Writing your crisis comms playbook: Free guide reveals key techniques


Wondering how to prepare for your next crisis? Pick up tips and best practices for writing or updating your crisis playbook, from gathering the right team to rehearsing your response.

By Ragan Communications | Posted: November 17, 2015

Your crisis could start with a data breach. Or a recall of your flagship product. Or as a tweet that becomes an avalanche of negativity on the Internet.

Wherever it begins, key to a successful response is preparation.

That means that long before the crisis breaks, you must write a communications playbook that lays out how your organization will respond. Learn how in this free guide from Nasdaq Corporate Solutions and Ragan Communications.

The guide, “How to Build a World-Class Crisis Communications Playbook,” details how to build a crisis response team, anticipate incidents you may face and rehearse for crises. The free guide is available for download here.

“In today’s world,” says Richard B. “Rick” Goins, director of global communications for McDermott International, “there’s such a need for immediacy, you can get out in front of yourself if you don’t have a good playbook in hand.”

When traditional crises intersect with social media, having a playbook—and rehearsing your response—has become more vital than ever. Crises demand sure-footed preparation and speedy responses, be they to a recall, a data breach or an activist investor knocking your management in the press.

You’ll learn:

  • How to build an incident response team. You can’t predict the next crisis that could damage your company, but effective preparation can mitigate its effects on your organization’s reputation and bottom line. Find out who should be at the table, including public relations, investor relations and your security team.
  • How to prepare for activist investors. In publicly traded companies, crises can emerge when activist investors zero in on an organization and begin criticizing its management in the press. Find out how to prepare a response team before you face this issue.
  • Why you need comprehensive contact lists. Depending on the size and reach, you may require lists of local, regional, national and global journalists to contact.
  • How prepared statements written long before a crisis strikes can help you respond faster and more thoughtfully.
  • Tips for holding drills for various crisis scenarios. Some organizations conduct drills annually; others, in high-risk industries, do so even more frequently. Learn how to prepare through drills and evaluate your effectiveness afterward.
  • How “dark websites” prepared in advance can speed your response. If you’re working in an industry that has inherent risks-food tampering, a data breach or a plane crash-prepare a dark site that you can activate, says Nicholas F. Peters, senior vice president of CommCore Consulting Group.
  • The importance of regular media training for your executives. McDermott schedules annual media training, and executive team members cycle through it every two years.
  • How to monitor social media and set up a listening protocol, whether it’s monitoring keywords or keeping an eye on journalists and other influential people.
  • How to conduct a postmortem examining how well your spokesperson did and how you were portrayed in news media coverage. Ask yourself, “What aspects do we need to review to reinvigorate and to ensure that we’re on the right track?” says Matthew Doering, president and senior partner at Global Gateway Advisors.

Download your free copy of “How to Build a World-Class Crisis Communications Playbook.”

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Twitter offers up 122-page ‘playbook’ for brands


The social media platform’s team consulted with customer service pros from major brands to compile its guide.

By Kevin J. Allen | Posted: August 8, 2015

Twitter has now for quite some time dominated the social media customer service game.

Nearly 80 percent of customer service questions posed to brands social media happen on Twitter, according to Socialbakers. Its study also found that tweets directed at business-to-consumer brands have more than doubled in the last two years. The only problem: brands aren’t exactly doing a good job of responding. Socialbakers also found that fewer than 30 percent of those questions were actually answered in the second quarter of 2015.

Twitter wants to give brands the tools they need to fix this. Enter the Twitter Customer Service Playbook.

The 122-page guide is aimed at helping brands improve the way they approach customer service on the platform.

[RELATED: Simplify your communications and expand your reach. Join us at Microsoft HQ for our 7th annual communicators conference.]

Twitter is also partnering with Sprout Social to offer “a new data and functionality to create an improved and transformative customer service solution for brands,” according to a Twitter blog post. “Additionally, Oracle intends to release their upgradable customer service solution in the near future.”

The playbook offers tips and best practices from some of the leaders in Twitter-based customer service. That includes Hilton (@HiltonSuggests), Best Buy (@BestBuySupport), Comcast (@ComcastCares), Spotify (@SpotifyCares), T-Mobile (@TMobileHelp) and Microsoft (@LumiaHelp).

“As we cover in the playbook, customer service on Twitter has many benefits, as well as some challenges,” Chris Moody, VP of Twitter data strategy, writes. “Users expect quick responses, personal and friendly interactions and timely resolutions.”

You can download the full Twitter Customer Service Playbook here.

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