituationHub closes the gap because it automates the crisis communications process, and it automates the writing of a news release or crisis statement.

SituationHub has forced me to re-write my crisis communications plan template. For more than 25 years my crisis communications plans have evolved, but when one of my clients uses SituationHub, the first five chapters of my crisis communications plan becomes five sentences:

  • Log into SituationHub.com
  • Select your situation
  • Answer the questions
  • Alert your internal crisis team
  • Publish your statement for the media, employees, customers, and stakeholders

The One Hour Rule

Historically, we know that the longer it takes a company to issue a statement about a situation or crisis, the more damage that company is likely to experience to its revenue, reputation, and brand.

Historically, my crisis communications plans dictated that the user must issue a statement to the media, employees, and all stakeholders within one hour or less of the onset of the crisis going public.

That’s worked for me, but in the back of my mind I’ve been thinking, “That’s still 59 minutes after the first Tweet or Facebook post.”

The Three Hour Reality

I’ve studied crisis situations in my days as a television reporter and my second career in crisis communications. In most cases, more than three hours pass between the flashpoint of the situation and the release of the first statement. That is unacceptable!

Why is this?

  1. Most companies fail to write a proper crisis communications plan on a clear sunny day.
  2. Most companies fail to have a library of pre-written news releases for their crisis events. Hence, valuable time is lost writing a first draft statement, then having that statement marked up and edited by executives, then waiting for the second draft, then waiting for more edits, then releasing a final draft.

Hopefully, more organizations will discover SituationHub and turn the crisis communications golden hour into the crisis communications golden minutes.

Here are some resources to help you on your crisis communications journey:

Ready or Reactionary? The SituationHub Master Class on Crisis Communications

How do you stack up?

PR News and CS&A International asked companies a simple question: Do you have a crisis management plan? Nearly 60 percent said they had a plan, yet only half of those plans were up-to-date. This means 70% of organizations are really just flying by the seat of their pants when a crisis strikes.

Why is this? We look behind the numbers and offer you fast, affordable solutions in this Master Class for Crisis Communications.

Your free access has been paid for by the team at SituationHub.com (SituationHub is the crisis communications app that can automatically write your crisis news release in as few as 3 minutes). Watch the recording here.

We’ll tackle this topic in 3 parts:

First, we’ll look at some surprising results from a survey on crisis communications. The survey was done by PR News and CS&A International.

Second, we’ll look behind the numbers and talk with the woman who conducted the survey, crisis expert Caroline Sapriel.

Third, we’ll give you a roadmap of best practices and challenge you to take at least one step toward preparedness.

When it comes to Ready or Reaction, see how your organization compares to others.

Then, set some goals to be one step closer to readiness.

As a bonus, schedule a confidential call to privately discuss your social media and crisis communications challenges by using  this link https://calendly.com/braud/15min