Internet is the crisis
prevent that crisis!
taking care of the rumors
don't get hacked
damaging mock sites



The Internet is key in the prevention of a crisis. It is an important tool in monitoring public opinion of an organization, what kind of coverage a company and the competitors are receiving and determining allies and advocacy.

Active monitoring of news and chat groups, activist web sites and on-line news services is a good base for preparation of crises. If a company were to predict public scrutiny, monitoring sites and on-line commentary could provide early warning of events and beliefs that could harm a company's reputation or credibility. Assessing and ranking these issues according to importance is part of an Internet plan essential to an organization.

Boyd Neil, magazine journalist and professional communication and public affairs strategist, offers nine basic ways to ensure an organization is "web-ready" for a crisis:

1) Have an Internet plan in your crisis communication manual
Also, Neil suggests implementing an on-line crisis communication manual in addition to the traditional manual. Internet-based crisis communication manuals can be easily accessed and updated, include detailed background information difficult to maintain in hard copy, include easily accessible databases and comprehensive media and stakeholder e-mail lists, and rapidly disseminate media releases, stakeholder updates and announcements by electronic lists.

2) Use the Internet as a virtual crisis command center so crisis team members, senior executives and other employees can be updated on your emergency response program and plans

3) Regularly monitor appropriate news and chat groups, advocacy group sites and on-line news
Internet monitoring services are also available like "eWatch" that tells you what web sites post your releases and what kind of coverage your organization is getting (which sites, writers, consumers, investors and competitors).

4) Include a web specialist on your crisis team

5) Become familiar with the ways issues and rumors develop and progress

6) Practice downloading and transferring documents, pictures, video and audio on your web site

7) Consider Rapid-Response web pages with holding statements, company backgrounds, fact sheets, media contact forms, etc.
Neil defines a Rapid-Response web site as a "microsite designed to centralize and control information flow during a special event or transaction." This type of site provides immediate and accurate information managed by the company. It can provide reliable information to the public and media through news releases, emergency updates and contact information.

8) Plan to use your company's web site to update public and media with statements, FAQs, speeches and photographs.

9) Maintain an e-mail database of key media and stakeholders to get information to them quickly.

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eWatch prevention service

Internet as a PR tool



Copyright 2002 Erika Zimmerman