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October 26, 2011
'Not Everything's a Crisis,' Don't Make It So
Ryan Rudominer, now in private PR and marketing, served as national press secretary for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. So he's got the credentials for warning against a knee-jerk approach to the crisis communication aspects of PR. There tends to be, he cautions, "an over-emphasis on rapid response." Not everything is a crisis, not even in the digital age. First comes a strategic communications plan with aims and objectives clearly identified and worth adhering to.

"You'd be amazed," Ryan writes in a blog post, "how some of the most promising and well-intentioned campaigns ultimately fail because they get stuck in the weeds responding to attacks...On the flip side, winning campaigns, instead of bouncing from crisis to crisis, draft strategic communications plans. Moreover, they stick to them and recognize that rapid response is only one component."

So the next time an alarm bell goes off, find out what's actually happening and consult and follow your communication plan. Of course, your associates need to be trained in that discipline too.

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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