How to prepare for a crisis – UPDATED for Corona Virus

Australia has seen it all this Summer and there’s more on the way! We’ve had everything from Destructive fires, devastating floods, Australia really is the country of extremes and being prepared in a crisis is critical for any business of any size.

In this post, we share our tips so you can take steps NOW so you’re well armed should you face a crisis.

Communication is key even before you start any of our suggestions. Communicate with the office what will be undertaken and that updates will be provided as is necessary.

PLANNING is critical.

You may have to put aside a day to brainstorm and work out who in the office will be responsible for what tasks.

If you’re a solopreneur make a timeline of what steps will be done when. (If you’re in a team this should be included as part of your plan too!)

Think about who will need to be contacted IMMEDIATELY should a crisis or issue occur, then think about the way this will be communicated. You’ll also want to include in your timeline preparation for power-outages (back-up power supply) or damage to equipment and where back-up equipment can be sourced quickly. Think about stock levels what will need to be done with any stock that’s damaged. Think of all eventualities and make sure someone is responsible for an action from start to finish.

You’ll also want to have draft communications to customers, suppliers and staff drafted for a variety of scenarios. Include in this communication copies of out-of-office messages for employees to use, so messaging is consistent across the company. Include in your out-of-office messages how long you expect to be out of action and best contact details for urgent queries.

Finally, but importantly, keep your social media pages updated. You’ll want to have draft posts created for your social accounts too. Again, let your followers know how long you expect to be unavailable and a generic contact address that should be administered by an executive who is able to respond quickly to customers /followers queries.

These are just *some* of the components of being prepared in a crisis or emergency situation.

EDIT: 

In light of the Corona Virus – here are some EXTRA tips;

*Be transparent at all times – let the public know WHEN the next update will be in terms of communications

*Save media releases online for ease of reference for media and general public

*Health of employees and public must be a priority, follow recommendations from local and Federal Governments

*Ensure best contact details for media contact /PR agency are visible on your website

If you’d like Pursuit Communications to assist your business with creating a crisis or emergency plan, contact us today to organise a meeting. 

Thank You – the most important tool in your PR toolkit

‘At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.’ – Maya Angelou

We’re told as children to remember our manners, “Please” and “Thank-You”, yet when as we get older the intent behind them seems to disappear.

Whenever I meet with a Journalist, Editor, supplier, or client (new, potential or exisiting) I always start by saying thank you for your time. Taking time out to meet with anyone should be acknowledged.

It’s the organisation that goes into being prepared for that meeting that should be acknowledged, along with the time out of their day.

I go a step beyond and send thank-you cards to potential clients, to let them know how much I appreciate them taking the time to hear my ideas and consider my PR services for their company.

It’s all about making that person feel valued and appreciated.

Other ways I say “Thank-you”:

  • Letting my media contacts know about stories that they may not be aware of – outside of my scope of works
  • Taking someone out for coffee /lunch
  • Recommending their business to others
  • Shout-outs on social media (including liking their posts or sharing their content)

So for now, I’d like to say thank-you to YOU. For reading this, you could have quite easily clicked somewhere else, decided to read another blog post or news site.

 

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PR lessons from Harry & Meghan

In the Pursuit office, over the water cooler talk for the last 24 hours has predominantly been focused on the news that Harry & Meghan “revealed they intend “to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family, and work to become financially independent”.

It’s HUGE news. What’s even bigger is that it really did come without warning. Sure, some Royal watchers may have expected the pair (and baby Archie) to split their time between Canada and the UK, but a step back? Wow.

Below we share our thoughts and highlight four important PR cornerstones relating to this announcement.

  1. The importance of communication – If nothing else this announcement highlights how very essential communication must be with all associated parties.
  2. Planning – Having a timeline that includes all associated parties is also critical
  3. Keeping your internal organisation as informed as the general public is paramount
  4. Be prepared for a barrage of questions following a major announcement

It’s our opinion that it appears internal communications didn’t occur with this announcement from Harry & Megan. The statement from Buckingham Palace  said: “We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through.” This insinuates that Buckingham Palace were not informed prior to announcement. A huge no-no in anyone’s book.

Being caught off guard (pardon the pun!) is never a good look for any organisation (including the Royal Family).

Taking the time to communicate with all associated parties will ensure when making an announcement that there’s a united front and everyone is aware of who will be saying what and when! It will keep any “fallout” to a minimum as well.

Which leads into the planning of any announcement. Making sure you have a timeline that allows everyone involved enough time to get their messaging correct, approved by those who need to approve it and making sure those managing social media are aware of the announcement, when it will happen so they can tackle any questions from the general public.

As with Harry & Megan, they seem to be running to their own schedule and letting Buckingham Palace clean up the proverbial mess.

When making an announcement, knowing what to say externally is one thing. Knowing what to say to those internally is another.

Internal communications need to be handled differently to external communications, often with care and discretion. Some team members may need to have a “closed door” discussion and others may need to sign a non-disclosure agreement, stating they won’t reveal any details of the discussion until a certain day /date.

The language will differ between the general public and your internal communications as well. You may want to be a little more relaxed with your internal communications (pending the announcement).

Internal discussions can often raise more questions which may not have been considered by those making the announcement. It’s always best to discuss in advance with internal executives and get their input.

Finally, being prepared for questions (both internally and from the public) is so very important. This is where good media training and planning really does prove its worth.

Being able to answer a question succinctly is key. If you’re not sure, don’t be afraid to say so. DO say that you’ll get an answer to the person who queried and make a priority of doing so.

Your social media team should be armed with a series of potential Q&A’s. If they are asked a question and they’re not sure of the answer, the team should have DIRECT access to spokesperson /decision make to provide them with the answer in a succinct amount of time.

Only time will tell how this will play out for the Royal Family. Hopefully with a little preparation the next phase won’t be as catastrophic as the first.

The lessons from 2019

I’m writing this on a Sunday morning leading up to Christmas – thinking about everything this year has taught me. What a teacher of the year 2019 has been for me.

2019 was very much the year of priorities – and the major priority for me this year was my health.

I heard a podcast this year that used the saying “Your health is your wealth” and that really resonated with me.

In case you missed it (or you’re new to the blog) I had a few health issues this year that made me hit the “pause” button on both businesses for a substantial amount of time. (You can read more here)

The benefit of this?

I realised where my priorities needed to lie with both businesses. It was in taking a step back, I was actually taking a step forward. It wasn’t easy, as someone who is happiest when her laptop is open, keys tapping away, radio /music playing softly in the background and the cat is purring away on “her” chair, resting and listening to my body was a huge lesson for me.

But it’s enabled me to make some changes and plans for the next 12 months and I’m excited about that.

The next priority lesson I learned was in relation to my time. While I was resting and recovering knowing that I had to let this process take its time. It was on its own schedule and I had to adhere to it.

I’m now working on building a better “timetable” which allows me to focus equally on both businesses, while also giving myself the much-needed rest my body still needs.

Finally, the priority of people in your life. Notifying my clients immediately what was going on and being completely transparent really did help build stronger relationships with them.

My family supported me, cared for me and got me through what was a rollercoaster of a year and I can’t thank them enough.

My friends – you know who you are – your support, words of encouragement and visits were appreciated beyond belief.

So, here’s to a better year in 2020, using these lessons from 2019 and creating more success for my clients, my business, and most importantly a happy and healthy life.

Thinking outside the box for success

If you’ve found this post via our Instagram, you’ll know that Pursuit Communications has been working with Generator Property Management for a number of years now.

Generator Property Management is the caretaker of the former Munmorah Power Station site on the NSW Central Coast.

Pursuit’s tasks include traditional PR services, issues management advice and services and general media /consultative advice.

The project has been an eye-opening experience and one that the Pursuit team has loved working on.

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Through this project, we’ve been able to work with a team that are industry leaders and share our own expertise to achieve some pretty unreal results.

As an example; one of the last demolition activities saw the news story go NATIONAL. The video footage was provided to television stations in Sydney. The story was aired on all commercial television networks news bulletins the evening of the event. Exceeding our client’s goals.

Pursuit actively monitors the media across a variety of topics for our client so they’re more than aware of what’s happening in the media landscape within their industry.

If you’d like to have a chat about your business and how Pursuit can assist, shoot us an email.

We work within your budgets, tell you what’s achievable and create a plan to not only achieve your goals, but we work hard to exceed them!

Send us a message now. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image: Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

Podcasts: What I’m currently listening to

Whether you’re in the car, commuting to work on the train or bus or hitting the gym and need some distraction, Podcasts are a fabulous way to be entertained, informed and educated.

Below I’ve shared my list of my favourite podcasts (in no particular order!)

The Squiz – These girls are my WAKE-UP crew. After I listen to local news, I’m straight into this podcast and their daily email. You won’t regret adding this to your must-listen list, you’ll be kept up-to-date with current news and events in an instant, so you can impress your work colleagues with how very informed you are!

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Seize The Yay – If you read our post about Gary V, then you’ll know I’m pretty darn keen on Sarah and her Podcast Seize The Yay. What I love about this podcast is Sarah’s interviewing style, it’s very natural, I feel like I’m sitting with friends, having a conversation. Added bonus – the show notes – are BANG. ON. Always great if you’re keen to learn more about a guest.

Screen Shot 2019-10-03 at 6.04.44 pmLauren Conrad – Asking For a Friend – Okay, so for anyone who has known me for more than 15 years will know, that I have an absolute girl-crush on  Lauren Conrad aka LC. So much so that a friend bought me an authentic LC autographed picture one Christmas. What’s so fabulous about Lauren’s podcast? The topics are varied but so relevant to any young woman. Her guests (often friends of Lauren’s) offer great bits of advice that’s achievable, in any particular area. It’s the honesty, but also the support network that’s clearly a reflection of what an absolute gem Lauren is inside and out.

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Socialette: Bite-Sized Online Marketing Podcast – This is the perfect quick listen after a meeting or whenever you’ve got less than 10 minutes. Steph’s podcasts and short, sharp and to the point. I love the frequency of the Socialette podcasts and the variety of guests.

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I’d love to be guest on a podcast, in fact, it’s a goal on my vision board for 2020. In the meantime, I’ll keep listening to these podcasts and hoping that I get closer to that goal day by day.

Tell me, what are YOU listening to? Any recommendations would be gratefully appreciated.

 

Featured image via Unsplash

Consult with someone who knows

When you’re running a business, you want to engage with the best people to get optimum results.

We’ve all heard the saying “You don’t ask a mechanic about your water pipes”, so why would you engage the services of someone who doesn’t understand the PR landscape to help you communicate your message?

Pursuit Communications knows the best media outlets to contact (and the people behind them)  across a wide variety of sectors, including niche “vertical” outlets within a multitude of industries.

It’s knowing “Who’s who in the zoo”, their deadlines, their communication preferences and so many other variables to get your message across to the media and to your desired audience.

It’s also an ability to think creatively, understanding what’s the BEST way to communicate your message to the media and your customers, that’s going to stand out from the rest!

With our first Small Business September offering – a 1:1 phone call, over 30, 60 or 90 minutes, we can cover all of this – and more.

So if you’d like to have a discussion, click here to get started and connect with someone who knows.

 

 

Dedication is not a dirty word

So I’ve had to make a very difficult decision in 2019.

This will be the first time in ten years that Pursuit /Central Coast Chronicle won’t have an internship program running.

Earlier this year, I shortlisted three wonderful candidates, met with them and organised a trial with one. So I was serious (at that stage) about another year of supporting an Intern.

When I was scheduling this trial, I realised I needed to dedicate a full day to this Intern, despite the fact she would only be with me for 3.5 hours.

There was the organisation of tasks before she arrived, (making sure the tasks weren’t too hard and equally not too easy, yet showing her the breadth of responsibilities). Once she arrived, there was explaining how “things work” at Pursuit and Central Coast Chronicle, showing her where everything is saved and then, getting around to some work.

It’s not that I didn’t love this interaction between an Intern and myself and learning to look at things a different way or consider a younger viewpoint.

It really did come down to dedication.

When you have an Intern or a Junior, there’s a lot of explanation that has to go on. If the face to face time is only weekly, that’s a lot of going over the same ground (hopefully only initially). It’s dedicating time and knowledge to someone who is willing to learn, someone who will benefit from your knowledge and you’ll benefit from their participation. It’s explaining the “how’s”, “who’s” and “why’s”.

So often, I’ve had an Intern tell me, “I’m learning so much, Uni doesn’t cover this sort of stuff!”

For me, that’s worth its weight in gold.

I do sincerely hope that in the future, I’ll be able to revisit an Internship program. It may be a program that’s completely different in nature, only time will tell.

I do know when it does happen again, I’ll be completely dedicated to ensuring both the intern, Pursuit Communications /Central Coast Chronicle and our clients all benefit from the experience.

An (overdue) update

If you’ve missed our posts on Instagram and Facebook and indeed our blog posts here there’s been a very good reason.

Our Founder, Brooke was ill (we’ll spare you the horrid details!) and after presenting at her doctor’s clinic with a RESTING heart rate of 175, it was in an ambulance to Gosford hospital.

After two days of examinations, ultrasounds and what felt like millions of questions, Brooke was diagnosed with a kidney infection (which was remedied quickly with antibiotics) and a thyroid condition called Graves Disease.

So, why are we being transparent about this? Especially on a business platform?

A few reasons.

  1. To explain the absence and the fact that as much as Brooke would have liked to have been on an island sipping cocktails, this simply wasn’t the case
  2. To praise the nurses in Gosford Hospital – Brooke has said on numerous times since coming home, it was the nurses care that got her through her hospital stay.
  3. Finally, to let you all know – that there are some exciting developments that Brooke will be releasing in the second half of 2019.

Thank you to our clients for your understanding during this time and to those who are yet to join us, we look forward to sharing with you the next phase of Pursuit Communications.