Crisis 101: How to Create an Effective Crisis Management Plan

In a crisis, your brand, your credibility, and your entire reputation are on the line. That’s why it’s essential to be prepared. Having a crisis management plan in place helps you get control of the situation and mitigate any potential long-term damage. Here, we provide a step-by-step guide to creating your plan – so you’re ready for anything.  

What is a crisis management plan?

Think of your crisis management plan as an essential survival tool. Face it: how you handle a crisis can determine whether your business thrives or dies. Make sure your plan outlines what you should do before, during, and after the crisis.  

How to create your crisis plan.

  • Designate your crisis management teamDetermine who you want on your crisis management team; make sure everyone knows their roles and is familiar with the plan. Your team should include a PR professional, spokesperson, attorney, and key staff members. 
  • Evaluate your risks: Gather your team for a “what if” brainstorming session. Make a list of all potential circumstances that could make you vulnerable to a crisis, and write a  general procedure for responding to each one. 
  • Identify how these risks will impact your business: Each potential circumstance brings different risks. Analyze each one to determine the impact it could have on your organization. 
  • Establish a communications strategy: 
    • Know how to find and alert your spokesperson
    • Develop a few clear, simple messages for the media
    • Have a list of tough questions ready with prepared responses
    • Prepare a FAQ to share with staff and colleagues
    • Create 5-10 approved social media posts and responses
    • Compile a “media kit” for reporters
    • Respond to news media quickly and fairly
    • Stick to your message and don’t get angry
  • Post-crisis assessment: Should a crisis occur, use the experience to improve  your response for the next time. A post-crisis assessment protocol should be built into your crisis plan. 
    • Could you have done anything to prevent the crisis?
    • Did you like the way the crisis was handled? 
    • What would you do differently in the future? 

 

A public relations crisis doesn’t need to leave you with your head spinning. With a thoughtful plan, you’ll be able to get through any crisis successfully.

Marc Silverstein is Co-Founder, President & CEO of On The Marc Media

Download our step-by-step Crisis Plan

 

Listen to the podcast: Why Former Reporters Make the Best Crisis Managers


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