Crisis Communications: Taking the Bullet and Firing Back Excerpt

As you may know, Vision Media President Paul Swibinski recently published an e-book available for free. “Crisis Communications: Taking the Bullet and Firing Back” draws on Paul’s experience in nearly thirty years of helping clients survive crisis situations. We’ve decided to republish an excerpt from the e-book to give reads a sense of the kind of practical advice and wisdom that the work contains.

It can happen to anyone. To a company. To an agency. To a labor union. And you won’t see it coming.



A product is suddenly discovered to be defective and perceived by some sources to be harmful.


An employee is discovered to be engaging in criminal activity, and law enforcement and the media are pounding on the front door.


Negotiations break down, and you are facing a major labor problem or strike.


These are just some examples of how quickly a communications crisis can hit.


Phones are ringing. Allegations are being made – possibly spread by competitors or opponents. Television stations, radio stations, newspaper reporters, bloggers and Internet media are all calling, and they all want interviews right now. The story is about to break, and how you handle it may decide your future. Your reaction (and how the story is reported) will become a permanent part of you or your organization’s record and image.



If you’re part of a big organization, you probably employ an in-house communications advisor or retain a public relations firm. Whether they have developed the expertise needed to handle a crisis remains to be seen. But it’s a start.


If you’re part of a smaller operation or an individual, you probably don’t have those resources. So what do you do if the you-know-what hits the fan? Google PR firms? Good luck. You need help immediately. There’s not much time to start interviewing people and checking references. Here’s your first piece of advice: identify a PR professional who can be helpful in the event of a crisis. Do it now, before the crisis hits. You don’t necessarily have to start paying any fees, but you should at least begin developing a relationship.


When a crisis does hit, following the principles and strategies contained in these pages at least gives you a fighting chance to survive and keep your reputation intact.Paul Swibinski, President, Vision Media Marketing

If you would like a free copy of Crisis Communications: Taking the Bullet and Firing Back, email Phil Swibinski at


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