The COVID-19 pandemic is developing a new normal. Many organizations have shifted to a work-from-home model and struggling to navigate other challenges while operating with a “business as usual” mindset. At the same time, businesses are confronting revenue cuts, customer attrition, and difficult decisions about their payroll or operating budgets.
When in “crisis mode”, media monitoring becomes more important than ever. It is imperative to know what your company’s reputation looks like in the press and on social media so you can take action as necessary. In these unprecedented times, consider the following:
- Is Your Message Missing?
When reviewing what the media is reporting about your company during a crisis, it’s helpful to consider what’s missing in the coverage and to ask yourself why it’s missing.
Use your monitoring tools to ensure that your entire message is being conveyed. Make a list of the top outlets covering your company, then find out what is being said and what isn’t. If only half the story is being reported, draw up a list of reporters covering your company and take another look at the press materials you’ve shared with them. Consider distributing a new press release that better articulates your messaging, or identify a high-profile executive to go full-court press to broadcast, print and online media with a refined and well-practiced set of talking points.
Monitoring the media will help inform your overall strategy to preserve or even bolster your reputation during a crisis – but first, you need to know what story is being told, and which parts of the story aren’t being reported.
- Who’s Important?
Monitoring tools can help you identify influencers on a particular topic. If your organization is going through a crisis, you need to know who can help you distribute your messages to customers and stakeholders. Find out who is talking about your company and who they’re talking to, then focus your communications strategy on reaching those people. Your influencers might be journalists, individuals with large followings on social media, investment analysts if you’re a public company, or potential partners who can lend their reputation to help your own.
In today’s interconnected world, everyone has a platform to stand on and speak from. But when you’re facing a difficult situation as a company, you need the people who own the megaphone.
- What’s in a Word?
Good press releases, media materials, and interviews include straightforward, succinct quotes that encapsulate your company’s message for journalists to use in their coverage.
Media monitoring during a time of crisis should include a focus on which quotes are getting picked up and which aren’t. One unfortunately phrased quote or tweet can become a headline or ultimately the face of your company, so it’s important to monitor your top target outlets for the specific executives who are quoted and which quotes are used.
If you notice that one particularly great quote is making the rounds, consider tweeting it or amplifying it on LinkedIn. On the other hand, if you notice that a quote doesn’t convey your messaging well but is extremely popular, examine it to determine why and see if you can apply lessons learned to your more impactful messaging.
- Know your Audience
One of the most essential parts of crisis management is remembering who you need to talk to and figuring out how to do it. Media monitoring tools can help you understand the demographic of people who are reading and the types of publications they read. Whether its geographic or demographic in nature, media intelligence data can provide the insights needed to identify the correct outlets to target and distinguish them from those that aren’t going to help get you in front of key stakeholders. If your customers tend to read, listen, or watch a certain kind of news, you need to make sure that you’ve targeted the right publications and the right reporters at those publications. Smart media monitoring will give you a significant edge when you’re in crisis mode and need to get your message out to the right people at the right time.
In short, a company crisis is no time to fly by the seat of your pants. It’s when detailed analytics and an informed, intentional communications program drawn from solid media monitoring and media data intelligence is most important.
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