A PR’s Guide to Coronavirus Crisis Communications

By Bekki Bushnell, Head of Business Development

The media has had no shortage of high interest stories to cover this year. First there was the dreaded ‘B’ word, now we’ve moved on to the ‘C’ word. Coronavirus — obviously. When it comes to global viral outbreaks it would appear that, rightly or wrongly, the world has gone into panic mode, fuelled by sensationalist headlines and a distortion of the facts.

Image credit: Pound Gates

Governments and authorities need to communicate factual information, but as with any sharing of information the facts often get skewed and distorted in a game of social media Chinese whispers. The result is high volumes of ‘fake news’ causing unnecessary fear and a frustrating shortage of pasta and toilet roll in supermarkets across the UK.

It’s not just official sources and the media that need to be careful with how communication is handled throughout the pandemic. Organisations that find themselves affected in one way or another also need to pay particular attention to their communications plan in order to be effective without unduly causing concern or finding themselves in the centre of a PR nightmare.

So how can a knowledge of crisis communications benefit organisations impacted by Coronavirus? Here is a guide of how to communicate effectively and appropriately during this highly sensitive time:

Stay safe, stay calm and please remember to wash your hands!