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Crisis Communications Ready

Organizations spend an exorbitant amount of resources designing and implanting web and digital marketing strategies. The best organizations include digital reputation management in the planning of that strategy and the results pay dividends. There is a third piece that is crucial to any organization with a large web/social media presence and that is crisis communications.
Sure, your corporate communication team may have a plan in case of a crisis. The “CorComm” team knows who will talk to media, who will send the press advisory and they may even have a plan to update the customer service team with talking points. But. What. About. The Website?
A crisis, whether it is a college like Georgia Tech after a sword attack on campus or logistics giant Fed Ex after a truck accident injured and killed children on a school bus, nationwide attention will show up on your website looking for answers. Media will hit your front page looking for background. This is the moment when the PR team and IT team wishes there was a Dark Site ready to go.

Dark Site of the Moon

Imagine the effect on your e-commerce If your website is paralyzed by media and the public looking for any information about an accident or incident with your company. Can you afford the loss of revenue due to website slow downs and shut downs? A Dark Site can save you a lot of phone calls and frustrated customers.
What is a Dark Site you ask? A Dark Site is a website built ahead of time and not deployed until needed.  This website and its information is one directional, its purpose is to feed information only to visitors of your domain.  Visitors to your website in the shadow of a crisis should land on the dark site with an easily accessible route to your e-commerce and customer service pages for those there for business and not information.

Your Official Crisis Communication Dark Site Checklist

A successful Crisis Comm dark site should contain the following pages:
1.0 – Home
2.0 – Organizational Generic Information
2.1 – General background information /history of the organization/list of leadership and board of directors
2.2 – Information about services and policies of the organization
2.3 – An overview of the organization’s track record on important subjects
2.4 – Frequently asked questions
2.5 – Media footage (such as video or pictures) (social media support here is warranted)
3.0 – Information on the issue
3.1 – Background information
3.2 – Frequently Asked Questions
3.3 – Expert commentary
4.0 – News Room/Media Area
4.1 – Pages established with areas for updates and press releases
4.2 – Draft press releases/statements for anticipated possible crisis situations
4.3 – Press contact information
4.4 – Social Media Platforms and links to Blogs on topic

We recommend this site being activated on your normal domain replacing your traditional homepage for the duration of the crisis. While there will be a lag for Google and other search engines to index your now live site strategic ad word campaigns and paid social posts can keep your page and your information at the top of the search.
Crisis management websites are meant to disperse information to those seeking it. Providing accurate, timely and concise information to the media and public can save you hours and hours of reputation management work afterwards. In the words of Lanny Davis, Bill Clintons White House crisis attorney: “Tell it early, tell it all and tell it yourself. The rules are the same whether you’re a president, a corporate CEO or a baseball player.” With a Dark Site at the ready you will be prepared to tell your story, early, complete and on your terms.

Richard Kaiser

Richard Kaiser

Some of my fondest memories from my formative years were from Boy Scout camps sitting on rough, wooden logs that encircled a crackling fire sharing stories with the other boys. I believe in my heart that it is a human need to be told stories. We crave stories much in the same way we crave love. The work we do at Wilderness Agency is based upon this primal need. We bring together some of the best creative talent from around the world to tell our client’s stories, to share their passion with the world.