These days, due to the internet, pretty much anyone can publish whatever information they have or want to share with the rest of the world. Because of that, companies are always facing the potential threat of getting their information or plans leaked to the public, which means they have to plan and prepare for such situations beforehand. Companies that believe they’re able to avoid having any of their communications plans derailed because of a leak are also mistaken because leaks are pretty much unavoidable these days.
Most people these days want to be in on whatever situations are currently happening, especially if those situations are important. When people like that aren’t included in important situations, they usually end up figuring out different ways that they can learn more about whatever is happening. This is the most common way that companies end up facing leaks as the person that wasn’t included still wants to feel important. Aside from that, the world wide web has become such a powerful communication channel that internal and external communication has begun to blur as internal memos have started being shared with the rest of the world, a place where anyone can access that information. Because of all this, it’s important for companies to prepare for any media leaks before they have a chance to happen so they’ll be able to effectively take control of the situation once it does happen.
The first step that any company needs to do to be able to handle an information leak to the public or to media outlets is a plan of action. This plan should include every detail regarding the situation, from what the company is going to communicate to the public, to the way that the message is going to be presented. It’s important for businesses to remember that their messages should follow the strategy instead of the other way around.
Once a company has a plan in place for a media leak, it’s important to ensure that the business is able to effectively communicate its core message in a way that the message will reach the intended audience. When situations like this happen, it’s important for companies to communicate the information in a specific order with the affected parties. That means the first people that need to learn about the information are every one that was initially emotionally affected in a private setting so that they will be able to express their feelings. Then, the company will need to inform the people that were immediately impacted in small groups, where those groups will be able to ask further questions, and finally, anyone that was indirectly influenced by the leak or wasn’t influenced at all, through widespread communications channels.
Finally, companies will also need to have a backup plan prepared beforehand, in case the initial one doesn’t work as intended. This plan should be similar to a general crisis communication plan, where the company prepares for different situations and outcomes, properly reacts to each scenario with a response, and fills in any missing information while clearing up any misunderstandings.