It turns out that the best channels for crisis communications are usually traditional media. However, sometimes you may also want to use social media, depending on the type of response the organization has chosen, and who is doing the communicating (Liu et al, 2011).
And I suspect the results of studies like these might change over the next 30 years as digital natives make up more and more of our population.
Based on Liu et al’s, findings, these are the basic steps I would take to draft a crisis communications plan:
1) Brainstorm with other staff about all the possible crises we can foresee.
2) Choose the ones that are most likely to happen and/or would be most damaging.
3) Categorize them into best ways to respond (i.e., if X happened, we would take a defensive position, or supportive, or evasive, etc).
4) Vet those responses with other staff and stakeholders.
5) Choose the most important one to three message(s) for each crisis.
6) Choose who (person and/or organization) should deliver those messages.
7) Choose the channels for each potential crisis based mostly on the type of response and who would be delivering it, but also considering audience.
How about you? Would you do anything differently? Is there something important you think I omitted?
Liu, B.; Austin, L.; Jin, Y (2011). How publics response to crisis communication strategies: The interplay of information form and source. Public Relations Review, 37, 345-353.