New COVID-19 resources for city communications teams

For the people who run city hall communications shops, the COVID-19 crisis means managing head-spinning announcements and never-ending news cycles, all, in many cases, while working from home.

To support city communications directors and leads through this challenging time, Bloomberg Philanthropies today launched a new resource. The COVID-19 Communications Module offers insights and recommendations about how to staff and organize comms teams in a crisis, along with a set of tools and templates they can customize for day-to-day tasks like fielding the surge of media inquiries or shooting video for social media.

“The teams best equipped to manage a crisis are those who have clearly outlined roles and tasks, and know how to execute against them,” said Ernesto Freire of Bloomberg Associates. “The ideas and templates in this module are designed to help communications teams to quickly and effectively organize themselves, even as they are stretched for time and capacity.”

The new resource is intended to provide practical insights for communications teams around three pillars:

Staffing and organization, including what roles and structures are needed to turn your communications department into a well-oiled Crisis Communications Unit.

Processes and procedures, including best practices for sharing information across agencies, as well as with the media and the public.

Messaging and outreach, including how city leaders can articulate an honest and focused vision to keep communities informed about what’s happening and aware of what they need to be doing.

The idea is to give city comms teams — who are pressed for time and resources even in better days — tools to engage with residents as effectively as they can.

“There’s no one solution that will work for everyone,” said Todd Asher of Bloomberg Associates, “but these communications and social media principles are ones that cities of all sizes can use immediately and adapt to their needs.”

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

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