Large-scale companies hire Public Relations professionals. We hear about these PR reps, more often than not, when something has gone wrong and the company is in the spotlight. What we don’t see as often is the work that is happening before a problem arises. If the PR firm is doing their job, they begin their role by trying to think of any possible catastrophe that might impact the company, and they work on developing a plan to avoid those problems from taking place, and also create a strategy in the event that something happens anyway.
Swift action and effective communication are key when something has gone awry.
That can’t happen, if the entity is trying to develop their talking points in the midst of a storm.
We’ve seen multi-million dollar companies *cough* any airlines you can think of? *cough* continue to have blunders even with a PR firm in their back pocket. If it can happen to them, it could happen to you.
You’re an influencer, which means you probably don’t have the means to hire a PR firm to help you with dealing any number of issues that may pop up. You are a Jack or Jane of all trades! It’s time to put on our Public Relations hats for a bit so we can go through some of the potential issues that could occur so you can stop them before they start and a “well, that happened anyway,” plan.
Websites can stop doing their job for any number of reasons. I know approximately zero things when it comes to the specifics of technical issues. Knowing that I am not skilled in this arena makes the importance of having a plan even more pronounced.
- Back that Tech Up – Be sure to save your content, including posts and photos. There are even sites that will allow you to go back to a specific time so you can start again where you left off.
- Have Friends in Tech Places – I know it may cost you money, but it’s important to have tech support that you know and trust already in place.
- Break it Before you Buy It – If you have those tech-oriented friends, have them try to “break” your site (back it up first) so you can find the issues before they become issues.
Help, I’ve Stopped Blogging and I Can’t Make a Post
You may need to stop writing blog posts for any number of reasons. I hope it’s because you’re on vacation someplace where a frosty adult beverage is involved. More likely than not, it’s because of something unexpected and not particularly awesome. Illness, a death in the family, unanticipated work duties if you’re employed elsewhere in addition to blogging, and the list goes on.
- Lean, Mean Evergreen – Do you have content that’s considered “evergreen,” (a subject that is always relevant, like something pertaining to pet health, training, DIY projects, etc.)? Great! You don’t always have to write new posts. You can repurpose your own content. If you find a theme in your own work, such as multiple pieces discussing a specific medical concern, you can quickly assemble a list blog post that ties each post together and links to your prior writing. Read more about creating evergreen content.
- A Little Help from Friends – You can do the same sort of thing with fellow bloggers. Find a theme, find bloggers who have awesome content, and create a list post that features them and how awesome they are, linking to their content. First, ask for permission. Second, don’t steal their content. A simple lead-in to their content in your own words is enough.
- A Picture Tells 1,000 Words – Pulling together images that tell a compelling story can be a quick way to create a post in a pinch. It can be as simple as sharing your time the dogs came with you to a store.
- Be Prepared – If at all possible, try to create at least a handful of evergreen posts that you can publish without having to pull anything together. I know it may seem daunting, but if your goal is to write four posts a month, try to sneak a fifth in every other month, and you’ll have backup content available if you cannot draft anything new for a window of time. Like taking money from a bank, once you use a post, try to create a new post to set aside for future emergencies.
Don’t Feed the Trolls
In an era where everyone has an opinion and has the technical ability to share their views with you via commenting on your posts or social media channels, it’s important to know your strategy with how to deal with trolls and to stick to your guns.
- You’re the Boss – This is your blog. It’s up to you to decide what the rules are in your sandbox. Are you okay with someone posting a comment that might be considered offensive, if you view it as a “teaching opportunity?” Do you feel comfortable engaging with folks who may have said something uncouth? It’s totally up to you.
- Once you know where your lines are drawn, be sure they are clearly articulated in the language of your site. My friend, Alison Reder, from Sarcastic Dog, for example, clearly states that her website is pit bull friendly and will not tolerate posts that speak negatively about bully-type breeds. If a person chooses to make a post anyway, Alison is quick to decide to engage or simply delete the post and possibly block the person posting. Each situation is unique, but the person in charge has clearly explained the what, why and how. Read more: What to Do When You Get Trolled.
Here’s the thing. If your content is on the World Wide Web, at some point someone is going to pilfer it and try to pass it as their own. It’s bound to happen, and it sucks. This subject is large enough to warrant it’s own posts. In fact, there are many resources already written that focus on this subject. This post from ProBlogger titled “How to Hit Content Scrapers Where it Hurts,” lists some key steps you should take in the event your intellectual property has been stolen.
What other issues have you encountered or heard of that has led you to develop a contingency plan? I’m sure fellow members of the BlogPaws community would love knowing so they can plan accordingly!
Want to feel uber prepared? Why don’t you download the free Emergency Planner worksheet that will help you brainstorm potential issues and solutions before they even happen!
Bryn Nowell is a blogger who loves dogs and drinking equally, which is why her blog, adogwalksintoabar.com, focuses on both! She is a passionate photographer and animal rescue advocate. Join her photography adventures with pups Bean & Yoda on Instagram at: A Dog Walks Into A Bar. She will be speaking at BlogPaws 2017 about knowing your worth when working with brands.