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Why Should Your School Reach Out To a Crisis Communications Firm?

By Stephanie York, JD, Hennes Communications

Quick – What’s the single highest priority for a superintendent, head of school or board president?  It’s not education.  It’s safety.

And just one part of that safety net is making sure you have a pre-written crisis communications plan at your fingertips – or at least the phone number of a qualified and vetted crisis communications firm – should the need arise.

Despite the fact almost every PR firm in the country says that they do
“crisis communications,” that’s simply not true.  Please read
“7 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Crisis Communications Firm.”

Here are a few reasons your school may want to call us, or another reputable firm with a deep and demonstrated history of handling the toughest crisis situations:

  • When the you-know-what hits the fan, most school communication directors simply don’t have the skill set needed to handle a crisis.  Public relations isn’t the same as crisis communications.  Certainly, there is overlap between the two, but the two are very different — and applying the tactics of one to the other is done at your peril.
  • When confronted with a serious issue, a school district must be able to seamlessly continue day-to-day operations while at the same time communicating proactively and transparently with its stakeholders (e.g. students, teachers, staff, parents, local government agencies and others). Unless you have a crisis communications plan that’s easy to use and has been road-tested, a crisis communications firm can help you get those first communications out to your stakeholders fast – before the rumor mill and social media posts take over the narrative.
  • When you need a communications partner who can quickly assess a developing situation, build a strategy and help you execute that strategy to keep all of your stakeholders – including the media – fully informed of new developments.
  • When you want your school administrators to be properly prepared and positioned to react well amidst a crisis and come out of it stronger for the experience.  A seasoned crisis communications firm can train your administrators and staff to be prepared, offering crisis communications seminars for your team and on-camera crisis/media training for your spokespersons.  Trust us, you don’t want your first TV interview to be when the reporter is standing at your office door barking questions at you with the camera running.

Our firm works with over 150 clients each year, from schools, hospitals/health care, larger nonprofits and government agencies to manufacturers, professional service firms and financial institutions.  Generally speaking, across all of those market sectors, they break into two categories: the ones who call us before something happens and the ones who call during or after a serious situation or reputational threat.  Which type of client do you want to be?  The choice is yours.

FLA-OH-AZ School Boards Partner with Hennes


Hennes Communications

Photo Credit:  CanStockPhoto


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