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Tips on issuing a video statement during a crisis

By Marjorie Comer

A video being recorded.A news article was published about your company, which included misleading information, factual errors, innuendos, and even half-truths. This leads to a crisis for your company, especially in the court of public opinion. 

 

Your company has several options to handle this crisis: ignore it, create some FAQs to correct the errors, hold a news conference, or issue a video statement during a crisis. 

 

Audio: Listen to this article.

 

Other than public relations professionals, very few people are completely comfortable talking to the media, so that may nix the press conference idea. And when a crisis happens, the top priority is to not make matters worse, which is why issuing a video statement offers an opportunity to respond to the inaccuracies, control the message, and stay comfortable in the situation.

 

Preparation

  • Script: Develop 3-5 key messages. Nothing more. Keep it simple.
  • Get diverse external opinions: You want to be sensitive and consider multiple audiences, including any victims, and make sure your message targets diversity, equity, and inclusion. The last thing you want to do is offend and cause more controversy. 
  • Video production: Hire an expert videographer. This probably isn’t something that you want to do in-house. You want to look professional. A professional will bring in lights, microphones, and possibly multiple cameras.   
  • Background: Be aware of the background setting. You want to be comfortable as well as look comfortable and professional in any video. The backdrop must also be professional and reflect the message. What does your office look like? Do you have a formal meeting room? Is there a company logo on the wall or what does the exterior of your building look like?
  • Attire: How will you be dressed? Do you normally wear a suit? Or are you more corporate casual with a button-down or polo shirt with a company logo? Does your attire match your brand and, more importantly, the circumstances?
  • PR firm: Consider working with an expert PR firm to help prepare and ensure you are camera-ready. 

These are the things you should take into account so the company and spokesperson come off as professional and believable as possible. 

 

Speaking

  • Remain calm: By recording a statement, you can take your emotional frustrations out of the mix. 
  • Practice: Don’t wing your content or rebuttal. Be sure to practice so you sound confident and prepared. While cue cards may be handy, too often, people use that as a crutch and end up sounding robotic. 
  • Credible: If you’re showcasing the errors in a published news article, be able to show proof or build credibility that there are inaccuracies. Use verifiable facts and figures that can be backed up. Simply saying the article is inaccurate won’t suffice. 
  • Future: While speaking on camera, consider rebutting the article, and then pivot to talk about the future. If you’re planning to make an announcement in the coming months, don’t announce it during the video statement. 


When you or your company must issue a video statement or hold a news conference, make sure you are comfortable with the decision and let the above serve as a guide for you.

 

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Marjorie Comer.Clients love Marjorie’s work ethic, speed and diligence. She has worked with Axia Public Relations since October 2011. Marjorie graduated from Rockhurst University with a Bachelor of Arts in communication and loves to cheer for her hometown Kansas City Royals. Learn more about Marjorie.

 

Photo by Donald Tong from Pexels


Topics: crisis communications

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