If you work in media relations, a great deal of your time is probably spent drafting messages that may never see the light of day. That doesn’t mean that the work isn’t important.
These statements are important to have at the ready, and executives most likely will feel more comfortable knowing that a statement exists about a potential situation.
All media statements contain common elements, namely answers to questions that follow the basic journalism questions of who, what, where, when, why and how. Specifically,
- Who was responsible?
- What happened?
- Where did it happen?
- When did it happen?
- Why did it happen? Or why did the company respond to the incident the way it did?
- How is the company resolving the issue?
Once you have the message drafted, it’s important to prepare FAQs to expand on the points and also answer questions that your company may not want to proactively discuss but that may be asked by the media, employees or stakeholders. By already having answers at the ready, the company won’t look as if it is unaware or trying to hide information.
Having messages at the ready is the first step in a well-executed crisis communications plan.
(Editor’s Note: My next post will focus on how to make the best moves for effective crisis communications.)