Crisis Communications Blogs – Use Them Cautiously

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Blogs have a role to play in crisis communications. In some ways those communication features we need in a crisis are inherent in blogs.

But I think we should be careful and not hope too much from blogs as crisis communication tools – they don’t beat TV to show emotions and are probably best for audiences you have relations to already.

In theory crisis communications is quite easy. Know who’s doing what, be accessible to media, don’t forget employees, show empathy and be open about the facts as soon as you get them. Don’t get involved in speculations.

The quick updates are one of those features that some think blogs could be used for. I don’t think that’s necessary. If we’re talking about large companies or organizations they all have reasonably good content management systems. Since communications in a crisis should be centralized – or at least focused – the ordinary corporate site will be just as quick as a blog (the Web Editors will publish all messages externally anyway).

The other part is the personal or informal tone of a blog. Again, I think blogs won’t be necessary in a big crisis.

The company will have all the possibilities it could wish for to participate in media – and let’s face it, if we today and probably for years to come want to reach as many people as possible as quickly as possible blogs aren’t our primary choice. 10 times out of 10 I would choose the emotional TV medium before the informal blog medium to show sympathy/empathy.

So what could blogs be used for?

I think we will see them as a good tool to reach those audiences who are involved too some extent. Employees is the best example. They will all watch TV too, but an intranet crisis blog could help overcome the common crisis communications problem of not doing enough internally. Investors, suppliers, partners are other examples.

As Steve points out – even if I don’t agree to all his five steps – you should also listen to blogs regardless of how much or little you write yourself: “Figure out which bloggers have the greatest potential to become your vigilantes and group them into hubs. Analyze their tendencies and those of their readers.”

Fredrik Wacka is the author and founder of the popular CorporateBlogging.Info blog which is a guide to business and corporate blogging.

Visit Fredrik Wacka’s blog: CorporateBlogging.Info.

Crisis Communications Blogs – Use Them Cautiously
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