When Communicating Breaking News, Notifying Staff FIRST
BREAKING NEWS… Your company has a major announcement it needs to report immediately that will affect many of the company’s key audiences. Although, the first things you may think to do is draft a news release and disseminate it instantly to the target media, this is not necessarily the best course of action.
LT Public Relations, is often contacted by businesses in the midst of making a significant announcement. Sometimes the news is positive; such as the announcement of a new product or service, but often this breaking news is negative (e.g. a crisis). The knee-jerk approach used by most businesses is to issue a press release ASAP. Stop! At this critical communications point, we call an immediate time-out.
Communicate the news to internal audiences first
Although it is important to communicate to the media (and promptly), we wholeheartedly counsel our clients to communicate the news internally first, followed by other key stakeholders of the company. Communicating the news internally is an important first step to control the message and an opportunity to address questions or issues relating to the news. When employees learn company news from the media or social media, this builds confusion from within and is a sure fire way to convolute the key concepts of the announcement.
The desired outcome is management of the message. If the media (and social media) are given control of the news first, the information is in jeopardy of misinterpretation by internal audiences.
Although each business is different and communication methods vary, LT Public Relations recommends the following general reporting order to communicate breaking news:
- Internal (Executives, Managers, Staff)
- Shareholders and/or Board Members
- Clients/Customers (and prospective clients/customers)
- Constituents (e.g. company advocates)
- Community leaders (political, Chambers, etc.)
- Family and Friends
- Social Media (depending on the nature of the news, social media should be closely monitored)
*DISCLAIMER: If there is one particular medium or media outlet that predominately reaches your target audience, give it priority for a first look at the news. This provides more time and access to research and report the news accurately.
Does your company have breaking news? Need a strategy on how to best approach it? Contact LT Public Relations via email at firstname.lastname@example.org…we’ll be happy to handle the news and help avoid the breaking news from being, well, broken.