© 2011 iloveJB123, used under a Creative Commons Attribution license - http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en_GBA recent article on the US-based PR Daily website listed seven examples of effective crisis communications.

Among those receiving praise for heading off negative publicity were Justin Bieber and fast food chain Taco Bell.

The list added an interesting new dimension to the debate over brand and reputation protection, and inspired us to write a blog offering seven tips for effective crisis management.

1)    Act early – all too often organisations wait until they have been swamped by negative media coverage before they even start to think about how to counteract it. Being pro-active at an early stage can help to prevent an issue becoming a crisis.

2)    Don’t be hasty – a common mistake made by companies in the midst of PR crisis is to hastily issue a press release containing positive news such as a charity donation or piece of community work. However, this can appear contrived and can be counter-productive unless managed properly.

3)    Be open and transparent – nothing arouses the suspicion of journalists like a refusal to comment. In media relations as in life, honesty is the best policy. Inviting reporters to your company premises to discuss matters directly can be an effective tactic.

4)    Don’t take it personally – remember that journalists, like you, are just trying to do their job. By asking for a response to negative allegations about you or your company, they are simply trying to get both sides of the story in the interests of balance and fair reporting.

5)    Stay calm – if you feel an article is unfair, remember it is highly unlikely that the journalist has misreported the situation deliberately. By all means make your concerns known, but do so in a calm and polite manner.

6)    Respond quickly and accurately – anyone who has worked in the media knows the pressures journalists are under due to tight deadlines and demanding editors. Responding to enquiries swiftly in order to meet a reporter’s deadline will ensure your side of the story is heard. It will also show journalists that you can be relied upon to meet their needs

7)    Think digital – these days a crisis can quickly escalate beyond traditional media and into the Twittersphere. Free tools like Social Mention allow users to carry out real-time searches for mentions of their organisation across social media. If a negative story about your company takes off online, be sure to respond to comments on sites like Facebook and Twitter and do not be tempted to delete critical comments. In addition, use social media to cut out the middle man and get your message across to key audiences such as your customers, the public and other stakeholders directly. For example, why not put a media statement on your blog as well?

Enjoy this post? Please leave a comment below. For more information on handling a media crisis call Outwrite today on 01352 706260.