Crisis Planning Tips & Strategies

crisis-management-tipsCrisis planning is critical for every organization. The time to plan, of course, is when there is no crisis. Be proactive.

Best Crisis PR Tips

Here’s our newest collection of crisis PR tips, crisis planning strategies and tactics to help you build a bullet-proof crisis communications plan. It’s now located on our PR and social media insight  curated pages on

More crisis PR tips are also available at Crisis Management Tips & Resources and Online Crisis Management.  You may also find Strategic PR, Media Monitoring, Media Training and Social Media Monitoring useful as well as The PR Coach Blog: This Just In… Sites with a W are PR Coach “winners.” Note, some documents are PDFs and may require patience while opening.

Crisis PR & Management Tips Archive

For researchers, students and for writers looking for historical articles, the archive below has our original best crisis PR posts from 2008 to 2013.

2M Communications Ink
Margaret McGann has several excellent crisis checklists at her blog.  W

5 tips for drawing up your social media crisis plan
Quick crisis PR basics.

6 Tips for Improving Your Crisis Communications Plan
Crisis planning basics from Joyce Bosc.

10 Ways to Use Your Blog to Manage a Crisis
Your blog can be a valuable crisis asset writes Jeff Domansky.

99 Tips to Safekeeping Company Reputation
Weber Shandwick poster visually presents 99 reputation safekeeping tips.   W

Activist Websites
Corporate Watch tracks and links to activist and anti-corporate websites for McDonalds, Wal-Mart, Nike, Shell and industry targets as well.

Add Anti-Hacking Efforts to Your Crisis Comms Plan
Good crisis management tip.

All Hazards Crisis Management Planning
Geary Sikich looks at the key components in a crisis plan, most common weaknesses, compliance strategies and preparedness.   W

Avoiding PR Disasters
Harvard Business School newsletter looks at how leaders should prepare for potential crises.

Bank of America: Banking on a Reputation Crisis?
The impact of being unprepared will be felt in negative company value.

Bank Of America Sets Up WikiLeaks Defense Team
Wikipanic is everywhere and BoA is planning for the worst.

Protect Your Privacy

Be Prepared
Two key crisis planning tips from Rick Amme: get media training and conduct a crisis exercise.

Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Making the Difficult Decisions in a Crisis
A look at lessons learned during the release of the Lockerbie Bomber by Gordon Reidford.   W

Can BP Ever Rebuild Its Reputation?
TIME magazine runs down BP’s serious PR mistakes.

Casting Your Crisis Plan: Five Roles You Cannot Leave Unassigned in Your Crisis Plans
PR Tactics article points out five critical roles that must be handled in a crisis.

Crash Course in Crisis Public Relations
Forbes provides excellent crisis PR tips and additional crisis management resources.   W

Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication (2014 Edition)
This is the Center for Disease Control’s 462-page comprehensive crisis communications manual. It’s a substantial resource worth referencing.

Crisis Communication Plan
Indiana State Department of Health has a bioterrorism risk and public health crisis plan.

Crisis Communication Quick Reference
Here’s a quick crisis communications checklist from PRSA.

Crisis Communications and Management [Video 9:53]
Rick Amme offers insight and practical advice on crisis management.   W

Crisis Communications at the University of Louisville
This crisis policy and procedures guide from U of L is concise and worth a look.

Crisis communications – don’t wait to create a plan
Good crisis management planning tips.

Crisis Communications: How to Meet Challenges
Basic tips to help you manage a crisis better.

Crisis Communications Isn’t a Panacea
PR can’t do it all writes Rex Hammock.

Crisis Communications Plan
U of Washington has a basic crisis response plan and tools.

Crisis Communications Towwellolkit
The Business Roundtable developed this crisis toolkit for its members. It’s the most complete crisis resource we’ve seen to help you plan for, manage and recover effectively from a crisis.   W W

Crisis Management 1001: Reputation Rehab
How can companies and their leaders bounce back after a major public crisis?

Crisis Management and Communications
Dr Tim Coombs has written one of the best and most valuable reference pieces on crisis management. He takes the research and advice of dozens of experts and artfully distills them into a must-read list of best practices.  W W

Crisis Not the Time to Get Your First Feel for Firm’s Reputation
Rex Repass says you can easily get a fix on company reputation before a crisis.

Crisis PR: Three Core Principles and Planning Checklist to Guide Your Actions
Tom Gable’s post and crisis checklist are worth review.  W

Crisis PR Plans Incomplete Without Social Media Component
Excellent 10-point checklist for crisis plan including social media.

Crisis Plans Can’t Replace Trained People
Steve Wilson looks at the value of adding crisis training to crisis planning.   W

Crisis Response & Communication Planning Workbook
BMW Car Clubs have one of the best crisis planning workbooks we’ve seen. Worth evaluating.   W W

Do Companies Need a Crisis PR Plan or Social Media Crisis Plan? (Part 1)
Good crisis management debate.

Don’t say too much. Or too little
Stonewall? Not good crisis PR in my opinion.

Dowley College Crisis Management Plan
A solid crisis management paired with a crisis communications plan and crisis preparation checklist.

Dust Off Your Crisis Management Survival Guide
Helpful crisis PR basics.

Emotional news framing affects public response to crises
How you “frame” the story and your response can be invaluable for crisis managers.

Facing a PR Crisis
Crisis planning tips and strategies include checklists too.

Facing Threat from WikiLeaks, Bank Plays Defense
More Wikifear and crisis PR preparation.

Five Social Media Must-Haves for Crisis
Chris Syme suggests five important tools to help you manage a crisis online.

Gerard Braud on Crisis Communications – Part I [Video 4:40]
Braud talks about developing your crisis plan in the first of an excellent series.   W W

Head and Heart: Choosing The Right Spokesperson in Crisis
Fourth in an excellent crisis PR series by Jane Jordan-Meier.

Hewlett Packard and McChrystal Rules
When monster of bad publicity looms you can’t hide.

How Crisis Communication Plans Work
Here’s a look at how crisis communication plans work before, during and after a crisis.

How HP lost control of resignation story
Inside look at the Mark Hurd CEO crisis.

How to Measure Your Results in a Crisis
Thoughtful IPR white paper by KD Paine shows how to use data to help in crisis management.

How to Prevent Situations From Becoming Crises
Crisis expert Rene Henry shares 10 tips to help prevent a crisis.

Hurricane Sandy Broke Only 10% of NY Area’s Internet
Caution for crisis planning by PR managers.

I’ve got some bad news… The role of PR in sharing bad news
Good public relations thinking.

In a Crisis, What Would You Take with You?
If you had to leave in 10 minutes what would you bring?

In a Modern Crisis, a Full Page Print Ad is as Relevant as Yesterday’s News
Is the old PR, reputation management strategy no longer credible?  W

In Case of Emergency: What Not to Do
Excellent NY Times article on poor crisis management by companies who should be better.  W

In PR, There’s No Such Thing as a One-Day Story
The ignore it and it will go away approach doesn’t work any more.

Inviting A PR Disaster: Hewlett-Packard
More solid crisis PR insight on HP.

Is PR’s Crisis-Management Role In Need of Revision
Industry experts say no; full transparency is still the best bet.

It’s only a matter of time before something else kills our internet
Planning, including what happens without internet access.

James Lukaszewski on Negative Language and PR [Video: 2:11]
Crisis and public relations insight from a guru. W

Lack of Communication, Transparency Biggest Mistakes During Crisis PR
Despite the potential damage crises can cause to their sales, reputation and share value, few companies have an effective crisis management plan in place.

Lessons for the Media from Haiti Earthquake Response
Excellent crisis management learning too.

Localeaks: A Drop-Box for Anonymous Tips to 1400 US Newspapers
Crisis management experts await this launch.

Maintain Some Perspective: Don’t Be a Crisis Communication Hypochondriac
Dr Michael Turney reminds us to keep a clear perspective on crisis communication.

Mark Hurd’s HP Dismissal: 5 Unsolved Mysteries
Intended to avoid a crisis, it just didn’t work out.

Masters of Spin: PR Belongs in B-School Studies
PR is critical for executives and cdeserves to be taught in business school writes Anthony D’Angelo.

NASDAQ Hack Targets Fortune 500 Board Secrets
Cautionary crisis story worth noting.

NPR searches for a publicrelations strategy and an agency.

Need a Crisis Plan? Here’s What to Do
Here are ten simple steps to create a crisis plan that works, from Rick Amme.   W

Never Waste a Crisis
You can’t meter out response in a crisis. Transparency is fundamental.

Opinion: Corporate Secrecy, Meet WikiLeaks
Good insight and thoughtful crisis planning lessons.

PR Experts’ Advice for Toyota
Crisis PR experts pile on with conflicting advice.

Peabody Energy Target of PR Spoof
Badvocates strike big coal with website spoof.

Practical Information on Crisis Planning
A very lengthy, thorough look at crisis planning for schools and communities from US Dept of Education. Contains tips, checklists and more.    W

Product Recalls Are Proactive PR
Heather Yaxley looks at crisis fundamentals.

Rene Henry: Crisis Articles
Here’s a selection of articles by crisis expert Rene Henry.

Reputation Management and 15 Questions to Avoid a Crisis
Barry Hurd has 15 questions to help with online crisis planning.  W

Reputation Risk Management on the Rise in US and European Corporations
Risk management efforts climbing according to a report from The Conference Board. New findings and risk management recommendations are highlighted.

Research for Public Relations: Communicating in an Environment of Risk
Valuable crisis management strategies. W

Running Into Fire: Hewlett-Packard
Rick Becker looks inside the CEO resignation crisis.

Seven Dimensions of Crisis Communication Management: A Strategic Analysis and Planning Model
Jim Lukaszewski shares a superb crisis analysis and crisis planning model.   W

Seven Rules To Remember When a Crisis Strikes
Excellent crisis advice from Brad Phillips.  W

Shrimp Boat Captain Worn Out from Long Day of Putting Human Face on Crisis
Unique perspective of victim of Gulf oil spill.  W

Six Crisis Lessons Brands Can Learn from Wikileaks
Sage crisis PR advice from Morgan McLintic.

Six Steps to Preparing a Rudimentary Crisis Communication Plan
Crisis planning is like buying insurance. Michael Turney’s six-point crisis planning guide and templates are excellent planning tools.   W

Skepticism, Lies and Videotape
Another take on NPR’s handling of the secret video sting by James O’Keefe.

Small Business: Developing an Effective Crisis Communications Plan
Don Tanner shares a three-step process and a crisis management case study.

Stuck at home? Here are 12 tips for building a productive virtual office
Crisis planning tips worth noting.

The Crisis in Crisis PR: Why the Dark Art Is in Meltdown
Matthew DeBord looks at why crisis PR may no longer be up to the task.  W

The Crisis Response Box
This guide tells you how to assemble a crisis response box with your crisis essentials inside including: critical incident information checklist; emergency supplies checklist; and first aid supplies checklist.

The Essential Crisis and Risk Communications Checklist
Tom Gable’s checklist is an essential tool in your crisis PR toolkit.  WW

The Front Group Hall of Shame Gets a New Inductee 
PR Watch flags new front group trying to undermine health insurance reform.

The Lawyer vs PR
The challenge of balancing legal vs public opinion in a crisis.

The truth about Delta’s alleged “no-Jew fly policy”
Crisis PR for Delta Air based on errors and internet rumor. W

Three Tough Q’s: Drew Levinson
Valuable crisis management qurstions to ask.

Tiger Woods dropped by Gillette
Reputation yips continue for Tiger.

Time for Issues Management? Here Are 4 Tips for Navigating the News Cycle
How to get in front of the news cycle in a crisis like Anthony Weiner.

Top Five Rules of Crisis Communications
Did Aflac’s crisis PR response walk like a duck?

Toyota Recall Aftermath: Many Protagonists Fail Inspection
Thoughtful reflections on Toyota crisis  management from Drew Levinson. W

Toyota’s Recall Crisis: What Have We Learned?
Why the Japanese carmaker suffered an overblown public relations disaster, according to Harvard blogger Jeffrey Liker. W

‘Toxic Waste’ Gum Recall Leaves Bad Taste
This recall communications effort was simply not good enough.  W

Trust and the Importance of Repetition
Looking at the Edelman Trust Barometer 2011.

TTC’s Texting Transit Drivers Spark New PR Crisis
Crisis management and PR fail study leads to crisis lessons.

UVA Crisis Communications Plan
University of Virginia has a succinct online crisis plan worth a look.

Ultimate Crisis-Communications Checklist: 6 Steps to Master Your Disaster
Fresh crisis PR thinking and an excellent checklist.  W

United Way of Marion County Crisis Communication Plan
A well-developed crisis plan with practical tactics, thoughtful checklists and templates.   W

Virginia Tech Crisis Communication Plan
What do you think about Virginia Tech’s crisis plan?

Weinergate: When Apologizing is Absolutely the Wrong PR Advice
Steven Silvers disagrees with most other crisis experts.

What Anthony Weiner Can Teach Us About Online Reputation Management
Last word on Weiner crisis.

What Makes an Ideal Crisis Manager?
Some managers have developed skills that allow them to rise above the fray. Here’s how they’ve managed to do it.

What to Do If Someone Leaks Confidential Internal Documents
Timely crisis management tips from Brad Allen.

When Is It the Right Strategy to Fight Back in Public?
More reflections on Toyota in a crisis management post worth reading. W

Who’s Going to Speak for You During a Crisis?
Excellent crisis planning strategy from Brad Phillips.

Why You Should Plan for Crises Before They Happen
Solid crisis PR tips from Deon Binneman.

Why Your Receptionist Needs Media Training
This critical crisis management item is often missed writes Brad Phillips.

WikiLeaks Stalks Corporate America: How Companies Can Prepare
Are reputation and crisis management tsunamis near?  W

Worst-Case Questions – Your Secret Weapon in a Crisis
Don’t get blindsided. Prepare worst-case Q & A’s and messages that help you respond if things go sideways in a media interview.

Your Crisis Communication Response Plan is Due for Maintenance (And/Or a Rewrite)
Any crisis communication plan that hasn’t been updated or tested in the last six months is useless says Deon Binneman.

This crisis planning resource is curated by Jeff Domansky. Follow him on Twitter @ThePRCoach or his curation site Public Relations & Social Media Insight.