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External and internal communications are complicated these days. Before you enter into a controversial public conversation or reschedule your company news, here’s what you should consider: 

#1: ACCEPT WHAT YOU CAN’T CONTROL

COVID-19 and drastic climate change will continue to dominate headlines for the foreseeable future and may impact announcement results or timing. 

#2: BE RELEVANT

Not every CEO or founder is Elon Musk willing to jump into the fray of topics related to politics and policy. That said, contributing to the national discussion about topics core to your business is an authentic way to participate in a non-controversial way. 

#3: CHECK YOUR STATE OF MIND

Are you reacting or responding? This is one of those times to write the response, sit with it, and see how you feel a day later. What is your appetite for arguing with contrarian voices on social media? Does that serve your organization’s purpose, or your purpose, or neither

#4: OPERATE FROM YOUR VALUES

Weigh your desire to respond with your values. Would issuing a statement align? If yes, does the content of your statement map to them? Values become real when they are lived.

#5: LEAD WITH FACTS

Regardless of the type of information you disseminate: make sure you have the facts. Who are you retweeting? Where does your data come from? Where does your credibility come from? The bar is, and will be, higher now. ICYMI: Businesses are the new battleground states.

#6: IMPLEMENT A CRISIS PLAN

Without a plan, there’s only so much PR can do. It’s better to plan for the worst and hope for the best than to be caught in the worst and not know what to do. Train your spokespeople, prepare for every worst-case crisis scenario and write holding statements short enough to post on social media. And don’t forget: a good reputation that’s been intentionally built over time can help an organization weather the toughest crisis. 

#7: LEVERAGE OWNED CONTENT WHILE YOU PURSUE EARNED MEDIA

We recommend that you still pitch relevant stories to journalists even if it’s noisy, but media relations—or earned media—can’t be the only tool in your toolbox. Leverage owned channels like company blogs and social media, along with contributed content to speak directly to your audiences

#8: FOCUS ON THE FUTURE

Be visionary about what the world will look like in 2022 and beyond. What are the trends we should be watching? How has the pandemic positioned some sectors to succeed?

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