Top 10 PR tips in a crisis
1)Every crisis is different whether it is an accident at work, a lawsuit, a disgruntled customer, production problems. But one thing you will always need is THE FACTS. From the word go ensure you know exactly what has happened, when and what went wrong.(If nothing else ask: WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHY, HOW)
2)NEVER lie to the media - it will invariably come back to bite to twice as painfully.
3)If the media get in touch buy yourself some time to think. Ensure you take down the nature of their query, inital questions and contact details and tell them you will ring them back with a set timescale 30mins/10mins. Don't be put under pressure to answer questions there and then - there is usually no need.
4) Go away and take time to think about how you are going to address the issue. Any statement is better than a "No comment" but always keep it short and factual. The more information you give the longer the story and bigger the headline.
5) Don't be lulled by a friendly reporter, they want the story not your lasting loyalty.
6) Write down your statement in bullet form and ensure it is accurate and to the point. Keep it to a couple of paragraphs if possible.
7) Always keep a record and, if possible, email to the reporter so they cannot misinterpret your quote and you have a timed record of when it was sent.
8) If it is a pending lawsuit then take immediate legal advise and say nothing to the media other than the matter is part of ongoing legal proceedings and you cannot saying anything until it is resolved.
9) Ensure you and only you deal with the media, the last thing you want is a junior in the office trying to be helpful to a reporter without your knowledge. Instruct all your staff that any media enquiries come to you.
10) Make sure you keep a note of the reporter you deal with and contact details - every crisis cloud should have a silver lining and they may be a useful contact in the future when you have a positive story to tell!