Managing new media (which is increasingly important)

The growth of social networking sites and traditional news organisations’ increasing use of new media technologies mean that incidents escalate far more quickly and widely than in the past.

Online journalists and bloggers have also become significant opinion formers. This means that effective crisis management requires communication strategies that address them, as well as more traditional media. Make sure you have the resources, both technical and in terms of manpower and skills, to launch an online response to a developing crisis.

Effective management of new media requires advance preparation. Organisations with an established online presence will find it easier to have their voices heard when an incident occurs. Other practical steps such as registering brand-related URLs and user-names can limit the damage by making it harder for spoof sites to get up and running.

Consider obtaining new media specialist input from a crisis communications agency when an incident occurs – or before. They can advise on issues such as how to respond to misinformation, how to ensure that your own message receives maximum coverage (eg via search engine optimisation) and how to engage with online opinion formers.

Stories can develop quickly online so it is important to monitor online references to your firm’s name and/or brands. A simple step, such as setting up Google news alerts with appropriate search terms, may be sufficient for some organisations. Others may choose to engage external media monitoring consultants.