By Sean Selman
ST!R Marketing

Not all news is good news, and no company or business wants to be the center of negative attention in a news cycle. But the reality is – it can happen, at almost any time, and you have to be prepared before it hits.

These situations are never easy, but they can be managed effectively and with a good heart if you’ve got a solid crisis communications plan in place.

Your plan doesn’t have to cover every possible scenario or outline every step of a response. But preparing a plan ahead of an emergency forces your organization to ask tough questions early enough that you can anticipate basic communication needs. You’ll be ready to respond quickly and professionally to the real-life situation as it unfolds.

I’ve been on both sides of this equation. As a reporter, I covered multiple stories that required companies, city officials, government agencies and prominent citizens to respond to my questions, help me get the facts out in the open and, in their case, help minimize damage to their reputation or brand. As a corporate communicator and media specialist, I’ve helped organizations develop crisis plans to address everything from avian flu to data breaches to disaster recovery.

The first step of any plan is to acknowledge that your organization needs one. Then be sure to secure buy-in for the plan across your C-suite. You’ll need everyone’s support and cooperation if and when a crisis hits, so it’s critical that each person on your leadership team knows the game plan and has had a chance to weigh in on it.

Get more of my thoughts on the subject at the ST!R Marketing blog.

Sean Selman is a Senior Business Communicator with ST!R Marketing and contributor for The Dana Barrett Show on biz 1190 AM WAFS.