How to Navigate A PR Crisis In Six Simple Steps

Bad reviews. An executive scandal. International data breach. A product malfunction. These are all examples of a PR crisis that many businesses have had to overcome, and they won’t be the last.

 

In today’s age of social media and innovation, the likelihood of a business facing a PR crisis continues to soar. While no one expects you to be perfect, how you respond can either give you a much-needed image boost or significantly damage your brand, alienating your customer base.

 

When a crisis does arise, use these helpful tips to navigate through the storm:

 

Appoint a response team.

Every business should already have a response team in place before a crisis hits to help ensure the right people are speaking on behalf of the company. This allows the organization to respond faster and speak with one voice, which can be difficult to achieve when multiple people are speaking on the company’s behalf.

 

The response team should be small and include the CEO, the company’s top PR executives and legal counsel. If the company’s PR executive does not have sufficient crisis communication expertise, consider retaining an agency with that specialty.

 

In addition, when a PR crisis occurs, each member of the response team should understand their role and responsibilities to help avoid confusion as well as any cross-over of duties.

 

Brief your team.

Once the strategy has been determined, relay the protocol to all persons who could be approached to speak on the company’s behalf. This means informing all employees, stakeholders, board members, etc., of who is to be speaking with the media and how they can direct any inquiries.

 

Craft your message.

Once the facts about the incident have been gathered, the team should agree on how to frame the response. When it comes to the response, think about the most transparent way to address the situation and what your company has done or will do about it – without placing external blame. In the response, be honest and open with your audience.

 

Once the message is crafted, it needs to be delivered in a timely manner. The sooner you apologize and admit the mistake, the sooner the public will forgive you. A prime example of a crisis being resolved correctly is how Starbucks handled their recent scandal by apologizing in a public statement, taking responsibility for the occurrence and making it clear that it won’t happen again.

 

Identify and address the affected parties.

Once the message has been crafted, identify the people who should know about the situation. This may include employees, stakeholders, business partners, customers and media. Audiences who need to be informed will depend on the context of the situation, but regardless of who’s receiving the message, you should make sure it is sent out in a timely manner.

 

Monitor the situation.

Assessing the brand’s image is especially important following a PR crisis, so keep an eye on inbound and outbound communications to address follow-up questions or concerns.

 

It’s also important to also track what people are saying about a company online. One way to do this is by establishing a monitoring system that quickly uncovers negative trends before they become a bigger problem and migrate to the media.

 

Dittoe PR uses TrendKite to track and monitor media coverage for clients, which allows us to look at the company’s media coverage, share of voice, sentiment, social media amplification, competitors’ coverage and more.

 

Review and learn from the situation.

Once the crisis is over, conduct a post-action review to determine how well your staff and management handled the situation. During the review, discuss what you could have done differently and what changes are necessary to prevent a similar situation.

 

What not to do.

When you come face-to-face with a PR crisis, stay away from these tactics:

 

  • Lashing out: Even if a media outlet or opposing party has said something false about your company, it is never a good idea to respond negatively or blame the complaint for the situation.

 

  • Offering no comment: Not having answers to potential questions is the worst thing you can do during a crisis. If you don’t have enough information to give a solid response, say so and assure that you will issue a statement when you have more details.

 

  • Responding too quickly: Handling a PR crisis is all about timing, so don’t give an answer prematurely before you know all the facts. This may cause you to contradict previous statements later could further damage your reputation.

 

 

  • Dwelling on the situation: A period of bad press is often just a hiccup on your path to success, so don’t let it completely distract you from continuing daily business responsibilities.

 

  • Avoid assembling a plan: Almost all crises can be avoidable with the right planning. Don’t wait until the last minute to assemble a thorough crisis communications plan.

How A Great PR Strategy Can Grow Your Business

In today’s world of rapid technological advancement and globalized commerce, startups and Fortune 500 companies alike are searching for new ways to build their business, gain visibility, and stand out amongst the competition.

 

When it comes to building and communicating the credibility of your service or product to the world, PR is, hands down, the best strategy and can be one of the most cost-effective ways to raise brand awareness and increase sales.

 

Sharing your entrepreneurial story in national business publications, getting product placements in popular magazines, participating in expert interviews on industry topics, and earning positive social media “shout outs” from influencers have the power to significantly impact your business and your brand.

 

Here’s how a strategic, well-thought-out, and well-executed PR campaign can help your business grow:

 

Increase brand awareness.

One of the biggest and most obvious benefits of PR is that it can gain exposure for your brand. A great PR strategy will include securing media stories about your company and its products or services. This can be much more effective than traditional brand-building techniques like paid advertising because people don’t relate to advertisements – they consume them. Storytelling is the way people attach meaning to products and services, and it’s the reason they want to belong to a brand.

 

For example, a potential customer is more likely to feel a connection to your business when reading a feature story about your company in a reputable, national publication like the Wall Street Journal or Inc. Magazine, than glancing at a banner ad at the top of the web page.

 

Improve SEO.

Another great benefit of a strategic PR campaign is that it will improve your online presence. Media stories about your business in national, local, and industry-specific digital publications will improve your company’s search engine optimization (SEO). But a great PR team doesn’t rely solely on articles written by reporters. PR professionals can create their own content that can be pitched to and placed in publications.

 

For example, byline articles or op-eds on topics relevant to your target audience, case studies highlighting your own clients’ success using your services or products, and optimized blog posts for your own website can help you move to the top of the search results page, increasing your online presence and building your credibility.

 

Build credibility.

Whether you’re looking to gain new customers, find new investors, or maybe even get noticed by larger companies for a potential buyout, credibility is a must. Similar to how a great feature in a top publication can help build brand awareness, it can also build your credibility. A positive endorsement from a third party generates much more credibility than advertising.

 

Create a press page on your company’s website to showcase all of the great press your PR team has secured for your company. It’s also important to proactively share media coverage across your social channels and in your email marketing content.

 

Generate new clients and new business.

The main goal for most companies is to increase sales and generate new business, and if a PR team’s campaign is strategic, it can do just that. Media outreach should be targeted to a specific target audience.

 

For companies selling a consumer product, securing coverage in top consumer magazines and national morning TV shows, as well as working with social media influencers and bloggers may be the best approach to take. But, if you’re selling a B2B service, then coverage in industry trade publications, as well as national business outlets, may impact your business more than a segment on the ‘Today Show.’

 

To measure PR efforts, your team should have access to a variety measurement tools such as Google Analytics and social media metrics through platforms like Sprout Social or Hootsuite. This allows your team to see what types of media hits result in increased website and social media traffic. A great PR agency will also invest in their own PR analytics software tool and can track KPIs such as total media mentions, share of voice among competitors, engagement, sentiment, and social media amplification.

 

Recruit top talent.

Last, but certainly not least, a great PR campaign has the ability to attract top talent to your company. Stories on company growth and innovation, as well as your culture and philanthropic initiatives help to position your company as a desirable place to work. Touting award recognitions for your business and announcing new hires and promotions are also great ways to solidify your organization as a top workplace in your area or industry.

 

Securing media hits and increasing your online presence is important but is not always the end goal. At Dittoe Public Relations, we recognize and understand the value of translating those PR efforts into real business success for our clients.

 

We are not simply media relations specialists. We are business consultants. We pride ourselves on becoming immersed within our clients’ businesses and industries and thrive on helping them grow through our strategic PR campaigns.

 

Ready for us to put together a custom strategy for you? If so, contact Lauryn Gray at lauryn@dittoepr.com.

Dittoe PR Scores a Hole-in-One with Carry The Game

Announcing a brand-new initiative at an industry’s largest trade show is no small feat, but Dittoe PR is always up to the challenge.

 

The Western Golf Association (WGA), a long-time client of Dittoe PR, knew they wanted to make a splash in the industry when they announced their newest venture, Carry the Game. It’s an initiative that aims to change the face of youth caddying in the U.S. and would take golfers, clubs, and organizations across the industry coming together to make this initiative a success.

 

The best time to announce a new industry-wide initiative is when everyone in the industry is together, right? That’s why the WGA set their sights on announcing Carry the Game at the PGA Merchandise Show, hosted Jan. 23–26, 2018, in Orlando. The PGA Merchandise Show is the golf industry’s leading trade-only event. PGA and golf industry professionals gather together to discover the latest trends in golf equipment, technology, apparel, and accessories, as well as to learn about what’s happening in the golf industry.

 

Enter Dittoe PR.

 

With brand new, never-before-seen initiatives such as Carry the Game, it’s important to begin by establishing a knowledge base, or making sure your audience in informed. Dittoe PR started by drafting a press release, FAQ, and fact sheet to share with reporters, acting as a one-stop-shop of information for anyone who needs it. We bundled all this information into comprehensive media kits and included photos of the student caddies for reference.

 

Facts in hand, it was time for our team to pull from our past golf industry experience to secure media interest.

 

If you’re new to media relations, you may be surprised by just how many news outlets and blogs there are for various industries. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of golf magazines, blogs, radio shows, and podcasts. The major outlets such as Golf Digest and The Golf Channel may dominate the airwaves, but local golf associations have their own publications, and just about anyone who loves golf wants to talk about it. Dittoe PR researched and reached out to them all, with one caveat: No one could share information about Carry the Game until the first day of the PGA Merchandise Show.

 

Dittoe secured 17 on-site interviews for three WGA staff members who appeared on TV shows, on podcasts, in magazines, and in blogs. A Dittoe PR team member traveled to Orlando with the WGA team to assist on-site by coordinating meeting times, supplying the ever-important media kit, and ensuring both reporters and the WGA had everything they needed.

 

Not long after the PGA Merchandise Show, the coverage began pouring in!

 

 

In total, our outreach also garnered media interest from an additional 30 outlets, including Golfweek, Golf Digest, Golf Talk America, and the Daily Herald. Interviews with the WGA occurred well into March.

 

At the conclusion of Dittoe PR’s partnership in announcing Carry the Game, the WGA saw 63 secured stories, over 95 million media impressions, and an estimated ad value of over $800,000.

 

Interested in earning media attention for your next big announcement? Request a consultation with us today!