Communicating in Challenging Times

Like many, the news of Ukraine’s invasion and the subsequent violence has weighed heavy on our hearts. This conflict is reshaping our world from a new humanitarian crisis to economic woes and fears for the future.

Whether it’s outreach to reporters or communication with stakeholders, during times like these, continuing with your planned communications strategy may feel trite and out of touch. Below are a few lessons we’ve learned as a public affairs and crisis communications firm on adapting to challenging times.

Lead with Empathy

Behind every organization and message is a group of people. Showing humanity during times of uncertainty can go a long way. Sincerely acknowledging the situation and its impact humanize your communications strategy and help your message break through the noise.

Realign Expectations

During times of crisis, breaking news is constant. As a result, mainstream national news outlets are focused on getting information out as quickly and accurately as possible. The fast-paced focus on the conflict may prevent traditional news outlets from picking up non-related stories. Rather than planning to land a piece in these outlets, consider using this time to build relationships with industry reporters, record podcasts or explore thought leadership opportunities.

Focus on the Positive

When news cycles are consistently heavy, it’s human nature for us to seek out positive, feel-good narratives. Try pitching success stories of individuals or your organization to provide a bright spot in news coverage and increase your likelihood that it gets picked up.

It was Archbishop Desmond Tutu who said, “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” Be it powerful demonstrations of human resilience or lessons in leadership; there are glimmers of light even when things feel dark.

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