Blogs in crisis communication

I’m sitting in Shel Holtz‘ session on “The Blog’s New Role in Crisis Communication.”

Some highlights from the discussion:

  • Not practical to expect that the CEO of a large company will run a crisis blog. It will depend on the nature of the crisis – whoever is the best spokesperson for whatever the crisis is (so it doesn’t have to be the CEO, but it could be).
  • How to make the negative work for you with a blog – be open, stimulate discussion with and between everyone with an opinion, for or against. Use a blog as a means to do this. Get the issues out, talk about them.
  • Getting CEO approval for a crisis blog is one thing; getting the lawyers’ approval is something entirely different.
  • Lawyers are called ‘counsellors’ for a reason: they offer counsel and advice. Part of the risk/benefit decisions every business has to make. In other words, lawyers counsel doesn’t always lead to the action you take.
  • Cannot replace a crisis plan with blogs. Blogs are just a tool, part of the your overall crisis communication plan.
  • Employee blogging in a crisis – how do you deal with this? Employees will blog, maybe anonymously. It will happen, so this must also figure in your crisis planning.
  • Comments? Enable them: you want to hear what everyone’s point of view is. Example – Bigha (lasers pointing at aircraft: in the news recently).
  • One spokesman only. In Bigha case, several employees blog but only one person addressing issues.
  • Be clear with your policy re commenting. State what your policy is re when (or even if) you will reply to any. If you might remove some, be clear up front that this might happen.
  • Just because everyone’s talking about a particular topic doesn’t make it a crisis. Example – Target (apparently selling marijuana: many people including me posted about that). Need to assess real risk, as jumping in to address something might make it a crisis when otherwise it wouldn’t be.

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