We've seen a few companies undergo some crises this year. How can the savvy online PR pro use the online newsroom to mitigate the damage and start the healing process?
1. Launch a Special Section: A special page or section dedicated to this crisis could be launched within the online newsroom framework that contains only information, events and releases that pertain to the transition to new management and what the company plans to do moving forward. This dedicated section raises the level of transparency and importance for this issue, and generates corporate credibility and trust with the news consumer – be it clients, customers or the press. A prominent link to this special section from the corporate home page would insure site visitors could find the information they need quickly.
2. Develop Audio or Video Responses: If a picture tells a thousand words, then a video message would be a welcome addition to the special section mentioned above. Investors, clients and customers need to hear a comforting voice of authority from the top detailing exactly what is being done to fix the problem, any management changes being made, or where/who customers can contact for help. In short, the CEO needs to be visible during this time of crisis – a simple press release falls short of the mark.
3. Encourage Conversations via the Corporate Blog: Most companies maintain an active company blog featuring the thoughts and insights of smart employees. The blog gives the company an opportunity to tell a corporate culture story as well. Change the narrative for now. Encourage company bloggers to write about exciting products coming to market, or how their work will lead to new and game-changing advances in the field. And above all, write in such a way to encourage comments and feedback from customers, clients and the media. Now is the time to form lasting relationships that move the company toward a new vision and better performance.
4. Practice Proactive Media Management: In survey after survey journalists, especially those working the financial beat, tell us timely and accurate information is needed above all else. Online newsroom functions - such as online registration for e-mail news alerts and quick access to contact information for key corporate leaders and the public relations staff - is critical to story development. Incorporating these functions into the home page of your organization's online newsroom would put the PR team in a proactive posture, instead of merely reacting to media calls for news and information.
5. Keep The Troops Informed: A major client for company news and information during times of crisis and transition are employees and their families. Consider developing a special employee newsletter, written and distributed weekly via the online newsroom, during this time of uncertainty. Also provide employees access to all possible financial and performance information in the company. Be sure to take a personal tone here – no time for “corporate speak” when jobs and futures are the topic of conversation.
The properly managed online newsroom can be a beacon of hope for fickle investors, nervous employees, and overworked journalists, but only if it is utilized to its maximum capacity to deliver timely and accurate news and information to all company stakeholders. Do you want to learn more about the control that you can get with an online newsroom?