Weather News

Writing in PR Weekly, Jennifer Evans, principal and director of operations for Houston-based communications firm The CKP Group, runs down best practices for communications professionals during natural disasters such as Hurricane Harvey.

Evans worked in communications efforts during Tropical Storm Allison and Hurricane Katrina.

“People in the communications fields such as journalists, public relations and crisis communications leads, and marketing and advertising leads, may be on call 24/7 for their employers, clients, and community groups,” writes Evans. “We aren't saving lives, but we have work to do.”

What does this work entail? Here are some highlights of Evans’ many recommendations:

  • Prioritize internal team communications. “If you don't have a culture in which staff and vendors from multiple disciplines, backgrounds, and levels of experience are comfortable working with each other in a highly fluid environment, this will be your trial by fire,” she writes.
  • Review plans and schedules, and prep spokespeople.
  • Check in regularly with team member and clients.
  • In the case of advance warning of natural disasters, check with local disaster relief to learn their needs, and see what ways clients can assist their community.
  • Remember the human touches. “During and immediately after a crisis, compassion generates philanthropic goodwill,” says Evans. “Remind your nonprofit clients that stewardship and transparency are critical when dealing with audiences that don't really know them.”