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How to Write a Crisis Communication Press Release

By Dorian Martin:

Public relations management is an integral part of maintaining a positive brand image. It is how most small businesses, startups and corporations address the public in hopes of building a bigger audience and attracting business partners. However, public relations can also be used to tackle corporate crisis and issues which can reflect negatively on your customers, investors, B2B network and stakeholders.

According to Small Biz Trends, only 5% of small businesses manage to achieve all of their goals, with just 15% having a documented corporate strategy. In case of crisis communication, quick and professional reaction to issues concerning your products or services can make or break your brand. Let’s take a closer look at how to write a crisis communication press release that will give your team time to fix pressing issues permanently.

The Role of Crisis Communication
Before we dive deeper into crisis communication, it’s essential that we understand its role in corporate PR. Crisis communication is a written means of addressing the public in case of an emergency. This emergency can be anything from a critical financial crisis, major layoffs, bad publicity, cyber-security issues or faulty products or services being rolled out.

The role of crisis communication isn’t to prevent a bad situation – it’s to mitigate the long-term damage that a situation can have on your brand going forward. Unfortunately, it’s hard to predict exactly what kind of crisis scenario can hit your team and at what time. As such, having a dedicated PR manager in place will allow you to swiftly respond to public trust or allegation issues. Properly addressing and reassuring the public during a crisis scenario can lead to some positive outcomes for your company if handled carefully, including the following:

  • Significantly lower financial and corporate damage to your brand
  • Increased public respect and trust in your company’s abilities
  • Improved employee motivation, agency and collaboration
  • Eliminate business model detractors and production issues
  • Learn how to handle future crisis scenarios more quickly

Writing a Proper Crisis Communication Press Release

  1. Define What the Crisis Actually Is

In order to make the most out of your crisis communication press release, you should start by identifying what the crisis actually is. What caused your business to go into a “crisis” and what effects will that have on your brand and customer relations?

Whether you issue the statement yourself or send it for public release by news outlets, the press release has to tackle the topic head-on. A bad example of a crisis press release can be seen in Blizzard’s handling of the international e-Sports fiasco which led to a public outcry. What followed was a tone-deaf press release that didn’t address the crisis whatsoever and served as a generic statement without a clear takeaway.

  1. Settle on your Target Audience

Who are you writing the press release for? Knowing who your readers are will drastically improve the flow of information in your press release. Not only that, but the affected parties will be appreciative of your willingness to talk to them directly instead of releasing a generalized press release. Some audience groups you should take into consideration when writing your press release include:

  • Employees affected by the crisis
  • Paying customers and clients
  • B2B networking partners
  • Investors with a stake in your business
  • Industry news outlets

No one can deny that writing a good crisis scenario press release is difficult. However, knowing who you are talking to will make the release that much more effective and helpful for your business’s future.

  1. Outline the Press Release before Writing

The actual process of writing the crisis communication press release should be handled with care to avoid omitting important information from the document. The outline of your press release should follow a standard journalistic format accepted by major news outlets and publications:

Release date – when the recipient should publish your press release

Contact info – information that outlets can use to get additional insight into the situation

Heading – the title of your press release

Opening statement – typically follows the 5W of journalism and should cover major information

Press release body – statement on how you plan to address the crisis, whose fault it is and how you plan to cover for any damages induced to third parties

Management quotes – apologies, messages and statements by your staff concerning the crisis

Call to action – the press release should inform readers on how to proceed if they were affected by the crisis

In order to keep the writing focused on actionable takeaways and objective information, you should keep the press release to 1-2 pages in length. Using a service for dissertation research and writing will allow you to edit out unnecessary filler and format the press release properly to improve legibility. Prepare the press release paper for publishing in a traditional text editor and PDF format before sharing it with the public.

In addition, you can create multimedia content in the form of videos meant for online publishing to put a face to your brand. This can add to your business’ credibility and ensure that the affected parties have faith in your abilities to mitigate the crisis swiftly thereafter.

  1. Follow Up with Crisis Updates

While the crisis communication press release will reassure the public of your abilities as a company, you will still have to act on it afterward. Any points you’ve covered and promises you’ve made in your press release have to be followed up on once the document is in public circulation.

Following up on your press release with effective solutions to the crisis will significantly boost public trust in your brand going forward. Not only that, but you can come out of the crisis stronger than before if you handle the crisis management properly. Be proactive and don’t wait for news outlets or journalists to ask you difficult questions once the press release is out. Write crisis updates on your website, social media pages or blog and make the most of the situation you found yourself in.

Growth through Effective Crisis Management (Conclusion)
The best way to prepare for any potential crisis to hit your business is to simply audit your current business pipeline and workflow carefully. While your company may function as intended now, you never know when a potentially bad situation may rear its head and cause PR issues.

Prepare several crisis statements on different topics just in case and keep them close by as press release drafts. Don’t wait for the storm to come and learn to act rather than react – the public perception of your brand will be that much better.

About the Author: Dorian Martin is a writer, editor and proofreader working closely with writing and editing service Dorian is passionate about writing and is eager to learn about digital marketing, data science and business development. He frequently works on academic research papers and essays, putting his own academic degrees into practice. On his off time, Dorian writes opinion pieces and how-to guides for his personal blog.

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