Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Content Strategy and Emergency Communications

While US Airways pilot Chesley Sullenberger was busy becoming a hero, the US Airways folks that run their Web site were left standing in a puddle of crap and they didn't have the shoes for it. Even hours after the crash, they still had no news at all up on the site. Now I'm sure they had an approved emergency communications plan for the site, but when the worst happened, it failed in epic fashion.

Do you have a way of quickly communicating to your customers should the worst happen? Most of you probably do. Do you have content that is already written, approved and ready to go? Probably not, and that's what slows things down when a crisis comes. Everyone who needs to approve and sign off on this critical content is too busy handling the crisis to be bothered.

If US Airways had just posted a quick notice acknowledging the crash, providing a contact phone number for families, and a promise to provide updates as quickly as possible, they could have avoided this black eye. And a template for that content could have been written and approved long before the crash so anyone could have filled in the blanks and posted the notice without waiting for approvals.

Here is a detailed look at the US Airways Web response.

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