Working in public relations during a natural disaster is a very tricky situation. You can’t very well stop working, but, at the same time, you must realize that people have more important concerns on their minds. For this reason, it seems natural to use your public relations skills to help your community.
Create a Contingency Plan
Your public relations agency can’t continue to function if it can’t communicate effectively in a crisis. Creating a contingency plan should involve ensuring everyone has phone numbers and email addresses for key personnel within the organization. This ensures key personnel can communicate with one another within and without the affected disaster area. Keeping the lines of communication open will become even more important when communication tools are compromised.
Look After Your Own Team
Another aspect to your contingency plan should include a strategy for recovery. Give your team members the time to address their personal situations before expecting them to return to work. When they do return to their jobs, ensure their duties don’t place them in harm’s way. You want to make sure your workers are staying and keeping your clients safe throughout this challenging process. If additional opportunities are presented to your team, consult with them to ensure this is the right time to take on a new PR project. Your team may already have its hands full as it strives to recover from the disaster.
Turn Off Automatic Posts
Even if your clients’ ads seem mundane, they can take on an entirely different tone in a crisis. When people are struggling to find shelter, food, and other resources, ads that imply it’s business as usual can be both offensive and hurtful. This isn’t the time to show why your clients’ products are better than the competition. Instead, use advertisements to help people find the assistance they need, or sponsor a food drive that can help people find food in an emergency. This is a time during which people have more basic needs. If you can’t use your advertisements to help them, you should at least stop your ads from running on social media websites.
As a public relations professional, you may be uniquely qualified to help people find the resources they need. In so doing, you will earn the gratitude of the public in your community. This may earn you more credibility with consumers, helping you to reach consumers more easily once the public has recovered from the disaster.