Working at a public relations agency, our job is to insert our clients into the most timely conversations and topics – utilizing the news cycle in an advantageous way to stay on trend and top of mind. But what do you do when the news cycle is negative, or beyond that, tragic? These last few months have seen tragedy after tragedy… In the wake of hurricanes, earthquakes, mass violence, fires and more, it’s been a troublesome time for us all.
So in this case, is it our job to ride the cycle like we normally do, or stay silent until a considerable amount of time has passed?
This debacle is one that must be taken on a case by case basis. Each clientele offers something different to the world, and what might work for a food franchise, won’t work the same as say, a nonprofit.
Our clients turn to us as experts and expect us to recommend a strategy for how to move forward in times like these. See below for some tips that will (hopefully) help to assess in times of need, and best practices for how to proceed:
- Monitor Online Activity: Make sure that everything pre-scheduled is appropriate, and be adaptable to cancel anything that isn’t relevant and insensitive to what the goings on are.
- Use Your Platform of Choice to Provide Support and Resources in an Altruistic Way: This is perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind, as inauthentic support is easily read through and will do more harm than good. Additionally – don’t make it a point to publicize your supportive efforts. Although you may be offering aid, making a point to draw attention to the help you are providing is often more damaging than not helping at all. It comes off as insincere and insensitive.
- Be Mindful of Media, Customers and Clients in the Affected Area: If you’re waiting on “time-sensitive” materials from any of the aforementioned parties, can it wait? Because if it can (and usually it can), don’t bother them in times like these.
So what’s the biggest takeaway? Act like a human being. If “what kind of press will my support result in?” is on your mind, it’s probably best to do a gut check and decide what really matters – in this case, realize that sometimes less is more.