Friday, May 20, 2011

7 tips for communicating when the electricity goes out

By Tracy Jones 

Anyone who has ever been through a natural disaster will tell you that one of the first things to go is the electricity. 
While mobile phone towers amazingly kept working following recent cyclones, floods, earthquakes and tsunamis across the world, power went out for prolonged periods.

For communicators used to having all the latest tools at our disposal, planning for how to get messages across in a blackout is critical.

Here are 7 tips to help:
1.      Rely on radio.
Even if people don’t have battery-powered radios, the one in their car probably still works. Use radio stations to get important messages out.
2.      Make every message self-contained.
People relying on their mobile phone for the internet don’t switch between Twitter, Facebook and the web during a crisis. They tend to stick with one application. There’s nothing worse than a Tweet that only tells you to “check our website for the latest update”. See our post on Twittercues for some hints on better tweeting. 
3.      Stay charged
Always keep your mobile and your laptop fully charged.
4.      Host your website in another city.
Or at least make sure your local provider is really, really ready for any risk.
5.      Use blogs and twitter to feed your content.
You can use blogs and twitter to feed content onto your website and facebook accounts. That way if everything else fails you can easily upload content via your mobile phone.
6.      Have a back-up email account
If your own business server goes down, a back up Gmail or hotmail account will see you through a crisis. 
7.      Remember the old tools
Once upon a time we relied on pen and paper and talking to each other. They still work. 
Twittercue: 7 tips for  communicating when the electricity goes out. #prtips #crisiscomms