Common Elements Companies Overlook During a PR Crisis
There are many different things that companies need to be doing while going through a PR crisis as if going through a crisis is such a simple thing in itself. However, the more prepared a company is for a PR crisis beforehand, the better time it will have to navigate negative situations and make sure the impact on its reputation is as small as possible.
Addressing affected parties
One of the things that companies tend to overlook during a crisis situation is identifying the affected parties of the crisis, and then addressing them. That means figuring out which people will need to know about the crisis situation, including customers, media outlets, employees, and any other stakeholders. The audience during a PR crisis tends to depend on the situation itself, but no matter who is going to be receiving the company’s public message, it’s important to deliver that message in a timely fashion. A great way to do that is by sending out a press release or a message to any friendly or familiar contacts the company has in the press who are going to be a lot more likely to portray the company and the entire situation in a neutral or a favorable fashion. However, most media outlets tend to pick up stories and share them with their audiences as soon as they break, which means companies will also need to be ready with press releases and statements before they’re approached by any journalists.
It’s important for companies to monitor the public sentiment all the time – including before, during, and after a PR crisis. That means taking note of both outbound and inbound communication efforts, and once a crisis situation is over, the company should be ready to answer any follow-up questions or queries from both the public and the press. The best way to monitor the public sentiment about a company is through social listening tools or platforms and businesses should be taking note of any potentially negative comments that can develop into a full-on public relations crisis beforehand, addressing it, and making sure it’s resolved before it snowballs. That means keeping track of what people are saying about a business and its solutions on social media platforms, third-party review websites, as well as any other place that has user-generated content such as forums. The key element to the successful navigation of a PR crisis for companies is understanding the sentiment of different types of audiences at any given point in time. This way, companies will easily be able to figure out any potentially negative trends and resolve them ahead of time, which allows them to successfully avoid facing a crisis in the first place.
During a PR crisis, companies need to immediately issue an apology for the situation, take responsibility for it, and ensure that something similar won’t happen again while outlining what the company will be doing about the matter. However, there are some PR crisis situations where it’s best for a company to hold off on releasing any statements, such as in situations that might involve a legal team, as an apology can be easily perceived as an admission of guilt. Making such a statement can easily overload the entire internet with content on the subject, which signals to search engines that the topic is popular, and therefore, makes cleaning up the company’s digital reputation a lot more difficult.