As businesses close their doors and many are being advised to stay home, now more than ever, PR professionals are being tasked with a crucial role. In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19), companies are developing their emergency plans quickly. Some are adapting current plans, while others are starting from scratch. While it is too early to fully understand this pandemic and its long-term effects, there are many steps businesses can take now to help improve the situation later.
At Fort Lauderdale and Aspen-based public relations agency Durée & Company, we work with our clients to develop a working outline of what to do in a crisis well in advance. Between laying out the foundation of your crisis management team to customizing an outline to the needs of your particular situation, our professional experience and expertise will guide you through this time of uncertainty. Here are 5 tips about how to do so:
- Plan ahead.
According to The New York Times and scientific experts, COVID-19 may come back, and possibly even stronger later in the year. Now is the time to evaluate your crisis plan and strategize on how to sustain it. The sooner you deliver your message about how you are addressing the pandemic, the easier it will be to manage doubts, fears and successfully roll out your plan.
Brainstorm possible crisis scenarios and discuss how your company will respond. Prepare templates of media alerts, releases, blog posts, and social media posts that can be adapted for any situation. That way, you can focus on the more important things like payroll or client communication when the time comes.
- Ready, set, respond.
Having a dedicated team for crisis communications is extremely important. Your team should be ready to develop and deliver the company’s messaging internally and externally. Have a communications lead ready to post approved statements on social media, engage and monitor for comments (good and bad), and report back to the client. Your crisis PR team should develop content, monitor and research media opportunities, and provide updates of coverage to the client and the internal team.
- Teamwork makes the dream work.
While we’re being urged to practice social distancing, it’s important to keep up your company morale and internal communications while all employees are working from home. Try practicing weekly or daily conference calls, or even video or virtual collaboration.
In addition to internal collaboration, see how your client roster could also collaborate during this time of need.
- Get the media’s attention.
There is a difference between being a resource to your clients and attempting to capitalize off of a sensitive situation. By now, we know that the COVID-19 outbreak has dominated the media. So, how do you leverage your story to stand out in the midst of it?
During this time of uncertainty, now is the time to figure out how you can stay relevant and take the opportunity to show support in the community. Many people are at home practicing social distancing. While they are spending hours behind a computer looking for discounts not knowing how the economy will shift, see how your brand can offer a product or service that people could use to put them at ease.
In addition to pitching media, share your efforts on social media to promote the good work you are doing and bring additional attention to your movement.
- Client communication is key.
By now, your email inbox is probably flooding with COVID-19 statements and updates from companies you may have done business with. Just because you are getting them does not mean that you must send your own. In no way should you be sending communications about COVID-19 just to capitalize on the frenzy. If your business needs to relay messaging about new operating hours, what you are doing in light of the situation, updates to investors or stakeholders, or how to contact you as you may be working remotely, then send that update ― if relevant.
Given the fast spread (of fear, the virus itself, etc.), the impact is affecting businesses one way or another. No matter where you are located, if you have not already communicated with your employees or clients about your response plans to COVID-19, you are overdue.
Take this as an opportunity to roll out a more complex crisis response plan, so that the next time the unexpected comes along, you’re ready and armed. For help with a COVID-19 crisis plan or crisis readiness in general, contact us at Durée & Company today. Now in our 20th year of business, we have the crisis communications and PR services you need.
About Durée & Company
Durée & Company, Inc. is an award-winning, full-service public relations, marketing and special events firm founded in 1999. The firm has offices in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Aspen, Colorado. Durée & Company serves the corporate, agency and nonprofit arenas for local, national and international clients. Services include public relations, social media, marketing, content development, advertising, special events, branding, radio promotions and more. Durée & Company clients include well-known names in business, fashion, hospitality, travel, wellness and CBD, marine & yacht, art and culture, nonprofit organizations, legal and professional services and real estate. Durée & Company is a member of PR Boutiques International™ (PRBI), an international network of boutique PR firms. To learn more, go to https://dureeandcompany.com/, visit Durée & Company on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/DureeCoPR/, Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/dureecopr Twitter at https://twitter.com/dureecopr or YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/DureeAndCompany, or call 954-723-9350.