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Mistakes in communications are never ideal, but can be more detrimental during a crisis.


Take Your Time

When facing a crisis, a business or organization should respond in a timely manner. Waiting to address the situation could be harmful, leading your audience to believe you’re hiding something.

To ensure a quick response, plan for crisis situations ahead of time. This can serve as a roadmap to navigating a crisis, although specifics depend on the situation.

The first response doesn’t have to be extensive, but a more comprehensive statement could be beneficial. At the very least, acknowledge the situation. This can be as simple as letting your audience know you are aware, and are looking into the matter.

After acknowledgment, a business should make a more complete statement shortly after. The longer you wait, the more time there is for negative press to circulate and for your reputation to be damaged.

A quick response could be vital in protecting your reputation and relationship with your trusted audience.

Hide the Truth

It may seem obvious, but under no circumstance should you lie to your audience during a crisis. With the 24/7 news cycle and social media, your lie would be uncovered and your reputation and credibility would be damaged.

Crisis situations are about maintaining your reputation and shaping public perception. Depending on the situation, your reputation may take a hit, but being truthful would minimize the damage.

Be forthright in your communications. You don’t want the media to tell your story for you – make sure to promote the truth whether it’s through press releases, or statements on your personal channels.

Once the truth is public, you can work on a plan to mitigate the effects or to repair your reputation depending on the harm done. Crisis situations are difficult, but a lie would only make matters worse.

Avoid the Media

With the proliferation of “fake news,” businesses or organizations can be wary of dealing with media outlets.

The media plays a vital role in shaping public opinion, making it important to have your voice heard during a crisis. Reach out to reporters early on – don’t wait for a story to get out of hand before telling your side.

Waiting to lend your voice can hurt your reputation. Social media allows news to spread wider and quicker than ever before, harming brands in a matter of hours or days. Contacting the media early can help shift the narrative, or at least lessen the damage.

If reporters contact you, respond in a timely fashion. You could agree to an interview with the reporter or send them a copy of a prepared statement. Don’t ignore media inquiries or decline to comment, unless you plan to follow up as soon as you have a statement.

Having a crisis communications plan makes media relations easier. You can provide reporters with talking points and prepare for any questions they may have.

Sinclair has the experience and know-how to protect your reputation in a crisis. Your story is important, and we can ensure it’s told effectively and to a wide audience.

Sinclair Public Affairs

Author Sinclair Public Affairs

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