Crisis Communications Checklist

(Thanks to our Detroit PR partner, Bianchi Public Relations)

Download Checklist (PDF)

Identify potential risk situations and their impact

  • Issues / incidents that are likely
  • Audiences that will be most impacted
  • Severity and key concerns of potential impact
  • Anticipate most difficult questions

Identify your crisis team and responsibilities

  • Who will be on team? HR, Legal, Communications, CEO, others?
  • Create an internal quick-contact list
  • Arrange how the crisis team will communicate and how often
  • Plan spokespeople for various situations

Develop a strategy that conveys authenticity, transparency and sensitivity around:

  • Your company’s overall goals, employees, stakeholders
  • Your communications channels
  • Messaging that is consistent with sensitivity to the crisis

Create your communications materials

  • Prepare a statement incorporating core corporate messages; modify during the crisis as needed
  • Prepare company fact sheets
  • Create a living Q&A about what is known and unknown for consistency across the organization
  • Other needs: employee communications, website content, social media posts and how to respond, community/stakeholder letters

Media train your spokespeople on those key messages

  • Know what to say – create approved key messages
  • Know how to say it – confidently and with empathy
  • Give short, factual answers
  • Do not speculate
  • Confirm next steps, when updated information may be available

Anticipate the news cycle

  • How might the situation play out in the media?
  • What is the worst-case scenario in terms of media coverage?
  • Monitor coverage, online reader comments and social media comments to determine next steps

Media relations

  • Designate a single point of contact for media inquiries; direct all staff to that contact
  • Identify specific media outlets, reporters and channels for this situation
  • Consider scope – local, statewide or national/international impact?
  • Keep media informed as events unfold; follow-up with media as promised

Remember to be pro-active, not reactive

  • Don’t delay responses in hopes that you will have more answers later
  • Avoiding commenting implies you are hiding something
  • It’s fine to say what you know and explain what you don’t yet know
  • Media work around the clock 24/7/365, even if you don’t; their calls can come anytime
  • If you don’t control the narrative, someone else will

For a free one-hour LCI consultation, please contact: Ms. Brianne Murphy Miller, (650) 575-7727 or [email protected].

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