Newsjacking, global communication, social media, PR, reputation management and mobile all have one thing in common.

They operate in real time.

Now ask yourself this – are you equipped to deal with real time events in your industry? What about in response to something happening within or to your business?

If not, you could not only be behind the times, you could be missing out on a huge opportunity.

Communication is still communication

Okay, don’t panic. A crisis in any business or industry is the same in today’s digital age as it was in any other age.

A crisis is a communication issue pure and simple. The reality of today’s (social) media landscape is that it’s always on, everywhere and mobile. Everyone and every brand is a mini media empire. That’s why you need to be ready for real time communication.

Here’s a cheat sheet for what you (still) need to consider in planning a crisis response:

  • anticipate what could go wrong and where, have a response plan, and practise putting the plan into action; learn from that and fix the plan
  • identify who will be available to respond in a crisis event in real time, and who else will need to get involved right away (yes, 24/7 means day or night)
  • have a message ready; real time means you can’t stay silent; people expect you to respond as they respond; but because you anticipated this, you should know what to say, or at least have something to say until you know more about what’s happening
  • respond within the correct channels; if something is blowing up on a social media network, your response needs to happen there; don’t get caught out having a journalist response when you need a customer service message (see point 1)

Be proactive

Start thinking today about what kinds of stories you can leverage for your message. Yes, this can include putting up a congratulatory message around a big sports event or significant date if it fits in with your target market and message.

Do you support a specific charity organisation, or make donations to a natural disaster? That better be on your plan and you better be communicating it. Just don’t grab the rails of a natural disaster and try to get your brand involved unless you’re truly trying to help or you’ll suffer the fate of some poorly planned campaigns…

Start listening now

You need your own real time virtual news room. A way of monitoring and evaluating what is happening around your brand, in your industry and major sources of breaking news that are relevant to your brand and plans.

Things you might consider including are:

  • real time alert – many tools out there offer a real time ‘as it happens’ alert feature, for example Google Alerts. Simply set up the key words you’re monitoring (your brand, your campaign tag, etc) and have the alert sent your inbox.
  • news feed – you need to follow breaking news events; pick a solid news provider that issues real time feeds and don’t forget the social feeds from Twitter, you can get up to speed quickly with news simply by seeing what’s trending
  • monitor and measure – you want to watch the impact of your message in real time and respond accordingly, but that means figuring out now how you’ll measure that sentiment and response; will you have someone reading all the Twitter responses or will you poll customers; how will you know you’re doing well and what impact the crisis is having on your businesses

This is, of course, just a start. Real time PR and marketing isn’t going to go away. In fact, Real time PR and marketing is becoming more and more the difference between brands that succeed and those that fail in business terms. That’s why it’s so important to get your organisation ready today.

 

 

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