How To Develop A Crisis Communication Plan

Now more than ever it is very clear that organizations that had a clear crisis communication plan in place have been able to pivot much better than those that did not. The goal of a plan is to know what to do, before you actually have to do it. There are three phases to creating a robust crisis communication plan; Before. During. After.

The Before

The major components to The Before Phase include prep work, knowing your audience, knowing your stakeholders and identifying your crisis management team.

Lets start with the crisis management team.

Please do not place the entire responsibility of communicating during a crisis on the marketing department.

The common members of the crisis team are:

  • Public relations
  • Legal
  • Security
  • Operations
  • Finance
  • Human resources

Clearly depending on the structure of your business, you may not have all the people to fill the roles, just make sure you have the perspective from each role. For example, you may not have security, but you can put systems in place that include security or even consult with a security professional. Thinking about security could include crowd management, theft, cyber, property or information.

Next lets look at your stakeholders and your audience.

Your audience are the receivers of the message. Their primary participation is to observe the communication and changes. Your stakeholders on the other hand are the individuals directly impacted by the organizations decisions and actions. Lets say there was a building fire in the middle of the night. No one was injured, however officially when you announce next steps, the stakeholders are your employees, production and service partners and the audience is the general public.

Finally your Prep Work

Once you have your team and you know who you are speaking to and what you will be talking about. Its time to do the prep work. The prep work includes workflows, policies, procedures and templates.

Your templates should include:

  • Accidents that injure employees or others
  • Property damage to company facilities
  • Liability associated injury to or damage sustained by others
  • Production or service interruptions
  • Environmental or natural disasters
  • Product or service quality issues
  • Hyper specific industry issues (child abuse at a school)

Your workflows should include:

  • Communication approval hierarchy
  • Spokesperson organizational chart
  • Predetermined communication channels (Facebook, Mass Texts, Press)

The During

During the crisis it is critical to follow three primary guidelines. Be quick. Be accurate. Be consistent. It is far better to over communicate less information accurately than it is to under communicate false information.

Be Quick

Waiting to respond allows space and time for rumors, panic and conspiracy. The sooner you respond, the sooner you can dispel the negativity and the less you will have to do to repair for your reputation. An early response is typically within the hour of the crisis awareness. Owning your own communication platforms will prove to be vital as you can communicate without the discrepancy of the media creating their own version. A quick response shows your organizations position and control of the crisis.

Be Accurate

Identify your primary spokesperson. This person should have some experience. If not there should be training provided prior to the crisis. Posting on social media or sending a newsletter are completely different from standing in front of a room full of reporters answering questions about a crisis. Report from facts only. Don’t make assumptions while reporting. It may seem frustrating, however it is better to be accurate than take back something you said in error.

Be Consistent

Confirm that your message is the same across all platforms. If you typically share from an educational position, continue to report out that way. Keep you brand in place and remember once you send it out, its out there forever. Depending on the type of crisis, establish a communication cadence. Emails every Monday, social media post every day at 11 am, employee mass text every Friday. Think about the weather. Most stations report the weather a certain time on the hour. Building your communication around a cadence will help you build trust with your audience and stakeholders.

The After

After a crisis the focus is on repairing anything the crisis destroyed, including apologizing, corrective actions, compensation, and brand reputation.

Your Apology

A true apology does not include the word “but”. “But” automatically cancels out an apology, and nearly always introduces a criticism or excuse. A true apology keeps the focus on your actions—and not on the other person’s response. A true apology needs to be backed by corrective action. A true apology requires that you do your best to avoid a repeat performance.

Corrective Action

Corrective action is not meant to be a knee jerk response to a crisis. Corrective action requires a thoughtful response. It needs to make sense for the organization on all operational, financial and sustainability levels. The last thing you want to do is resolve one issue and create another. Yes, lowering a price of a product or service sounds appealing, but what are the ripple affects?

Compensation

Although this seems like a no-brainer depending on the crisis, consider the risk of appearing heartless or providing hush money. If compensation is the best response, be sure that it complements the crisis. Compensation can also come in the form of payroll or additional benefits.

Brand Reputation

Resorting your brand’s reputation actually happens during and after the crisis. Your reputation can be restored using various strategies such as Defeasibility, which is the lack of information about events leading to the crisis situation. Simply put, you didn’t know. You announce what measures you will put in place so there isn’t any additional miscommunication or lack of communication moving forward. You continue to communicate thr status of the newly placed policies and be transparent. Don’t run or hide or even assume that people forgot. Stick to you communication plan.

Here is a quick checklist of everything mentioned above:

  • Identify your crisis team members
  • Identify your stakeholders
  • Identify your audience
  • Create your prep work templates
    • Accidents that injure employees or others
    • Property damage to company facilities
    • Liability associated injury to or damage sustained by others
    • Production or service interruptions
    • Environmental or natural disasters
    • Product or service quality issues
    • Hyper specific industry issues (child abuse at a school)
  • Create communication workflows
    • Communication approval hierarchy
    • Spokesperson organizational chart
    • Predetermined communication channels (Facebook, Mass Texts, Press)
  • Be quick
  • Be accurate
  • Be consistent
  • Craft your apology
  • Create your corrective action plan
  • Understand your compensation options
  • Have multiple brand reputation repair strategies in place

7 SEO Tips For Beginners. What is it and Why Does It Matter?

What Is SEO?

Short for search engine optimization.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.

SEO Can Increase Sales and Leads

With a winning SEO campaign, your business will have an increase in leads and sales. You must have a product or service of value to marry your SEO campaign.

Don’t advertise your storefront and have empty shelves or make it hard for people to purchase from you.

SEO Traffic is More Likely To Convert.

Search traffic has the best conversion rates for most websites. By positioning yourself on search engines, you are positioning yourself to win more conversions.

SEO Pulls In Search Traffic

People are searching for the problem you are solving.

You don’t have to advertise to persuade people to buy.

People searching for your solution are already interested.

SEO Can Decrease Cost Per Acquisition

SEO is FREE!

SEO is Trackable. You know your return on your investment.

If you advertised on a billboard, how would you track your conversions? How many people came to your website because of your billboard?

Size Matters!

More Content=More Depth

Posting a blog that covers more information is more likely to be shared and most likely search for again, because the content was of value.

If you would like to learn more about leveraging your social media with a strategic SEO plan, leave your info below.

Stop Over-Giving To Clients That Do Not Understand Your Value

Your value is determined by what you can provide for the client not by the rate in which you charge.

It is highly critical that from the very first conversations everyone is clear about what matters most to them. For the client and for yourself as the consultant.

What does success look like to you So Me Digital Bloom

What does success look like to you?

I recently experienced a client that wanted to have BIG numbers. It didn’t matter what those big numbers were or where they were they just wanted to constantly see that arrow on the chart move up. This client in previous years had not done any record keeping of lead generations, they were not showcasing everything their business had to offer or generating revenue from social media. So when I started the conversation about what they were in need of I needed to include this one question.

What does success look like to you?

I’m learning that companies can have tons of needs and gaps that they would like to use digital marketing tool for. Digital Marketing can help fill those gaps very well, but if it doesn’t look and feel like what success looks and feels like to them,  you have failed to deliver.

In this particular case, I was giving a fraction of their digital marketing to cover. Let me explain…In a typical digital marketing plan, there are about 8 primary elements to implement.

  1. VALUE MESSAGING.
  2. CONTENT TYPES.
  3. MARKETING AUTOMATION. 
  4. SALES ENABLEMENT. 
  5. CONTENT MANAGEMENT. 
  6. SEO STRATEGY. 
  7. SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY. 
  8. ANALYTICS.

Each of these elements has a second layer. For example…

CONTENT TYPES INCLUDE:

  1. Blogs. 
  2. Videos. 
  3. Infographics.
  4. Case Studies. 
  5. eBooks. 
  6. White papers. 
  7. Checklists. 
  8. Interviews.

For each content type, there needs to be a focus and call to action.

For this particular client, the focus was an annual trade show and the call to action was registration.

Broken down, I was only providing marketing for an eighth of a marketing plan.

 The numbers were phenomenal to have just one-eighth of the elements to post and share. However, the only thing the client understood was the numbers were much higher with their previous social media manager.

The previous social media manager was able to cover all eight elements from the digital marketing plan. Covering one-eighth, my numbers were just lagging by 8 to 12% on any given platform. So when they compare the numbers from last year and all eight types of content to this year and one-eighth of the content they felt like the numbers were extremely low.

I tried to explain, often, the difference between a whole pie and an eighth of a pie. But they didn’t understand because to them success looks like bigger numbers than last year.

We added a registration portal for their largest annual event that wasn’t included in previous years and we were able to collect data about their attendees for this registration event to help us create highly effective social media post to get other attendees registered.

We engaged in messaging and tagging and emailing attendees and exhibitors for the event.

We also added an email marketing campaign that reached out to their very large membership population that included information about their annual event.

We started to collect data, and not just numerical,  but we asked questions like “What’s your number one reason for attending? OR “Why did you come back? OR “Is this your first year and how did you find out about this event?” And yet, the fact remains every week they were disappointed when we had to present numbers of one-eighth of the pie.

Many hours were spent being strategic about the one-eighth strategy, that did not have any value to the client. They gave us a $500 a month ad budget. That I was determined to provide the same benefits for below budget. We reached thousands and thousands of people, more importantly, thousands of people that had never heard of the organization or this event. We knew that because of our strategic methods to engage and questionnaires. Our numbers would be amazing.

We were able to provide information that they would not have had had we not included it in our marketing campaign. And yet every week they were stressed when it was time to present numbers to the board because they were comparing apples and oranges or in this case a whole pie and one-eighth of a pie from last year’s data.

I could have saved a ton of trouble and simply paid for likes and impressions and engagement while maxing out on their budget each month.

By not asking the question and making the answer part of the contract and weekly discussion, way too many hours were spent providing analytics in different formats, defending the quality of work and stressful conversations.

Please make sure that when you are asking questions during the initial consultation, to ALWAYS include… 

What does success look like to you?

Have you ever had to over give to a client that didn’t understand your value?

When you look back do you feel like the real issue was a lack of communication and understanding?

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A Sample of Our Branding Projects

3 Questions To Ask When You Work Too Much

In the midst of running your business, it’s easy to forget about, forgetting the details. It’s even harder to remember to take a moment to feel the breeze. Sometimes it takes a huge event to remind us of what is really important. Hopefully, this is enough to remind you.

Running a business can be consuming. It will creep into places and spaces that it doesn’t belong. You stop to check your emails and BOOM, you are sitting in your parked car in front of the grocery store for 40 minutes.

Keep these 3 questions in mind.

  1. Will this task matter in two weeks, two months, or next year? If not, STOP! You have to plan and execute over and over again in order to secure movement of your business in the right direction.
  2.  Can I do this at a better time? We trade moments for moments and we have to make sure we are trading the right moments. Adding details to a report vs. your sons game. Which moment is worth trading? You might have more control over the report than the game. Watch the game.
  3. Am I the most qualified to do this? I struggled with outsourcing my tasks for the longest time. I thought I didn’t have the budget to hire someone to do anything. The truth is you just might. I needed stock images for a client, so I had my kids take about 100 photos on a Saturday morning and then took them for ice-cream. I was able to get 40 high-quality images. You need to do the tasks that no one else can do and “outsource” to those that can the other tasks.

It is ok to get off track and forget all of the reasons you are working so hard, just don’t stay off track. Before you start any task, ask yourself, will this matter. Will this task impact my business? If not, don’t do it, or at least don’t make it a priority!

If you find yourself needing a little bit of help, I just might be able to help you out. We all know Social Media is forever changing and without strict discipline, you just get sucked into the black hole of scrolling and scrolling. We offer social media scheduling, content creation and help you launch campaigns to help you generate leads.

Free free to reach me for a personal one on one discovery call.

SoMeDigitalBloom@gmail.com

Coffee Before Workee

What gets you going? What makes you work long hours? Stay up late and get up early?

First, my desire to change my circumstances.  Second, my fear of leaving things undone.  Third, the opportunity to live my life in a way that motivates and inspires others to live their best lives!

What motivates you?

Now I have to confess I live off of coffee and Shakeology. I can’t go more than a day without both in my life.  When I think of my coffee and Shakeology, I think of Pop Eye and his spinach.

Now I am also a workaholic so if you would rather stay snuggled under the covers on a Saturday morning instead of pulling out your laptop to work, this post might not be for you. LOL

The truth is we all have our reasons to wake up early and work hard.

What’s yours?